Trace Adkins' brand-new single "Jesus and Jones" — his first for Wheelhouse Records and also his first since checking himself into rehab in 2014 for alcohol dependency — is serious business, nodding to country legend George Jones and revealing a contradiction that Adkins says has always been a big part of his character. But the song has a sense of humor, too.
"We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves sometimes," Adkins say. "We're just so absolutely ridiculous, sometimes that's all you can do."
A humorous music video for the redemption anthem has now been released — along with a behind-the-scenes clip premiering exclusively below. And although the music video reveals his personal struggle with alcohol like never before, fans should be glad to see the larger-than-life star boasting an equally big smile once again.
"It's just the story of my life," Adkins says about the track. "I've struggled with the same kinds of things other people have struggled with, trying to figure out where you fit on that spectrum between the church pew and the bar stool. It's something I've had to deal with for a long time. And so did George.”
The video takes place the morning after an all-nighter in the hungover crossroads between heaven and hell, and it's both funny and reflective, but Adkins says he wasn't scared to own his demons. He felt like the whole world had already seen his dirty laundry.
"Hell, that stuff's already come out," he says with a laugh. "There ain't nothin' else to come out, so. . .whatever. And I'm not doing this to draw attention to it, certainly. I just like the statement the song makes that we all have to fight our own battles and struggle with the human condition."
"I go from dry to drowned, lost to found / Stone cold sober to just plain stoned / Trying to live like my heroes did / Is the hardest kind of livin’ there is / Been a tug o’ war since I was a kid between Jesus and Jones," goes the chorus of the song, written by Casey Beathard, Jim McCormick and Tyler Farr.
Shot in one day in the small town of Eagleville, Tennessee, just south of Nashville, the video was directed by Peter Zavadil and works in references to Jones' well-documented struggles with the bottle — like a veritable fleet of lawn mowers taking woozy townsfolk to Sunday church service. There's also infamous archival footage of one of Jones' drunken arrests. Adkins asked for the blessing of Nancy Jones, the Country Music Hall of Famer's widow, before filming began.
"I knew George and I still know Nancy," he explains. "He didn't take those things lightly, but George had a good sense of humor. . . . She said, 'You go ahead, baby,' and that was all I needed to hear."
The video ends on a high note when Adkins' fellow partiers all show up to sing for their salvation, playing to Adkins' gospel roots and showing his new frame of mind. But he's not taking his recent journey lightly either, grateful to be in a better place than he was when a country-music cruise turned into a wakeup call (Adkins got into an altercation with a passenger on the ship in 2014). And in true God-works-in-mysterious-ways fashion, he now feels like other people might recognize themselves in the "Jesus and Jones" message.
"To me the song speaks to a lot of people," he says. "I've had some other singers and friends of mine that have called me and said, 'Dude, that song is about me,' and I've never had any of them do that before."