In the US right now, alt-country is enjoying a huge moment, largely popularised by the success of Big Thief’s masterful fifth album, but it’s good to know that rollicking country of the rock’n’roll variety still exists in Australia thanks to bands like Bones and Jones.
For while there’s definitely a place for wispy and wistful alt-country of the type offered up by Wednesday, MJ Lenderman and their contemporaries, sometimes you need the additional injection of energy and rowdiness that a band like Bones and Jones provides.
Their latest single, the barnstorming “Make You Smile”, combines country bounce and infectious group singalongs, carrying with it an important message.
“”Make You Smile” was mainly written about a disability support client I had a few years ago that was going through a really difficult time with drug addiction and mental health issues,” the band’s Finn Chappell explains. “I saw a side of life I hadn’t really been exposed to before and it left a big impact on me.
“It made me much more aware of how fortunate I am to be in my position with such loving family and friends that are there to support me through life, there’s a lot of people out there that don’t have that love and support.”
The rawness of Chappell’s story emanates through the emotive group vocals, and the track sounds primed for a ‘last call’ singalong.
“Make You Smile” follows previous 2023 singles “I’ve Got a Voice” and “My Friend”, acting as the more melancholic sibling to those two tracks. There’s nothing wrong with a dash of sentimentality now and again.
All three tracks will feature on Bones and Jones’ new album, Love You, which is set for release next month. Considering their previous album, 2021’s Ginger Gold (Farm Singles), earned a nomination for the prestigious Australian Music Prize, expectations are high for this one.
Formed in Geelong, Bones and Jones thankfully reside somewhere more suited to their country rock’n’ roll sound, with the band now based out of an old apple orchard on the Victorian surf coast. They ventured to the big city at the end of April to perform at Melbourne’s Cherry Bar alongside Mudhoney, Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice and more, with more tour dates likely to follow their album release.
Bones and Jones’ “Make You Smile” is out now. Love You is out June 19th via Bonsai Records.