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. 😉







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.