Actor and musician Caleb Landry Jones announces his debut album, The Mother Stone, out May 1st on Sacred Bones, and presents the lead single/video, “Flag Day / The Mother Stone.” The Mother Stone is sprawling and psychedelic, built from abrupt detours and schizoid shifts of voice. Shaped by the marks left by Jones’ formative encounters with the Beatles’ White Album and Syd Barrett’s solo work, The Mother Stone is a parade led by multiple unreliable narrators who rail against the universe, profess their love and vacate the stage before we can ask them a question.
Born in Garland, TX, Jones has been writing and recording music since age 16, around the same time he started acting professionally (Get Out, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Twin Peaks, The Florida Project, Friday Night Lights, etc). He played in a band called Robert Jones for a minute, but it was following a breakup that the songs really started coming hard and fast. In the ensuing years he’d spend a lot of time carrying unrecorded songs around in his head, waiting for a chance to record them in marathon sessions in his parents’ barn. “I started writing record after record after record after record, because I didn’t know what to do with myself,” says Jones. “It was a good way of healing. And it felt like as soon as I started doing it, it felt like it needed to happen all the time.” Sometimes the ideas fused together, one chapter to the next; this is how songs grew into seven-plus-minute epics like the ones on The Mother Stone. His back catalog is around seven hundred songs deep— a whole discography of full albums, most of them unheard outside the barn, at least for now, thanks to a pivotal meeting with Jim Jarmusch.
“I was a big fan of his work,” Jones says, “Instead of wanting to talk, I thought I’d write him a piece that would somehow let him know who I was.” He spent a few nights composing a new instrumental work for solo piano, and showed up ready to play it for the director at their meeting— which turned out to be at a diner where the amenities did not include a piano, so they had a conversation instead. Jones slipped Jarmusch two collections of songs from the barn, most of them up to eight years old at that point. Jarmusch liked what he heard, told Jones he should talk to Sacred Bones founder Caleb Braaten, and before long Jones was making The Mother Stone— whose brassy and theatrical “Flag Day/The Mother Stone” incorporates that piano piece Jones wrote to explain himself to Jarmusch.
Soon after, Jones ventured to Valentine Recording Studios, where everyone from Bing Crosby to Frank Zappa once logged time, to record with producer Nic Jodoin. Jones brought his collection of battered Yamahas and Casios up from the barn and played them alongside vintage equipment from Jodoin’s collection. Working in a real studio for the first time gave Jones a chance to finally slow his creative process down. They built the songs up from acoustic guitar, let them sit a while, circled back.
Sacred Bones present the first glimpse into the barn; a collection of fifteen songs that shoot into outer space and back again, flitting from the grand to the obscure. Bringing together wholly contrasting worlds of sound and color, Caleb Landry Jones journeys through a kaleidoscopic world of his own creation.
Watch Caleb Landry Jones’ Video for “Flag Day / The Mother Stone”
Pre-order The Mother Stone
The Mother Stone Tracklist
1. Flag Day / The Mother Stone
2. You’re So Wonderfull
3. I Dig Your Dog
5. All I Am in You / The Big Worm
6. No Where’s Where Nothing’s Died
7. Licking The Days
8. For The Longest Time
9. The Hodge-Podge Porridge Poke
10. I Want to Love You
11. The Great I Am
13. No Where’s Where Nothing’s Died (A Marvelous Pain)
14. Thanks for Staying
15. Little Planet Pig