This unflinching new biography explains the significance of Jones’s music while vividly capturing his wild and woolly life. Much to Mr. Kienzle’s credit, it accomplishes this second task without romancing the musician’s destructive behavior.
Kienzle draws a link between this chronic absenteeism and the abuse that the young Jones endured at the hands of his alcoholic father, who demanded that his boy sing on command. That’s as far as Kienzle’s attempts at psychoanalysis go and maybe as far as they could. His subject, after all, is a man who, for all his extraordinary power to convey sadness in song, loved nothing more than to putter around on his riding lawn mower ... Even in the hands of as sympathetic a reporter and critic as Kienzle, it’s a story the demons tend to dominate.
Readers of The Grand Tour are advised to slow down, maybe get themselves a drink and plug some headphones into a device with a high-speed connection. See a title? Search and play the song. You will hear what Rich Kienzle and others have been saying: 'Jones was above all a master interpreter on a par with Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Bessie Smith, Johnny Cash, Barbra Streisand, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday.'