George Jones’ Widow Hates His New Nashville Mural
George Jones' widow, Nancy Jones, is not at all happy with a new mural in Nashville that depicts an infamous scene from his life. The new mural shows Jones riding his lawnmower to the liquor store, a legendary tale in country music circles, and she's not hesitating to speak out about her disapproval.
"Have you seen that thing?? It is plumb ugly!" she says in a statement to Nashville news station Fox 17. "It doesn't look anything like George. It is stupid, hideous, self-serving, NOT accurate and certainly not sanctioned by the estate or the museum."
She feels that the mural is disrespectful to Jones' musical and personal legacy.
"George was a great writer, a great singer, and a proper mural should be about him and his music, not a mischaracterization of him on a lawnmower!" Nancy Jones adds.
Nashville's Tennesseean newspaper reports that Nashville-based artist Shawn Catz and his crew's design for the mural was inspired by an episode of Mike Judge's animated show, Tales From the Tour Bus. It appears on the side of the building at Colonial Liquors on Franklin Pike, where Jones had been a regular customer during his legendary drinking days.
Jones shared the story in his memoir, I Lived to Tell It All, though the details are the source of some dispute. He recalled that it took place in Texas during his marriage to Shirley Ann Corley, which lasted from 1954-1968. After he'd been drinking for several days, he wrote, she hid the keys to all of their cars so he could not leave to purchase more liquor, leaving him no choice but to ride his riding lawnmower to the nearest town, miles away.
"I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour," Jones wrote. "It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did."
In the episode ofTales From the Tour Bus that inspired the mural, Jones' attorney, John Lentz, recalled the situation differently, claiming it took place in Nashville during Jones' marriage to Tammy Wynette, which began in 1969 and ended in 1975.
According to the Tennessean, Catz received permission from Judge, Cinemax and the George Jones Museum before creating the mural, but Nancy Jones' statement says otherwise.
Jones himself was quick to make fun of the incident, even making light of it in cameos in Hank Williams Jr.'s "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" video in 1984 and Vince Gill's "One More Last Chance" video in 1993. He married Nancy Jones on March 4, 1983, and with her guidance and support, he turned around a career that had been in serious decline due to his alcohol abuse and addictions.
Jones had one final drinking incident in 1999, when he was involved in a terrible one-car accident near his home in Tennessee. He pleaded guilty to charges of driving while impaired and violating Tennessee's open container law, and after that accident, the country legend swore off alcohol until his death in 2013.
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