Rather than add updates to the original post, here, I’ll create a new post.
There’s a nice ‘In Memorium’ in The American Spectator by Larry Thornberry,
. . . Jones’ large and loyal fan base was fetched in by such heart-rending songs as “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “Still Doin’ Time,” and of course, the granddaddy of all country weepers, 1980’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” This last is possibly the most maudlin song ever recorded. But it won all manner of awards and is on most lists of the greatest country songs ever. George Jones made this song credible with his rich and supple baritone voice and his sensitivity to country music’s major themes, lost love and yearning. The sheer conviction of Jones’ evocative phrasing made even the least likely lyrics convincing. He didn’t just sing a song, he inhabited it, lived it, sold it, made you believe the story and care about it. Between George Jones and the receptive country heart, suspension of disbelief was never a problem. . .
As many have reported, George himself thought “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was too maudlin to sell.
Like most commentators, Mr. Thornberry makes light of the upbeat novelty tunes, but could anyone do them better? What was more fun than “Revenooer Man”?
or “Tall, Tall Trees,” which he wrote with Roger Miller?
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Looking for some material on Eddie and Pearl for Steve’s post I came across this excellent interview with George from 2004:
Here’s George on what passes for country music today:
. . . You know, you don’t hear songs about drinking or cheating on the radio anymore. Hell, if that’d always been true, I’d have been out of a job a long time ago! This new country music isn’t country. You can call it whatever you want, but it’s just downright pop. Vic [Mark?] Chesnutt is like a son to me, but he knows how I feel. Everyone in the business here in Nashville knows how I feel. You ask them about real country music, and they’ll say, “That’s old hat.” Well, that’s bull. Their sales were down 10 percent last year. They’ve completely made a mess of everything. And to tell you the truth, they brought it all on themselves. They deserve it.
Read the whole interview; it’s great.