Shawn has played shows in the States on the same bill with the likes of BB King, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Jimmie Vaughan, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Derek Trucks, Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Jim Lauderdale, John Haitt, David Lindley, and many others. Jones was Waylon Jennings' guitarist on his 1996 release 'Right For The Time" and played lead guitar in his band on the Lollapalooza tour with Metallica, Ramones, and SoundGarden. Also, he currently tours with country music multi-platinum artist, Deana Carter as her lead guitarist.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Shawn Jones: I would like to consider myself a roots musician. My music incorporates rock, blues, country, folk, soul, old school R&B, with a little jazz thrown in. I recognise the need for genres and labels for marketing purposes but I am not very good at being labelled really. Too many influences I guess...
Question: Tell us about Struggle Makes You Stronger:
Shawn Jones: The latest project is a combination of some of my favourite musicians that have played with my over the years and still do. The songs are a collection of tunes that kind of fit together like a puzzle I felt. It's an upbeat CD I think and in a time when there is so much struggle going on in the world I wanted to put out an album that gave people a good feeling and a sense of hope that they can carry with them.
Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Shawn Jones: I've been writing songs since I was a young boy. I try to listen to what other people say and pull from it what inspires me. Many things inspire me actually, but sometimes in the act of just shutting out the chatter and applying myself ideas start coming. It's really about following though and getting the song done and not giving up. I also love to co-write with other writers. I have written with some amazing writers in my career and I would have to say some of my favourite writers are the ones that I co-wrote with on this project.
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Shawn Jones: I listen to so many different types of music and artists. My iTunes is such a diverse collection of songs. It will go from Tedeschi Trucks Band to Imogen Heap to Jimi Hendrix to Hank Williams... etc. You get the idea!
Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?
Shawn Jones: I am really focusing on putting the push on "Struggle." We just landed distribution in the UK with The Universal Group which is exciting. However, putting out a CD on your own label is a lot of work and it never ends. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the BBC takes on the single "Life Is For The Living". That would be a big plus! I plan on touring in the UK in the Spring and Summer and in the States as well. I was recently contacted by a reputable booking agent in Australia so let's hope I'll be visiting "Down Under" soon!
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Shawn Jones: It's a really tough business and there have been times when I've thought of doing something else because I have so many interests. But I seriously doubt I ever will. Nothing moves me like music. I've been at it for 25 years full time now and had some truly amazing experiences from working with the country music legend Waylon Jennings to touring all over the world singing my songs, going to Iraq and Bosnia to play for the troops, and countless other tours and countries. I really don't think it's in the cards for me to do anything else. I just love playing music too much to switch to another profession.
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Shawn Jones: I love the whole process actually. I am a live music guy but I love the studio as well. It's an amazing process and very rewarding when you get a great track done.
Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Shawn Jones: My father gave me my first guitar and showed me the basic "cowboy chords". He was always playing around the house when I was a boy and sang those old Hank Williams, Ray Price, and Willie Nelson songs amongst others. I couldn't get enough of it! My mother used to play piano at night and improvise because she couldn't read music. But she would play really beautiful stuff and that inspired me to write I think along with wanting to come up with my own tunes. I later got way into Jimi Hendrix when I was about 12. My stepmother gave me a copy of "Are You Experienced" and it just blew me away! I was hooked. Hank to Hendrix!
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Shawn Jones: Convincing record companies to sign me and get behind my art. It's hard for singer/songwriters that aren't flash in the pan pop artists. When you have a very definite idea of what you want to do and you are not easily manipulated it can be a hard road. But if you believe in yourself and you are good at what you do it's worth the challenge!
Question: What's a typical day like?
Shawn Jones: I love my morning coffee and getting a good look at the ocean to start. The days I'm not on the road I spend working on the social networking part of my career (which I don't care for much really) but it has to be done when you're an independent artist running your own business. I try to write as much as I can as well. That's what I really love doing, writing and playing my guitars.
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Shawn Jones: Playing music for people that really appreciate it and being creative. It's also nice to be your own boss!
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Shawn Jones: I would love to write with Clapton someday, I have always been a big fan. There are many others as well but he came to mind firstly.
Question: What do you enjoy most about touring?
Shawn Jones: I love taking my music to places I have never been. I also like going back to places that I've played in the past where the people are really genuine music lovers. Ireland comes to mind on that front. I'll be going there for my 15th tour this year. Great Craic in Ireland!
Question: Do you have a website fans can visit?
Shawn Jones: www.shawnjonesmusic.com
Question: Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?
Shawn Jones: 1.Believe there is a greater power than yourself and tap into that power as much as you possibly can.
2. Believe in yourself. It's an insult to God if you don't.
3. Express random acts of kindness and do your best to live a selfless life.
4. Live life with all your heart and soul and look for the good in everyone and every situation.
6. I know you said five but I left out one thing; Get plenty of exercise and sleep! Turn off the brain and be good to yourself!
Question: What message would you like your music to say to your fans?
Shawn Jones: There are many messages I would like my music to say. But I would personally like to say thank you to my fans for letting me do this for a living! It's all I've ever really wanted to do and I will continue on my journey with a joy in my heart knowing that what I am doing is making a difference in people's lives!
Question: Why did you choose to become a solo artist?
Shawn Jones: To be truthful I don't feel like I chose to be an artist. It chose me...
Interview by Brooke Hunter