By FIELDING BUCK
Country music patriarch George Jones begins a month-long tour today that will include the Inland area.
His show, which celebrates 52 years of hitmaking, will stop at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula on Oct. 13 and the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert on Oct. 17.
Jones called it a “fairly new show” in a phone interview from his home near Nashville, prior to heading out to his first stop, in Renfro Valley, Ky.
He said his concerts last two hours and sometimes longer. If the audiences are good, “I just let ‘em run.”
The song stack is a mix of old and newer material. He opens with his first hit single, “Why, Baby, Why,” from 1955. He’s had so many since then that a couple of his anthologies cover three CDs.
One he can’t leave without singing is his signature song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
Rolling Stone calls Jones the greatest pure singer in country music. He is revered by younger recording artists, and several attended his 76th birthday party earlier this month.
“I love ‘em,’ Jones said. “We don’t even talk business. We go out and eat and chat.”
He expressed several reservations about “new country.” He blames record and radio executives for shutting out older people who want heart and soul and yet losing the younger ones.
“I have talked to so many that would give their right arm to do a traditional country album, and they tell them it won’t sell.”
He added in a good-natured tone, “The only thing I wish they’d do in the future is find their own identity and quit calling it country.”
But he expressed happiness with being on tour and in demand with his audiences.
“We work more than we want to, really.”