A connection to music and birth family
For Long Island-raised Diana Jones, discovering her inner Appalachian folk singer was a surprise--and a wonderful connection to her birth family.
As a child, Jones loved music and art, although neither was a big part of her familyís life. Her parents were supportive and drove her to lessons, but were not into music as Jones was. "It was part of my finding my own way," she says. Jones began a career as a singer, emulating Joan Baez and others in the East Coast folk tradition, with minimal success. "I was trying to sound like the music I knew," says Jones. But it wasn't until she met her birth family, and learned about the music in her blood, that she realized her calling.
After Jones finished college, she searched for her birth family, and found that, although her birthmother was then living in England, she had many relatives in Tennessee. At 23, she went to meet them, and she later met her birthmother, as well.
Jones's birth family welcomed her, and she had a special connection with her grandfather. He had been a musician, and had had a brief career with a band in Knoxville as a teenager. "We would sit in the living room and sing old hymns. It got me interested in researching the old stuff, the stuff he grew up with," she says.
After finding her birth family, Jones found her voice as an artist. With her grandfather's guidance, she began to write songs in the Appalachian tradition. "I wrote songs I could perform and believe in," says Jones. Her grandfather passed away in 2001, and the title track of her 2006 album, My Remembrance of You, is a tribute to him.
Her new album, Better Times Will Come, includes several songs about adoptive families. "All Godís Children" was inspired by a friend who works with foster children. Its lyrics are poignant: "Shifted from family to other families / some have been hurtful / and some have been kind / today's my birthday / I'll make my own way / I turn eighteen a long way from home." Another track, "Better Times Will Come," hopes for a time when all children will be fed, at home, and safe. ďHaving been adopted, and not taking where I came from for granted, I'm more sensitive to connecting--how we feel about home, and where we belong," says Jones.
Listen to samples of Diana Jonesís songs at dianajonesmusic.com.
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