A common man with an uncommon talentBy critics, fans, and his own peers, George Jones has been called the greatest country singer of all time. His story is woven out of the richest American fabric: He was born to a God-fearing mother and booze-loving father in the Big Thicket of East Texas, one of eight children who grew up in the kind of poverty written about in many a country song. Whether he was singing hymns with a husband-wife evangelical team at ten, gigging in Beaumont's rowdy honky-tonks at nineteen, or receiving the Kennedy Center Honors at seventy-seven, music and music alone drove him. His voice-raw, emotive, and passionate-made him a star and an influence on other singers. His sublimely expressive vocal phrasing could make any song live and breathe. But as his star ascended, Jones wrestled with the demons that plague many artists. Drinking and related antics led to missed shows, angry fans, lawsuits, and a reputation for unreliability. His marriage to fellow star Tammy Wynette united country music royalty and produced a series of spectacular, bestselling duets, but their turbulent union brought tabloid headlines and ended in a divorce that sent Jones into a downward spiral of drugs, debt, arrests, and violence, which he barely survived. In this definitive biography, country music critic and historian Rich Kienzle paints a rich portrait of a modest man who overcame his darkest moments to create a lasting legacy. Drawing on dozens of in-depth interviews, his own knowledge of Jones's music, and extensive research, Kienzle tells the story of the man, the artist and the career, the controversies and triumphs, in a way that defines Jones's monumental place not only in country music but in American music. From The Grand TourHe was a common man graced with an uncommon talent. During his life, he was considered by peers and fans to be the greatest living country singer. In death he remains, to many, the greatest country singer of all time. . . . His admirers included two masters of American song, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. It's easy to see why. While he wrote some of his own material, Jones was above all a master interpreter. . . . The voice was a raw nerve put to music. Jones reached deeply into a lyric to capture a song's essence. . . . He sang of love and joy, of spirituality and zany nonsense. Yet above all that was his consummate ability to explore pain, sorrow, heartbreak, and emotional desolation. These were things he knew all too well.
The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones
The Life and Music of George Jones
Non Fiction /