RIP: George Jones, country legend

RIP: George Jones, country legend

From The New York Times:

George Jones, the definitive country singer of the last half-century, died Friday at a hospital in Nashville. He was 81.

He was hospitalized on April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure, the Web site of Webster & Associates, his publicists, said in announcing the death.

Mr. Jones, who was nicknamed Possum for his close-set eyes and pointed nose, and later No-Show Jones for the concerts he missed during drink and drug binges, was a legendary figure in country music. His singing, which was universally respected and just as widely imitated, found vulnerability and doubt behind the cheerful drive of honky-tonk. With a baritone voice that was as elastic as a steel-guitar string, he brought suspense to every syllable, merging bluesy slides with the tight, quivering ornaments of Appalachian singing.

In his most memorable songs, all the pleasures of a down-home Saturday night couldn’t free him from private pain. His up-tempo songs had undercurrents of solitude, and the ballads that became his specialty were suffused with stoic desolation. “When you’re onstage or recording, you put yourself in those stories,” he once said.

• George Jones: http://www.georgejones.com

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