George Jones Widow Hates New Nashville Mural. “It Is Stupid.”
Nancy Jones is not happy about a new mural that has popped up in Nashville depicting the legendary story of George Jones riding a lawnmower to the liquor store (see below). The mural was recently unveiled on the side of Colonial Liquors located at 2401 Franklin Pike in Nashville where George Jones used to be a frequent customer, and country songwriter Gary Gentry known for writing songs for George Jones used to work. Colonial Liquors has been a fixture in Nashville just south of downtown for over 40 years.
The mural was unveiled earlier this week, and was painted by Nashville artist Shawn Catz along with help from local musicians. Instead of being a more accurate portrayal of the Possum, the mural takes its inspiration from the Mike Judge animated series “Tales From The Tour Bus” and the George Jones episode that aired in 2017. Catz and Colonial Liquors say they secured permission from Mike Judge and Cinemax before painting the mural, and also got the blessing of the George Jones Museum on Lower Broadway. However George’s widow Nancy is having none of it.
“Have you seen that thing?? It is plumb ugly!” was Nancy Jones’s response when she was asked to comment on it. “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!”
One important note about the George Jones Museum is that it’s no longer solely owned by the George Jones estate. It was sold in 2016 to an investor named Paul Jankowski after financial woes at the property, though the estate still has affiliations with the property. However, the George Jones Museum wouldn’t have the ability to speak on the behalf of the George Jones estate.
The lawn mover incident is probably the most notorious story about George Jones, but many don’t know is that George Jones chose this slow-moving mode of transportation to procure alcohol more than once.
The first and most well-documented lawnmower incident was the late 60’s. George Jones was living 8 miles outside of Beaumont, TX with his then wife Shirley Ann Corley. Jones had experienced a few #1 hits by that time, and his success fueled his wayward ways with alcohol. He was drinking so bad, his wife Shirley resorted to hiding all the keys to the vehicles before she would leave the house so George wouldn’t drive to the nearest liquor store in Beaumont.
But that didn’t stop him. After tearing the house apart looking for a set of keys one time, George looked out the window to see the riding lawnmower. “There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat. A key glistening in the ignition,” George recalled in his autobiography. “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.”
The second incident happened when he was married to Tammy Wynette. Taking a cue from George’s previous wife Shirley, Tammy hid all the keys from George, but Wynette woke up one night at 1 a.m. one night to find George missing. “I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away,” Tammy recounted in 1979. “When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He’d driven that mower right down a main highway. He looked up and saw me and said, ‘Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she’d come after me.’”
The George Jones lawnmower incidents later went on to be memorialized in many country videos, including Hank Williams Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” Vince Gill’s 1993 hit “One More Last Chance” that includes the line, “She might have took my car keys, but she forgot about my old John Deere,” John Rich’s “Country Done Come to Town,” and George’s own “Honky Tonk Song.”
Nancy Jones and the George Jones Museum received their own criticism for affiliating George Jones with alcohol when they launched a George Jones brand of Moonshine. Nancy said at the time, “He’d say the alcohol controlled him all his life, and now he’s controlling it.”
George Jones’s daughter Georgette had a different take. “Trying so hard to remain silent but I can’t…” she said at the time. “I’m sorry but I hope other people can see the truth. Dad is rolling in his grave over this! Anyone who truly knew him would know how much he would hate this!”
George Jones had a notorious drinking problem throughout his career. At one point in 1979, despite being one of the best-selling artists in country music history, Jones was bankrupt and destitute, living in his car, and weighed around 100 pounds. George spent time in mental institutions tied to his drinking multiple times and had to be straitjacketed on numerous occasions. He became known as “No Show Jones” because he missed so many engagements over his career.
Waylon Jennings and others first helped get George Jones sober in the early 80’s, and the result was a resurgence in his career. However later in life George Jones would fall back into his old habits. George gave up drinking and drugs for good in 1999 after wrecking his car and spending two weeks in the hospital. He passed away in 2013.
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Loving the new #georgejones #talesfromthetourbus mural down the street from @pretopostmodern at #colonialliquors ❤️ Didn’t get close enough to see artist sig. 😕 #nashville #nashvillehistory #mikejudge #nashvillemurals #nashvillestreetart #8thavenuesouthnashville #berryhill #woodlandinwaverly
May 10, 2019 @ 8:41 am
I’m sorry his widow doesn’t like it, but I think it’s cool. Plus it keeps him alive in a way. Long live the Possum!
