The unique sound of In My Dreams melds various genres, from pop to calypso (think Vampire Weekend), to jazz, to funky folk (think Robyn Hitchcock). Jones sings and performs all of the instrumentation. Guest vocalists include Morgan Taylor and Rachel Loshak of Gustafer Yellowgold (on “Swiss Cheese Angels); Michael Napolitano of Michael and the Rockness Monsters (on “Do You Talk to Yourself?”); Frances England (on the whisper-soft final track “Nighttime”); and a few kids. The dreamy cover art is by Giselle Potter, who has illustrated books for Toni Morrison, Mary Pope Osbourne and Cari Best, and whose work appears weekly in the New York Times.
Like musical essays, the songs on In My Dreams raise questions and spark an alternative perspective on everyday subjects like pets, fruits, babies and people watching. The songs employ wit and syncopation to ponder important questions like “Do You Talk to Yourself?” Or, “Have You Ever Been Real?” Or, “What Kind of Fruit” would you like to be? The tune “Feline” wonders, “Who was the first person in the history of the world to snuggle up with a feline?” The tiny human in “Oh Little Baby” who grabs strangers’ noses and drools, prompts the question, “What are you thinking?” Indeed, humor and high seriousness enjoy a comfortable back-and-forth conversation in Jones’ songwriting. The refrain of “Humans Are Still Evolving” posits: “We’ve got to get more peaceful/ we’ve got to get more loving.” Sometimes, the issue is purely fanciful, as in the electro-pop “Animal Collective” track, which mentions several rock band names, from The Beatles to the Spiders from Mars.
In My Dreams stands out from an ever-rising tide of “family music” in that it doesn’t hammer its music or messages into listeners’ heads. “Kids are constantly bombarded with stimuli, and I like to try to not fill up every space in my music. I want these songs to breathe a little, allowing kids to hear some of the details and subtleties.”