George Jones’s funeral was the stuff of country music royalty. A three-hour affair, it included performances by Montgomery Gentry, Alan Jackson and Kid Rock. But nobody brought the house down the way Patty Loveless and Vince Gill did when they played “Go Rest High On That Mountain.”
The tribute began with several stories from Gill. He recounted how Jones mistakenly assumed that Gill loved ravioli, resulting in several cases being brought along on tour. Loveless also shared her memories of Jones before they launched into the song.
The first chorus brought the audience to its feet – you can see Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, teary-eyed, in the front row, alongside many country stars and Jones’s family. But by the time Loveless and Gill got to the second chorus, Gill too was crying, unable to finish his phrases. Loveless took over with her strong voice until Gill started his solo.
It’s a heart-wrenching performance from start to finish – few demonstrate better why Jones was one of the most influential country singers of the 20th century.
The tears are actually audible in Gill’s voice, but they were always hovering in Jones’s singing, making songs like “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “A Good Year For The Roses” some of the most sorrowful in country history.