DIARY - 10 SEPTEMBER 2006 - KACEY JONES INTERVIEW
JONES - FROM GILROY TO AUSTIN AND NASHVILLE
"It was a quarter past eleven, I was just out for a ride/ when I
saw those blue lights flashin'/ so I pulled off to the side and out stepped
the cutest law enforcement officer I ever saw/ last night I really laid
down the law." - Last Night I Really Laid Down The Law - Mark
I first interviewed Kacey Jones in Nashville on October 12, 1988,
she was a cutting edge comedienne and hit writer who fronted Ethel
& The Shameless Hussies.
The trio recorded its debut disc Born To Burn for the major
MCA label with famed producer Jimmy Bowen, Tompall Glaser and W
Bowen's clients were diverse as Hank Williams Jr, Dean Martin, Sammy
Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra, Reba and Deana Carter and Tompall made
his name with The Glaser Brothers.
< Kacey Jones - photo by Carol Taylor
for an indie Californian label before moving to Nashville in 1985.
That was after she wrote I'm The One Mama Warned You About - a
major hit for Urban Cowboy movie venue owner Mickey Gilley.
a new version of her tune among seven of her 10 originals on a disc adorned
with her acoustic guitar playing.
It also featured stellar session serfs - drummer Eddie Bayers, bassist
David Hungate, pianist Matt Rollings, Paul Franklin on dobro, fiddler
Mark O'Connor and guitarists Reggie Young, Billy Joe Walker Jr, Larry
Byrom and Fred Newell.
Jones hired the late Waylon Jennings to play the licentious Tennessee
State Trooper in Last Night I Really Laid Down The Law - one of
many radio friendly songs.
The trio took its name from a line in veteran singer Ray Stevens international
hit The Streak
"Ethel, you shameless hussie," launched a trio who scored more
print exposure than major airplay for an adventurous CD.
Jones originals were Takin' My Pain To The Bank, One Nite Stan, Born
To Burn, A Woman's Drinkin' Song, I Thought He Was Mr Right But He Left
and Mr Cadillac.
It's a far cry from Kacey's latter day career as producer of the Kinky
Friedman tribute disc Pearls In The Snow.
And her artistic peak - her internationally acclaimed Mickey Newbury tribute
disc San Francisco Mabel Joy that she launched in August, 2006.
It was recorded for Jones indie label IGO and distributed by Image Entertainment.
Jones performed all 15 songs and speaks about her album and video in an
exclusive interview on an episode of Nu Country TV that she hosted in
ARE SOME OF MY FAVOURITE PEOPLE
the trio didn't make a second album Kacey found solace in writing
songs for other artists in the next decade.
She boomeranged and recorded solo album Men Are Some Of My Favourite
People in 1997 for Curb that also had Hank Williams Jr and Lyle
Lovett on its roster.
The swag of singles included the satiric 1-900-Bubba (ode to
a mail order redneck date in a "Sears and Roebuck polyester suit
and $19 imitation lizard Walmart boots" who is a Spam gourmet.
Others included Put The Seat Back Down, I Miss My Man (But My Aim's
Getting Better), But I'm Not Bitter and I Got The Message (When You
Didn't Call) penned with Sharyn Lane.
also a pathos primed finale Just To Torture Myself - a co-write
with the under appreciated Marshall Chapman.
sporadic airplay on more adventurous Americana radio and here on community
stations such as Nu Country FM and PBS-FM.
She was also host of Kacey's Corner on the American ABC radio network
and regular guest on icon Garrison Keillor's famous A Prairie Home
Companion NPR radio show, immortalised in a new movie but has still
not yet opened in Australia.
Kacey also sang several tunes on the soundtrack of Sordid Lives
that won the Grand Jury Prize at the New York Independent Film & Video
The movie featured expatriate Australian singing actress Olivia Newton-John,
Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Bonnie Bedalla and Leslie Jordan.
IN THE SNOW
took a hiatus from her recording career to produce first Kinky Friedman
tribute disc Pearls In The Snow in 1996.
It was evolved from a weird cosmic connection when The Shameless Hussies
opened for The Kinkster in 1988 in Washington D. C.
That was shortly before our 1988 interview when Kacey told me an amusing
anecdote about Kinky and Tompall striding across the barbecue pit
in a Japanese restaurant in cowboy boots and suffering "filet
The BBQ flame was fanned when Kacey was later shirt-fronted by a life-size
Kinky book-signing poster in Nashville's Tower Records.
really made my hair stand up on the back of my neck was when I got in
my car outside the book store and turned on the radio station and they
were playing Kinky's Sold American," Kacey revealed in a later
"And that's when I really did start to think that something's going
on here that's bigger than me. When I got home I got out Kinky's book
Armadillos And Old Lace and started to read it. I fell asleep on
top of the bed with my clothes on. And I had this big, intense dream about
my mother, who had died a few years before. I had never dreamed of her
"In the dream she was walking to the courtyard behind my house carrying
a suitcase and talking to another woman who I didn't recognise who was
also carrying a suitcase. And both of them had a hummingbird hovering
by their shoulders. I could see them but they couldn't see me and I couldn't
hear what they were saying. It was frustrating.
