Indiana-based musician and family man Greg Jones was browsing social media and saw a contest that caught his eye. He decided to enter one of his original songs and then won a chance to record an EP for free.
Greg Jones - I was on Facebook one day and saw that Sweetwater had the contest posted and I thought, well shoot, oh, I'll throw my name into the into the ring for that.
WFYI's Melissa Davis - Jones has been writing songs and performing acoustically for the past 15 years, and picked up guitar on the way.
Jones - I didn't even start playing guitar until after I graduated high school. And pretty quickly was able to play songs by my favorite artists and songwriters and bands, and just was content to do that for a long time.
And about 15 years ago, I was driving to work one day, and got this idea in my head. And by lunch, that idea was still in my head. So I started just typing out some words and lyrics, and ended up with a whole song. I got home that night and grabbed my guitar and put it to music and I was kind of hooked.
Davis - Greg Jones was surprised to learn that he was the EP contest winner.
Jones - Somehow my submission got whittled down, and then I was the lucky one out of five to get pulled out of the hat. I wanted to do something a little more than what I had done before. I think about six years ago, I recorded five songs at home. I have a little four track digital recorder at home, but it was just acoustic guitar and vocals. And that was it. So, I definitely wanted to do more than that.
We went to my brother's house the night before, and hashed out those songs for about three or four hours. And then we came in the next day and recorded with [producer] Shawn [Dealy]. It was a pretty surreal experience. I have just continued to be floored with what we were able to do in you know, four or five hours of recording and three or four hours of Shawn mixing and mastering it down and working his magic with what we gave him so just an incredible experience, overall.
Davis - Jones recorded his EP at Sweetwater Sounds in Fort Wayne, and worked with Sweetwater producer Shawn Dealey. Jones and Dealey bonded over their shared musical interests. Dealey produced and recorded with bands like Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls in his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada. I asked Dealey, what caught his interest from Greg's contest entry.
Shawn Dealey - So there was quite a number of entries that we had, that we we sifted through. We chose the winner by random through whittling it down to five entries. And then we chose Greg, just based on his songwriting, the potential we saw in his talents to make a great, great recording with him.
So me and Greg connected late this summer, and kind of had a really good chat about his music and the things that we liked, and music that we both enjoyed and some approaches to recording and recording with some humanity. And so we kind of hit it off, I feel, and had a really great time making a few songs together.
Davis - Greg, what was your first thought when you got that call?
Jones - Man, I just remember, just kind of laughing in being giddy with Julie on the phone. And that's not typically my approach. I'm pretty laid back. But it was. It was just an incredible feeling. And then it was like, wait, we've got to go in there. And you know, Shawn's worked with Counting Crows and I'm gonna get in there and, am I gonna be able to meet his expectations?
And so it became a little overwhelming at first, but then I recorded some demos of the songs for the other musicians so they could be familiar with them before we got in here, and then talking with my brother and talking with Dave who plays lead guitar with me and they're like, you know, we're just gonna have fun. Once I settled in, I was able to just kind of sing and play guitar. It was great.
This feature is part of Small Studio Signal Boost, an exploration of contemporary music from Hoosier musicians. Listen every Saturday at 9 p.m. on 90.1 WFYI.