ElvisCostello.com, December 18, 2018

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Jerry Chesnut

Elvis Costello

There can be few more beautiful but intimidating venues than the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, especially when you look down into the front rows and see the composer of one of the ballads that had first brought us to Music City, on what was then seen as a perverse mission for a New Wave band to record a whole album of "country and western" songs.

Of course, that writer was Jerry Chesnut and I'm happy to say that our performance of his song, "Good Year For The Roses" met with his approval on that evening, the only occasion on which we met.

The song, which I had originally learned from the George Jones recording, returned us high into the U.K. charts after a year of indifferent placings and won us a whole new audience that had not necessarily tuned in to our earlier, more frenetic efforts.

That's the way songs can work; the key to a door, a passport to another land.

From then on, it didn't really matter what style or tempo a song was labeled or in which city or country it had originated, if it contained a story worth telling then you could sing it with some feeling and meaning.

I'm grateful to Jerry for that song and for repeating that lesson.

I should like to express my condolences to his family and friends.

Elvis Costello
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ElvisCostello.com, December 18, 2018

Elvis Costello writes about Jerry Chesnut.


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