For the first time in a couple of months, I caught myself almost crying when I listened to George Jones, since his passing in April. Just the sound of his voice, alone, chokes me up, even now. He was my first musical hero, when I was a kid. He’s the reason I decided I wanted to be a musician, so when I was 4, my Mom bought me a Mark II acoustic guitar for Christmas. I played that thing every day, and it ended up pretty beat up, after a couple of years. Every time a string broke, I’d just throw it away, and that’d be the end of it. I thought that since I had 5 more, it didn’t matter. In fact, I thought that’s why there were 6 strings on a guitar. So, if you broke one, you still had more on there to play. I couldn’t play a lick, but I thought I could. I’d see George Jones on TV, strumming his Martin guitar, and singing better than I’d ever heard anybody sing before. You know how, when you’re a kid, people always ask what you want to be when you grow up? Well, I’d always say “George Jones”, not knowing that you can’t just, literally, be another person when you grow up. Even when I started playing an electric guitar, at the age of 9, I always came back to George Jones, even though I was dedicated to playing KISS and Black Sabbath tunes, at the time. For a couple of years, that’s the only Country I listened to. Not too long after that, though, I realized that you can be a fan of more than one type of music, and you can play more than one type of music. That realization came to me, thanks to George Jones. As I said in the last post, when I was talking about John Prine, it’s all in the songs. George Jones, though he didn’t write all of his own stuff, was a master of songs. Being able to pick, and deliver, a great song is just as much of a craft as being able to write a great song. George Jones, almost more than anyone, made me the musician I am today. I don’t see anybody in music, today, who is as influential as George Jones. Nobody has the songs or the delivery to inspire someone and change their lives. The industry has wiped away any chance of having timeless music. It’s all about getting a hit. George Jones wasn’t about getting a hit. George Jones was about getting a great song, and that makes all the difference.
Here’s a video of my cover of George Jones’s The Grand Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4KuUwbSGzg
The man, himself, making the women scream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnJsldTCT6I