Continuing on a theme from the past few days, two more prominent bluegrass singers share their thoughts on the impact that George Jones has had on their bluegrass sound.
Steve Gulley got his start singing at the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, before coming to prominence in bluegrass with Doyle Lawson. At Renfro Valley, Steve distinguished himself in part for his mimicry of top country artists, George Jones among them.
Though he has developed his own unique sound in bluegrass, Gulley is quick to point back to Jones as a major influence.
My dad introduced me to George’s music at a very early age and it truly was life-changing. I’ve often said that he was the most ‘believable’ vocalist I ever heard. For the small amount of time it took to sing a song, he WAS the person he was singing about.
He also loved bluegrass and listed as one of his early and biggest influences, Bill Monroe. He taught several generations of singers how to do it the right way – with feeling and emotion.
I couldn’t be a bigger fan or miss him more. His voice will always be my favorite in any genre of music.”
After memorable stints with Doyle, Mountain Heart and Grasstowne, Steve is reunited these days with Dale Ann Bradley, with whom he had once sung at Renfro Valley. They regularly feature George Jones material in the show, like this fine rendition of She Thinks I Still Care.
Dale Ann is a big fan of the Possum as well.
George Jones has been and always will be the icon of country music and his influence is heard and will always be felt in every genre of music.”
Here is Steve again on Grand Tour, a song he recorded for his Sounds Like Home album in 2007, which was a #1 hit for Jones in 1974. It was a showstopper for Gulley during shows with both Mountain Heart and Grasstowne, and remains so with Bradley.
There will never be another George Jones, but you can count on Steve Gulley to keep this sort of passion and vocal dexterity alive in the bluegrass world.