The George Jones Museum had long been on my list to visit. I had wanted to go since their opening in January of 2015! This past weekend Keith and I checked it out! Thank you Brindy of the museum for setting up my visit!
The museum is located in the heart of Music City in downtown Nashville near Broadway. Amazingly we secured a parking place and walked to the 2nd Street location. We passed by the Butler Run famous for the Bronze dog named Butler. The dog, a Springer Spaniel, Black Lab mix was adopted by the building owners from the Humane Society. The dog was well known in downtown Nashville.
The George Jones Museum is just down the street. A three prong affair, the center is comprised of the Smokehouse restaurant on the main floor. The museum is on the 2nd floor and then there is a rooftop bar. Music is of course part of it all!
We took the elevator to the 2nd floor and the first thing we saw was album cover after album cover. Next we learned about George Jones early life. He was born in Hardin County Texas on October 18, 1932 George Glenn Jones.
It was the heart of the Depression and his was a close knit family. Music was an early part of his life, but sadly so was alcohol, which his father used on a regular basis.
George Jones started playing the guitar as a young boy. Photographs catch him picking at a very young age. Quitting school after 7th grade, running away as a teen he began playing music on the road.
Marriage and the Military
While still a teen, George Jones married Dorothy Bonvillion. They divorced before their first child was born. Owing child support each week that he could not pay found him in trouble. A judge suggested joining the service. In 1951 George Jones joined the US Marines.
It was cool to see his uniform on display at the museum. He served during the Korean War but was not shipped overseas. Playing on weekends gave him great exposure and his musical career began to take off.
Joining the Louisiana Hayride his career began to take off. His first single was on Starday Records in 1954. The museum breaks down his career by the decades. Everyone that loves George Jones knows his music and his hits. They are all lauded and outlined at this amazing museum.
His guitars, his costumes and appearances at the Grand Ole Opry are documented.
The story of his struggle with alcohol and his name “No Show Jones” is documented as well.
Marriage and family
The museum shares George Jones marriage stories including his famous marriage to Tammy Wynette. It is his last and lasting marriage to Nancy Sepulvado in 1983 that rescued him from his demons. After this with her as his Manager his career and financial state was able to rebound and he was known as “ Show up Jones”.
The John Deere Tractor!
As someone that writes about old iron, I won’t lie, besides my lifetime love with his music, I wanted to see this tractor! Knowing the story about George Jones driving the lawn tractor to the liquor store when his 2nd wife (of four) took away his keys I was curious.
I was surprised though to learn that the John Deere 60 on display does belong to George, however the tractor that he actually drove to town was actually a 10-horsepower Cub Cadet that went a whopping 5 miles an hour!
The Collection and friends
The museum shares it all, his story, his collections and friends. Perhaps the most touching of all is the picture of the artists that came together to give tribute to George Jones in November of 2013 in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena. The empty rocking chair with his widow standing beside it surrounded by all the musicians and friends that thought so much of him says it all.
The George Jones Show
In the back of the museum are rocking chairs where you can sit. You can watch music history unfold before your very eyes. George Jones passed away on April 26, 2013. Sit for a bit and feast your eyes on perhaps the best country musician that ever lived.
Call 615-818-0128 for details.
If you like this story you might enjoy reading about the Alabama Music Hall of Fame!