Bob Weir: "George Jones is my favorite musician."


I have a new-found respect for Bob Weir! Though I consider Jones a singer, not a musician. A matter of semantics, perhaps. Many other singers consider(ed) Jones the greatest, including Gram Parsons and Elvis Costello. When it comes to Country music I myself reserve the top spot for Hank Williams. Hank was of course also a great songwriter, which George was not.

The quote is one spoken by Charlie Starr of the band Blackberry Smoke, in a conversation he had with Otis Gibbs. Otis tapes interviews with singers, songwriters, and musicians he meets in his travels around the U.S.A. (mostly, though also in other countries).

Also mentioned in the interview is that Weir likes to include the song "Up On Cripple Creek" by the Band in his live shows. I find it very encouraging that younger musicians like Starr still find the music of The Band highly relevant, as is made obvious in the video.

Like Weir I grew up just south of San Francisco (he in the Menlo Park area, I in San Jose/Cupertino), and in the late-60’s/early-70’s there was very much a "back-to-the-roots" movement amongst musicians in the Bay area. Everyone I knew was listening to The Byrds’ Notorious Byrd Brothers and Sweetheart Of The Rodeo albums, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Dylan’s John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline, Dillard & Clark, and especially The Band. Many songs by these bands and artists were being performed live by locals. Merle Haggard songs were also regularly heard being performed live in Bay area bars and clubs.

In conjunction with the above, we were all going back in time, investigating the origins of Hillbilly/Country & Western music. New Roots bands were popping up around the Bay area, including Asleep At The Wheel, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, and Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks. The Dead joined the movement with their Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty albums. Better late than never. 😉







Always loved George "Possum" Jones, his tone, phrasing and pace are instantly recognizable. I often sing "The Grand Tour" to myself in the car - it has what I consider one of the best and saddest final stanzas in country (or any) music:

There's her rings, all her things
And her clothes are in the closet
Like she left them when she tore my world apart
As you leave, you'll see the nursery
Oh, she left me without mercy
Taking nothing but our baby, and my heart

I am also a big Hank Williams Sr. fan and consider him, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Carter Family to be on the Mount Rushmore of Country Music.  

I also am a big fan of Eddy Arnold (the Tennessee Plowboy), Ferlin Husky, Hank Snow, and I just realized how long this list is but you get the idea.

George's biggest hit "He Stopped Loving Her Today", while an amazing song lyrically, is too overproduced and syrupy for me, so while I do love it I wish there was a "demo version" of it floating around but that type of thing doesn't seem to happen much in the country world (although Alone With His Guitar is an HW fan's dream come true, and there is some Johnny Cash demo material I've loved as well).

As a guy who grew up on a farm in northern Wisconsin, I envy your SoCal youth, California was like a mystical land when I was a kid and I remember thinking how kids growing up there were "lucky ducks" to use the parlance of the time. I actually came to be a Deadhead through country classics rather than the other way around, and I've always been grateful (pun intended) for the oeuvre of these fantastic artists. 

Just out of curiosity, what is your opinion of Return of the Grievous Angel (the tribute album, not the song)?  I have heard mixed reviews, but I really enjoy it to this day.

Anyway, thanks for the interesting post.


Sorry, the above question was meant for you @bdp24 I just realized I didn't address anyone. More coffee, STAT!



Yep @hifiguy42, I figured so. I do have the Just Me And My Guitar album, on LP. The series of eight 2-LP chronologically-arranged Hank Williams compilations on Polydor are essential imo. 

I would like to add to your list Lefty Frizzell (a favorite of Merle Haggard, and singer of "Long Black Veil", a great song The Band included on their debut album), Buck Owens, Johnny Horton (as a kid I started my subscription to the Columbia Record Club with his Greatest Hits album), Johnny Cash (my Mom had his Ring Of Fire LP, which I wore out on our Magnavox console), The Louvin Brothers (if you like The Everly Brothers you’ll like them), Webb Pierce, Ray Price, Carl Smith (Carlene’s Pa), Tom T. Hall, Charlie Rich, Faron Young, Ricky Skaggs, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Vince Gill, Clint Black, Randy Travis, George Strait, Rodney Crowell (a great songwriter too), and Keith Whitley. Though categorized as Rock ’n’ Roll, The Everly Brothers have deep Hillbilly roots, and have made some purely Country Western albums.

