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.Email this Post