In the vein of the classic Johnny Cash: The Life , this groundbreaking work explores the wild life and extraordinary musical career of "the definitive country singer of the last half century" ( New York Times ), who influenced, among others, Bob Dylan, Buck Owens, Emmylou Harris, John Fogerty, George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks.Read more...
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In the vein of the classic Johnny Cash: The Life, this groundbreaking work explores the wild life and extraordinary musical career of "the definitive country singer of the last half century" (New York Times), who influenced, among others, Bob Dylan, Buck Owens, Emmylou Harris, John Fogerty, George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks.
In a masterful biography laden with new revelations, veteran country music journalist/historian Rich Kienzle offers a definitive, full-bodied portrait of legendary country singer George Jones and the music that remains his legacy. Kienzle meticulously sifted through archival material, government records, recollections by colleagues and admirers, interviewing many involved in Jones's life and career. The result: an evocative portrait of this enormously gifted, tragically tormented icon called "the Keith Richards of country."
Kienzle chronicles Jones's impoverished East Texas childhood as the youngest son of a deeply religious mother and alcoholic, often-abusive father. He examines his three troubled marriages including his union with superstar Tammy Wynette and looks unsparingly at Jones's demons. Alcohol and later cocaine nearly killed him until fourth wife Nancy helped him learn to love himself. Kienzle also details Jones's remarkable musical journey from singing in violent Texas honky tonks to Grand Ole Opry star, hitmaker and master vocalist whose raw, emotionally powerful delivery remains the Gold Standard for country singers.
The George Jones of this heartfelt biography lived hard before finding contentment until he died at eighty-one--a story filled with whiskey, women and drugs but always the saving grace of music.
Illustrated with eight pages of photos.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-29
- Reviewer: Staff
Kienzle (Southwest Shuffle) conducts a dazzling, somber, often sad, but always candid tour of the legendary life and award-winning music of George Jones. Drawing deeply on interviews with Jones's friends, family members, and fellow musicians, as well as archival records, Kienzle delivers a cracking good story of the singer whose visceral interpretations of songs not only won him awards but earned him nicknames like "the Rolls-Royce of country singers." Kienzle traces Jones's Texas childhood as the son of a hard-drinking, music-loving father and a deeply religious mother, his early days on Starday Records, and his three marriages—including his marriage to Nancy Ford Sepulvado, who in many ways saved his life and his career, and his tumultuous relationship with Tammy Wynette. The book also covers his struggle with alcoholism, which led to his infamous string of canceled appearances (leading to the nickname "No-Show Jones") as well as his legendary trip on his lawn mower from his house to the local liquor store. Kienzle weaves stories about Jones's songs with stories of Jones's life, creating a richly colorful tapestry. This moving biography keeps Jones's voice alive and underscores his central role in American music history. Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (Apr.)