George Jones Tribute - Introduction 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

(Click here to stream the album)

The album was born on a sunny summer day in July 2013 in Portland at the Deer Lodge.  Ezra and I were listening to vinyl records in the bar.  As we tend to do when it’s just me and him in there, in the off-hours, we were listening to George Jones.  The really random cuts, like his 80’s albums “Shine On” and “Yesterday’s Wine.”  We were sad because George had recently died.

It was in that spirit that thinking out loud I blurted out, “We…

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Producer's Notes - The Wellspring - "She Thinks I Still Care" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

The Wellspring is a Los Angeles duo that I don’t know how I learned about, but I do know which song of theirs hooked me on their sound.  On my Facebook feed I noticed that they did some music for a soundtrack, and on their page was a cover of “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star.

When I saw they’d covered it, I thought to myself, “You can’t cover that song!  It’s too much of a lay-up!”  Simply because I love that song, it’s such a beautiful anthem, it seemed perfect and…

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Producer's Notes - Shawn Smith - "The Ghost of Another Man" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

Another high school/college hero of mine is Shawn Smith.  I listened to his Pigeonhed “Full Sentence” album almost every day after it came out back in the late 90’s.  Last year I got into his solo work when I was directing a movie, and used one of his songs in the trailer.

It was a long shot, I thought, to ask him to contribute a song to this compilation because as far as I knew he had no country leanings in his music at all.  But my approach in this project was to be as…

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Producer's Notes - Brush Prairie - "Tennessee Whiskey" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

Somewhere along the line I became aware that Zia McCabe had a country band of her own, Brush Prairie.  Of course I remember seeing Zia in the Dandy Warhols about 50 times growing up in Portland, they were really heroes to Ezra and I… they helped shape a lot of our high school experience.

So I Facebooked Zia and right away she said she was in.  Getting the track done was down to the wire though, as Zia was on a DJ tour in Europe.  Later she admitted to me that when she’d…

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Producer's Notes - Stephanie Lynn - "He Stopped Loving Her Today" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

Ezra and I knew this compilation would be incomplete without “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” but with a month to go, no one had stepped up to tackle it.

Enter young chanteuse and actor Stephanie Lynn, who boldly reworked this classic into an upbeat bluegrass number with the help of Hollywood music man Craig Eastman.

Stephanie has a crystal-clear voice and she put some nice tender inflections in just the right spots.  Craig’s multi-instrumental weavings are great too –…

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Producer's Notes - Bert Sperling - "If You Couldn't Get the Picture" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

I struggled to settle on a song to do, because there were so many deep cuts to choose from (“Bone Dry,” “The Brothers).  But as time went on I decided to not fight it and just do the song that I was most feeling at the moment. 

That was a random 90’s track of George’s that was a little hokey and corny but that I never forgot, during a time in my youth when I was really searching.  It just stuck with me.

Ezra and I had a day between sessions and I knew that this was the day…

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Producer's Notes - Lewi Longmire & the Portland Country Underground - "Still Doin' Time" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

Working with Lewi Longmire seemed like a rite of passage, because anyone who’s ever stepped into a bar in Portland has probably heard ole’ Lewi pick a tune.  He’s one of the hardest-working musicians out there, a great story and example of a guy who makes it work in this tough business.

I had come up from L.A. for some of the sessions at the Deer Lodge, and on the last night of my stay Lewi and the boys from the Portland Country Underground came through to record their…

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Producer's Notes - Sassparilla - "White Lightning" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

Sassparilla is one of the bands that I’d heard of on the Portland scene with a great following and unique character, but I really hadn’t gotten into their music.  When they turned in their track, it was immediately clear that the song would most likely lead off the album.  It was that fresh and energetic, it just rocked.  Bad-ass and full of balls.

Their track was turned in mixed in such a fashion that the levels were so high that there was basically nothing for our…

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Producer's Notes - Copper & Coal - "Walk Through This World With Me" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

Copper & Coal was the first session I was there at the Deer Lodge for, and it was a nice smooth beginning to my time in Portland.  They have beautiful voices, an arrangement for the song that is flattering in its simplicity, and their musicians were very pro.

They cut their track live, with all the musicians in the room at the same time, a cool old-school way to do it that really guarantees a nice cohesive vibe.

It was nice to pour a whiskey-rocks for Leslie Beia after…

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Producer's Notes - Hank Sinatra - "I Always Get Lucky With You" 

Deer Lodge George Jones Tribute

My dad performs under the name Hank Sinatra.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be there for his session at the Deer Lodge, but he really killed it on “I Always Get Lucky With You.”

Whole band at once, nice clear heartfelt vocals.  A lot of people have said this song resonates with them, and that makes me happy.

My dad always tells me he got into this song when he borrowed my iPod during a business trip.  That’s cool.

Here he is doing the song with Ian Miller and company at…

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Coming Up:

Previous events


Save the Eastmoreland Trees Concert

Save the Eastmoreland Trees!, SE 36th and Martins Ave, Portland, Oregon

Eastmoreland residents will host a “Save the Giants Jam,” a concert to fundraise to save three large sequoia trees in their neighborhood from removal. Local artists will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, July 6 at the lot, 3790 S.E. Martins St. The neighbors are hoping to raise nearly $1 million to buy the lot from a developer who plans to chop the 150-year-old trees down. The Tribune reported last week how neighbors came to an agreement with Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes to hold off on cutting down the trees, by giving Remmers a $50,000 deposit and agreeing to a total of $900,000 being paid by July 6. Everett Custom Homes had planned to cut down the trees June 23, prior to neighbors protesting outside the lot and Remmers striking a deal with Robert McCullough, president of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association. Neighbors currently have a Go Fund Me campaign that has raised $5,670 as of Wednesday morning. Elizabeth Leach, who lives next door to the tree lot, is leading the fundraising efforts. She says they are currently searching for a nonprofit group to accept the funds they raise to buy the lot. Leach says if the group is able to raise the necessary funds, they will turn the space into a community park. Local musician Alexa Wiley is headlining Monday's event, with performances also from Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk, Paul Brainard and Friends, Grant Remington, Matthew Zeltzer and Bert Sperling. To donate, contact Elizabeth Leach at or donate online at



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