Nashville Songwriter Troy Jones Dead at 64 After Tragic Accident
Hit Nashville songwriter Troy Jones, whose credits included a Grammy nomination for the Billy Currington hit "People Are Crazy," has died at the age of 64. According to industry sources on social media, Jones died in an accident at his home on Friday (Sept. 11), when a live electrical current touched his boat dock.
According to a 2011 interview with 280 Living, Jones, a native of Port St. Joe, Fla., met and married his wife, Patsy, and settled in Sylacauga, Ala., in 1977. They started a family and he worked at a local paper mill, but after he first heard Randy Travis' music in the mid-'80s, he began spending time in the local music scene in Montgomery, working on his songs and trying to learn the craft and business of songwriting.
A trip to Nashville's Bluebird Cafe led to him to join Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and he landed a gig writing songs for Polygram Publishing, followed by Carnival Music, while continuing to work his day job and live in Alabama. Success was slow to come for Jones, and he considered giving up on his dream, but he finally scored a break in 2005, when Kenny Chesney cut his song "Like Me" for The Road and the Radio.
That song was not a single, but in 2007, Chesney cut another of Jones' songs, "Shiftwork," as a duet with George Strait on his Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates album. Released as the album's third single, "Shiftwork" would reach No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, launching Jones in a songwriting career that would see him score cuts from Randy Travis, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson and more.
Currington's 2009 cut on "People Are Crazy" gave Jones and co-writer Bobby Braddock a No. 1 hit, a Grammy nod and a Song of the Year nomination in the CMA and ACM Awards. Currington scored another No. 1 hit in 2010 with Jones' "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer."
Posts on social media indicate Jones retired and spent the last bit of his life in Alabama, focusing on time with his wife, his children and grandchildren, as well as becoming more active in his church.
"He had his priorities straight," his longtime friend, songwriter Wynn Varble, posted to Instagram alongside a picture of them together.
"I lost a brother, the musical community a unique world-class songwriter, and the rest of the planet a salt of the earth, great man yesterday in Troy Jones," Varble wrote on Sunday (Sept. 12). "He was a true student of life and could dig a nugget of gold out of any plain old pile of dirt."
One of Jones' last cuts was Montgomery Gentry's "King of the World," from their 2018 album Here's to You. Recorded as a collaboration with rock guitar maestro Steve Vai, the song reflects an infectious optimism and carefree view of the world.
Friend and fellow songwriter David Lee writes via Facebook that Jones "summed himself up as he was retiring to the lake" with the song.
"I got a pretty thing waiting downtown / I'm in love with a green-eyed girl / I'm gonna catch me a fish, go home, get a kiss / Why yes, I'm king of the world," the song states in the chorus.
"He was the kind of guy you knew was good from the 1st second you met him," Lee writes of Jones. "A southern gentleman genius. His family and wife Patsy loved him deeply like everyone did. His music was important to him. Wrote many beer songs and didn’t even drink. We lost him too soon."
Funeral plans for Troy Jones have not been announced.