Can it really be that long ago when Jones first burst upon the music scene with her somewhat beatnik-style vocal performance of “Chuck E’s In Love”? With lyrics that often seemed to relate more to the coffee shop poetry readings of the 1950s than late ‘70s corporate rock, Jones’ 1979 self-titled debut album quickly found appreciation in the hearts and ears of listeners wanting more than just a melody and a beat you can dance to.

Often considered a musical comrade of folks such as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, Jones has blazed her own musical trail through the last three decades. Her latest album, 2009’s Balm In Gilead, contains songs the singer / songwriter had worked on during the past 20 years.

“All the other records, I’ve written in a year or two or three after finishing the previous one,” Jones said. “This one has threads from many, many years. Some were just written and finished recently, but started a long time ago. ‘Wild Girl,’ for example, which ended up being about my daughter, was started before Flying Cowboys, and it was waiting all these years to finish.

“For me, the album feels close to a debut, because the only time you ever have to spend all these years writing a song is your first record, right?”

Jones’ brief U.K. tour begins in Leamington Spa at The Assembly July 5; plays Edinburg at The Queens Hall July 7; Salford at The Lowry July 8 and ends in London at Union Chapel July 9. For more information, click here for the Rickie Lee Jones website.