august 2009

Kacey Jones
IGO Records

Well, you don't expect a lovely, lilting, jazzy pop song sung by a female voice in a seductive, whispery croon backed by a velvety female background chorus to be advancing lyrics on the order of, "He's got the bouffant that I vant/And I vant what I vant, like Ivana/Spending my hours up in Trump Towers/running my hands through his locks..." But so begins Kacey Jones's Donald Trump's Hair, and buddy, we are a long way from the artist's stirring 2006 outing, Kacey Jones Sings Mickey Newberry. In the case of the latter, it was a long overdue tribute to an underappreciated singer-songwriter. Now, in her other guise, or alter ego, as a comedian, Ms. Jones is more into skewering than honoring (although, to be fair, skewering, like imitation, could be regarded as its own form of flattery, however painful for its subject). In Trump's case, he's been asking for it for a long time, and maybe Ms. Jones should be given credit for being so charitable towards this outsized ego and generally risible personality (maybe she would have been had the Miss California scandal and the Donald's shameful role in it unfolded before she wrote this bit). Give her credit, though, Kacey doesn't pick on little people—to a loping country rhythm spiced with moaning harmonica, she sings, "Whatever happened to polyester pants/whatever happened to taking a chance/whatever happened to using good taste/what the hell happened to Kenny Rogers' face?" As the tune goes on, it appears the disturbing state of the Gambler's mien (and that of Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Bruce Jenner, Owen Wilson, Mike Tyson, et al.) is something of a metaphor for a world gone awry—"what the hell happened to all those WMDs?," "why do men write their names in the snow?" and "why is there no word that rhymes with orange?" It's a sad story indeed, one even the absence of "Kelly Pickler's blues" (listen hard for that one) can't change—but Kacey doesn't play it all for laughs. She also slips in a cutting verse that asks, "When did telling the truth become obsolete/what the hell happened up on Wall Street?" and doesn't even try to answer the unanswerable. Back on traditional country turf, she does not skewer but honors Dolly Parton's wiles, wit and fashion sense ("what you see is what you get/or is it?") in the hilarious "I Wanna Be Up Front Like Dolly," a classic title if ever there was one. To the opening strains of "The Wedding March," Ms. Jones dips into a jazzy mode to celebrate the joys of the single life in "I'm Living Alone and I Like It." To a funky beat out of Stax/Muscle Shoals territory she offers a short course in the joys of the XXXL woman in "The Bigger the Better," which is further enlivened by Jim Hoke's wailing sax solos. Bristling country blues is the backdrop for the self-explanatory "I Can Always Get Skinny But You'll Never Be Tall," a wife's saucy retort to a hubby who seems more cognizant of others' flaws than his own shortcomings. "Christmas in Rehab," "God Save the Queens," "That's Why I Keep Him"—these pointed commentaries need no analysis beyond the titles. Catch Ms. Jones on tour now, and have a laugh on her at the expense of those who deserve it most. —David McGee 

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024