With impressive credentials acquired during stints in Nashville and L.A., Jones adores his northern Michigan homestead and the three albums that have inspired him.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians can trace their inspiration to key recordings that influenced their careers. Writer Ross Boissoneau today showcases music that changed the world for Frankfort singer-songwriter Tim Jones. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of his picks along with tracks from his own band projects.
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Tim Jones has been enamored with music since he was a youngster. The harmonies of gospel, country and country rock all played a part in his upbringing, leading him on a path that combined those and other influences.
Jones has called both Los Angeles and Nashville home. In the former, he was an early participant at the Hotel Café, alongside people like Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles and Katy Perry. He’s led numerous bands, including his self-named band, Truth & Salvage Co., and Whiskey Wolves of the West.
Recognition came in the form of Black Crowes founder Chris Robinson signing Truth & Salvage Co. to his Silver Arrow label and giving the band the opening slot on his band’s tour. And Jones and his Whiskey Wolves bandmate Leroy Powell have been cited for their tune, “Just One Of Those Things,” as one of the “10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week” by Rolling Stone.
So what is he doing in Frankfort? The seasonal town on the Lake Michigan shore in Benzie County isn’t exactly a hotbed for national acts. But it is a place that people connect with, and that was and is the case for Jones and his wife Katie.
“We moved to where I always thought I’d retire. My wife Katie’s family had a place here,” he says. They’d visited and loved the area, and when Katie got a job as the executive director of the Garden Theatre in downtown Frankfort, they were only too happy to relocate from Nashville.
He plays gigs locally at venues such as Stormcloud Brewing and St. Ambrose Meadery, and nationally as well, including the recent AmericanaFest in Nashville and the Porsche Rennsport Reunion, a private multi-day event in Monterey, Calif. Upcoming shows include Nov. 18 at Stormcloud Brewing, Dec. 1 with Jonah Powell at St. Ambrose, Dec. 8 at The Alluvion in Traverse City with Courtney Kaiser-Sandler, and Dec. 21 at Petoskey’s Crooked Tree Arts Center with Courtney Kaiser-Sandler, Luke Winslow-King and 1000 Watt Prophets.
“It’s a little more expensive to fly out of here, but the benefits and community support is priceless. Every time I land back in Michigan, I feel a weight off my shoulders. The air is lighter,” Jones says.
1. The Eagles, “Heartache Tonight” (1979) – That was the first 45 I ever had. I had an older cousin – I was six or seven, he was 13. Every time we’d go there, he’d put it on. The sound of it, it was something raunchy, with fighting, nightlife – as a six-year-old I led a sheltered life, I was not used to it. That country rock, the harmonies, that’s part of me. I grew up in church listening to a lot of those harmonies, bluegrass, The Everly Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Four-Way Street.” I had an uncle who was a missionary in the Philippines. He’d go away for years, come back for a couple months. He said, “You can have all my records.” The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Santana, Blind Faith.
Listen: “Heartache Tonight”
2. Prince, “Purple Rain” (1984) – That was scandalous. I didn’t have MTV, my parents didn’t have cable. That was the tape I had to hide from my parents. It was funky and sexy, and also very melodic and orchestral. The beat of “When Doves Cry” was something different from anything else that came out.
Listen: “When Doves Cry”
3. The Black Crowes, “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” (1992) – I was a senior in high school (when that came out). I started playing guitar in a band in high school with some friends, including Carl Broemel (now a member of My Morning Jacket). That record blew my mind. “Shake Your Money Maker,” I was floored by the sound of all that. It was very cool to work with Chris (Black Crowes bandleader Chris Robinson) and go on tour with them. He produced a record for me (“Truth & Salvage”).
Currently Loving: Jonathan Wilson, “Eat the Worm” (2023) – I love everything he does. The summer of 2008, we spent a lot of time together. He had a house at the top of Laurel Canyon and would hold Wednesday jam sessions (with) people like Mike Campbell, David Crosby, Chris Robinson, different people from the Laurel Canyon scene. I booked a show for him at the Hotel Café. He’s done tons of records, produced probably 50 in the last 10 years for people like Crosby, Roger Waters, Father John Misty. He’s a fantastic guitarist and great singer and organist. He’s been on the road with Roger Waters the last few years.
It’s avant garde, with spoken word, stream of consciousness talking. If I didn’t know him, I don’t know if I’d have taken a second chance (on it). I compare it to “The Wall.” “Old Father Time,” “Bonamassa,” “Charlie Parker” all seem to be autobiographical. It’s not bridge, chorus, bridge, chorus, not pop (construction), but it’s melodic and has hookiness, too. It feels like it’s really honest. It’s a record I put on and listen to actively and not in pieces.
Listen: “Charlie Parker”
ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Tim Jones’ Playlist on Spotify
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