George Jones Posthumous Album “Amazing Grace” To Be Released

george jones gospel

Before he could complete his final “The Grand Farewell Tour” tour, country music legend George Jones died last April. Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Vince gill and others paid tribute to Jones during his funeral at the Ryman auditorium and and Randy Travis and Joe Nichols have released tribute tracks in tribute. Now we can look forward to a new release from The Possum himself.

On September 10, two days before what would have been his 82nd birthday, “George Jones – Amazing Grace.” will be released. Jones recorded all the gospel songs on the album in 2002 with producer Billy Sherrill with the exception of “Great Judgment Morning,” which was produced by Brian Ahern in 1994. “Great Judgment Morning” includes vocals by Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Travis Tritt, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith.

The album will be released on Bandit Records, which Jones established in 2000 with his widow, Nancy. The country music star had to convince longtime collaborator Sherill to come out of retirement to make the recordings. One song on the album, Great Judgement Morning, featuring guest vocals by Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Travis Tritt, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, was produced by Brian Ahern in 1994.

“I’ve always said that if I could have made a living some way in gospel music, I would have loved to had that break,” Jones said in early 2000, “but it never was offered to me, a job in that field, so naturally, I got lost on that other road.”

Video Feature: Randy Travis with The Avett Brothers “Three Wooden Crosses”

Photo Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

One of the most thrilling performances I’ve had the good fortune to attend  was a New York City based CMT Crossroads, the first filmed outside of Nashville, featuring  Rosanne Cash and Steve Earle.

The premise of the show is to pair country music artists with musicians from other music genres, often covering the other one’s songs and performing duets.  Over it’s decade-long existence CMT Crossroads the pairings have ranged from the aforementioned Earle and Cash show, also Lucinda Williams with Elvis Costello and Travis Tritt with Ray Charles. Some are less inspired, like Sugarland with Bon Jovi and Sara Evans and Maroon 5.

I would put the upcoming collaboration of the Avett Brothers with country music legend Randy Travis in the inspired category. The Avetts are riding high in their new release , The Carpenter. The album threads with themes of mortality and personal trials. These are themes the recently troubled Travis can certainly identify with.

Check this excellent video  Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses.” I hope the rest of the programs reached this level.

Tune in and find out – CMT Crossroads Nov. 23 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Happy Birthday Waylon Jennings!

Here’s to one of the saviors of country music and the pride of Littlefield, Texas, Waylon Arnold Jenning, who would have been 75 today. Be sure to check out the local cerebrations in your town, like the first annual Waylon Jennings Birthday Bash starting today to be held in Whiteface, Texas. Featuring Shooter Jennings, Whiskey Meyers, Jackson Taylor & the Sinners, William Clark Green, Rowdy Johnson Band, Jimmy Miles, Sergio and the Outta Luck Band, and Tommy Jennings. The event will benefit the Waylon Fund for Diabetes Research at TGen.

Here’s 5 of the finest from “The Hoss.” Hoist a cup and give proper respect.

“Lonesome, On’ry And Mean” on the Cowboy jack Clement’s TV show.

Willie  & Waylon – “Good Hearted Woman”

Travis Tritt & Waylon Jennings – “I’ve Always Been Crazy.”

Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter – “Storm Never Last”

“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?”

Country Acts and the Superbowl Halftime Show

  • Bill Chapin at MLive Music is posting his “entry in my Albums of the Aughts series, highlighting 50 great or near-great albums released since Jan. 1, 2000.” Albums of the Aughts No. 5 is the old time music juggernaut from  Dec. 5, 2000 the T-Bone Burnett produced  “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack featuring Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, bluegrass legends Norman Blake and Ralph Stanley and Grand Ole Opry members Emmylou Harris and The Whites.
  • PopMatters‘ Bob Proehl posts a story on the history of the spiritual/secular divide in country music  (Hank’s Other Side: Religion, Radio, and the Roots of Country Music) and how marketing and technology (radio) helped shape tactics like Hank Williams’ Luke the Drifter character to meet the artists desire to record spititual and gospel songs.
  • The Bluegrass Blog covers Steve Martin’s hosting of Saturday Night Live (his 15th time , outlapping Alec Baldwin’s 13 times hosting SNL.) Martin plays “Late for School” from his upcoming bluegrass tinged banjo showcase album The Crow.
  • The Boss and the East Street Band did a great job for the 43rd superbowl halftime show, and it got me to thinking “When was the last time a country act had that gig?” Checking the all-knowing Wikipedia, that would be 1994’s Superbowl 28 (or XXVIII for you purists) Rockin’ Country Sunday featuring Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and The Judds. And yes I did exclude Shania Twain’s Superbowl 32 and Kid Rock’s  Superbowl 33 .

Travis Tritt Sues Current Record Label

More label malfeasance from CMTTravis Tritt has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Category 5 Records, the Nashville-based label that released his latest album, The Storm, in August. Filed Tuesday (Dec. 11) in federal district court in Nashville, Tritt alleges that Category 5 and label president and CEO Ray Termini misrepresented the company’s financial resources and expertise and denied him creative control over his recordings. Termini is also CEO of Haven Healthcare, a nursing home chain that is based in Middletown, Conn. The Connecticut attorney general’s office is investigating Haven Healthcare, which declared bankruptcy in November, to determine if Termini illegally used Medicaid funds to help launch the record label. Termini has denied misusing the money. Tritt, who has a four-year contract with the label, claims Category 5 currently owes him almost $400,000. Established in 2005, Category 5 also released Sammy Kershaw’s Honky Tonk Boots album in 2006.