R E Oliver
May 10, 2019 @ 1:10 pm
I knew George,and peewee from West Nashville.I tell ya exactly what he say.Go find the yuppie SOB that painted THIS CRAP
May 10, 2019 @ 8:48 am
I hate to burst Nancy’s bubble, but that actually is a pretty fair representation of George in the early ’70s when he sported the mini-mullet, other than the fact that he didn’t generally go out in public in a t-shirt.
May 10, 2019 @ 9:52 am
He isn’t wearing a t-shirt. He’s wearing an indigo colored polo shirt. It’s based on this image from Mike Judge’s “Tales From The Tour Bus”. https://i.redd.it/yvicvwe050g01.png
May 11, 2019 @ 9:49 am
I’ll take your word for it, I can’t really tell from the picture and haven’t seen the show. It still seems a little casual for the Possum given that I’ve seen photos of him doing yard work in a button-up dress shirt and brown polyester shirt. Maybe it was casual Friday.
May 10, 2019 @ 9:01 am
Worse things have happened. At least he’s still getting remembered.
May 11, 2019 @ 9:51 am
Yeah, like that time Karl Childers split your skull with a lawnmower blade. I’d say that was worse. Mmmmm-hmmmm.
May 10, 2019 @ 9:07 am
To be honest, if you didn’t know that story it would be kind of hard to tell that that was George Jones, and you may even miss it even if you did. I don’t mind it, but I do think she’s overreacting.
May 10, 2019 @ 9:22 am
When you leave legends like this in your wake, you just rock! And always will. Roll on.
May 10, 2019 @ 9:39 am
I agree with his wife & daughter. It is ugly. I feel this is very short minded of this store to paint such an disrespectful mural about a country music legend. He was so much more than a man on a lawnmower. I thought they valued him “as a customer”. You dont do this to a friend. Hes probably the reason they were in business for 40 years and this is how they show appreciation. No thanks!
May 10, 2019 @ 11:36 am
I disagree. Jones played the incident for all it was worth, including the two appearances in the major music videos mentioned above.
If we were talking about a bronze statue in a park I might agree, but it’s a liquor store sign. In that context I think it’s appropriate.
May 10, 2019 @ 10:21 am
She’s mad because she didn’t get paid.
May 10, 2019 @ 1:02 pm
King Honky Of Crackershire
May 10, 2019 @ 3:06 pm
I genuinely agree with you.
November 18, 2019 @ 6:40 pm
You’re right, and who the hell cares what NJ thinks?
May 10, 2019 @ 10:23 am
Didn’t Nancy look for a cash grab after they rolled out “George Jones White Lightnin” whiskey?
She’s just pissed because she’s not making money off of the mural.
May 10, 2019 @ 10:28 am
I thought the mural was stupid as soon as I heard about it. Where are creative minds anymore?
May 10, 2019 @ 10:35 am
I never knew whether those mower incidents were real or just the sort of “embellishment” that public personalities or celebrities tend to create in order to keep their interview appearances entertaining or interesting. But Jones told the story and kept telling it, so I’ll take it as true. And Nancy didn’t even know Jones when those incidents happened.
Anyway, the image is not disrespectful. Jones doesn’t appear drunk or plastered in any way. He just looks like a guy riding a mower. I say, go for it.
Catherine B. RHYNES
May 10, 2019 @ 10:41 am
I think that the mural could have been painted better . But it ‘ a part of Nashville’s history of George Jones and it is what it is..
.I’ve heard that story way before he pasted ,my husband told me about it
God bless, George Jones!
May 10, 2019 @ 10:44 am
I grew up listening to George Jones and love love love the fact people are remembering him no matter the look of the mural its the fact that kids today will ask there parents who that is and his life and music will live on……
May 10, 2019 @ 11:02 am
Jack I knew some day his day would come and all the hoopla over the mural made his day. Long live the possum.
May 10, 2019 @ 11:08 am
It just seems like a fun little novelty. Not sure what she’s so upset about, other than the style it’s painted in. I mean the Museum that she helped create has a lawn mower in it itself, so it’s not like there’s not official acknowledgment of the incident by the state.
Hell even at the memorial/tribute show they did Big and Rich came out on riding lawn mowers.
