Country music singer George Jones’ passing on Friday has some members of this community feeling sad but nostalgic as they remember his music and his life.
Jones, 81, also known as “The Possum,” was just a regular, kind-hearted guy, said local guitar instructor Michael Eubanks. Eubanks worked on Music Row in Nashville, which offered him several opportunities to meet some of country music’s biggest stars. Eubanks reflected back on the first time he met Jones.
“I remember how intimidating it was because I knew what a legend he was,” Eubanks said.
Eubanks said he didn’t personally know Jones very well, but thought about his friends back in Nashville who did.
Eubanks said Jones’ songs are “pure soul” that came straight from his heart.
“No matter if you liked country music or not, you knew who he was,” Eubanks said. “You can’t deny the fact that he was a legend and that he meant so much to country music in general.”
Davie Shull of New Holland is the bass guitarist and a vocalist for local band Anybody’s Guess. He said the band members are George Jones fans of different degrees and that he was definitely an iconic figure in the country music industry.
Ben Newman, who plays guitar and harmonica as well as doing some vocals for Anybody’s Guess, said he grew up listening to Jones, who was one of his father’s favorite musicians. Newman said that Jones had an unmistakable voice that so many people have tried to emulate.
“It’s going to be a huge loss to the music industry in general – not just country music,” Newman said. “He was to country what Elvis was to rock ’n’ roll.”
Shull and Newman said Friday afternoon that the band already has discussed playing a few George Jones songs such as “He Stopped Loving her Today” in tribute of The Possum at their gig in Columbia later that evening.
“He has influenced a large number of musicians and that will continue,” Shull said. “His music is certainly going to live on.”