Album of the Month (May 2015): Jason Michael Carroll, ‘What Color Is Your Sky’
What Color Is Your Sky will be Carroll's fourth full-length studio release and his first since 2011's Numbers -- and clearly Carroll's fans were eager for new tunes from the singer. In early 2014, Carroll launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project; he hoped to raise $40,000 -- and wound up raising close to $70,000.
“This record is who I am! It’s the songs I felt and wrote by myself or with friends,” Carroll says. “It’s recorded by my band, people I live, travel and hang with, and it’s the way I wanted it to sound. I hope it connects in a way that makes them feel like they can’t wait for the next one!”
Carroll is self-releasing What Color Is Your Sky through For the Lonely Records. He says that he's enjoyed making, promoting and releasing the album independently, even if he has to work a little bit harder to get his music out to the public.
“I get to make the music I want to make without the influence of corporate parties or which label is in bed with, or close to, which publisher. My band — who I trust enough to perform with me night after night — is who I picked as my band for this record! It all makes sense,” he says. “The challenges are not having the finances to push our music with the resources that major labels have to push their artists. Music that is shaping today’s accepted norm. There is no doubt in my mind or my fans’ minds that this record, my music, can stand with all of the music being pushed by major labels, but without their bank, we have to work harder. I’m okay with that.”
As for the record's title, Carroll says it came about in an unexpected way, after a post about a hunting trip sparked a debate on his Facebook page: A follower took offense to Carroll's hobby, and "after actually trying to calm her down and realizing she only wanted to argue," Carroll explains, "I typed, ‘You’re gonna argue no matter what I say, so the sky is blue … go!’
“My smarta– fans jumped in with both feet! I call them that because we all are the same — they get my humor, and I am a bit of smarta– myself,” he continues. “They started posting ‘my sky is green’ or ‘my sky is red.’ Someone posted ‘my sky is purple with a golden hue.’ I typed the words ‘What Color Is Your Sky,’ and before I hit post, I looked at it and thought, ‘That’s a song title.’ I deleted it and stared working on the song.”
The singer and his writing team completed the tune within a day, and "after weighing several options for album titles, I felt this one evoked a … positive thought and message,” Carroll says. “That’s something I am trying to surround myself with more, personally and professionally.”
The first single from What Color Is Your Sky, "God Only Know," was released in mid-March.
“Do you remember the song, Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero”? One of the reasons I love it is because, when I was a kid, before my parents made the switch to nothing but gospel, I’d hear that song, and it just made you want to move, and I wanted to write a song that made you want to move," Carroll explains. “So, I went into my writing session and said, ‘I want to do a song like this, like Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.”
"And they kind of laughed at me at first, but then one of them started playing the guitar,” he adds. “Next thing you know, I’m singing lyrics to an idea I had.”
What Color Is Your Sky is set for release on May 5. It is available for pre-order on iTunes.
Jason Michael Carroll, What Color Is Your Sky Track Listing:
1. “All I’m Drinking ‘Bout”
2. “God Only Knows”
3. “What Color Is Your Sky”
4. “Here’s To”
5. “Love Like July”
6. “Does He Know”
7. “‘Til the Speakers Blow”
8. “Civil War”
10. “Blown Away”
11. “We Ride
12. “Close Enough”
13. “Here With Me”
14. “Painting Pictures”
15. “Waste Their Life”