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Jones having grand old time on final tour

George Jones will be RialSquare Theatre March 15.  |  File photo

George Jones will be at the Rialto Square Theatre March 15. | File photo

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George Jones: The Grand Tour

♦ 8 p.m. March 15

♦ Rialto Square Theatre,
102 N. Chicago St., Joliet

♦ Tickets, $34-$85

♦ (815) 726-6600;

After more than 50 years of touring, George Jones has decided he is ready to slow down and spend more time with his family.

“It is just time,” said the 81-year-old entertainer about his farewell tour. “I have been fortunate to do what I love for so many years, but my wife and family have made a lot of sacrifices for me to do this and I want to spend more time with them.”

“The Grand Tour,” as it is called, will visit 44 cities in 2013 and will make a stop at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet on March 15.

Throughout the tour, Jones admits that he finds it difficult at times not to get sentimental.

“It is tough sometimes,” he said. “The fans are just so great, and when I look out and see that some of them are emotional, it is hard to keep it in check.”

In addition to touring for five decades, Jones has been a recording artist for nearly 60 years, beginning with his first Billboard Top Ten song “Why Baby Why” in 1955. And the hits kept coming, including: “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “Tender Years,” “She Thinks I Still Care” “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair,” “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” “The Race Is On,” “White Lightning,” “The Corvette Song,” “The Window Up Above” and “Walk Through This World With Me.”

“My band, The Jones Boys, will open the show with a few songs and then they will be performing with me,” he said. “I will do as many songs as possible that I have recorded through the years. We also have some special videos that play during some songs that are quite meaningful and poignant.”

Jones believes that he has been able to be successful in the music business because he has been true to himself.

“I have to believe I have had some success because people like the songs I have recorded and performed,” he said.

“I have always been myself and sang the songs in my style and, believe it or not, there are people who still love country music.”

And after decades of touring and performing, Jones’ advice for any up-and-coming singers, songwriters or performers is pretty straightforward.

“I would tell them to just be yourself,” Jones said, “find a good manager, be patient, treat people with respect and don’t ever give up.”

Randall Mielke is a local free-lance writer.

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