Country music singer George Jones

georgejones2 George Jones.

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George Jones has long been the consensus pick for country music’s greatest ever singer. No less a country legend than Roy Acuff, whose tearful, gulping singing had been a major building block of Jones’s own style, once allowed, “I would give anything if I could sing like George Jones.” Waylon Jennings said, “If we could all sound like we wanted to, we’d sound like George Jones.” Through the years a who’s who of country stars—Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, countless more—have in one way or another endorsed the sentiment. Like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash (and Merle Haggard, who recorded fine duet albums with Jones in 1982 and again in 2006), Jones has become a modern symbol of old-school country-ness itself. “Don’t rock the jukebox, ” Alan Jackson, among his chief contemporary disciples, shouts to the world. “I want to hear some Jones.”

What Jones made sure we heard in his recordings was emotional presence. Singing open-throated but clench-jawed, he sounded restrained and melodramatic, could come off soothing and terrifying, all at once. He sang with deep-down wisdom of just how lowdown it can feel to be a damn fool. Listen to him, for example, on the 1960 hit “Window up Above.” He informs his wife in the song, one of a handful of self-penned classics from early in his career, that he’s seen her kissing her lover in front of the house. “You must have thought that I was sleepin’, ” he tells her bitterly. “And I wish that I had been, ” he adds, making those seven simple words sound like a suicide note, like a noose he can’t slip around his own neck fast enough. He was a slave to each song’s particular passion just like that. His approach to singing, he told me once, was to call up those memories and feelings of his own that most closely corresponded to those being felt by the character in whatever song he was performing. He was a kind of singing method actor, creating an illusion of the real.

The last time I saw George Jones in person was on a late afternoon in Branson, Mo., sometime in the early 2000s. We’d been scheduled to do an interview together earlier in the day but had gotten our times wrong. His wife Nancy phoned me from a Dairy Queen drive-through to apologize (George craved a Blizzard) and to invite me by the tour bus later to say a quick hello. When I boarded his Silver Eagle a few hours later, Jones had just woken from a pre-show nap and was still wearing a pajama short set, robin’s-egg blue, and his hair, which normally rose as swooping and tall as if it had been styled by Frank Gehry, clung limply down the sides of his head. He yawned and rubbed his eyes and said he was sorry several times in a row for missing our date. In that evening’s fading light, he looked like a little boy.

Time Life Presents - Legendary Country Singers - George Jones
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R.I.P. George Jones, 81

2013-04-26 12:18:07 by pelon


The only debate over the decades has been who has the second-best voice in country music. Or maybe just music. His voice could get your party rolling and end it by making you cry. Merle Haggard puts it best: "The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time. Amen."

Singer Randy Travis dies in Texas hospital

2013-07-09 05:55:53 by Unimportantnonsense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music singer Randy Travis died a day after being hospitalized in Texas with heart problems.
A news release from the singer's publicist says the 54-year-old Travis was admitted to the hospital Sunday in Dallas and died Monday evening.
Travis was being treated for viral cardiomyopathy, a heart condition caused by a virus.
His death is a continuation of a tough run for Travis after a handful of recent high-profile appearances, including a performance during the Country Music Association Festival's nightly concert series and George Jones' funeral

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