AMEN FOR OLD FRIENDS ( Irritating Gentile Optimist Records ).


“You got to me like a nasty habit, baby/ I was really hooked on you/ but now I see my chance and I'm gonna grab it/ tell you what I'm gonna do/ I'm gonna call on all my willpower/ it might take a year, it might take an hour/ gonna quit you cold turkey/ quit you cold turkey, quit you cold.” - Cold Turkey - Kacey Jones.

When I first interviewed Kacey Jones in Nashville in 1988 she performed acoustic for my 3RRR-FM radio show High In The Saddle with her trio Ethel & The Shameless Hussies.

Now, 26 years down the Lost Highway that brought the native Californian to Tamworth and way beyond with Becky Hobbs in 2008, she returns with a healthy hybrid of humour and pathos on her 11th album.

Jones, born near Gilroy - “garlic capital of the world” - kicks off her 14 track disc with assertive new original You've Tried The Patience Out Of Me and finishes with Amen For Old Friends by the late Texan Mickey Newbury.

She segues into Aries X Lincoln penned 1982 John Anderson hit Going Down Hill - a duet with singing actor Waylon Payne with whom she worked with on a tribute disc she produced on Newbury.

Lincoln, real name Billy Lee Tubb, was born in San Antonio and cut records in rockabilly act The Tubb Brothers and as Ronny Wade for King Records and Dot Records.

Lincoln toured as a sideman with Bob Luman, Roger Miller, Sheb Wooley, Hank Williams Jr., LeRoy Van Dyke, Sammi Smith, George Jones, Deborah Allen and others.

He was bassist, guitarist and songwriter for Anderson's band from 1981until 2000 and a Jones pal from the annual Mickey Newbury Gathering in Austin, Texas, where Kacey hosted Nu Country TV in 2006.

Lincoln was suffering from cancer.

After Waylon and Kacey recorded Goin' Down Hill for the album, she made sure Lincoln “got to hear the final mix. He gave me his signature smile and a thumbs-up.”

Lincoln died last October at 76.

“I have several friends represented on this album who have either left or are facing serious challenges. This is my chance to honor them.”

Kacey's other Texan tribute album subject and occasional touring partner - singing crime novelist Kinky Friedman - is still alive.

So is Mickey Gilley and she revives her 1983 tune I'm The One Mama Warned You About - her first Top 5 hit in 1985 when Gilley cut it.

She also revives Cold Turkey - a #9 single in 1986 for former convict country star David Allan Coe and later Lacy J Dalton who played Coe's singing spouse in the movie Take This Job & Shove It .

“I had planned to do a more typical Kacey Jones album, something that my fans would expect,” Kacey recently revealed.

“But I started thinking about friends and all the ways they have been there for me over the years - and what fabulous music they have made. And then this project evolved into an entirely different album than the one I thought I was going to make.”

Jones honours close friend Chuck McCabe in the melancholic That's What I Like About My Baby.

“Chuck was the best unknown songwriter ever,” she confessed.

“He died of pancreatic cancer. I hope my recording of his song will inspire people to discover the rest of his incredible catalogue.”


“Did you ever get the kind of email that literally pisses you off/ it puts you into a rage to answer/ you starting typing and you just can't stop/ well it happened to me this morning/ and I'm about to have a fit.” - One Click Away - Kacey Jones-Rich Fagan-Rose Fagan.

This also showcases raunchy new Kacey songs penned with fellow hit writers Rich and Rose Fagan.

Kacey duets with Rich on his song Tell Me Why but not on the ironic We're All In This Alone .

Covering old mates' songs can be fraught with danger - especially when news came of Rich Fagan.

“Rich got a Stage 4 liver cancer diagnosis,” Kacey revealed.

“He and his wife, Rose, and myself had written three new songs: One Click Away, I Feel a Sin Comin' On and I Swear I Got the Blues . I thought to myself: ‘If Rich has only six months to live, I need to get this project in gear because I want him to participate in it as much as possible.'

“And either the music was great medicine or doctors are miracle workers or both. Now, eight months after his initial diagnosis, Rich has been downgraded to Stage 2 liver cancer and continues to improve.”

Ironically One Click Away - a clever song about the dangers of social media - could be the theme song for Australian political candidates and other Facebook fools and Twitter twerps.

Jones balances mood swings with evocative gem There's A Song In There Somewhere, Climbed a Hill and I'm Free At Last by Willie Nelson writing partner Freddie Powers.

Her personal trek through her list of old friends to celebrate led her to Powers, who is battling Parkinson's, and his song I'm Free at Last .”

“When I played him the final mix of I'm Free at Last he gave me the best compliment ever, tears of joy,” says Kacey.

Kacey also honored California folkie Russell Brutsché and his song Climbed a Hill .

“Russell and I have been friends a long time,” she confessed.

“And he's a great songwriter. He is also the artist who painted the CD cover.”

Another surviving friend is Larry Book who wrote There's a Song in There Somewhere with Rusty Budde.

“Larry's been a close friend and supporter for years, and when he first played me this song I said, ‘I'm going to cut that someday.' I'm so glad I can now say, ‘Thank you, old friend.' ”

She co-wrote I'm the One Mama Warned You About with Mickey James, You've Tried the Patience Out of Me with Denise Stiff, and We're All in This Alone with Doug Gill.

“The whole impetus to get this album recorded was Rich Fagan's liver cancer,” she says.

“It was a call to action like no other I've experienced prior to going into the studio.”

Kacey also honoured Newbury who died of pulmonary fibrosis at 62 in 2002.

Newbury befriended Kacey when she first hit Music City so she finished her disc with his song Amen For Old Friends .

Produced with Hobbs husband-guitarist Duane Sciacqua, this is the eclectic peak of a career elevated by her work on Sordid Lives movie-TV series and recent discs Nipples To The Wind and Donald Trump's Hair.

We also have a second opinion we can't ignore.

“One of the best records to come out of Nashville since Willie left Dodge." - Kinky Friedman, May 1, 2014.

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