Interview: Justin Jones at Austin City Limits 2012
Justin Jones, Washington D.C. songsmith and family man walks a tight-rope of duality. On the heels of a successful slot at ACL Festival and a critically acclaimed album with plenty of life, Jones both revels and laments, respectively, in his career triumphs and defeats – the rollercoaster of a musician’s life.
Though currently riding high on the ACL Festival experience, Jones operates and exists in the equally rewarding and frustrating level being 10 years in, but still being regarded as an up-and-coming act. “Man, I fall in and out of love with trying to make it. Sometimes you go ‘f*ck it, I’m gonna be a normal person,’” Jones describes.
Yet the triumphs of Jones career, especially with the warm reception of his latest effort, Fading Light, keep his engine humming. Though Jones mentions that it’s generally “becoming increasingly harder to [make enough money to support a family],” his unique perspective drives him on.
“It’s like being in a painting standing at the vanishing point and looking back at the artist. You’re moving forward but the tunnel is moving with you. It’s getting bigger, broader though and your map gets bigger,” says Jones. His stoic ability to continue on with no guarantee of fame or fortune exudes a transcendent peace with who he is and validates his investment in his career.
Jones is comfortable enough in his own skin to share his plight with his supporters and invite them in. He titled a recent album fundraising campaign “Perception vs. Reality” acknowledging that many music fans are unaware of the reality of their musical heroes.
Many artists often struggle to eloquently communicate that delicate subject externally. Newcomers to the music business have a fine example in Jones’ ability to reckon with the challenges of the industry and the inconsistency it nearly ensures.
Musically, Jones describes Fading Light as “…a little bit of a departure. We aren’t really doing the country thing as much.” Listening to him describe the album compared to previous efforts implies that the ultimate actualization of his songwriting is still to come.
Fortunately, Justin Jones is similar to a solar-power generator. Sunny days do not happen all the time, but he has managed to turn a precious few into a wealth of energy and substance for what bodes to be a lengthy career, whether he receives the attention at large that he deserves. – Justin Wiseman