North Woods Country
May 10, 2019 @ 11:08 am
Looks more King of the Hill than George Jones, to me. I agree with her.
May 10, 2019 @ 11:18 am
My name is John Dale I use to listen to George back in 79s he’s my FAVORITE ONE IN COUNTRY MUSIC IT CRUSHED ME WHEN HE LEFT US I WROTE A SONG ABOUT HIM AND THE LEDGENS THARS PASSED ON. I HOPE TO GET MY SING OUT TO SAVE COUNTRY MUSIC .MISS JONES WE CAN SRAND TOGETHER AND KEEP THE COUNTRY MUSIC GOING LIKE IT WAS IN
May 10, 2019 @ 3:12 pm
Please post a link to the song. We need to hear it. Thank you.
May 10, 2019 @ 11:29 am
I have to agree with his widow! It’s hideous and looks nothing like him! I would think you’d want it to flatter him….. It doesn’t! 😞
May 10, 2019 @ 1:02 pm
What’s wrong? This is offensive to you but selling off George Jones’ name & likeness to liquor companies & honky tonks in Nashville after he passed isn’t??
It’s a great mural & I think I’ll rewatch that “Tales From A Tour Bus” tonight.
May 10, 2019 @ 1:32 pm
George USE TO love to just drive around WEST NASHVILLE,SOMETIMES HE WOULD COME BY MY PLACE. HE KNEW I CLOSED AT 4,SO I LET HIM IN HE WOULD SIT DOWN AND I WOULD 4 SMALL GLASSES 2 WITH COKE AND 2 WITH YOU KNOW, WILD TURKEY,AND WE WOULD JUST TAIK,ABOUT FISHING MONEY WOMEN HE FELT AT HOME AT RAY,S.NANCY DON’T BE MAD HE WAS HAPPY JUST TALKING .THE ART OF GEORGE IS WRONG HE HAD A SEARS NOT A JOHN DEER MIGHT NEED TO CHANGE THE COLOR!
May 10, 2019 @ 2:00 pm
I loved George Jones, the singer, but most of all, I loved George Jones, the man. He was incredibly talente, but even more important, he was a man with a huge heart full of love for Nancy, his family and all his fans. I believe this Miral is extremely disrespectful to George, to his memory, and to his family. And in one who knew him or even read his autobiography new for a sensitive beautiful generous person George Jones wise. Even though it is true that George himself told his story and his autobiography, if you read it you will know that this was not something George was proud of. He would not have appreciated this Miral and I think it is very wrong to insult his memory and his family and this way. Someone should have had the decency to talk to Nancy but and his children before doing such a thing. Nancy, we love you , and we will always carry the memory of the real George Jones in our hearts. I apologize for the lack of respect of the people who did this. George certainly deserved so much better than this. His music is certainly his great legacy, not an incident on a lawn mower. May he Rest In Peace forever in the arms of his Savior.
May 11, 2019 @ 9:55 am
But you think Nancy using his image to sell liquor despite the fact that Jones struggled with alcoholism his entire life is respectful? I’d love to hear you rationalize that.
May 10, 2019 @ 2:37 pm
The problem is that he should be driving toward the liquor store doors, not away toward the back.
May 10, 2019 @ 2:38 pm
My name is Andrea and I used to go to Pee Wee’s in West Nashville myself and I seen George Jones there a few times he was feeling no pain laugh out loud . And I’m so glad he got healthier and fell in love with Nancy. So whatever Nancy thinks goes. 😊😄😎
May 10, 2019 @ 2:40 pm
Its only a painting so stop busting balls! George was the star not you Nancy.You got millions so stop being ugly with greed, go make a record if you want to be a star.You were a B#### to me and other fans when no cameras were rolling. God Bless George Jones !
May 10, 2019 @ 3:06 pm
This was a light hearted fun thing for our city. Not meant to harm anyone but to keep the mans name alive and recreate a well known story that many people know already. These days there will be someone offended no matter what it is
May 10, 2019 @ 3:07 pm
I worked for Mr. Jones from Jan 2000, until May 2003. He NEVER drank a drop of alcohol in my presence. My time with the George Jones show is one I will always remember, and cherish. Mr and Mrs Jones are two people I will always love, and respect.
