Cold Hard Truth
The 1999 set Cold Hard Truth boasts a clean, no-frills sound and exceptionally strong material. Keith Stegall’s production takes the country veteran back to his honky tonk roots, avoiding studio gloss in favor of twang-laden guitars, wailing fiddles, and a crisp rhythm section. Jones rises to the occasion to deliver engaged performances full of heartache, knowing humor, and hard-won wisdom. “Choices”—steeped in old-fashioned morality and gospel tunefulness—became a Top 40 country hit and earned Jones a GRAMMY® for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Even better is the Jamie O’Hara–penned title track, a merciless slice of self-condemnation delivered with an aching edge. From lovelorn ballads like “Our Bed of Roses” and “This Wanting You” to playful rockers like “Sinners & Saints” and “Ain’t Love a Lot Like That,” Jones reconnects with the vigor of his early days. “When the Last Curtain Falls” closes on a note of forgiveness and reconciliation that speaks to Jones’ own turbulent life. Cold Hard Truth is a standout country album on its own terms, as well as a moving late-career statement by a true living legend.