Chance Martin (aka ALAMO JONES ) in Nashville, looking out across the street to where he first started out in music working on The Johnny Cash show at the Ryman, from the office where he now does his satellite radio show with Cowboy Jack Clement on SIRIUS/ XM Outlaw Country.
Alamo Jones was dubbed by Johnny Cash “The Voice In Black.” How’s that for an honor? Years ago, as a young man of 23, Jones came to Nashville with songs and dreams in his heart. Fate brought him right into the path of Johnny Cash.
A lifelong friendship was born between the two when Jones auditioned for The Johnny Cash Show in 1969. “That was the most amazing show that Country Music ever had I think, ” says Jones. “They had every artist, Rock ‘n Roll or Country. I did all three seasons working for Johnny Cash… that’s my favorite person on the planet.” (YouTube has several clips of this show that reveal some magic moments as well as the wide spectrum of artists that were featured). “When we were doing the television show, I kept up with his Martin guitar for him as he would have a tendency to leave it somewhere. Probably would have been stolen if I hadn’t done that,” laughs Jones. “In the meantime, I would take it home with me to be safe and I’d play around with it. The first four songs I wrote – Johnny published them at House of Cash – were on that guitar and after the 58 shows, he gave the guitar to me.”
Jones went on to work for Johnny Cash’s Publishing company. He lived out at Cash’s Lakehouse for awhile (that has since burned down) and worked on on multiple Cash projects throughout the years including many television specials, a souvenir book and two World Tours.
As for his own music, early on Jones recorded a Rock ‘n Roll album with thirteen original songs, but disco hit about the time he finished it. “In 2013, after 32 years, it will be re-released on a record label in Philadelphia. So never give up,” he laughs.
“Me and John had a lot of fun over the years with me doing his voice,” says Jones. “We’d get together sometimes and have Dueling Cashes. One time in the mid-80’s, he was at Jack Clement’s studio recording an album and we got all faced off in the kitchen doing the Dueling Cashes. There was two or three other people there and John wanted me to do it. We started having fun with that and he said, “You know, Alamo, I’m the Man In Black, alright.” I said, “Yes, I know. ” He said, “And you’re gonna be the Voice In Black, okay?” I said “Okay.” So, I never really used it until this album came out. I released it this year on his birthday, February 26th. I did that on purpose with the record company, I thought I should do that and call it that in honor of John and all the fun we had.”
Jones carries that essence in the whole album. All of the songs are strong, true authentic tunes that seem to nod to the Man In Black all the way through. Some of my favorites are the lead track “The Damage Is Done” and “Get It, Got It, Good” and, of course, “An Outlaw’s Got His Pride.” Jones is an emotional singer with a deep baritone that brings out his ‘dueling Cash’ along with some true grit and a little Rock ‘n Roll. It’s a great album and a preview of more Alamo Jones projects to come.
Jones is currently working on several new creative ventures for the future, including a one-man play featuring his own music as well as footage he shot of Cash. He has a popular Satellite radio show with another legendary figure in Country Music, Cowboy Jack Clement. They’ve been doing the show on Sirius XM Radio/ Outlaw Country Channel 60 for the last eight years. The weekend Special runs from 1pm-5pm on Saturdays and replays Sundays from 4pm-9pm. “We play a lot of great outlaw country songs, ” says Jones. ” We’ll pull out some out the vault from 1927 or old Jimmie Rodgers, and up to some of the new Americana artists. I’ve been around Jack long enough to know his material, he’s got so many great stories. We have a great time.”
Jones first met Clement during production of a Silver Anniversary Johnny Cash Television Special when Clement was a guest on the show. A few years later, they met again and Jones went to work for him full time. Clement was a true pioneer in Country music and has had a tremendous career as an engineer, artist, songwriter, publisher and producer, working with artists like Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Don Williams, Cash, Emmylou Harris and many, many more. He wrote two of Cash’s most popular songs, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way.” Together Jones and Clement have a rich history in Country Music that makes for great stories, education and entertainment.
For more on Alamo Jones visit: http://www.alamojonesmusic.com
Check out Alamo Jones “An Outlaw’s Got His Pride”:
Listen & Download Alamo Jones: The Voice In Black HERE.
Photos courtesy of Chance Martin’s personal collection.
~ Brigitte London
Brigitte London, otherwise known as The Highwaywoman, is a Singer/Songwriter out of Austin, Texas. She’s a poet, a dreamer and a crusader. She is also the host of internationally syndicated radio show, The Highwaywoman Radio Show. Visit www.brigittelondon.com.
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