And let’s not forget the gals: Wanda Jackson (a girlfriend of Elvis’, and a favorite with Rockabilly enthusiasts. I’ve seen her live!), Tammy Wynette (my personal favorite), Skeeter Davis (in the mid-80’s she did an album with NRBQ. She was at the time married to NRBQ bassist Joey Spampinato, who is Keith Richards’ favorite bass player.), Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells (now THERE is a hillbilly!), Patsy Cline of course, Dolly Parton (when she isn’t pandering), Connie Smith (she’s married to Marty Stuart), Patty Loveless (I LOVE Patty!), Rhonda Vincent (also an excellent mandolin and fiddle player), Alison Krauss, Rosie Flores, and the Queen---Emmylou Harris!

The Grievous Angel album, being a various artists compilation, is a mixed bag. My feeling is that Gram was a much better songwriter than singer (he sings flat throughout his debut solo album. He’s much better on his second), so interpretations by other singers is fine with me.

By the way, I attended the Return To Sin City---a Tribute To Gram Parsons tribute show held at the Universal Amphitheater in 2004. It too was a mixed bag, the low point being the disgusting behaviour of Keith Richards, who was hanging all over poor Norah Jones, who looked horrified. He also sounded like sh*t. They sang "Love Hurts", a song thought by many to be a Parsons song. Nope, it was written by Boudleaux Bryant, and recorded and released in 1960 by The Everly Brothers. A FANTASTIC song! The Brothers version is considerably better than the cover by Gram and Emmylou.



@bdp24 we are very much sympatico on that list (I listened to Loretta's Don't Come Home a-Drinkin'... on vinyl last night with my wife), although I am not very familiar with a lot of the newer artists you mention, but I will change that. For modern stuff, I've been following Gillian and David since Revival came out back in '96 - I've only seen them once, but it was at the Ryman and was pretty magical. I also love Hurray for the Riff Raff, although I'm not grokking their latest effort. I have always dug Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang, and that type of thing as well. 

I was lucky enough to see John and June Carter at Big Top Chataqua in Bayfield, WI in 1997 and just the memory of it gives me goosebumps. What a talent.

That Gram Tribute in 2004 was something I toyed with attending but funds and timing wouldn't allow it. 

I consider the Louvin Brothers to have the best harmonies of any performers I've ever heard. It's spooky how close the Everlys got but there was something about the way those Loudermilk boys sang that could stop a clock.

I've been binging on Ry Cooder and Gustav Mahler lately but I believe I will take a trip down the country lane after mowing the lawn today.

Happy weekend!

p.s. I love Gram's out-of-tune warble on "Love Hurts", as well as the Everly's AND Nazareth's version (love the guitar solo on that one)!


Oh yeah, I forgot to include Steve Earle. Iris DeMent too! Another great duo, this one more recently, was (Radney) Foster & (Bill) Lloyd. I could have included Lucinda Williams, but I don't think she is really a Country singer. Same with Mary Gauthier.



Another great duo are Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams. They have made three albums together, one very recently. All are full of excellent music making of the highest caliber.

Larry served as Dylan’s road band leader, multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel, fiddle, and banjo!), and harmony singer for 7-1/2 years, then went to work for Levon Helm, providing him with the same service. He also produced Levon’s two Grammy-winning albums, as well as those of other artists. If that wasn’t enough, Larry also works as a session musician, with many recordings to his credit. Not just Country and/or Singer-Songwriters, but even bands like The Black Crowes. A very, very talented guy.

Larry and Teresa are coming to Portland in November, so I’ll finally get to see and hear them live on stage!


Not familiar, and I will check them out - Dylan, then Levon? That's quite a pedigree!

I’m a big fan of Charlie Starr. Not so much George Jones. He’s a bit too schmaltzy for my tastes. I like Radney Foster, though.  





I can understand that @stuartk. I'll bet it's because of the production by Billy Sherrill: too syrupy, with all those massed strings. George's earlier stuff, when he was on Starday Records, isn't like that. George even did some Rockabilly, under the name Thumper Jones!