"When I woke up from the dream and picked the book up, the first
sentence I read was 'nearly 30 years ago my mother started feeding the
"Well, now I was actually freaked. So I got out of bed, poured a
big shot of Jack Daniels and smoked a cigarette all the way down to the
butt and looked out into the courtyard.
And, of course, there was no-one there."
Kacey mailed Kinky a proposal in September of 1996, and assembled a star-studded
"April 18, 1997, which happened to be my mother's birthday, was the
day I cut Willie on Ride Em Jewboy," Kacey revealed.
"I stayed at Kinky's dad's house in Kinky's sister Marcie's old bedroom.
I'm looking around this room, and see several pictures of this woman who
was walking with my mother in the courtyard. And it ended up being Mrs
Friedman - Kinky's late mother Minnie."
MAN I LOVE IS EITHER MARRIED, GAY OR DEAD
Pearls In The Snow, Kinky's Old Testaments & New Revelations
and Kinky-Little Jewford live duet disc Classic Snatches From Europe.
They are part of the IGO (Irritating Gentile Optimist) Record catalogue,
distributed in Australia by ex-Larrikin Records boss Warren Fahey.
And Kinky rarity Geography is among the 12 tunes on Kacey's second
solo CD Every Man I Love Is Either Married, Gay Or Dead.
The Rich Fagan-Sharyn Lane penned title track won massive airplay on Nu
So did a duet with Delbert McClinton on European chart topping single
You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.
The Lola Jean Dillon tune was an historic hit for Loretta Lynn and Conway
Jonell Moser, who recorded a Townes Van Zandt tribute disc, guested on
Chicken Or Dumplins.
Jones revived Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis -
a historic song from Tom Waits who guested on Pearls In The Snow.
Kacey also included Till Dale Earnhardt Wins Cup #8 - a tune inspired
by the late NASCAR champ.
She later released 2003 disc The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Box of
Music - inspired by Jill Conner Browne's series of humour books that
began with 1999 bestseller, The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love.
The 21-song album included Show Up Naked, Bring Beer, I Could Get Over
Him (If I Could Get Under You), We All Need To Get Laid, Gimme A Younger
Man, This Dress and Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History.
Kinky and Little Jewford rode to the rescue of Nu Country FM when
it burned down on June 26, 2000 - first day of its 28th broadcast.
Kacey provided priceless, autographed memorabilia when Kinky and Little
Jewford took time out from a national tour and headlined a fund raising
benefit at the historic Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda on August 26,
Their generosity enabled Nu Country to survive until an insurance
payout and return to air for three more broadcasts at the Paris Texas
end of Collins St in the CBD.
benevolence has been revived from 2003-2006 by their generous support
of Nu Country TV from the heart of Texas.
CLICK HERE to see the proof in
prizes on our Membership Page.
FRANCISCO MABEL JOY
turned twenty one in a gray rock Federal prison/ the old judge had no
mercy on that Waycross Georgia boy/ starin' at those four gray walls he
would listen/ to that midnight freight he knew could take him back to
Mabel Joy." - San Francisco Mabel Joy - Mickey Newbury.
fascination and admiration for the late legendary Texan singer songwriter
Mickey Newbury, with the four octave vocal range, dates back to before
he toured Australia in 1983.
Newbury died of pulmonary fibrosis at 62 in 2002, leaving behind a
rich 550-song treasure trove that fuelled artists diverse as Elvis,
Jerry Lee Lewis and David Allan Coe.
Kacey met Newbury 26 years ago after a recording session at the Acuff
Rose studios in Nashville where he was recording solo tracks.
"He would sail into those high notes so effortlessly," Jones
"I sat there and listened to him, mesmerized, for over an hour".
session, Newbury took Kacey aside and spent two more hours talking about
songwriting with her.
speak again until 1998 when Jones was producing Pearls In The Snow.
She invited Newbury, who was living in Oregon at the time, to perform
on the album.
But his health had begun to deteriorate and he was unable to attend the
"I could tell, even then, that he was hoarse and somewhat short of
breath," Jones says.
"I'll always regret that I didn't suggest that I fly out to Oregon
and record him there." It was their last conversation.
But it sewed the seeds for Jones widely lauded tribute disc San Francisco
Mabel Joy that features Laura Shayne Newbury - his 20-year-old daughter
on Song of Sorrow.
Laura whistles at the end of the song until her father takes over and
fades the song out with his own whistling.
DEAN CAMPBELL AND WAYLON PAYNE
Jones with Waylon Payne
photo by Carol Taylor
recorded the San Francisco Mabel Joy video clip in Carlsbad,
New Mexico, and Austin.
The director was the under-rated New Mexico born singer-songwriter-video
director Stacy Dean Campbell who toured here with Texan troubadour
Hugh Moffatt in 1993.
