“Life is short,” sings Kirsten Jones, sounding like she’s ready to take charge on the song “I Don’t Wanna Live Like This.” “You’re either in, or you’re in the way,” she declares, with a bold honesty that is a hallmark of all her songs.
Those lines speak to the life-changing decisions that the rootsy singer/songwriter herself underwent in the years leading up to The Mad Mile, her first major release. It was literally a sea change: Jones had her eureka moment while sea kayaking in New Zealand, where she was caught in a treacherous storm along a part of the coast known as the Mad Mile. Still recovering from a divorce, she decided to seize the day upon her return home to Toronto, where she quit her comfy office job and started pursuing music full time.
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What Other People are Saying…
“She’s got the looks and the voice to rise rapidly in the folk-roots scene. She’s already got the backing of some alt-country heavy hitters as her recent record (released May 11) was produced by The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris and features guest spots by Jim Cuddy and Oh Susanna”.
– David McPherson, Chart Attack NXNE 2010 Report Card
“The end result of their fruitful partnership is ‘The Mad Mile,’ an alt.country/roots record which could very well do for Jones what ‘Failer’ did for Kathleen Edwards.”
– Jason MacNeil, spinner.com
“The talented singer-songwriter is now busy winning the hearts of fans and breaking genres with her unique style of alt-country that she sings with heartfelt sincerity and catchy hooks”.
– Blue Rodeo website, “One Degree” section
“…listeners will realize the significance of the front and back covers of the record – the truth is that the entire run-time of the album has been an epic play. …All of these elements make for a classic Country record …”
– Bill Adams, Ground Control
“Kirsten Jones is the whole package. She writes songs full of emotion because they are personal. And what a voice. Her style is tough to pigeonhole. I’d call it a mix of folk, country and pop – with the best features of each”.
For his part, Louris says he was drawn by both the quality of Jones’ voice, which he likens to Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, and the caliber of her songwriting (he ended up co-writing with Jones, too). “It is fun for me to work with someone who can really sing,” Louris says during a break from recording. “It is difficult to have to finesse things sometimes. I was looking to do something where the songs were mostly there and with someone who can really sing, and she had both those going on.”
– Gary Louris, as written by Paul Cantin, No Depression
“Jones’s songs are strong on their own, delving deep into classic themes of love and loss. Her understated, almost effortless singing is the binding force, in terms of setting just the right tone for Louris’s uncluttered production…its charms will surely appeal to the majority of Canadian folk fans”.
– Jason Schneider, Exclaim!