Yes-- that’s it exactly !

I’ll check out the earlier stuff.

I would've expected Weir to name someone with a more obvious link to his own playing but then, it's probably foolish to expect anything so linear from anyone in that band  ;o) 

His playing on Europe '72 is my idea of superb rhythm guitar. I recall reading an interview in which he placed McCoy Tyner very high on his list of influences. It's not the space jam stuff that I enjoy so much as the Americana type tunes. To me, that's where he really shines, playing all over the neck, using a lot of triad/chord inversions combined with single note lines and intervals and placing accents in unexpected places. I never tried copying him but his overall approach has been a major inspiration. 



More of the Charlie Starr interview with Otis Gibbs. Amongst other topics, Charlie talks about the Starday Records era of George Jones. While on Starday, George was much more a Honky Tonk singer, recording "White Lightnin'"and "Why Baby Why". You gotta hear "She Thinks I Still Care", a killer song popularized by George.




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If you like the Everly Brothers this is a must. Two part harmony at its best!!



@yogiboy: I have two copies of The Everly Brothers Songs Our Daddy Taught Us album on LP, but not an original. I have yet to find one of those, but have it in Rhino Records and Ace Records (UK) pressings.

I’m an Everlly Brothers fanatic, with twenty seven of their titles in my LP library (and six on CD), as well as four of Phils’ solo albums and one of Don’s (plus one on CD). The challenge in acquiring them is finding copies in VG+ or better condition. They were bought mostly by 1950’s and 60’s teenagers, who played them on a kiddie record player or stacked on an entertainment console record changer.


My first musical obsession was hearing "The Everly Brothers Best" at 7 years old. I still love it. I think it created my lifelong love of vocal harmonies.

I Stopped Loving Her Today has to be one of the best records ever. Strings and all. 

One thing about Greg Brown (Mr. DeMent 😁) is pretty much all of his recordings sound great, even the lo-fi Iowa Waltz. Also, any fans of William Blake should check out Songs of Innocence and of Experience, fantastic album.  

On my commute home last night, I had spotify on doing its recommendation thang and heard Wayne Hancock's song A-Town Blues and made a pact with myself to start exporing his body of work - strong Hank Williams vibe with guitar that makes you want to stand up and boogie.  


@hifiguy42: Love Wayne Hancock! An old bandmate of mine (Paul Skelton) plays guitar on Wayne’s debut album, Thunderstorms And Neon Signs. Wayne made his appearance during the CD era (1995), but a couple of his albums are available on LP for you vinyl purists (I’m looking at you @slaw 😊). Let’s not forget to mention Hank Williams III, who covered one song from the album.


While I’m at it, let me bring to everyone’s attention a few other duo’s who make music featuring great 2-part harmonies in The Everly Brothers-style:

- I’ve already mentioned Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, but they deserve to be re-mentioned. Great songs, great singing, great musicians.

- Another is the pairing of Australians Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, who made two albums together (they were also married for a time). Kasey also has a buncha solo albums.

- Foster & Lloyd made their debut in the mid-80’s , part of the New Traditionalist movement that included Steve Earle, Randy Travis, Lyle Lovett, Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Clint Black, Keith Whitley, etc. They’ve made four albums together, spread out over time. Radney Foster is pure Country, Bill Lloyd more of a Power Pop practitioner. How the two ended up together I don’t know.

- I think everyone already knows about Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, right?

There are other artists who regularly employ 2-part harmony singing, none more so than Dave Edmunds. At first he harmonized with himself (via the luxury of multi-track tape recording), but once he hooked up with Nick Lowe the two became a great team.


The Everly Brothers were not only great harmony singers, but Don Everly was a master at playing acoustic rhythm guitar (on the custom Everly Brothers model Gibson, based on the fantastic J200, my favorite acoustic. Emmylou Harris likes it too.) Their recordings also feature the best of the Nashville studio musicians, as well as exceptionally good recorded sound. And they had their choice of the best songs, particularly those of the husband-wife writing team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant.


No discussion of 2-part harmony singing is complete without mention of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Though they based their early duo-style singing on that of The Everly Brothers (okay, they copied them 😊), the radically different textures of their two voices did not make for an ideal blend. Yeah I know, a minority opinion.


