Hanging with the Possum

OK, we didn’t actually hang out with legendary country singer George Jones or get anywhere within a 500-mile radius of him. But we pretty much lost interest in Jones since we learned he’s sober and thus unlikely to take us on a late-night riding lawnmower spin to the liquor store. Just kidding! The 79-year-old troubadour and entrepreneur hasn’t slowed down since cleaning up, though he does limit performances to about 60 per year. That means seeing the Possum belt out “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” or any of the other famous tunes from his 50-plus-year career, is a treat as delicious as George Jones Country Sausage, or George Jones Country Gold Cat Food, or George Jones Country … well, you get the picture.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up in Texas? Nothing but country music.

Do you have an iPod? If so, what music is loaded onto it? I don’t have an iPod. I like to hear music over a stereo system.

What’s your favorite way to listen to music? Live? On a record? On a CD? CD ... I rarely get to hear other people live.

Are you playing guitar during your shows these days? No ... My band complained about my playing a few years ago so I quit.

Who is your all-time favorite duet partner? I have had several, but I guess I would have to say Tammy Wynette because of all the great hits we had together.

When did your and Tammy Wynette’s daughter Georgette start singing? Did you encourage her career? She has been singing for quite some time, but I didn’t encourage it because I know what a hard business it is to be in. So she went and chose another profession that is just as hard, or harder ... nursing, but she loves to sing.

Now that you’ve been sober, is playing live a different experience? I seem to get more nervous than I used to.

You’re hardly the only country music star to battle with the bottle. Do you think the music industry contributes to musicians developing substance abuse problems? I think when you make your living as an artist and you spend a good deal of your life in clubs and honky-tonks, and every person wants to be your friend and buy you a drink, sometimes a habit becomes a problem before you realize that it is.

You’ve had a lot of nicknames, “The Possum,” “Thumper,” “No-Show Jones.” Am I missing any? Do you have a favorite? None of them are too flattering are they? I think the hardest one to live down is “No-Show Jones,” but since I am pretty sure I have, all my cars have license plates that say NO SHOW-1, NO SHOW-2, NO SHOW-3, etc. because `now` I do show, so I can joke about it.

You’ve said you’re not a big meat eater, but you have a whole line of sausages. What made you decide to get into that business? The owners of the company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in promoting their line of products. After personally testing everything, I was excited to be involved. It is a great product. •

George Jones


Fri, Nov 19

Majestic Theatre

224 E Houston St

(800) 745-3000