After his family discouraged him from becoming a 5th generation coal miner in West Virginia, Stone Jack Jones basically became a vagabond: A travelling musician with no particular place to go, Jones spent time in Ft. Worth, Baltimore, New York City, and Atlanta before settling in Nashville sometime in the early 90s to take a job with a railroad and raise a family. He kept making music, too, and formed a tight bond with a core group of fellow Music City outsiders, including Lambchop mastermind Kurt Wagner, singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, and, crucially, producer-engineer Roger Moutenot (Lou Reed, Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney, Bob Dylan).
With “I’m Made”, Jones finds himself collaborating with another kindred spirit; Adia Victoria. The South Carolina native has her own history of vagabond travels having lived in New York and Atlanta before settling in Nashville, making a name for herself with multiple blues inspired, critically acclaimed releases; 2016’s Beyond the Bloodhounds (coincidentally produced by Moutenot) and 2018’s Silences. In 2020, she released the single “South Gotta Change” as a defiant, rallying testament to the region’s worst attributes.
Jones deep connection with Victoria is rooted in their shared love of the South and their intuitively synchronized creative process. “I’m Made” was written and recorded in 2020 during the height of quarantine or, as Jack puts it, “...it happened in The Isolation.” Lyrically, the song touches on our collective shared paranoia, the anxiety of the unknown future and a dash of longing romanticism; all set against a backdrop of seething guitar and Jones detached delivery. This seemingly dark soundscape is undercut by Victoria’s soaring harmonies breaking through.
Together, the duo proves they know how to tap into the primitive feelings of despair often showcased in blues and folk songs but the dark tone of this song pairing is duplicitous, as they both contain an optimism breaking through that oppressive veil. The Isolation kept everyone at home, locked away from the larger world, making us all a bit lost like vagabonds. Stone Jack Jones and Adia Victoria channel that shared experience into a guiding light towards “a new history & a new beginning” as Jones put it.