Released late in 2017, Play Hurt didn’t really take off until 2018. This is because we were smart and didn’t try to crank up the promo machine in the fourth quarter of 2017, when radio and pretty much all media is playing either Ariana Grande’s new single five times every hour or Jingle Bells ten times every hour. We waited until January when there’s traditionally less competition, and were rewarded with a nice run from three singles; Might Be Leaving, All The Way, and All I Ever Wanted.
VIDEOS. LOTS OF ’EM!
Something new (and exhausting) for me this time out was doing a video for every song on the album. Fourteen songs, fourteen videos. That was a herculean effort; seemingly endless 20-hour days to get them done and out quickly, but I didn’t want to just do the tired old thing where you burn a new release out at radio in 12 weeks and then say, “Well, what do we do now?” I wanted Play Hurt to have a slow-burn long life-cycle, so I tried to really embrace the grass-roots and viral possibilities of social media and the internet in general, and that decision has paid off; the singles burned brightly at radio and then naturally ebbed a bit, but it’s been very exciting to see some other songs suddenly catch fire in different places, different countries, and on no particular schedule.
Surprisingly (to me), the most downloaded and streamed track by far has been Come In From The Cold, the most atypical tune on the whole album, and something that to this day we’ve never even done live (yet). It was a completely self-indulgent personal statement that came together right at the end of the whole project, so I chose to make it the final track; if nobody was still listening at that point I didn’t even care.
As of this writing, the track that seems to be picking up steam heading into 2019 is Hometown Hotel, another sleepy non-single that was more personal statement than commercial venture.
You can view all of the album’s videos videos HERE.
CROSSING THE POND
With a fresh new release, it was then of course time for another slog down the tour trail, which started with a spring European leg that kicked off in England, at one of my favorite venues in the whole world, the Norwich Guildhall. They’ve had me back every year since my first overseas jaunt in 2013, and it’s always a joy to play there.
BACK IN THE US FOR THE SUMMER
For the second straight year, the spring European tour closed in Denmark, at the Geyser By The Sea concert series at Kulturhuset Islands Brygge. Playing right on the river in Copenhagen while watching the sun set over the city is breathtaking. Which means it’s a bit of culture shock when your flight lands at JFK the next day and it’s time for the summer shows in the US. We then dutifully commenced to beat American audiences mercilessly over the head with the new tunes from Play Hurt.
Various tracks from Play Hurt were still catching fire on their own when I hit Houston in September, and did a couple of radio visits there at KPFT and KACC.
You can check out more fun we had at radio in America and abroad HERE.
NEW SINGLE TO HOLD YOU OVER
In December I released Don't Keep Me Waiting, a single to hold you over until the next JT release. Which is coming sooner than you think…
GOING INTO 2019
In October, work began in earnest on a country record I’ve been producing, due in the new year. I’m happy to say that it’s actually ahead of schedule; it’ll be wrapped by mid-January and released shortly thereafter. The debut of JONES is a throwback to country before it lost its identity and became a caricature of itself. It's been a joy producing this album, delving back into the unapologetically corny hayseed - and totally genuine - music I grew up on. Disclaimer: if your idea of "country" is anything that would show up onstage in some lame-ass annual awards show from Las Vegas, this ain't fer you.
That clears the way for March, when I’ll be doing a direct-to-vinyl live recording (the way they did it 80 years ago) in Brooklyn for a limited-edition vinyl-only release. This will be available exclusively via pre-order, and of course we’ll harass you relentlessly with the details when the time comes. I’ll be doing solo arrangements of the material to be included on the next “proper” JT full-length release slated for later in the year. That’s technically three releases in the pipeline for 2019. We’ll sleep in 2020.
OH YEAH, AND…
On a personal (and completly anti-climactic) note, I cut all that hair off, dammit. I wanted long hair, but I didn’t want BAD long hair, which is what it was. It was fun looking like some throwback 70’s cokehead for while, but one day I was wearing a flannel shirt and some mountain man tried to hire me as his protege, so I said “Aw, screw this, man.”
Best wishes to all of you for a safe, happy, and prosperous new year!