One of the very first records I memorized as a kid was part of a George Jones and Tammy Wynette collection. It was this song that I sang during chores and hummed on the bus ride to school. Although I was too young to understand the context, I loved it because of its heart. In fact, I still sing my own out to this melody every chance I get.
Even Grandma’s disapproving stories of George’s hard-drinkin’ and cheatin’ ways did not hold sway over my adoration of this man. He just seemed to bring that out in folks. I recall reading his memoir the same year I packed my bags, got on a plane, and headed to Colorado.
Man, that book was a hoot. Truly. But underneath all the anecdotes, you could hear his real voice, and I understood what he was made of.
Over the years, it’s been a sure bet that if a country singer emulated him, I was going to be an instant fan. I think Alan Jackson put it best, ““Not everybody needs to sound like a George Jones record, but that’s what I’ve always done, and I’m going to keep it that way — or try to.” It’s how we country folk pay our respects to great people.
Reading through all the tweets and posts of today’s stars, I am comforted by all of my favorite singers united display of genuine sorrow. Someone’s going to have to step into his shoes now, and they’re some pretty big ones to fill.
Rest In Peace George. You did live to tell it all.
Images courtesy YouTube.com and Rolling Stone Online.