11-11-2005 THE GRAND TOUR: GEORGE JONES COUNTRY TO OPEN AT THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM IN DECEMBER

THE GRAND TOUR:  GEORGE JONES COUNTRY TO OPEN AT THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM IN DECEMBER
 
New Display Honors Hall of Fame Member, Honky-Tonk Legend

NASHVILLE, Tenn., November 11, 2005 - The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum salutes one of country music's greatest living singers when it unveils The Grand Tour: George Jones Country on Friday, December 2, 2005.  The exhibit will run through May 2006.

 The Grand Tour will examine Jones' 50-year career, from his early Starday recordings, through the scores of country classics recorded solo and with third wife and frequent duet partner Tammy Wynette, to his 1980 landmark recording of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and beyond. 
 
"George Jones is, quite simply, one of the most influential singers in the history of country music," said Mick Buck, the Museum's curator of collections.  "In many ways, he is the archetype of an era that will not come around again - a link between the genre's rural past and its contemporary global presence.  Like his idols Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, Jones lived his songs; his humble origins, painful divorces and other personal problems can be heard in every note he sings.  And while few can match Jones' hard-core country instincts or the sheer longevity of his career - he's still making vital recordings and performing dynamic live shows - it is his vocal gifts that are unequaled."
 
Born in 1931 in a log cabin in an oil-patch settlement in a remote East Texas area known as the Big Thicket, Jones was raised by an alcoholic father and found refuge in music.  As a child, he sang for tips on the streets of Beaumont, Texas.
 
In the late 1940s, Jones began performing on Texas radio stations.  While backing husband-and-wife team Eddie & Pearl on Beaumont's KRIC, Jones had his only meeting with Williams, who had dropped by the station to promote a local show date.
After a brief marriage and a stint in the Marine Corps, Jones cut his first single in Beaumont in 1954, a song titled "No Money in This Deal."  The session took place in the home studio of Starday Records owner Jack Starnes.  "Why Baby Why," Jones' first Top Five hit, was released on Starday in 1955.

 Soon after, Jones moved to Nashville, where he recorded dozens of classics on the Mercury, United Artists and Musicor labels, including "White Lightning" (his first #1), "The Window Up Above," "She Thinks I Still Care," "The Race Is On" and "Love Bug."
 
In 1969, Jones married Tammy Wynette, and over the next decade the pair recorded hits such as "We're Gonna Hold On," "Golden Ring" and "Near You."  During this same time, Jones signed with Epic Records and began working with Wynette's producer, Billy Sherrill.  This fruitful collaboration yielded many of Jones' greatest vocal performances, including "A Picture of Me Without You" and "The Grand Tour."
 
The 1970s and early 1980s were dark times for Jones.  In the wake of his 1975 divorce from Wynette, he was arrested and hospitalized numerous times and missed dozens of performances.  Yet, in the midst of this adversity, he recorded the song that would become his signature.  "He Stopped Loving Her Today" hit #1 in 1980 and became Jones' first million seller.  The song helped him win CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Awards in 1980 and 1981.
 
In 1983, Jones married his fourth wife, Nancy Sepulvado.  Beginning in 1990, he recorded a string of critically acclaimed albums for MCA, including The Bradley Barn Sessions.  Near the end of the decade, he signed with Asylum Records.  His Asylum release The Cold Hard Truth achieved gold sales status and garnered Jones the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song "Choices."
 
Jones' career continues to thrive, and he shows no sign of slowing down; his latest album, Hits I Missed . . . And One I Didn't, was released in September 2005 on Bandit Records.
 
Jones was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.
 
            Among the costumes, instruments and other artifacts on display in The Grand Tour are:
 
·        A 14" x 20" black and white photograph of 12-year-old Jones on the streets of Beaumont, Texas;
 
·        A reproduction Louisiana Hayride poster advertising Jones as the headliner (Elvis Presley and Johnny Horton were among the opening acts);
 
·        Jones' "White Lightning" black wool Nudie suit, circa 1960, featuring embroidered moonshine jugs and rhinestone lightning bolts;
 
·        A Harvey Krantz-designed, short-sleeved stage costume worn on Jones' 1981 HBO special;
 
·        A George Jones model Martin D-41 guitar with mother-of-pearl "GJ" inlay;
 
·        The George Jones Single Action Army .45, a pearl-handled revolver adorned with Jones' name and likeness and musical notes in 24-karat gold.  The gun, which was authorized by the United States Historical Society, is housed in an oak case and includes Jones' CD 50 Years of Hits.
 
Many of the artifacts featured in this exhibit are from the collection of George and Nancy Jones. 
 
The Grand Tour: George Jones Country is an informal exhibit that supplements themes or aspects of the Museum's permanent exhibition, Sing Me Back Home:  A Journey Through Country Music.  Other current spotlight exhibits focus on Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner and famous country music couturiers.
 
           
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The Museum's mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture.  With the same educational mission, the Foundation also operates CMF Records, the Museum's Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, historic RCA Studio B, and Hatch Show Print.
 
The Ford Division of the Ford Motor Co. is a Founding Partner of the $37 million Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, which opened on May 17, 2001. 
 
More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available by calling (615) 416-2001.