Move over Nashville.
See you later, Austin.
The next big thing in country music could come from Palm Beach, of all places.
County up-and-comer Caroline Jones, 27, a singer-songwriter who was raised part-time on the island that’s home to President Donald Trump’s Winter White House, has been named one of Billboard’s country artists to watch in 2018 after one of her tunes, "Tough Guys," spent five weeks at No. 1 on the CMT.com 12 Pack Countdown.
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And she’s only going to get bigger now that South Florida troubadour and fellow Palm Beacher Jimmy Buffett has taken her under his wing.
Jones opens for Buffett at the Hard Rock Stadium Saturday night in a show that includes the Eagles as headliners.
“I think he’ll bring me on stage during his show for some duets,” Jones says of Buffett. “I don’t know what songs we’ll do because he decides the night of the show. “
And Friday night, Jones is scheduled to rock Buffett’s Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort.
Jones says she first met Buffett in November, when she was invited to play with the singer of "Margaritaville" and "Let’s Get Drunk and Screw" at the Hurricane Relief Concert.
“We just hit it off,” Jones said. “We share the same values personally and musically. Since then, he has become a mentor, a friend and a business partner.”
Buffett’s company, she says, distributes her latest album, "Bare Feet."
Jones’ work can be categorized as country pop. She writes her songs, plays up to six instruments on the tracks, including three types of guitars and strings and the harmonica, and she co-produces them.
When asked if living far away from Nashville’s country scene hasn’t made her life more complicated, Jones says her country sensibilities came naturally.
“I grew up in the northeast then moved to Florida three years ago,” she says. “I discovered Nashville when I was 17, and it was life changing. I saw songwriters who could capture an audience with their guitars and words. But I’m an avid student of the country music style without having to be there full time.”
If there’s one topic Jones doesn’t readily approach, it’s her family background.
Unlike many country stars, she grew up in an affluent family, the family of Palm Beach billionaire hedge-funder Paul Tudor Jones.
It didn’t seem to hurt her in a genre rooted in life’s hardships and more blue-collar than her upbringing.
“I grew up in a loving, supportive family,” Jones says, “where I learned musicianship and authenticity, the things that country music stands for.”