Throughout her career, Jones has been effusive over her admiration for Petty’s touching sense of songwriting. This past February, she performed “Time To Move On” and “You Don’t Know How It Feels” at MusicCare’s Person of the Year gala that honored Petty, a set that echoed her Petty Fest tribute with Kristen Wiig from last year.
“When I was young, Tom Petty was always on the radio — I knew all the “Free Fallin’ ” lyrics and his music videos — and later, I was obsessed with [1994’s] Wildflowers,” said Jones in a statement. “In the last 10 years, I’ve had the pleasure of singing his songs at countless tributes and Petty Fests and every time I was punched in the gut by the sheer beauty of his songwriting. So many gems. So many heartfelt anthems that make you wanna sing loud. So many favorites — you just can’t pick one. His music makes people feel so much.”
She continued, “The last time I saw him and The Heartbreakers play [in 2017], I got to meet my hero briefly and tell him how much I loved him. He was so cool — so disarmingly sweet — and he exuded such joy talking about music that I had the nerve to blurt out, ‘We should jam sometime!’ I was immediately embarrassed, but he was gracious and it was all OK. I guess I felt like I knew him just through loving his songs. Maybe that’s what being a fan is: To feel like you’re having an ongoing conversation with the person after listening to their stories. Now, my stereo is on loud and the conversation continues.”
Camille Dodero contributed reporting.