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Friends, family and fans remember George Jones



HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – From the minute Jamey Johnson took the stage and sang “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” as the opening act, country music fans knew they were in for one of the best concerts of their lives. Over 10,000 people filled the VBC’s Propst Arena for the ‘Still Playin’ Possum’, a tribute to the legendary George Jones.

It was a night for his family and friends to share the music and memories of The Possum. “George was, to me, the daddy of country music,” Doug Stone told us in an interview. And even Doug was a little impressed when George contacted him years ago.

“I had met him before going to the Opry and stuff like that and he called me one day and said, hi Doug, and I was like, who is this? He said, it’s George. And I was like oh my God. I said what is it? I was really in love,” Doug recalled, “He said, I want you to come watch the super bowl with me. I said man, I’m about to get on a bus and head out of town.

They all had a George Jones story. Ronnie McDowell recalled, “Here in Alabama, I did an outside show with him, and he got up on the mic after I was done and he said, you see how Ronnie was all over that stage ? He said, I will be in a one meter circle and I will not get out. Because he didn’t have to; it was George Jones.

Jeanne Pruett, an Alabama native and member of the Grand Ole Opry, said George has been Nashville’s true country icon for years. “I loved the music of George Jones. I loved him as a person. And he was a good friend. And I miss him a lot,” Jeanne told us.

Singer-songwriter Billy Yates helped write six songs for George, including two of his biggest hits, “Choices” and “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair.” Bill said: “George was nothing but a blessing to me, my family and my music career.”

He added that there will never be another George Jones saying, “I wrote a song called Only One George Jones and I meant it because there is only one. And many imitate him. I think a lot of us learned to sing by listening to George.

Many of George’s friends made the trip from Nashville to take part in the country music tribute, The Jones. “I’ve done a lot of tours that opened up a lot of shows for George Jones. And it’s been great this week working with Nancy Jones and the way she put this event together,” Janie Fricke told us.

And George’s wife, Nancy, says no one would have enjoyed the night more than George. “He loved Huntsville. Whenever he could play in Huntsville, especially at the Von Braun Center, he was always so excited. He always said good, there’s another good one at home,” she said in her best George Jones voice, “So that’s why I feel like it’s something of which he would be very proud.

The event was taped and will be on a national PBS program, “Great Performances” later.


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