Campbell was touring to promote the first of his three albums that
won lavish airplay on Nu Country.
singing actors Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Payne join Kacey in the clip
that is likely to win major awards.
most of it was filmed in New Mexico the fight scene where Rhodes Scholar
and former Golden Gloves boxer Kristofferson knocks out Payne was cut
in Austin on the eve of the 2006 South By South West festival.
Waylon played Jerry Lee Lewis in Johnny Cash movie Walk The Line
and cut debut disc The Drifter in 2004 for Universal South - same
label as Shooter Jennings who played his late dad Waylon in the Cash movie.
But Payne, who performed at the video launch in Austin, has a vastly different
role as the male lead in this clip.
Waylon is the son of long time Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne and
Sammi Smith who died at 61 on February 12, 2005.
And, ironically, it was his late mother Sammi who launched Kris in 1970
as she sold more than two million copies of his song Help Me Make It
Through The Night - the 1971 CMA single of the year.
FRANCISCO JOY - THE ALBUM
seeds of Jones tribute disc date back to November of 2002 when she
performed at a Newbury memorial concert in Perdido Key, Florida.
The singer was walking to the back of the room when she received a
literal tap on the shoulder.
"That's when this little hand reached out to me," Kacey
< Mickey Newbury Video Cast
I heard the sweetest voice say "come on over here, darlin'. We need
to talk. It was Mickey's mother, Mamie, dressed in a red cowgirl hat,
red cowgirl jacket, red cowgirl slacks and white cowgirl boots, with diamonds
on every finger. She was 82 years old at the time.
I'll bet she didn't weigh more than 90 pounds soaking wet."
The Newbury matriarch, guest of honour at 86 at the Austin launch of the
video, was the catalyst for Jones 15 song tribute disc.
And her friend Susan Williamson kick started the project with seeding
finance for the disc that Jones produced in Nashville with her road band,
musicians and singers who played on latter day Newbury albums.
Kristofferson and San Francisco radio personality Ron Lyons - who also
produced the two CD biography Mickey Newbury: An American Treasure
- wrote the liner notes.
Kacey plays acoustic guitar with other guitarists Mark Dreyer doubling
on dobro and Brent Moyer adding trumpet, bassist Eddie Dunbar, pianist
Jimmy Nichols, drummer Paul Scholten and harmony vocalists Toni Jolene
Clay and Chip Davis.
has recorded an amazing tribute disc destined to stand the test
of time and draw more listeners to the songs of Newbury and her
evocative treatment of them.
The singer hasn't just opted for the well-known hits - she has resurrected
some of his lesser-known gems.
Jones had already selected 14 songs when a quirk of fate produced
the final choice - it became the album entrée.
by Carol Taylor
I knew it had to be the first song because the very first lines are: "they
call me a fool and a dreamer/ tell me I'm wasting my time/ how I will
search for the rest of my life for a rainbow I never will find."
Jones follows the haunting Song Of Sorrow and Some Memories
Are Best Left Alone with Ramblin' Blues and Lie To Me Darlin'.
Jones breaks up the melancholia with Apples Dripped In Candy, Lovers,
Blue Sky Shining, Time Was and You've Always Got The Blues.
The artist punctuates those tunes with the classic title track and is
joined by Davis and Clay on the oft-recorded Why You Been Gone So Long.
She finishes with Remember The Good, Amen for Old Friends and Goodnight.
info - http://www.kaceyjonessingsmickeynewbury.com/index.html
And for a complete song discography - http://www.mickeynewbury.com/
KINKY TRIBUTE DISC
Jones is flattered to learn that a second Kinky Friedman tribute disc
Why The Hell Not - the Songs Of Kinky Friedman was released on
The album, featuring an all star Texas cast, is the latest in a brace
of music projects celebrating The Kinkster's well publicised tilt at The
Lone Star State Governorship.
The disc kicks off with Kevin Fowler's rollicking version of Get Your
Biscuits In The Oven (And Your Buns In The Bed).
Asleep at the Wheel singer Ray Benson teams with Reckless Kelly on Homo
The first single is Charlie Robison's poignant rendition of Wild Man
Charlie's brother Bruce and singing spouse Kelly Willis join forces on
Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson's cuts of Rapid City,
South Dakota, Sold American and Ride Em Jewboy are uplifted
from the Jones produced Pearls In The Snow.
Jason Boland & The Stragglers kick in with The Gospel According
To John and Delbert McClinton's version of Autograph, also
on Pearls In The Snow, is a fitting finale.
1. GET YOUR BISCUITS IN THE OVEN - Kevin Fowler
2. RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA - Dwight Yoakam
3. WILD MAN FROM BORNEO - Charlie Robison
4. SOLD AMERICAN - Lyle Lovett
5. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Jason Boland & The Stragglers
6. THEY AIN'T MAKIN' JEWS LIKE JESUS ANYMORE - Todd Snider
7. RIDE EM' JEWBOY - Willie Nelson
8. LADY YESTERDAY - Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
9. HOMO ERECTUS - Ray Benson & Reckless Kelly
10. AUTOGRAPH - Delbert McClinton
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