Dale Watson Pays Tribute to George Jones With ‘Jonesin’ for Jones’ [LISTEN]
Watson wrote the tune in a rather unconventional way. The Austin-based musician penned "Jonesin' for Jones" at the Continental Club in Austin, where Watson and his band are regulars, but he wasn't holed up in a room putting pen to paper; rather, they were in front of a live audience.
Watson and his crew were booked for a three-hour set, and he decided to throw a little songwriting session into the middle of it. Since Jones had passed away that same week, he was on Watson's mind; the singer improvised the lyrics, his band joined in, and a song was made.
"It just came out," Watson tells Rolling Stone Country. "It's not a brain surgery type of song. It's just something that came from the heart, set to a "White Lightning" beat. I love George's tearjerker stuff, too, and I think that kind of balance — the songs that make you sad mixed with the songs that make you glad — is the beauty of George."
"I'm jonesin' for Jones since George Jones is gone / Thank God that his music still lives on," Watson sings in the raucous and upbeat, yet deeply sentimental, song.
Watson and Jones were not close friends, but they did cross paths in 2001 while recording tracks for the Webb Pierce tribute album Caught in the Webb, which also features Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson and many more notable country singers.
"We had our recording sessions on the same day," Watson recalls. "George told me he wanted to cover "Country My Ass" because he felt the same way as I do in that song. He couldn't actually do it, though, because I cuss in it! Hearing that made my day, though, just to know he knew about the song and liked it."
Call Me Insane is set for release on June 9 and is available for pre-order now.
Listen to Dale Watson, "Jonesin' for Jones":