Americana singer-songwriter Clancy Jones finds rest and inspiration in rural Oklahoma on ponderous, dusky new record
“Found My Way was way more planned,” Jones said. “We had a game plan, and we did everything we needed to do. … I planned to get in the studio back in April of 2020. Well, you know what happened.”
(Note: According to Wikipedia, April 2020 was when the space probe BepiColombo made a final gravity assist around Earth and departed for Venus and Mercury, scientists announced the first fast radio burst detected inside the Milky Way, and, oh yeah, pretty much the entire world shut down because of a global pandemic, parts of which can still be seen today.)
The album was finally recorded in August of 2020 at 7013 Sound in Fort Worth, produced by Grant Jackson Wilborn and featuring Elijah Ford (electric guitar, bass, keys, background vocals) and Clint Kirby (drums, percussion).
Jones, originally from Texas, drew inspiration from a new setting after moving to his father-in-law’s cattle ranch in Duncan.
“Something about that house just kind of opened me up, and being in a new area opened me up as far as writing goes. … I wrote a bunch of songs in a real short period of time. I really wanted to get them down. … There was nothing around me. There were no distractions. It was just me and nature and life.”
Jones wrote about 20 songs, he said. Seven of them made Found My Way’s tracklist. It isn’t a concept album, but Jones said the songs share common themes: “movement and traveling and touring and seeing things, going out to the desert, just living, man.”
Pedal meets metal on appropriately driving opening track “Blacktop Bound.”
“I’ve been up / and I’ve been down,” Jones sings. “Buried alive in this one-horse town / Wind blows steady / I don’t get no break / Keeps my tires turning down the interstate.”
Then blood gets left on the stage in “Circles,” a song inspired by a recurring dream which finds Jones “running in circles … trying to catch a glimpse” of himself “tangled in the spotlight.”
“I constantly write,” Jones said. “It’s my outlet. I write a bunch of stuff and not all of them get to see the light of day, but few of them do. … There was a feel for how I wanted the record to play, and how I wanted to grab the attention.”
“Circles” continues: “This journey I’m taking all alone / I make my own fucking rules.”
“Mexican Gold,” meanwhile, is inspired by a trip Jones took with his brother, and the album’s title track, written about a decade ago, is an ode to Jones’ father and mother and the work ethic they instilled in him, which he continues to apply to his music career.
“If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to make it pay,” Jones said. “You’ve got to pay your bills.”
The song addresses his parents’ concerns and concludes by reassuring them: “Don’t worry about your son / I’m making it day to day / The sweat dripping from my brow lets me know I’ve found my way.”
Before moving to Oklahoma, Jones honed his musical skills in the evenings after working as a boilermaker in oilfields, a job he had for eight years.
“I had a bunch of friends that I worked with in these outfits that played music too,” Jones said. “We’d always sit up till the wee early mornings and write songs or play songs or just you know, try not to come into work hungover.”
But in the end it was the long days after the long nights that took their toll.
“I got to where I barely could get out of bed because my body was just broken from working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, 14 days straight, one day off for years. I was just like, ‘I have to do something different.”
Jones said he still draws inspiration from those days and applies that work ethic to music, which he never plans to retire from.
“I’ve been blue collar all my life,” Jones said. “It definitely gave me the edginess, my gritty tone, gritty writing. It’s for the common people, man. It’s for the working man. It’s for people like you, people like me that go through every day and try to keep pushing forward.”
Jeremy Martin writes about music and other stuff in OKC. He's also the less funny half of comedy duo The Martin Duprass and the proud father of two delightful baby turtles (pictured).