George Jones may not have written most of his greatest songs, but he certainly sang the living hell out of them. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" isn't really that great when anybody else sings iteven Johnny Cash's Unearthed version is unimpressivebut Jones took the song and turned it into something transcendent (despite the somewhat cheesy production), allowing it to win the Country Music Association's Song of the Year award not once, but twice (in 1980 and 1981). Unfortunately, while fellow legends like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn have cemented their legacies with late-period triumphs, Jones has mostly stuck to the ways of the Nashville machine, despite a few admirable attempts at returning to the traditional country sound he built his name on (for a great primer check out 1994's Cup of Loneliness: The Classic Mercury Years). One can only hope that a Rick Rubin or a Jack White will come along with a suitcase of great songs and whisk Jones out of Nashville's studios for an emergency eight-track treatment, but until then, we'll just have to make due with seeing country music's greatest vocalist live and in the flesh Friday at Bass Performance Hall, Fourth and Calhoun streets in Fort Worth. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $55. Call 1-877-212-4280 or visit basshall.com.
Fri., June 16, 8 p.m.