27 April 2013

George Jones, 1931-2013

George Jones (b. 12 Sept. 1931), one of the true giants of country music, died yesterday. Both his singing style and his material influenced many bluegrass musicians, notably the Stanley Brothers.

Ralph Stanley has recalled that he and his brother Carter went to see a George Jones show and were so taken by his song 'The window up above' that (with his permission) they recorded it before he had done so himself. Thirty years ago, interviewed by Pete Wernick, Ralph named George Jones as his favourite country singer: 'it seems like he's just got all in his voice that everybody else has got a little of'.*

Tributes to George Jones by Dr Stanley and other leading bluegrass figures can be read on Bluegrass Today, which will publish more on the subject. Meanwhile, Ray O'Brien has marked the occasion on his Bluegrass in Ireland Facebook with a video of George Jones singing 'Amazing grace'.

* David W. Johnson, Lonesome melodies: the lives and music of the Stanley Brothers (2013), p. 184; Tony Trischka and Pete Wernick, Masters of the 5-string banjo (1988), p. 103.

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