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We were both single, both elementary school teachers and both content to hang out, smoke a bowl, drink wine and watch DVDs, as we were in our late twenties and fed up with the bar scene.
In March of 2009, Jane and I fled Austin during the five-day hipster mayhem that is SXSW Music Festival—for Manhattan, of all places. I won’t reveal any personal facts about my celeb-acquaintance out of respect for her privacy.
There's the brown poodle puppy she adopted and named Ralph. Bernard on the cover of her new album, , which closes with a dog-themed song called "Man of the Hour." (Key lyric: "You never lie/And you don't cheat/You don't have any baggage tied/ To your four feet.") The tune ends with a cheerful "woof." "I just felt like my dog-ological clock was ticking," Jones, 30, says.
"I know a lot of girls my age who have gone through a similar thing recently, just really wanting a pet to take care of.
Suffice to say, she’s totally down-to-earth, funny and friendly.
She does not flaunt her celebrity by parading around with an entourage.
It's probably something to do with wanting babies someday.
Even Keith Richards is her buddy, after they duetted in 2005 on "Love Hurts." "He had his arm around me the whole time," Jones remembers. ' I mean, I might have looked terrified, but I loved every second of it." Jones doesn't exactly write fast — "A song happens every few weeks or a month," she says — but that doesn't mean she isn't always making music.
On "Back to Manhattan," which Jones describes as "a highly emotional song for me," she sings, "I have a prince who is waiting and a kingdom downtown/I'll go back to Manhattan as if nothing ever happened." King brought studio stars, including drummers Joey Waronker and James Gadson and guitarists Smokey Hormel and Marc Ribot, to sessions in Los Angeles and in Jones' apartment.
The disc also features songvvriting collaborations with Ryan Adams (on the gorgeous, smoldering torch song "Light as a Feather"), Okkervil River's Will Sheff ("Stuck") and Jones' old friend Jesse Harris ("Even Though").
Without offering many details, she confides that she's seeing a new man — a fiction writer: "It's the first time I've ever dated a nonmusician." And generally, she's delighted by all the new people in her life.
"It was great to get out of my circle," says Jones.
I crossed paths with her a few times when she would come through Austin on tour.