(April 26, 2013) Earlier this morning, a dark cloud of unfortunate news was sent to me via text message by a friend. I was shocked, like everyone else to hear that the music world, the country music family most especially, lost yet another one of its greatest voices, member of the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame, George Jones.
It would take too much time to list all the countless awards, honors, highlights, and achievements that George Jones earned during his storied career, but that isn’t the focus today, rather I would like to personally write a farewell note to a very special person, who made country music everything that it should be, and without him, it would never be where it is today.
I grew up listening to George Jones like many of you, because my parents and grandparents exposed me to his music. Every once in a lifetime, there comes along an artist like George Jones who has the “it” factor; the voice, personality, and stage presence, and when you discover an artist like that, it’s that much harder to lose them.
Since founding Country Stars Central in the summer of 2006, one of my aspirations was to meet and interview George Jones. After years of hard work and networking, my first dream of meeting him came true in the spring of 2008, thanks to his daughter, Georgette Jones. My assistant Donna Stroup and I were in Nashville for CRS, and George was the keynote speaker at a special panel inside the Nashville Convention Center. Before George took the stage to address the audience, his daughter took us to a room off the side for a personal meet and greet. That day will forever remain special to me, and I am most grateful to Georgette for arranging my very first meeting with her father.
A few years later, in the fall of 2010, I had the honor of interviewing George for a cover story on Country Stars Central. His sweet and loving wife Nancy opened her and George’s busy schedule to grant me the opportunity to shine!! After that interview, I joined Nancy and George many times on the road for backstage meetings and photos. We shared some very special times together, and had a lot of fun.
I can’t help but think of the night that I presented George with his Country Stars Central cover in Rockford, Ill. He was so thrilled to receive the plaque, and gave me many kind compliments about the cover and interview article. It meant a lot to me to get that praise from such an iconic star.
I am thankful for the night that I took my Bappa to see George in Waukegan, Ill. My Bappa is a huge fan of George’s, and had never seen him live in concert before. That night, Nancy took him backstage to meet George, and get an autograph. **I’ll share a little funny story behind this meeting, if you don’t mind. Once my grandpa got backstage, and made his way over to George, he said to him “I can’t see too well, but I am happy to be here with you.” Then George quickly replied, “Well I can’t hear too well, so I guess between you not being able to see, and my not being able to hear, we are in pretty good shape!” ** Seeing my Bappa and George share that moment together was something I’ll never forget, and will always cherish.
I also can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am to Kirt Webster and his publicity firm for the kindness they have bestowed on my magazine through the years. Ever since I started Country Stars Central, Kirt has been there to support our publication in every way possible. The countless interviews, cover stories, media passes, and show reviews that he has granted will forever be appreciated. I would like to thank Kirt for giving me a platform to use my talents, and for allowing me to work with his wonderful clients. I look forward to many more years of building our relationship together.
George may have been a superstar, but his heart was real, his spirit giving, and soul full of love. These are the reasons I started CSC, to pay homage to all the greats that made country music what country music was, and always should be; TRADITIONAL all the way!! For as long as Jones lived, he maintained that sound, and style, because he truly cared about preserving the foundation of country music’s origins with the world.
I just wanted to share my thoughts with all of you, and I hope that you will join me in spirit to pray for the soul of George Jones, to pray for his loving wife Nancy, his daughter Georgette, extended family, and of course all his loving fans all over the world who are mourning the loss of a great, real country music, singer and songwriter.
In closing, I can’t help but think of two popular songs of George’s, “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair,” and “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.” The first, to me, correlates to his final tour that was underway this year. George never seemed like the type who would want to retire from doing what he loved best, and in a sad, but fitting way, he never passed away as an artist retired from the road, but left it doing what he loved best; performing.
The second song, I think about all the time…. Who is going to fill these shoes as we continue to lose these great legends one by one? I am sure there are many that you can name while you read this, but I will list some of the ones that I think are best suited to continue carrying the torch in honor of George Jones; Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, Alan Jackson, Tanya Tucker, Randy Travis, Patty Loveless, Lee Ann Womack, LeAnn Rimes, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Kellie Pickler, Easton Corbin…..you finish the rest.
While we are hurting, and missing George down here on earth, we can pray that he now joins our Lord in his heavenly kingdom with all the saints and angels. There is also a very special country music club up there in Heaven that George is now a part of; Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Tammy Wynette, Dottie West, Jack Greene, Porter Wagoner, Vestal Goodman, Dottie Rambo, Ernie Ashworth, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and so many others are celebrating the joyous occasion of being together in the light of Eternal love.
Rest in peace George, I will always admire your music, talent, and the kindness you bestowed upon me through the years. I didn’t know you for very long, but those few short years will mean more to me than I could ever explain. I pray that you rest peacefully, and with my help, and that of many others, we will see to it that your legacy never ends, and the music always lives on.
Until we meet again…..
