It's never really not old, but since we've already been going through it with Levon Helm and the Bee Gees' Robin Gibb (who, gratefully, is at least out of his coma), this isn't good news at all. Saratoga native and Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones, the man who could break the Tin Man's pre-Emerald City heart with one of his ballads, has canceled his tour dates through May 20 and is resting at his home outside Nashville while he hopefully gets over a upper-respiratory infection.
"Although George is doing much better, doctors are ordering mandatory recovery time," says a statement from Jones's publicists, Webster & Associates.
Houston was not on those tour dates, which were a string of Canadian shows in Ontario and Canada's Maritime provinces, plus one casino gig in Missouri. Pollstar lists several other shows by Jones through the end of 2012, including a November 23 stop at Nutty Jerry's in Winnie which Rocks Off assumes will go on as scheduled. For now.
Jones will turn 81 in September, two months before that Nutty Jerry's gig, and was not at his best during his last Houston appearance, at the Arena Theatre last May.
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"His voice is letting him down, particularly on songs like 'Two Dollar Pistol,' which came across in a hoarse whisper rather than the insane-hillbilly/East-Texas-pines signature wail of the original," Rocks Off's William Michael Smith wrote. "For us, that part of the show was truly sad."
We hope the Possum feels better soon. Still, this makes us sad. The thought of never hearing "He Stopped Loving Her Today" or "The Race Is On" live again -- and a lot more than that -- is a little more than we want to deal with right now.