Willie Jones made his late-night debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday with his powerful single “American Dream,” originally released in January. The song appears on the Louisiana native’s album Right Now.
An unflinching examination of racial inequality and broken promises in the country where Jones was raised, “American Dream” deals directly with white supremacy while also lifting up those who have put their lives and careers on the line to bring about change. “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 sings in a booming baritone, accompanied by a live band and performing against a backdrop that shows images of protests, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Colin Kaepernick.
Over the weekend, Jones made another big debut when he performed on the Friday-night edition of the Grand Ole Opry. In addition to singing “American Dream,” Jones partnered up with singer-songwriter Waylon Payne to perform Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ duet “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Along with “American Dream,” Jones’ album Right Now includes the considerably more lighthearted singles like “Bachelorettes on Broadway” and “Down for It.”