[JONESIN' FOR GEORGE] The late George Jones was a troubled man. By the 1970s, the country great was known as much for his crippling addictions, visits to the psych ward, occasional high-speed car chases and tendency to no-show gigs as he was for his music. His offstage antics rarely belied his merits as an artist and his standing as one of country's best songwriters, all of which is whimsically captured on the Portland-studded George Jones (Tribute Album).
Though the album spans Jones' five-decade-long catalog, it often plays it too safe. Neon Renaissance's reggaefied rendition of "Golden Ring" and Sassparilla's distortion-sodden opener, "White Lighting," offer a nice reprieve, but only the latter finds real grounding. Still, the album has its moments. The lone guitar and distant voice of W.C. Beck's "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" is admirably twee. Hook & Anchor's fiddle-driven take on duet "We're Gonna Hold On" imbues the shuffling country-gospel with an air of sincerity. The album does show the range of Jones' catalog, but like many tribute albums, most songs just don't hold a candle to the hard-drinking, heart-aching originals.