Karen Jonas’ ‘The Boys of Summer’ Cover Leans Into Nostalgia [Exclusive Premiere]
Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" is an instantly recognizable, nostalgia-inducing hit for multiple generations of music lovers thanks to both the Eagles member's 1984-released version and a rocked-up cover from the Ataris in 2003. On her forthcoming EP, singer-songwriter Karen Jonas leans into the song's ability to take listeners back in time with her own version.
Jonas' path to recording a "The Boys of Summer" cover started spontaneously: During a rehearsal, she and her band started playing the song "on a whim."
"I loved it immediately," says Jonas. "It challenged me to open up as a vocalist, and it appealed to all of my nostalgic tendencies."
There's a bit more pedal steel in Jonas' cover than in the original, and particularly in the chorus, the artist uses her voice to tweak the familiar melody here and there to add something new to it. "I love how the band updated the song but also stayed true to the Don Henley classic," the singer says.
"The Boys of Summer" is one of four songs — and the only cover — on Jonas' forthcoming EP, Summer Songs. It's due out on Aug. 20, along with Gumballs, an autobiographical book of poetry.
"Somewhere along the way, I got tough because I had to," says Jonas. "Balancing my complexity as a human with my roles as a touring singer-songwriter and a mother of four has been amazing, but challenging and consuming. Things are easier when you’re tough: You can weather more storms and move farther faster. But, to find that place and still be vulnerable, raw and genuine — that’s the artist’s dream.
"So," she adds, "I took it on. I assessed the state of who I am and where I’ve been, and why, with as much clarity as I could. Over the course of a raw week in January, I wrote frantically. I didn’t worry about what my kids or my mother or you would think, I just wrote."
The poems in Gumballs cover "everything from divorce to religion to dating to spiders," Jonas says, and the four tracks on Summer Songs — all written previously but never recorded or released — "went along with the stories I was writing, from a past version of myself."
"The Boys of Summer" is due out widely on Friday (Aug. 13). Visit KarenJonasMusic.com to keep up with the artist.