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Nashville Bids Farewell to George Jones in All-Star Tribute

Over 100 notable musical artists converged on Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Friday night to offer a final tribute to country legend George Jones.

Billed as “Playin’ Possum! The Final No Show,” (referencing two of Jones’ lifetime nicknames), the concert was supposed to have been the final date of the icon’s farewell tour. After Jones passed away in April of this year, the decision was made to keep the date as a tribute show, with a lineup of artists performing Jones’ best-loved hits over a career spanning nearly six decades.

Who showed up? Who didn’t? Apparently, this was the place to make an appearance, as approximately 112 artists showed up in Music City to perform—enough to make one wish Possum had been there to see it. The evening was understandably packed with plenty of duets, collaborations and medleys to keep to a modest four-hour time frame. Among the notables in the lineup:

  • Big & Rich
  • Eric Church
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Brad Paisley
  • Lee Ann Womack
  • George Strait
  • Vince Gill
  • Martina McBride
  • Travis Tritt
  • The Oak Ridge Boys
  • Charlie Daniels
  • Kid Rock
  • Emmylou Harris
  • …and many others.

Among the more noteworthy moments of the night were the duets, bringing back memories of Jones’ days with Tammy Wynette as the one-time king-and-queen of country. To that end, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood brought down the house with “Take Me,” while reigning country couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert performed “These Days (I Barely Get By).” The lineup was not limited to country artists, either; Tommy Shaw of Styx did surprising rendition of “She Thinks I Still Care,” while Jamey Johnson teamed up with metal band Megadeth to perform “Wild Irish Rose.”

There’s a right way to close a show like this, and there could have been no better singer and no better song to close it than Jones’ protégé Alan Jackson performing the Possum’s signature hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” For that matter, there could have been no more fitting way to end the song than for Jones’ widow Nancy to come onstage and help lead the crowd in the final chorus.

And so, “No-Show” Jones has had his final no-show, and the fans and the many artists he influenced have celebrated his life with one of the finest good-byes ever staged. And so, goodbye, George, and thanks for all the music.

About the Author


Music blogger Rob Burkhardt has been a fan of country music since he was a child, cutting his teeth on the sounds of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Reba McIntyre and George Jones. In the words of the now-legendary Barbara Mandrell song, he was "country when country wasn't cool." Nowadays, Rob is both intrigued and excited about the mainstream crossover appeal of modern country, as seen in the success of artists like Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum. Even so, Rob's personal tastes in country music remain "old school," tied to the great legends of country. When he's not blogging about country music, Rob Burkhardt holds a day job as a middle school teacher, and is an avid sports fan. He lives with his wife and two teenage girls in southern Ohio.

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Posted in: Country Music, Featured