The Gospel according to George Jones

So farewell, then, George Jones.

At the family reunions of remotest childhood, my paternal grandmother Maude’s brother (Uncle Johnny to everyone) would sit on the porch of a river house that belonged to one of our (rarely) affluent distant relatives and, leaning forward into the guitar resting on his knee, do a spot-on cover of Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

The aching arc of Johnny’s (and in our minds, George’s) voice, bringing to life the mournful wail at the dark-hearted center of the song, would pitch off over the river bluff and hang there in what seems to me now a beautiful desolation.

I’m glad that my younger self was vaccinated by childhood against hearing or seeing or sensing any of this - all the generations of hopes and failures roiling through so many of Jones’s best songs, all the individual and collective striving and failing and yet more sad-hearted upstream striving he and his fans knew from long experience.

RIP Possum, the broken-hearted poet of all who, as he put it once, go half crazy now and then.

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  1. LightkeepersJournal wrote:

    If someone was trying to describe real Country Music to a person who had never heard of it, they would have to play them a sampling of George Jones’ CD collection.

    George Jones, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and the many other traditionalists are why today’s current Modern Country is so bland and boring.

    Today’s Country is actually not Country - it’s studio-generated pop and it ALL sounds the same.

    The traditional Country Music artists of yesteryear not only gave the song a personality, they were personalities themselves. Try comparing George Jones or Johnny Cash to any of the Modern Country Music artists of today. There’s no comparison.

    Country Music was about a lifestyle, a lifestyle that was rural, loving, sad; and at times, complicated and poverty-stricken. It was about the ups and downs of living on a farm, working in the factory or fishing in the country.

    It was about old westerns, bar-room brawls, cheating, draankin’ and having just enough to get buy. And, in the middle of all of this, folks loved, laughed, went to church and cried over broken hearts.

    Traditional Country Music was about grudges and forgiveness, right and wrong, family and feuds, tractors and trucks. It was country and it allowed us to whine our way into the enjoyment of a genre of music that was pure, raw and emotional.

    We don’t hear REAL Country Music anymore, unless we get a cup of Eight O’Clock coffee, sit down at the computer and tune up the fabulous You Tube collection of hurting songs such as this:

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