"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 Sameth.

When 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 R Holmes.

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

Kacey recorded 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.

Jones included 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 Austin, Texas.


Although 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.

There was also a pathos primed finale Just To Torture Myself - a co-write with the under appreciated Marshall Chapman.

Kacey earned 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 Festival.

The movie featured expatriate Australian singing actress Olivia Newton-John, Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Bonnie Bedalla and Leslie Jordan.


Jones 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 sole."

The BBQ flame was fanned when Kacey was later shirt-fronted by a life-size Kinky book-signing poster in Nashville's Tower Records.

"What 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 interview.

"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 before.

"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 hummingbirds'

"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 cast.

"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."


Jones released 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 Country FM.

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 Twitty.

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.


Kacey, 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, 2000.

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.

The trio's 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.


"He 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.

Kacey's 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 recalled.

"I sat there and listened to him, mesmerized, for over an hour".

After the session, Newbury took Kacey aside and spent two more hours talking about songwriting with her.

They didn't 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 session.

"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.


Kacey Jones with Waylon Payne
photo by Carol Taylor
Jones 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.

Texas born singing actors Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Payne join Kacey in the clip that is likely to win major awards.

Although 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.


The 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 recalled.

< Mickey Newbury Video Cast

"And 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.


Jones 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.

Photo by Carol Taylor

"And 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.

Further info - http://www.kaceyjonessingsmickeynewbury.com/index.html
And for a complete song discography - http://www.mickeynewbury.com/


Meanwhile Jones is flattered to learn that a second Kinky Friedman tribute disc Why The Hell Not - the Songs Of Kinky Friedman was released on September 19.

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 Erectus.

The first single is Charlie Robison's poignant rendition of Wild Man From Borneo.

Charlie's brother Bruce and singing spouse Kelly Willis join forces on Lady Yesterday.

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.

Track Listing;
3. WILD MAN FROM BORNEO - Charlie Robison
4. SOLD AMERICAN - Lyle Lovett
5. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Jason Boland & The Stragglers
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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