Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Nashville, TN (Bandit Records) - Iconic legends and superstars George Jones and Merle Haggard recorded an album together for the first time in almost 25 years. The old friends and touring buddies are planning to go into the studio this summer to pay tribute to each other. Jones recorded five of his favorite Haggard songs and Haggard recorded five of his favorite Jones songs. In addition to harmonizing on each other's songs, they also recorded several duets, including the title song of the album, Kicking Out The Footlights...Again, which Haggard penned. Produced by KEITH STEGALL (Alan Jackson and George Jones) the contains many of the two music industry legends' most well loved tunes including ''She Thinks I Still Care,'' ''Silver Wings,'' ''The Window Up Above'' and ''The Way I Am.'' The last time we recorded together was 25 years ago, and though we've both changed a lot over the years, our love for real country music and respect for each other has only gotten stronger, ' Jones said from his Franklin, TN. house. ''The fans want to hear Hag sing a Jones song and me sing one of Hag's.'' Recognized as two of the only authentic country interpreters left today, Jones Haggard have a long history of occupying iconic positions not only in country music's legacy, but pop's as well. They have influenced virtually every country music artist who has come along in the last 50 years and every bar band in America sings Haggard and Jones nightly. Haggard just completed several dates opening for The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and Jones has been celebrated by everyone from Keith Richards to Harry Connick, JR.
No Depression (p.84) - "The voices are more weathered, a result of decades of hard living combined with the passage of time. Their spirits, however, remain as youthful, ornery and heartbreakingly honest as the day their first singles hit radio."
Personnel: Norman Stevens, Merle Haggard, Scott Joss (guitar); Brent Mason (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Bruce Watkins (acoustic guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Stuart Duncan (mandolin, fiddle); Larry Franklin (fiddle); Doug Colosio (piano); Eddie Bayers (drums); John Wesley Ryles, Rhonda Vincent, Liana Manis, Marty Slayton (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: John Kelton.
Recording information: Starstruck Studios; Tally Studios; The Sound Station; Wedgewood Sound, Nashville, TN.
Photographers: Nancy Jones; Matt Lumpkin; Jerry Jordan.
Issued in late 2006, KICKIN' OUT THE FOOTLIGHTS...AGAIN reunites old friends and fellow country legends George Jones and Merle Haggard, who previously collaborated on 1982's A TASTE OF YESTERDAY'S WINE. Many of the tracks consist of one performer covering the other, with standouts being Jones's beautifully weary take on "Footlights" and Haggard's surprisingly lively version of "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink." Fans of both iconic, grizzled artists will especially enjoy their duets, most notably the playful, yet forlorn "All My Friends Are Strangers." Although both Jones and Haggard's voices are a little worse for the wear, this quality lends gravitas to their thoughtful performances, making FOOTLIGHTS a worthy addition to each singer's catalogue.