Barbara Rippy goes through old George Jones concert bills
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -
People in the Upstate and around the country are remembering legendary country singer George Jones.
"It's a sad day because that's real country music, George Jones, and a legendary guy," Todd Taylor said.
Taylor is a world record holder for fastest banjo player. He lives and records music in Spartanburg.
But he lived in Nashville for several years and remembers spending time near Jones' house.
"At Christmas time a lot of his fans would be driving by and some times they'd never knew George would be sitting in the rocking chair," Taylor said.
Spartanburg native and country singer David Ball said Jones helped shape his career.
It showed in the reaction to Ball's first album.
"People thought that was George Jones, that'll tell you about how much influence he had on me," Ball said.
Addictions and several broken marriages were also a part of Jones' life, but his admirers insist he remained committed to the music.
"He loved his fans, also he'd have gone up on that stage if he had to go up in a wheelchair," Taylor said.
Jones had sold out the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium several times. His last trip was in 2008.
He had another performance scheduled in just a couple of weeks, a performance a lot of his loyal fans around here were looking forward to.
"I had six tickets for that show, had the front row, breaks my heart," Barbara Rippy said.
Rippy lives in Union and began going to Jones' shows several decades ago.
"If I hadn't been important to him, I wouldn't have gone to see him, you know it's got to be a two way street," Rippy said.
She and other fans hope the younger generation gives Jones a listen.
When they discover it, they'll be like blown away like wow I wish I could have seen that artist," Taylor said.
Jones' 1985 hit "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" paid tribute to other legendary singers.
Now his fans wonder how hard it will be to fill his shoes.
Jones was set to play a concert at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium on May 18.
Those who already bought tickets will get refunds.
"If you purchased your tickets through Ticketmaster Phone Sales or Internet then you will automatically receive a credit," a news release states. "If you purchased them at a Ticketmaster Outlet then you will need to go back to the outlet and get a refund. If you purchased tickets from the auditorium box office then you will need to bring your tickets to the box office and you will be given a refund. Credit Card orders will receive a credit and cash orders will receive cash. Refunds will begin on Monday, April 29 at 9:00am."