by Marcus K. Dowling
Embedded from www.youtube.com.
Shreveport, Lousiana-based country performer Willie Jones’ star has risen exceptionally quickly in 2021. He’s followed the release of the single and video for “American Dream” — his poignant plea for African-American civil rights — with a critically acclaimed debut album, Right Now. He’s now bolstered that success with a March 8 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Jones’ live performance bore striking similarities to the track’s video, which features a stream of comic-style images hearkening to African-American social unrest throughout history. “One man, one man/Rode in deep in the streets with a dream just to make change/One man, one man/Still in the field, had to kneel for the same thing,” Jones sang, while backed by a live band and performing against the video’s images of protests, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Colin Kaepernick.
Alongside making his inaugural foray into late-night television appearances, Jones also recently made his Grand Ole Opry debut on Friday, March 5. The highlight of that performance was the vocalist partnering with singer-songwriter Waylon Payne to perform Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ duet “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Also, Jones recently partnered with Nashville’s National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) to perform at the museum’s virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony last month. He’s joined the venue’s #IHaveAnAmericanDream initiative, which prompts people to use the hashtag to share their hopes for change in America.
Ben Vaughn, the President and CEO of Warner Chappell Music Nashville — Jones’ global song publishers — notes, “’American Dream’ is a powerful song with a unique sound that does what country music does best—it tells a story. It’s honest yet hopeful, and its message is an important one. We applaud the great work he’s done with the NMAAM to advocate for change.”