“What an honor it is to be involved with Cowboy’s final record. This is the perfect way to start I.R.S. Nashville,” Grady says. “All the producers and musicians set the tone for this record. Sometimes we should all get together and do the right thing. I hope Jack is proud of us.”
This is Cowboy’s final album, his swan song. There are only three Cowboy Jack Clement records. He didn’t like to rush things. Sometimes he’d wonder what the smartest man in the world might do, and he’d figure the smartest man in the world might just wait things out.
He was 82-years-old when he died on August 8, 2013 and 82 when he finished this song-set with help from friends including John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, Duane Eddy, T Bone Burnett, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, Dan Auerbach, Leon Russell, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Dickie Lee, Shawn Camp, Dierks Bentley, Jim Rooney, Jim Lauderdale, Will Oldham, daughter Allison Clement and a bunch of others who loved Cowboy and who Cowboy loved in return. His favorite accordionist, Joey Miskulin, played on “The Air Conditioner Song” and “Baby Is Gone.”
The whole thing is graceful and true, a primer for the unfamiliar, an anointed completion for the acolytes and a joy-filled lesson for those of us who study phrasing, musicality and soul.
Cowboy Jack was American music’s whimsical maverick. He was a singer and producer, a publisher, a best friend to Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. He was a writer of classic songs. He desegregated country music by bringing Charley Pride to popular attention and producing Pride’s first 13 albums for RCA. He was the first to record Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison, there at the popular birth of rock ‘n’ roll at Sun Records in Memphis.