Jackie Darlene released a new single last week, and it’s not just any single….It’s one with a deep personal connection and a fascinating history that spans 5 decades! Here’s the super-cool story behind the song and how the current duet version came in to fruition directly from Jackie Darlene:
My grandad moved from Whitney, Texas to Hendersonville, Tennessee in 1967 with my grandmother, my mother, and her siblings to pursue a songwriting career in proximity to Nashville. Ironically enough he moved into the same neighborhood as Lefty Frizzell.
After learning that Frizzell only lived a block or so away, my grandad decided to knock on his front door bringing demo consisting of 3 songs. Lefty opened the door with a beer in his hand and said, “C’mon in knucklehead!” He liked two of the songs.. One called “You Babe.” He recorded it the very next day and invited my grandad to the session. After that, they became very best friends and wrote 10 songs together including the #1 hit “That’s the Way Love Goes”.
And then of course him and Lefty went on to write this very song, “I Never Go Around Mirrors”. A song so influential that it was later cut by Keith Whitley, Willie Nelson, Daryle Singletary, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, Mark Chesnutt, Trace Adkins, and many, many others.
I truly believe that this divine intervention between Lefty and my grandad played a major role in the beginning of that era in country music.
After Lefty’s untimely death, Keith wanted a second verse before he cut it, so Whitey went downstairs at his home and wrote the second verse fast because he said Lefty was “with” him that night.
My grandad never truly had a chance to spotlight his version of this song that came from so deep in his heart (as you can feel in the lyrics), until now…
We were sitting around his kitchen table in Ridgetop, TN last summer in 2016, and we were passing around his guitar. He started singing this song, and I was truly blown away by how crisp and seasoned his voice sounded. I had sang this song as a duet with a couple of different buddies of mine back in Texas, and so the question naturally but un-assumingely fell out of my mouth, “Would you like to re-cut this song with me as a duet?” and to my surprise (and I think his too) he said, “Well sure!”
I knew that getting him back in the studio would be a task, and I wanted it to be the smoothest experience possible for him, after all he is 82 and has not been in a studio in about two decades. My manager and business partner, Rick Smith, suggested we call Kenny Lamb from The Love Shack studios on music row in Nashville. We gave him a ring, and he was down to start this
project with us. Kenny then called Chris Rowe (a renowned engineer) from the Love Shack studios to let him know about the project. What is amazing is that only a couple of days prior to the phone call, Chris was talking to his wife about how a song can be produced in so many different ways. He used “I Never Go Around Mirrors” as a reference and showed her every version that has been cut. It is beside me how this happened in its perfect timing. He had goosebumps when Kenny called to tell him about the project. I did too when I heard how that happened!
From the moment we stepped into the studio it was magic. Only those of us that were there that day will remember the look on everyone’s faces when he opened in the first line of the song. Jaws were to the floor. I feel in my heart that he has been holding all of this in for so many years and you can hear and feel the depth of his words in the song. Our voices blended together so naturally that the recording process was relatively easy. I can only describe it as magical.
I am so proud of what we have done here, and I am sharing this with you because I feel that it is important. Not for me specifically, but more importantly for country music.
History is what will keep country music alive. And it’s people like you and I who are creating new history every day.
I hope my grandad will live another ten years to experience everything this release will do for us. It is a prized possession for our entire family as no one has recorded a song with him or made a lasting effort to carry on the family tradition. I fully intend to. It is simply a part of who I am.
Wow! Talk about a cool story! Hit the play button below and let us know what you think!
You can also hear this single, as well as, many other great new Texas/Red Dirt music here on our TMP Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/texas_music_pickers/playlist/4X1EDu99kIPVqHleQfLen2
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.