by Charlie Hansen
They came to hear the hits and hear the hits they did as George Jones rambled through song after song at the Charlottetown Civic Centre. With fifty years of hits and almost one hundred top tens in his career there is no shortage of material to perform.
Although Jones’ first single, “No Money In This Deal” released in 1954 garnered little or no attention he quickly caught on to the business of music and released his first hit, “Why Baby Why” in 1955. Ever since then it’s been a steady string of charted material that has become the benchmark for all country singers that have followed him.
The years, and his well publicized, alcohol and drug abuse, have taken a toll on his seventy-six year old body but he still has the voice that has given him iconic stature in an industry that includes many performers that won’t last six months let alone fifty plus years. Jones himself said “since I’ve given up drinkin’, smokin’, and runnin’ around with women I’ve got nothin’ left to sing about.”
Jones has always carried a great band with him and this time was no exception. The group was solid, tight and reverently under stated in the best country music tradition. Absolutely no over the top drums here, just a good solid support system for a country legend. This edition of “The Jones Boys” is a relatively new combination and replaces the “Gaddis/Buchanan” Jones Boys that performed in Charlottetown a few years ago.
Jason Byrd opened the show with his guitar player Rod Jones and did a good solid set of his hits and those that he hopes will be along with a couple of covers. Byrd has a great voice, big and powerful in the best sense of the word, but his rhythm guitar playing lacked finesse and over powered the tasteful backup licks provided by Jones (Rod).
The lone Jones “Girl,” Brittany Allyn, also has a very good voice and sang a couple of good covers as well as providing harmony vocals for George. She has a CD on the market called Like A Butterfly that has a pop/jazz feel and is an excellent project.
Even though George Jones isn’t what he used to be and the ravages of a long tour had taken their toll his treatment of the ballads, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” and “Yesterday’s Wine,” which he performed with Jason Byrd singing Merle Haggard’s part, can still make a true country music fan sit up and take notice. He has that unmistakable “Jones” sound that has thrilled millions of fans since 1954.
Until next time don’t forget to support live country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island every Sunday evening at 9:00PM on CFCY FM 95.1 or on the web at www.951fmcfcy.com. Oh—and keep an eye open for the Kenny Rogers show at Credit Union Place later in the summer. Maybe we’ll have a word or two about that one as well.