*This story is completely false. Made up. Not real. In other words, unreal. The quotes are fake. The vernacular is fake. The descriptions are fake. If you needed this disclaimer to figure this out, there is not much I can do for you. Even so, this has been a disclaimer.
Several of today's country music superstars released statements on the legacy and profound five-decades long influence of George Jones on the world of country music, following "The Possum's" death on the morning of April 26th, 2013. They made known the impact Jones had on their own lives and music careers, and the impact his death would have on their music going forward.
"I wouldn't be where I am today without George Jones," said Blake Shelton. "Typically in my songs my go-to references are Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, but that don't mean I didn't like George. I'm sure a good song will come along soon and I can namedrop the ol' Possum in there." When asked if he would have turned his chair around if Jones had ever performed on his hit show The Voice, Shelton responded, "Well, you know, that's a difficult question to answer. Country music ain't what it once was. It is constantly evolving because it has to be, or the young folks won't listen. I don't think he'd be very successful in today's country music environment, and that show is all about choosing people who fit today's mold. He'd probably come out there with a steel guitar and fiddle, and hell, he might even TALK some of the lyrics. So, you know, I don't know, probably not. Still love ya, George."
When asked what kind of influence Jones had on his music, Luke Bryan became reflective, almost teary-eyed. "Oh man, huge. Just huge. What a life. I learned from him how big an impact alcohol has had on country music throughout the years. I was so shit-faced when I chose to record 'Country Girl (Shake It For Me).' I mean, just filthy shit-my-pants-in-hundred-dollar-bills drunk. I think George would have been proud if he knew that story. Really what it's all about for me is keeping his legacy alive, bringing good ol' fun-timing country music to a younger generation. Shake ya moneymaker loud and proud up in the Big House in the sky, George. As they say, the wheel in the sky keeps on turning. That's Journey. My favorite band. Also a big influence." Wiping away tears from his eyes, and supposedly off the record, Bryan then proceeded to ask, "I wonder how he got Tammy Wynette and so many other pretty women to fall in love with him? You know how many meals I miss and tanning appointments I have to make to keep this party train chugging along? I bet if George used facial moisturizer even three times a week and stayed in good enough shape to wear nut-hugging jeans, he could have added a hell of a lot more notches to his belt. Oh, and teeth bleacher too. Yea, his was not a mouth I'd have wanted to kiss."
Taylor Swift was succinct in her recollection of Jones' influence. "Like oh my god death is so sad but who is that?"
Brantley Gilbert was rather forthright in his remarks. "Y'all know some people's called me a poser and all that stuff, and you know what, it's actually true. I ain't gunner deny it, and if you try to make me deny it, well, hell, I got some brass knuckles with the name a yer face written on 'em. Y'all, you know that song that's my first hit, 'Country Must Be Countrier Than the Widest Part of the World' or whatever, I talk about Cash, Willie, Hank, and Waylon. Man, ol' George's name just wouldn't fit. But, dang, son, his songs is so ironic. I mean, platonic. Wait, where the hell'd that come from, I don't even know what that word means, dern. Aw, hell, what am I trying to say. Supersonic. No, that ain't it. What I'm trying to say is ol' Georgie boy is a nylon. No, he's a roll-on. No, he's a mastodon. No, he's a Nikon, like one dem fancy cameras. Wait, what, no, damn son, what am I trying to say?" When asked if what he meant was that George Jones is an icon, Gilbert said, "THAT'S IT! Yea, man, he's like a tree in a forest that grows up all big and huge but can't see himself as the forest cuz all them other trees is trees too and they kinda big and stuff just like he is but he's kinda different cuz he's a purple tree and purple trees are so dang cool, man."
Gilbert wrote the modern-day country music smash made popular by Jason Aldean that famously references George Jones. "I chose that song, one, cuz me and Brantley's best buds forever, and two, because it mentions George Jones. It sounds nothing remotely similar to a George Jones song, and yea, it kind of makes light of The Possum's days of heavy drinking and of drunk driving in general, incidents which George of course says he would take back if he could. But it sure makes for a dang cool country-rap song, bro," Aldean said. Wearing one of those straw cowboy hats pulled halfway down his face so you can't see his eyes, going for a look that emanates mystery but which pulls off only douchebaggery, Aldean continued, "Yea, I think if George had been my age today and as popular as I am in country music, he'd probably record a rap song too. A lot of people don't know this, but after the D. R. A. I wanted to do a rap party song about George and his hit songs as well. I found "1994" but Joe Diffie fit better cuz his last name got two sybils. What's that? Oh. Really? Okay. I meant to say "syllables." I kinda hated it for George. It might have made him super cool and popular again. I don't know, it's making me filthy rich, but that song is pretty fucking awful, so he probably would have been embarrassed to be associated with it. Hope you're swervin' 'round up in Heaven-town, George."
Two artists who were brief but poignant in their remarks were Jamey Johnson and Alan Jackson. "There will never be another George Jones," said Johnson. "He's one of my biggest influences, and I'm not just saying that. My songs aren't neutered rock and roll, bad rap, or cheesy adult contemporary, so you know I'm not just putting you on when I say that."
Said Mr. Jackson, "George Jones is the greatest country singer of all time. He was a dear friend, and I will miss him. What the CMAs did to him in 1999 was shameful. If people really want to know who's gonna fill the shoes of legends like George nowadays, there are a lot of talented people out there trying to carry that torch. But you aren't going to hear those people singing on the radio."