God Bless you,
Christian F. Scalise
Our final interview with George Jones; http://www.countrystarscentral.com/georgejonesinterview.htm
ROLLING STONE: GORGE JONES DEAD AT 81 - "THE WORLD HAS LOST THE GREATEST COUNTRY SINGER OF ALL TIME," SAYS FRIEND MERLE HAGGARD
George Jones, known as “the greatest voice in country music,” died today at a Nashville Hospital after being hospitalized last week with a fever and irregular blood pressure, his publicist said today. He was 81 years old. “The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time,” his friend Merle Haggard said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Amen.”
Born in Saratoga, Texas into an extremely poor household, Jones went on to 143 Top 40 country hits; fourteen went to Number One, beginning with 1959’s “White Lightning,” and they continued through the decades including “She Thinks I Still Care” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Sinatra called him “the second greatest singer in America” (second only to himself) while Keith Richards calls him “a national treasure.” “If we all could sound like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones,” Waylon Jennings once sang.
“Most people’s voices are a gift from God,” Garth Brooks once said. “With George Jones, I think it started out as a gift from God and then they built a body around it because anybody who has ever wanted to sing country music wants to sound like George Jones.”
From the Archives: George Jones on How He Lived to Tell It All (1996)
Growing up in East Texas, Jones quickly discovered he could sing, busking on the streets of Beaumont, emulating his heroes Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams. He began performing on local radio and backing local stars Eddie & Pearl in the late Forties, which brought him face-to-face with Williams. Bigger success came after a stint in the Marine Corps, when Jones scored his first Top Five Hit with 1955’s rousing “Why, Baby, Why,” and he stayed a relevant force throughout the Sixties and Seventies. He married fellow country star Tammy Wynette in 1969, and they recorded hits like 1976’s “Golden Ring” and 1979’s “Two Story House,” even after their divorce in 1975. His 1980 heartbreak ballad “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” on his comeback LP I Am What I Am, went to Number One, earned him a Grammy, Academy of Country Music Awards, and is a strong candidate for the greatest country song of all time.
He had an epic career, and his offstage escapades often threatened to overshadow his accomplishments. He missed dozens of shows in the late Seventies (living up to his nickname “No Show Jones"), and in 1979 his addictions landed him in an Alabama psychiatric hospital. In 1980, he led police on a televised chase through Nashville. In 1999, he crashed his car into a Nashville bridge and nearly died. “Through it all I kept reading articles that said I was the greatest country singer alive,” he wrote in his 1996 memoir. “And singers I respect were constantly saying that too. I was always appreciative, but I never understood how such a supposedly good singer could be such a troubled person. My talent, though it brought me fame and fortune, never brought me peace of mind.”
But Jones never lost his ability to deliver heartbreaking country classics. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award last year. Jones spent recent years gigging constantly and relaxing outside Nashville. “My relaxation is when I get back to my farm here in Tennessee,” he told Rolling Stone in 1996. “I’m into miniature horses, and we take them to shows. We’re just having a ball. They’re like pets: follow you around just like your puppy dog.”
Jones was in the process of ending his seven-decade career with the Grand Tour. His final Nashville concert, planned for November 22nd, was the cornerstone of the tour, with fans like Keith Richards, Jamey Johnson, Garth Brooks, Kid Rock, Kenny Rogers and more set to play with him.
Jones is survived by Nancy Jones, his wife of 30 years, his sister Helen Scroggins and children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. “I’ve changed my way of life. I do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and do pray often, even though I’m not a saint,” he told RS. “Hopefully, we all don’t have to be a saint to get into heaven.”
Country Legends 103.7, located in Danville, unveiled their new van wrap dedicated to the memory of the late Blake Dalton who died unexpectedly late last year.
The station announced the new design on their Facebook page on Tuesday.
Blake Dalton was 24-years-old when he suddenly died on Monday, November 12th, from a seizure. At the time of his death, he was the morning announcer on Country legends 103.7 which is a Lakes Media owned station. Before that he worked for a competing country music station in Danville.
The wrap features a photo of Dalton under his hero and friend, country music legend George Jones.
Nashville, TN (April 18, 2013) – Today, country music icon George Jones was admitted to a local Nashville hospital for observation. During a routine checkup, Mr. Jones was running a slight fever with irregular blood pressure.
This weekend’s shows in Atlanta, Ga. and Salem, Va. are postponed. Information on the rescheduling of these concerts will be available soon.
STORY BY JOSEPH HUDAK
George Jones is still a badass. Sliding into the driver’s seat of his tricked-out Audi, the 81-year-old doesn’t bother to buckle his seatbelt. Instead, he hits the gas and starts descending, with Country Weekly in the back seat, down the winding driveway of his manor in Franklin, Tenn. It’s an impressive, sprawling property, 78 acres in total, his forever-young wife of 30 years, Nancy, says. “You don’t have any rich friends who want to buy it, do you?” she asks. She and George are contemplating selling and moving into a gated community.
George seems fine with that change, but bristles when the idea of turning his current home—with its closets of Nudie suits and walls of awards and photos with presidents and artists like Porter Wagoner—into a Graceland-type attraction is suggested.
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