There are a lot of murals in Music City, but there's one depicting country legend George Jones that's become a subject of debate. The mural is painted on the side of Nashville's Colonial Liquors (2401 Franklin Pike), where (the Tennesseean reports) Jones was once a frequent customer, and features Jones on his infamous riding lawnmower.
New Nashville mural shows George Jones and his legendary lawnmower 🚜
"I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did."
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) May 8, 2019
The story of Jones taking his riding lawnmower to the liquor store has long been a part of country music lore, but Jones' widow, Nancy Jones, is not happy about the depiction.
"Have you seen that thing?? It is plumb ugly!" Nancy Jones said in a statement to Fox 17 News. 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. 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!"
The Tennessean reports that the Nashville mural was created by artist Shawn Catz, along with several of his musician friends. The image of Jones on the riding lawnmower comes from the Mike Judge series Tales From the Tour Bus.
Jones wrote about the lawnmower incident in his memoir "I Lived to Tell it All." The country icon wrote that the infamous ride occurred in Texas during his marriage to Shirley Ann Corley, who he was married to from 1954 to 1968. After Jones had been binge drinking, Corley hid his car keys. But that didn't keep him from driving to the liquor store.
"I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did," Jones wrote.
The "He Stopped Loving Her Today" singer would make frequent references to the lawnmower story throughout his career. He even appeared in Vince Gill's video for "One More Last Chance" driving a John Deere riding mower.
Jones was open about his struggles with addiction and credited his wife Nancy for helping him turn his life around. After his 1999 car wreck, Jones gave up drinking for good.