Since her 2006 breakthrough album, My Remembrance of You, Diana Jones has been a major literary voice in contemporary song. “Songs come in a flurry of inspiration. I don’t understand it but I’m grateful.” But a journey of adoption and reunion as mysterious as her songwriting led to the gritty, authentic, Americana storytelling that has become her life’s work and her live show.
Adopted as an infant Diana grew up in suburban Long Island feeling an unexplained attraction to rural Southern music. “My brother had Johnny Cash’s live ‘At Folsom Prison’ album, and I stole it from his room,” Jones recalls. “Whenever I heard that or someone like Emmylou Harris, I’d think, ‘Wow, that’s beautiful.’ I just didn’t know where to find more of it.” In her twenties the attraction was explained when Jones met her biological grandfather, a singer and guitar player, who introduced her to the folk songs her ancestors had been singing for generations. Gradually she discovered an uncanny affinity for Appalachian music and began claiming it as her own as she discovered her true artistic calling.Rooted in the Appalachian traditions of her birth family she has proven unusually adept at distilling complicated cultural forces down to a particular person in a particular time and place.
Within her first two years on the scene Jones gained critical acclaim, international radio play being championed by radio legends such as BBC’s Bob Harris, BBC Scotland's, Ricky Ross and Chicago radio WFMT's Rich Warren. She played sold out concert venues, toured with Richard Thompson and Mary Gauthier, opened for Peggy Seeger and Nick Lowe, appeared on BBC4 Folk America with Seasick Steve, played the Cambridge Folk
Festival Main Stage and was a guest on the Jools Holland Show. Joan Baez
recorded “Henry Russell’s Last Words” on Day After Tomorrow, the
Grammy-nominated 2008 album produced by Steve Earle. She continued
touring internationally appearing on BBC4 Songwriter Sessions with
Steve Earle and Tom Morello. Diana has six original recordings through
Proper Records and her progressive, yet historically rich, songs have been
recorded by artists including Joan Baez, Iris DeMent, Ana Egge and
Gretchen Peters and have won her numerous folk festival awards
including New Song Festival, The Kerrville New Folk Award, and
International Folk Alliance nominations for Emerging artist (2007), Song of the year (2007) and Song of the year (2022).
Joan Baez, in an interview for the New Your Times, said that writers of Ms. Jones’s caliber come along only every so often. “There’s some kind of channeling from some other lifetime going on, I don’t know the answer to these things, but all I can think of is that it must come from some mysterious part of her soul.”
During and since the pandemic more than one friend/fan suggested that I re-release Better Times Will Come. So I’ve been in the studio with Steve Addabbo, fresh from his work on Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series, casting a retrospective eye over the tracks together on the 15th anniversary of the recording sessions. Together we’ve reimagined the mixes and the running order and added a previously unreleased song !Call Me Daddy,’ as well as a new version of the title track featuring the late Nanci Griffith’s gorgeous harmonies and a newly found additional chorus. The album will be available on digitally, on CD and on Vinyl!
Over the years the songs have evolved for me as the times have changed while oddly remaining the same. The Iraq War referred to in the title track is now the war in Ukraine, "Ballad of the Poor Child” resonates as the world experiences another downward economy. "The Day I Die” brings to mind the Covid losses we endured together during the lockdown while staying apart from each other and Nanci Griffith#s voice is a sad reminder that she has left us too soon.
Vinyl records introduced me to my musical heroes. Odetta and Joan Baez, Janis Ian, Tom Paxton and other artists I would be fortunate enough to meet and work with later on in my life. Finally having a record out on vinyl means a lot to me and I for one need to believe the title track just now. I hope you all enjoy this reimagined and remastered version of Better Times Will Come.