By MARCI VON SAVOYE
After two Extempo albums, the lone female vocalist of the five-piece a cappella group released her first solo work: a compact disc that will be available in the bookstore this week.
Though Mary Jane Jones, from Provo, graduated in broadcast communications in December, she intends to use her album as means to elbow her way into a career as a studio musician.
“The album process is my favorite part about being in Extempo,” Jones said. “I love being in the studio.”
Jones, who sang her first solo in church at the age of six, said she had such musicals as the “The Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma” memorized before she was able to speak.
“The whole American Broadway genre shaped my life,” Jones said. “It was my biggest musical influence.”
Jones’ love for theatrical music explains her inclusion of “Bless the Lord” from the musical “Godspell” and “Happiness” from the musical “Scrooge.”
Perhaps one of the most emotionally moving tracks on the album is a song written by Jones, entitled “Fiddler.” The song is somewhat of an enigma. It is composed of three verses, each one representing a stage in the Savior’s life, Jones said. The first verse is symbolic of the creation; the second is Christ’s life on earth and the last is concerned with the second coming. The repeated vocal riff introducing each verse magnifies the overall heavy impact of “Fiddler.”
Another of the five songs written by Jones on her album is “Daniel,” a gospel-esque song that appreciates the biblical hero Daniel.
“I envisioned that song originally with a big choir in the background, but time and budget constraints keep extravagant ideas from being born,” Jones said.
The primary song “Give, Said the Little Stream,” experienced a complete metamorphosis in Jones’ creative hands. “Give, Said the Little Stream” was once merely a children’s song, but Jones’ venerates it through her embellishments in lyrics, resonant voice and adaptations in melody.
The CD begins with a short recording of Jones singing “I Am Glad for Many Things.” Jones wiped off the dust on this 1979 recording she made when she was four. The song, Jones said, is a favorite keepsake of her family and was made for her grandparents who were living in Utah, while Jones and her family were living in Japan.
“It seemed to fit so well. It establishes my life in music,” Jones said.
Jones recounted other musical influences, which include Cat Stevens, Annie Lennox and “all the great jazz singers.”
Jones said people have told her their favorite song on her work is “(What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,” an Elvis Costello hit, but her favorite is “Baby,” a song she wrote.
Jones will perform at Mama’s Cafe Thursday at 9:30 p.m. She leaves for her mission in Bangkok, Thailand in March.
Her CDs, which will be sold at the performance, cost $12 for one or $10 each for multiple copies.