Album Reviews

The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones

The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones A book by Rich Kienzle

Artist:     Rich Kienzle

Album:     The Grand Tour

Label:     Harper Collins Publishers

Release Date:     03/29/2016


Veteran music journalist and country historian Rich Kienzle has written the definitive biography about a man possessed by worldly demons, alcohol, cocaine, and marital discord. In his new book he explores the life of the late and legendary Texas native singer/songwriter George Jones. At his worst Jones skipped concerts, ultimately earning the nickname “No Show Jones.” Kienzle’s dozens of in-depth interviews tell stories about Jones’ fistfights with Mel Tillis, Faron Young and Buck Owens, and reveal Jones’ Jekyll and Hyde personality among friends like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. From his late 1950’s Quonset Hut studio recordings in Nashville until his death in 2013 Jones vocalized a disdain for rock-pop-derived country music. Still he won the love from many of rock music’s biggest names with his voice and dramatic acting methods. Ironically, Kienzle chronicles the troubadour’s fall from Nashville’s A-Team to the CMAs and its desire to escape a “hillbilly stigma.”  Kienzle describes Jones’ dramatic personal life, giving the reader a window into his complicated past. The artist’s “goofy, ornery sense of humor “ comes from growing up in Saratoga. Jones’ domestic life languished with multiple marriages to Dorothy Bonvillion in 1950, Shirley Ann Corley in 1954, to country starlet Tammy Wynette in 1969, before finding redemption with Nancy Sepulveda in 1983. Jones’ signature song, a number one hit on Billboard’s charts on July 5, 1980, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” also fits posthumously as his tribute. Kienzle’s book is perfect not just for fans of Jones or country music lovers, but music fans alike.

– Donna Marie Miller

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