If you know anything about Country music from the last 50 years, you absolutely know the name of George Jones. The late, great George Jones made a huge impact on music and, more specifically, Country music. Throughout his musical career, Jones had amassed a huge amount of singles. By the time he had passed away on April 26th, 2013, George Jones had recorded and released over 700 songs, many of which went on to become hits for him.

For the one-year anniversary of the death of George Jones, several tributes had been planned. One of which was a 2-CD tribute album released by the record label Deer Lodge. The new release is entitled Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones.

Like any tribute album worth checking out, Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones contains a lot of variety in the music within the two CDs worth of material. Because of the fact that Jones was such a big part of the Country music scene when he was alive, you will definitely find plenty of Country-flavored tributes throughout the 30 tracks of the album. But this new collection ventures into other musical genres, as well. And while the release does not contain major label talent or any of other Country music stars that were contemporary to Jones while he was in his prime, the artists that have been gathered for this release still give their all and produce some fine interpretations of Jones’ work.

Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones begins with one of George Jones’ best-loved tracks, “White Lightning”. The honor of covering this track goes to the Portland-based Sassparilla who took the song and gave it a slight punk edge to it. That edge seems to work for the track as the lyrics of the track also contain a bit of attitude. The music on this track ends up being rather sparse but still played with plenty of energy that will remind some of a Country-flavored Black Keys sound. The guitar and harmonica that make up the majority of the music on the track play off each other well and create a great take on this song.

Dov Rosenblatt and Talia Osteen are collectively known as The Wellspring, a duo that creates a sound that borrows from The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, Indie Rock and just a little Country. For this release, the band creates their take on the song “She Thinks I Still Care”. The resulting Folk/Rock feel of the track feels right at home with the slightly heartbreaking lyrics of the song.

Lewi Longmire & Portland Country Underground ends up being the first artist on the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones release that truly feels right at home with Jones’ music. The band creates a perfect modern-day Country version of the George Jones classic “Still Doing Time”. The resulting track feels as authentic sounding as anything that would have been created by Country music artists from back when Jones recorded his own music. This version by Lewi Longmire & Portland Country Underground may sound a little out of place for today’s Country radio formats but is just right for those music buyers who continue to look for that genuine Country feel.

Of all of the tracks on the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones album, one of the best interpretations on the release is the version of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by Stephanie Lynn. For this version, the female vocals from Lynn give the song a slightly different approach than most people are used to with this song. This is another interpretation on the release that helps to keep the vision and spirit of real Country music alive. The track could easily find its way onto today’s Country music radio formats and still fit right in.

Just as the album crosses over the one-hour mark, the band Hearts of Oak appears to remind the listener that the album is not made up of all Country music artists. The band adds some Rock and Roll elements into their music to create their Alt-Country sound. The harder musical approach by the band gives their version of George Jones’ song “Must’ve Been Drunk” a bit of an edge and helps to bring out the true emotional feeling of the lyrics of the song.

Throughout the thirty songs that make up the release, you’ll find plenty of tracks that you’ll enjoy. And after many really enjoyable songs that all pay tribute to George “The Possum” Jones himself, the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jonesalbum comes to an end. With a simple man-and-his-guitar approach, the tune “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” by W.C. Beck ends up being one of the simplest interpretations and one of the brightest spots on the release. Because of the sound quality on the song, the track from Beck had to have been recorded in a very small room. The tinny feel of the recording gives the song a certain amount of personality that works with the emotional words of the track. The song that was once a staple of George Jones’ career now seems to have been written to include him in the list of artists mentioned in the lyrics. What a way to bring the tribute album to a close.

Whether you are a George Jones fan or have yet to discover the music of this 1992 Inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones album is a great way to discover some of the songs that helped shape his career.

 

To hear the music on the album before you buy, check out the Deer Lodge’s Soundcloud profile for the album.  

As a bit of a preview, check out the video to Sassparilla’s “White Lightning”.

Check out In Music We Trust for all things music related.

 

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