Oct 012013

Country music fans are in for some legendary and unique new duets this month. Traditionalist crooner Randy Travis is releasing a brand new album of covers, titled Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am, on October 1. This album will include a special duet with Joe Nichols, titled “Tonight I’m Playing Possum,” a tribute to the late greatest country singer of all time, George Jones. Travis will also cover Jones’ “Why Baby Why,” Lefty Frizell’s “Saginaw, Michigan,” and Ernest Tubb’s “Thanks a Lot,” as well as nine other covers.

In 1983, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton recorded their first duet, “Islands in the Stream,” a tune written by The Bee Gees, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The smash hit topped music charts around the world and has sold millions of copies—it has been dubbed the “most successful duet of all time.” Three decades later, the musical legends have rejoined forces to record a brand new duet titled “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” which will be released on Rogers’ new album of the same title on October 8. The tender tune was co-written by Don Schlitz, who wrote Rogers’ classic “The Gambler” tune. Rogers and Parton have also filmed a video for this track.

The legendary “Red-Headed Stranger,” Willie Nelson, will perform live in concert at the Louisville Palace on October 15, the same day his new duets album, titled To All the Girls…, will hit stores. This special album will include duets with some of music’s leading ladies, including Dolly Parton on “From Here to the Moon and Back,” Loretta Lynn on “Somewhere Between,” Emmylou Harris on “Dry Lightning,” Alison Krauss on “No Mas Amor,” Wynonna on “Bloody Mary Morning,” and Carrie Underwood dueting on Nelson’s classic “Always On My Mind.”

Jun 052013

On Friday, April 26, not only did the country music family lose a legend, but the entire music industry lost one of the most influential artists of all time. Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones passed away at the age of 81 at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The legend had been hospitalized for eight days, suffering from a fever and irregular blood pressure, eventually dying from hypoxic respiratory failure.

Born on September 12, 1931, George Glenn Jones began his musical journey in his teens in Jasper and Beaumont, Texas. He never put music aside as he served in the U.S. Marine Corp during and following the Korean War. Once he left the Marines, he made his first mark in country music with his 1955 recording of “Why Baby Why.” He went on to record “White Lightning” in 1959. A decade later, he and Tammy Wynette were married and throughout their tumultuous marriage, they charted with hits like “Golden Ring,” “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Two Story House,” and “(We’re Not) The Jet Set.” Just like his first two marriages, alcohol and drugs destroyed this marriage between country music royalty.

Following his divorce from Wynette, as Jones’ life continued in a downward spiral, his career also suffered a down-swing as he became known as “No Show Jones” due to missing several concerts due to his addiction struggles. While at one of his lowest points, in 1980, Jones’ world and the country music world alike were forever changed as he recorded what has been called the “greatest country song of all time,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” In 1983, Jones married Nancy Sepulvado, who saved both his life and his career, standing by him until his last breath on April 26.

Last year, Jones announced that he would forever retire from touring and scheduled his last show to take place November 22, 2013 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Since his passing, the previously scheduled star-studded finale will now go on as a tribute concert, allowing friends and fellow artists like Garth Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Montgomery Gentry, Sam Moore, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Travis Tritt one last musical goodbye to the music legend.

Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Nancy, daughters Susan and Georgette, sons Jeffrey and Bryan, numerous grandchildren, and sister Helen Scroggins.

Our condolences go out to the entire Jones family! George, you will be greatly missed! Who’s gonna fill your shoes?