NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - After more than three decades, the unconventional politician, friend of two presidents, mystery novelist, animal lover and singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman is making something of a recording comeback.
“It’s 32 (years), but say 39, either way, it’s a long time,” Friedman, who ran as an independent for Texas governor in 2006, said in a telephone interview from his Texas ranch.
The politically incorrect former leader of the Texas Jewboys is releasing a new album, “The Loneliest Man I Ever Met,” on Oct. 2. Most of the songs on the record are by people he admires such as Bob Dylan, Lerner and Loewe, Tom Waits and Warren Zevon.
“These aren’t covers. They are interpretations,” said Friedman whose previous songs include “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore.”
“I suffer from the curse of being multi-talented,” said Friedman.
“If you are writing novels and developing them for a TV series, run an animal rescue and then throw in politics, it definitely might have thrown me off track as far as a consistent recording career,” said the man who lists Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and thousands of rescued animals as friends.
Friedman, 70, vows to be less-multi-talented and focus instead on writing, performing and recording material - from the melancholy to the satirical to the sardonic. All of the traits apply to the collection.
He ran for Texas governor in 2006, saying he wanted to be in the governor’s mansion because he needed more closet space, coming in third with 12.5 percent of the votes.
In 2014 he tried unsuccessfully to win the Democratic nomination for Texas agricultural commissioner, making promises to legalize marijuana if he got the seat.
Even in his political years, Friedman continued writing installments in his 20-novel mystery series involving a Jewish private eye named Kinky Friedman who gives up the country-singing life to become a Greenwich Village gumshoe.
In this interview from his Texas ranch – a part of which contains Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch – Friedman laughed when talking about the first track on the album. “Bloody Mary Morning” features Friedman in a duet with Willie Nelson, the song’s writer.
“The only time I smoke dope is with Willie. It’s kind of a form of Texas etiquette. I got so high, I needed a step ladder to scratch my ass.”
Reporting by Tim Ghianni in Nashville; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Diane Craft