George Jones: This Possum's Gone To Heaven
Coming back from a show in Saskatoon a few months back - and prior to handheld devices taking complete control of the tunes in the band van - I got up some nerve to throw on a George Jones cd, hoping that my enthusiasm/drunkenness would allow the rest of the band to not completely dismiss him or me outright. A couple of us already were pretty big fans, and enjoyed hearing the corny but rockin' early tunes along with the waaay too syrupy strings that added gravitas and melodrama to George's incredibly heart-rending takes on classic songs like "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "The Grand Tour". Others, if I recall correctly, were not completely stirred from their hungover dreams.
After the roadtrip, it was my pleasure then to lend Sleights my boxed set of the man. Although I do know that in our band's early days Marsh would sing a version of "Just One More", it had been a spell since George made an appearance in what we regularly do. I should also mention that Dev had included "Tennessee Whiskey" as well for a while, so the man really, as I think, and type, and realize with less guessing and more clarity, did have a bit of a place in what we do/did live as a band.
Still, at a time when I was bugging people to learn some Dwight Yoakam (hey, it could've helped in Bladworth....um, ok, maybe not), it was a great kick to find myself and the band digging into "White Lightning" and seeing it never leave the setlist so far this year. It became even more apparent how Mr. Jones had affected my bandmates as Piper and the Gates of Dawn, of which Marsh and Sleights are part of, just recently included a version of "Why Baby Why" (I think that was the song....I was a little bit tipsy by then) in amongst their usual noisier rock and roll.
Anyways, he's dead, and that sucks. But for The Lonesome Weekends, we'd be a way more sober band with way fewer awesome songs about drinking if it weren't for George Jones. I know there are plenty of places one can find tributes to the man now that he's gone, but I recommend you check out the link below, from a site that typically steers clear of anything stereotypically Nashvillian. It has an interesting angle on how he managed to mess up publicly with dignity, and if that ain't appealing and/or meaningful to you in some way, well, then you just might've stumbled onto the wrong blog. http://dustedmagazine.com/features/1076