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The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville held an event worthy of George Jones, the country music legend who died last week at the age of 81. Jones’ funeral brought together country legends from all eras to perform and celebrate his life.
Vince Gill, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, Travis Tritt, Barbara Mandrell, Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley, Wynonna Judd, Ronnie Milsap, Patty Loveless, Alan Jackson, the Oak Ridge Boys and Kid Rock all attended the event, reports Rolling Stone.
“I'm so proud I got to know George,” Travis said before he performed “Amazing Grace.” “When I heard him do this song, it literally gave me chills.”
Daniels called Jones his favorite singer of all time, adding, “...You can hear a little bit of The Possum in the vocal styles of scores of young singers who've come along in the last 50 years or so. But nobody ever came close to doing it like the man himself.”
CMT reports that the event also attracted politicians like Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. CBS’ Bob Schieffer and former First Lady Laura Bush also spoke.
Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Trace Adkins, Martina McBride and many others attended, but did not perform.
“Nobody could sing like George Jones,” Schieffer said. “You couldn't because you hadn't been through what he had been through.” He went on to explain that this was why Jones remained popular for over five decades. “He was more than a country singer. He was a country song. And it was never an easy song. ... God made just one like him, but aren't we glad He did.”
Rolling Stone noted that many of the performers wore their emotions on their face and in their voices. Judd’s voice quivered as she sang “How Great Thou Art.”
Paisley told his fans to make sure they listen to Jones older records and “see what all this ruckus was about.” He then sang “Me & Jesus.”
E! News notes that the ceremony ended with Jackson’s performance of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
Jones died last Friday at the age of 81. He was hospitalized a week before, but his immediate cause of death remains unknown.