May 10, 2019 @ 4:29 pm
Awesome mural. When I saw it – I had to stop in and buy a bottle of whiskey.
May 10, 2019 @ 6:52 pm
The giant Nashville looks tacky AF and “George” looks like he was rendered by someone who learned to draw watching Beevis and Butthead. With a more professional depiction of the event it would have been possibly super bad ass. Instead it feels exploitive and patronizing. I don’t think George would be flattered by this mural.
May 13, 2019 @ 11:14 am
Ummmm…..the guy who created the image of George Jones that the mural is based on is the creator of Beavis and Butthead. It’s a cartoon. Get over yourself.
JOHN E GARRETT
May 10, 2019 @ 8:41 pm
I could understand her being upset if he was holding a bottle in his hand….but to me it looks like a John Deere ad. Has anyone asked them what they think about it?
May 11, 2019 @ 4:25 am
George Jones is a legend and I listen to his music and followed him as often as I could, no matter about the mural any one that listen to country , knows he’s George the best of the best George you are and always be country at it’s best love u all God zbless
May 11, 2019 @ 5:56 am
It does look …t-a-c-k-y. (Someone prior stated a ‘Bevis and Butthead’ character…yep..exactttt-tacky).
I am a huge George Jones fan, but this doesn’t look like him. Young peeps might think this is Vince. I feel that the artist probably didn’t even know who he was..maybe never listened to his music. Something more artistic with his realistic image/features (also adding a possum , guitar, rocking chair or corvette would have been better).
May 13, 2019 @ 11:16 am
This is so funny it’s not even funny.
May 11, 2019 @ 7:49 am
Mr Jones was a blessing to us all he sang about life like it really is and there will never be another touch people the way he did. Long live the possum I’m listening to the greatest hits right now
May 11, 2019 @ 7:58 am
George Jones was ” The man ” I loved his music to me this was one of the awesome memories he left us with I smile every time I hear something about the lawnmower incidents
May 11, 2019 @ 8:59 am
I sing a lot of George Jones’s songs on my channel: You Tube: Tom Kitch. Just type our two names together: Tom Kitch George Jones (and see what appears on You Tube). If you like a song, please leave a comment and push the “subscribe” button. Thank you. Have a nice day.
May 11, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
I garrantee you 98 percent of the new nashvillians that drive down 8th ave and see that don’t have a clue who is supposed to be on that lawn mower there’s no arrow pointing to the rider with the name George Jones on it. So what’s the big deal.
May 11, 2019 @ 4:57 pm
Sell more alcohol at 4x markup, and you get paid. It’s been like that forever. Now it’s more yoga mat than beer, but not by much. That’s why you get billboards to wonderful singers not because they’re wonderful singers but because they’re drunks.
And yoga mat music is lame.
May 13, 2019 @ 11:38 am
This a comment section where people voice there opinion. I have mine. You have yours. “Get over yourself”? Um.. Ok, Tom.
May 15, 2019 @ 12:28 pm
George Jones is cool, this painting is cool. Its based on tales of the tourbus, and Nancy didn’t have anything to do with the show and ultimately Tammy’s family did. Therefore Nancy doesn’t like it because its not about Nancy
May 16, 2019 @ 9:23 am
I can see both sides of this. Yes, it may appear disrespectful, but at the same time, it’s part of the George Jones myth, which he happily propagated himself. There’s no doubting he was deep in the throes of alcohol addiction when these incidents happened, he certainly didn’t let this tale go.
I’m of the opinion, as are a lot of people here as well, that the clutching of the pearls and righteous indignation from his estate is because they didn’t get a cut of this. If they truly didn’t care for this tale to keep being told, then they shouldn’t have used it in the first place, and they should have asked whoever it was using it to stop.
Jesse James Dupree
June 4, 2019 @ 6:43 pm
Shawn Catz is a male strip club owner from LA. Go figure
June 18, 2019 @ 2:28 am
How is it not obvious to everyone that this woman manipulated and controlled George jones? Her golden goose had no choice but to play along with a perpetuated myth.
September 9, 2019 @ 5:36 am
The whole lawnmower story is just another reason George was and is still loved by so many, myself included.
Sadly, just like another of my hero’s (The late great, Dale Earnhardt) that are no longer with us, his widow is tarnishing his memory over money.
But, I do agree with her about the quality of the painting. C’mon, seriously? That’s the best they can do?