In the homespun tradition that made American Idol such a smashing success, comes a touching video that will melt the hardest hearts. A 15 year old girl has recorded her father, Kris Jones, singing an incredible cover of the George Jones classic “Tennessee Whiskey.” Yet there’s much more going on in this video than vocal improvisations and clean falsetto breaks.
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IJR claims that “Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake brought [Tennessee Whiskey] back to life in 2015.” The statement, while acknowledging the diligent work of singers who introduce new audiences to foundations of the country music cannon, fails to give the masterpiece the credit it deserves. It was far from dead.
“Tennessee Whiskey” was written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove. David Allan Coe, a highly controversial country music figure, recorded it in the early 80.
George Jones picked it up and brought the song to a much wider audience in 1983.
As this new iteration so clearly shows, Tennessee Whiskey has a long shelf life.
Kris Jones’s version of the old classic is epic. He brings a touch of Marvin Gaye to the song and pulls it up from its Nashville white-bread roots. And he has a spectacular control of his vocal inflections. The dynamics are solid, his falsetto is crisp and powerful. He may not be able to kick the bottom out like George Jones, but he can flat out sing.
But watch the video and you’ll see something more. Jones’s daughter is proud of her father. Though it doesn’t need to be written, I’ll write it anyhow: that’s rare. You can see her admiration. I’d say it goes deeper even into something akin to her worship. When she begins to sing along with him, and anticipate some of his more spectacular moments–you can’t fake that.
Check out her face around the 4:00 mark. That’s when you see just how mesmerized she is. And her pride runs so deep that she keeps herself in frame the entire time. She wants to be a part of this. And she is. As I’m sure Jones would say, there’s an element of this song that speaks of love and respect, and it is clear there in the car.