The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

May 3, 2013

Music City mourns country legend George Jones

(Continued)

Each of the stars who performed had a personal connection to Jones. Randy Travis, who was anointed a traditional country voice by Jones, sang "Amazing Grace," a song Jones had once put his own personal stamp upon.

"When I heard him do this song, it literally gave me chills," Travis said.

Paisley remembered Jones allowing him to house his first horse on the Jones family farm and the visits the two would have, then sang "Me & Jesus." Kid Rock asked Nancy Jones to imagine Jones was actually singing as he performed "Best of Me," before checking himself to the delight of the crowd.

"I know that's a huge (leap of) imagination," Kid Rock said with an embarrassed smile. "Unshaven, long-haired confused country hip-hop rock 'n' roller trying to sing George Jones."

But it may have been Charlie Daniels who summed up Jones best in a long, beautifully rendered tribute. He noted Jones was probably the most imitated country singer of all time.

"George Jones' voice was a rowdy Saturday night uproar at a back-street beer joint, the heartbroken wail of the one who wakes up to find the other side of the bed empty, the far-off lonesome whistle of the midnight train, the look in the eyes of a young bride as that ring is placed on her finger, the memories of a half-asleep old man dreaming about the good old days," Daniels said. "Lost love, lost innocence, good and bad memories, and experiences that are just too much for a human being to deal with. He sang for us all, the non-stop partiers, the guys who are alone and the girl done wrong, the puppy lovers, the extrovert, the introvert and the guy at the end of the bar who never seems to go home ... George had a song for everybody."

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