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1. “Why Baby Why” (Darrell Edwards/George Jones) Maybe taking a three-year sabbatical has been good for me. A cousin of Emory’s heard this and said, “Gosh! You sound like you’re 20 years old!” I wish I was. I said, “That’s what living out in the country can do for you.” We’re way out in the sticks. I was trying to figure out how to approach this song. Then I thought, “I’ve got it: Tina Turner meets George Jones.” Well, a little bit. 2. “The Pain of Loving You” (Dolly Parton/Porter Wagoner) Not all of these songs were hits, or even were singles. “Sleepless Nights” was not, if you’ll recall. And neither was this. I had every record that Porter and Dolly ever did as a duet. This particular song was recorded at the same time that I met Porter and Dolly and was hanging out with them. I had seen them sing this song on Porter’s show. I had seen them do it on the Opry. And I used to sing it with Porter some. We did it just for fun. I always thought it was just a great song. I can’t believe he’s gone. You know, when we celebrated his 50th anniversary at the Opry [in May 2007], he was very frail. I didn’t think it was going to be long [Porter died that October]. He talked to me a lot about God that night. 3. “He Thinks I Still Care” (Dickey Lee) I’ve been singing George Jones songs all my life. When I tackled “If My Heart Had Windows” [in 1988], when it came out, somebody called into the radio station, WSM, and said, “She does a pretty good job on that, but not like George Jones.” I thought, “I totally agree.” I hope that to some extent I sort of made this my own. But at the same time, I know that this song belongs to him and always will. 4. “Sleepless Nights” (Felice Bryant/Boudleaux Bryant) Probably about three years ago, Emory brought this to my attention. He played it for me from a collection of Gram Parsons recordings. Of course, I knew the Emmylou Harris version. But then, I’d also heard The Everly Brothers version. So we kind of merged the two. I just thought it was such a beautiful song. And, oh man, when I heard Vince Gill singing that harmony, I wanted to cry. It just felt so good to hear him singing with me again. And this song is perfect for that. 5. “Crazy Arms” (Ralph Mooney/Chuck Seals) Al Perkins is such a great steel guitar player. At the very end of the song, I held my breath, because I didn’t know if he was going to make it. But he grabbed it. The flow that he gave to “Crazy Arms” is brilliant. It was almost like he was singing it himself.

When I was in the vocal booth, I was able to see Al play. I would watch him bend his head – it was like he was putting his whole body into what he was playing. It was such a wonderful recording session. 6. “There Stands the Glass” (Russ Hall/Audrey Greisham/Mary Jean Shurtz) Back in the 1950s, they would never let a woman get away with singing something like this. But it’s a different world that we live in. In this day and time, a woman can sing this kind of stuff. And women do drink. This one is just me singing. We decided that it didn’t need any background voices or anything like that. Once the music started coming together, it started to come to life. 7. “That’s All It Took” (Darrell Edwards/George Jones/Charlotte Grier) I never really got to hear the George Jones and Gene Pitney version of this. I did hear Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. But seeing that we wanted to make this as country as possible, we listened to a Mel Tillis version of the song that somebody had sent to me. I like John Hobbs’ piano playing on this. He’s a buddy of ours. I use John on every recording session that I can. It’s just so much fun when he’s around. He’s an amazing musician, one who is going to be remembered for years to come. 8. “Color of the Blues” (George Jones/Lawton Williams) That’s Guthrie Trapp “answering” my vocal on electric guitar. He played in my road band for two years, and he is also on my Dreamin’ My Dreams record. He had been playing at Robert’s Western Wear on Lower Broadway in Nashville for years. He was sort of like a blues player, but when I saw him at Robert’s, he was playing raw country stuff. He had the perfect feeling for this song. I told him, “Just think about the song and what it says, and put some blues notes in there, too, if you want to.” 9. “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know” (Cecil Null) Carmella Ramsey is my other “Davis Sister” here. We were perfect together. This is a funny story: When we were recording, I was on the phone with my brother Roger. He knew I was recording older stuff. He said, “I just thought of a song you should cut.” I said, “What is that?” He said, “’I Forgot More.’” I said, “Really? You think I should cut that? I don’t know.” I had him going there for awhile. Then finally I said, “Roger, that’s what we were just listening to, was my version. We just cut it.” He’d called about the same time we were listening to it. I thought that was bizarre. He said, “Are you kidding me? Who was singing with you?” I said, “That’s my ‘little sister,’ Carmella.” 10. “The Next in Line” (Wayne Kemp/Curtis Wayne)

Emory asked me, “Do you think you can do this song?” I said, “I don’t know. I’m not sure. I’d have to change some lyrics here and there to make it fit for a woman.” What I love about the song is the fact that it paints a picture. It gives you a visual. It’s almost its own video. So when I went in to record it, I sort of visualized it. I was thinking, “Here’s a girl who’s singing in a band, and she really likes this guy, and he’s over at the bar.” Once I had that visual, I went, “OK. It’s good. I can do it.” The message I wanted to put across was, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m still here for you.” 11. “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” (Penny Jay) A lot of the artists who sang these songs originally, I’ve met or known -- Conway Twitty [“The Next in Line”], The Everly Brothers [“Sleepless Nights”], Jack Greene [“There Goes My Everything”], Hank Locklin [“Please Help Me I’m Falling”] and of course George Jones. But although I knew of Carl and Pearl Butler, I never met them. I thought it was interesting when I found out that this was a cheating song that was written by a woman. I do recall hearing this one being played around the house on records when I was little. That’s the great thing about having older siblings. You don’t have to go out and buy the records. 12. “Please Help Me I’m Falling” (Hal Blair/Don Robertson) Jim Iler, who is singing harmony on this, is just a good ole boy around here in Georgia who loves singing country music. He’s been over to our house on weekends and all that kind of stuff. He just never got the opportunity to do any recording. So we told him, “Just come over and sing on this stuff.” He was just in awe. Syndi Perry, the female voice, is only 15 years old. Back in 2003, Syndi showed up at Tower Records in Nashville where I was doing an autograph signing. She had her fiddle with her. She was like 9 years old, and she asked me to sign her fiddle. She was very serious about it. I said, “You know, my fiddle player, Deanie Richardson, was about 9 years old when she started playing the fiddle.” Well, lo and behold, Syndi winds up as one of Deanie’s students. She has a powerful little voice. It sort of reminds me of me at that age, and how great it was to be around Porter and Dolly and The Wilburn Brothers. She’s going to be one to watch out for. She’s in a group called Green on the Vine. Hank Locklin, who had the hit on this [in 1960] is 90 years old now. And he still sings great. It’s just unbelievable. I hope I’m that great when I’m 90! 13. “There Goes My Everything” (Dallas Frazier) This is another one like “The Next in Line.” It just kind of paints a picture in your head. It fires your imagination. From the very first line, it’s almost like you can see it. It’s one of those songs that I remember listening to, over and over, a long time ago. We played this one a lot.

I’ve watched Jack Greene sing this so many times at the Grand Ole Opry, and he still nails it to the wall. I hear he’s working on something, so hopefully we’ll get to hear some new stuff from him pretty soon. 14. “Cold Cold Heart” (Hank Williams) As far as placement on the record, this was the only place for this song. It’s so raw, and sort of quiet in a way. With Emory opening it on acoustic guitar, it makes it a very intimate and very serious moment. By ending it with this song, it makes this album feel “complete” to me. It’s the perfect song to close with.

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