Feel free to add your own suggestions. You can’t have too much harmony singing!


Let's not forget Buddy and Julie! It was their harmonies on Rock, Salt, and Nails that first caught my ear. Their harmony techniques are sometimes like each singing a different lead melody that just happen work together. 

When you talk 2 part harmony singers I think you have to include Crosby & Nash. Also Richard & Linda Thompson, Simon & Garfunkel, Alison Krause and Robert Plant. And of course there are way too many bluegrass harmonizers to list them all.


"Last of the Outlaws" is the one I like best, so far. Really enjoy that one, start to finish. 









Friend of mine runs a "classic country" radio station (WAME 550 AM, 92.9 FM) and George is featured large on it. He rarely plays anything newer than about 2004 on it, except on Fridays after 5 PM. And there are a few new acts like Chris Stapleton that he’ll sometimes play.

I grew up rebelling against my dad’s keeping the radio on country music, preferring rock, prog rock, classical, and pop. But I "discovered" bluegrass and Americana music along the way, years before "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?", and now find myself enjoying "real" country again, and the level of musicianship they offer.

Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Buddy & Julie Miller, and now Billy Strings and everything in between and Blackberry Smoke for whisky drinkin'.  

Another great resource is WMOT Roots Radio. There's a whole new generation of artists influenced by the older greats and creating some wonderful new music. It's an eclectic mix of old and new, about 50/50. I've discovered new artists and new music from older artists I'd overlooked. 

There's an App available. It's an NPR station so some content is from other sources like World Cafe. But mostly homegrown Americana/Country/Roots Rock. I consider it a national treasure.

The best times are 1pm to 7pm CT, or after midnight. There's an interesting Sunday night show called "Strange Roots Radio" hosted by a group called the Codovas. Humorous but some cool songs. 

KVMR radio online offers a number of Americana, Country and Bluegrass programming slots, including Good Stuff, Hard Country and County Line Bluegrass.


We lived in the country, rural, no internet, no towns but my Mom liked music.  I remember her favorite, Hank Williams.  We also listened to The Masters Family, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Pride, Porter Waggoner, Hank Snow, Skeeter Davis, on and on.  My dad could get Live at the Grand Old Opry on our console record player.  We lived on a hill 800 miles from Nashville.  I got so sick of the country twang, I was almost militant against it.  Especially, when the 70's came around. 

Now, I have, after 50 years, softened my stance.  I have been listening to Marty Stuart, Buddy and Julie Miller for example.  Newer artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan, Fleet Foxes and Billy Strings.  These bands go back to Americana roots and keep the classic sound going and are very fine songwriters and players!

Fun thread about terrific music!

What do you all think of The Louvin Brothers?


Saw George Jones late ‘78, I think.  a young lady opened for him that I’d never heard  before, Shelby Lynn.  Great show!

"What do you all think of The Louvin Brothers?"

The finest harmonizers of the genre, ever. "You're Running Wild" and "When I Stop Dreaming" give me goosebumps every time. Plus, the cover art of the "Satan Is Real" album is hysterical. I keep at least 20 tracks by Charlie and Ira in my library.

George Jones was one of the best singers in any genre of music. I find a lot of his music way over-produced and arranged, but "Just Someone I Used To Know" with Tammy is simply heartbreaking.

If you're into classic honky-tonk, you have to listen to The Country Side of Harmonica Sam.  They're absolutely amazing, even apart from the fact that they're from Sweden.




Dave Edmunds duetting with Country music royalty in the form of Carlene Carter. This song is found on Carlene’s Musical Shapes album, which was produced by Dave’s partner in the great band Rockpile. If I remember correctly Carlene and Nick were married at the time. After Nick she was with The Heartbreakers’ Howie Epstein. What a babe!

Dave and Nick are both huge Everly Brothers fans, and included a 7" EP containing their recordings of four songs by The Brothers with the first pressing of the Rockpile album, one of the greatest of the 1980's.

I’m delighted to find myself surrounded by like-minded music lovers!






  While I like George Jones, I also remember that Bob Weir has done a LOT of drugs........ LOL


Country artists getting the most playtime recently in mapman household.