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Vocalist Staci Griesbach Gives Jazz Treatment To George Jones Catalog With 'My George Jones Songbook' Out September 10th

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Griesbach achieves her aim of paying tribute not through imitation, but by exploring new possibilities through new artistry.
—Downbeat Magazine
Celebrate the Music of George Jones as Vocalist Staci Griesbach Honors the Late Country Music Icon’s 90th Birthday with Jazz Tribute Album My George Jones Songbook

Singles “He Stopped Loving Her Today” & “The Grand Tour” Available August 27th with 14-Track Album Out Everywhere September 10, 2021

Celebrate the 90th birthday of country music icon George Glenn Jones as vocalist Staci Griesbach reimagines Jones’ catalog in My George Jones Songbook, a tribute album available everywhere on September 10, 2021. Set in a jazz context, Griesbach explores all-new interpretations for Jones’ beloved classics from his six-decade recording career including his signature ballad “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “The Grand Tour,” both which will debut as singles on August 27th.

“George Jones is one of the most iconic vocalists in not only country music but in all of 20th century American music. His voice rang out through the songbook of my youth, but it wasn’t until I started researching and preparing for this album that I really understood his distinctive style and the magnitude of his impact,” Griesbach said. “From his early work before and with Melba Montgomery and Tammy Wynette to his later recordings with Merle Haggard, George Jones’ songbook is one to cherish, and I hope fans enjoy this new take on his classic hits.”

Known for his unique vocal styling and love of ballads, Jones has been called by many “the greatest country music singer.” Griesbach also highlights the multitude of A-list Nashville songwriters who helped create his catalog of hits. Bobby Braddock, who penned Jones’ most impressive and notable career ballad with Curly Putnam, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” was at top of the list and the first song Griesbach worked on for the album.

“The first working session on this album was back in March of 2020, right before Covid, with pianist and arranger Jeremy Siskind to work out ideas for ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ a tune that’s been called the greatest country music song ever written. I remember driving home that day knowing this version would be something special. When Jeremy sent me the final arrangement, I couldn’t get through the song without breaking down,” Griesbach noted.

“When Curly Putman and I played George Jones’s recording of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” I thought the vocal performance and production elevated our song two or three notches. I felt exactly the same way, forty-one years later, when I heard Staci Griesbach’s cut. It pushed different buttons than the Jones recording, but just as many,” said songwriter Bobby Braddock who co-wrote the song. “Staci’s rendition is more subtle and complex; she’s singing the same plaintive melody that George Jones sang, but arranger Jeremy Siskind’s accompanying genius piano is not restricted to the song’s original three chords or anything else.”

My George Jones Songbook also features songwriter Jerry Chesnut’s “A Good Year for the Roses” and pays homage to J.P. Richardson, otherwise known as the Big Bopper, for “White Lightning,” with a nod to the Big Bopper’s hit “Chantilly Lace” to introduce the tune. The album also includes two songs Jones co- wrote in his early years, “Why Baby Why” (featuring Nashville fiddle player Stuart Duncan) and “Tender Years” with French lyrics from rock legend Johnny Hallyday, performed with a nod to Blossom Dearie.

Griesbach’s My George Jones Songbook marks the first full-length album exploration of Jones’ catalog in the style of jazz, but jazz artists and musicians of all genres have celebrated Jones’ artistry through the decades. Music critic and journalist David Hadju has said, “As a singer, George Jones stands shoulder to shoulder with Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday in originality and importance.”

Proof of Jones’ influence is seen across genres with covers or duets recorded over the years by Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Nancy Sinatra, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Lorie Morgan, Chris Stapleton, among others. Grammy winning jazz guitarist John Scofield recorded “Bartender’s Blues,” James Taylor’s B-side to “Handyman” which Jones covered, taking to #1 in 1978. And, Taylor himself recorded a version of “She Thinks I Still Care,” bringing his singer-songwriter style to Jones’ 1962 hit, which was also covered by Cher and John Fogerty. Both tunes are included in Griesbach’s jazz tribute.

“My hope with this album is to celebrate Jones’ career with his fans, offering a new perspective on his catalog while also presenting another slice of this Great American Songbook of Country Music in an inspired way to the jazz audience,” Griesbach adds. “I’m blessed to work with world-class musicians and arrangers that support my creative journey and help ground my vision in the music. My favorite part of the process is sketching out a broad layout for the album and then finding the right musical voices to help me tell my story.”

Griesbach also pays homage to the time Jones spent with life and duet partner, and country music icon herself, Tammy Wynette. “Golden Ring” and “Take Me,” which Jones originally released by himself, give a nod to that important creative time in Jones’ career.

Cole Porter meets Nashville in Griesbach’s version of “A Picture of Me Without You,” the Norro Wilson and George Richie penned ballad, featuring an arrangement by Tamir Hendelman with introduction from a Cole Porter tune of the same name. Rounding out the album are hit covers “Walk Through This World” as a Brazilian bossa nova (arr. by Otmaro Ruiz), a contemporary jazz take on “You’re Still On My Mind” (arr. by Rahsaan Barber) and a full-throttle band feature for “The Race is On” (arr. by Jeremy Siskind). Adding to the previous listed four heavy-hitter arrangers for the album is also New York-based Addison Frei who adds his touch to “Why Baby Why” and “Tender Years.”

Tracks

  • The Grand Tour (Norro Wilson, Carmol Taylor, and George Richey)
  • He Stopped Loving Her Today (Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam)
  • A Good Year For The Roses (Jerry Chesnut)
  • He Thinks I Still Care (Dicky Lee and Steve Duffy)
  • Walk Through This World With Me (Sandy Seamons and Kaye Savage)
  • A Picture of Me Without You (Cole Porter, Norro Wilson and George Richey)
  • Golden Ring (Bobby Braddock, Rafe Vanhoy)
  • Bartender’s Blues (James Taylor)
  • Why Baby Why (Darrel Edwards, George Jones)
  • Take Me (George Jones, Leon Payne)
  • White Lightning (Jiles Perry Richardson)
  • You’re Still On My Mind (Luke McDaniel)
  • Tender Years (Tes Tendres Années) (George Jones, Darrell Edwards)
  • The Race Is On (Don Rollins)

Personnel

  • Staci Griesbach: vocals, background vocals
  • Jeremy Siskind: piano and arranging
  • Tamir Hendelman: piano and arranging
  • Otmaro Ruiz: piano and arranging
  • Rahsaan Barber: tenor saxophone and arranging
  • Kevin Axt: upright and electric bass
  • Jake Reed: drums
  • Stuart Duncan: fiddle
  • Rich Hinman: pedal steel
  • Artyom Manukian: cello
  • Bob Sheppard: woodwinds
  • Bruce Forman: guitar
  • Nando Raio: bass
  • Aaron Serfaty: drums, percussion
  • Willie Murrillo: trumpet and horn arranging
  • Brian Clancy: tenor saxophone
  • Ryan Dragon: trombone
  • Addison Frei: arranging
  • Joe Bagg: organ
  • John Hatton: bass
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