December 2, 2020, Fort Wayne, IN – Americana-tinged singer/songwriter Greg Jones has been a regular of the open-mic circuit in West Lafayette, Indiana for the past 15 years. Despite being a prolific writer with a compelling, emotional singing voice, the 48-year-old social worker and family man has largely engaged in music as a personal hobby. All of this changed this past April when he got a call from Sweetwater Studios, the best-in-class recording studio complex located within the larger Sweetwater Sound campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, saying that he been chosen from thousands of entries as the winner of their ‘Record Your EP for Free’ contest. With his songs professionally recorded for the very first time, released his eponymous EP on November 23, 2020.
A world of possibilities
Jones previously only preformed his songs locally and recorded demos at home or in the basement studios of friends. A regular member of his local songwriting group, he has always kept his music close and focused on his personal artistic journey. “I was always pretty happy playing my songs on acoustic at the local open mics,” he explained. “It’s been a hobby that I’ve always loved but never anything that I had any major ambitions for. I just wanted to be the best songwriter that I could be.”
After a few years of getting enthusiastic reactions at local performances of his song ‘Sugga’, Jones started to imagine how it might sound with a full arrangement. A longtime customer of Sweetwater Sound, he had heard of the Studio’s ‘Record Your EP for Free’ contest and entered it on a whim. His recording dreams suddenly became reality when he got the call saying that he’d won. “I’ve never won anything in my life,” he said. “Suddenly it opened up a world of possibilities of how this song might sound, and I realized that there was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go into a real studio and see how I might sound!”
Keeping true to his local roots, Jones assembled a band made of his brother and a few close friends to track the songs live in the studio. He met with Sweetwater Studios Producer/Engineer Shawn Dealey beforehand to get a sense of what the experience might be like but admits that he was slightly nervous at first. “Sweetwater Studios competes with any studio I’ve ever seen in any music documentary,” he said. “I’d never thought I’d ever be in a studio like that, so at first I thought the process might be a little intimidating.”
Organic vibe, red-carpet treatment
For Dealey, an experienced engineer who cut his teeth with major artists like Counting Crows, Goo Goo Dolls, Avril Lavigne, and Beth Hart, it was immediately important to make Jones feel like his music was just as important as any of the other hundreds of artists who have walked into Sweetwater Studios, big or small. “I was really impressed with Greg’s songs right away when he played me the demos,” he said. “We discovered that we love a lot of the same music, so we established an organic and comfortable partnership right away.”
“We want to make sure anyone who comes in here, whether they are a touring act with a dozen albums or someone who’s hearing themselves in a professional environment for the first time, is getting the red-carpet treatment,” he continued. “Setting that vibe ensures that people are going to be comfortable and give great performances.”
Jones tracked two of his longtime standards in Sweetwater’s Russ Burger-designed Studio A Live Room, ‘Sugga’ and ‘Moments Like These’. Dealey worked with the group to ensure that the arrangement expanded on Jones’s original demos while still capturing the authentic vibe of the group’s performance. “I really like to hear the sonic possibilities with people, and in the case of Greg it was all about keeping that ‘real’ factor he loves while still showing him what could be done in the studio,” he said.
Although Jones was immediately impressed with the sound that he and his band were getting so far, the experience of hearing them being mixed by Dealey in the control room gave him what he described as an out-of-body experience. “Listening to the playback was completely surreal and getting to see Shawn work his magic and really get into what he was doing was such an incredible feeling,” he said. “At one point he turned to me and said, ‘You know, you’ve really got a couple of really good songs here’ and hearing that from someone who makes a living recording music like this just meant the world to me.”
Reigniting the fire
With his self-titled EP now available on all the major streaming services, Jones is already contemplating his next recording project — something he admits he hadn’t done much of before the experience. “Hearing how my music could sound in that environment really opened my eyes,” he said. “I’d always questioned if I could make music good enough, and hearing it come to life at the studio really reignited the fire in me to write more.”
“Being able to walk out of the Sweetwater Studios with music that sounds like it could be played on the radio or in a movie — music that I wrote — it made me think ‘maybe there’s some possibilities in this’,” he concluded. “It always made me realize that this doesn’t have to just be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can’t wait to go back.”
For more information about Greg Jones, please visit: http://gregjonessongs.website2.me
For more information about Sweetwater Studios, please visit: http://www.sweetwaterstudios.com/
About Sweetwater Studios
Sweetwater Studios is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sweetwater Sound, Inc., the largest online music instrument retailer in the country. With three world-class studios designed by Russ Berger and access to a greater diversity of musical equipment and professional audio gear than any other recording studio in the world, Sweetwater Studios is able to accommodate just about any recording, mixing or mastering project, no matter how simple or complex. Sweetwater Studios also has an exceptional staff of producers, engineers, session musicians and studio technicians to ensure that any artist will get personalized, first-class treatment from start to finish.