George Jones always held a deep fondness in his heart for gospel music. Whenever he had the opportunity to record a gospel album, he jumped at the chance.
Jone’s connection to gospel music goes way back to his childhood. He first learned how to play the guitar in church by performing gospel songs. After achieving country superstardom years later, Jones continued to share his passion for gospel music through his three gospel albums.
Many gospel classics were featured on Jones’ albums throughout the years, including his version of the beloved song “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”
The song was featured on Jones’ 2003 album The Gospel Collection. That record peaked at the 19th spot on the Billboard country albums chart and the third on the Billboard Christian albums chart.
“Just a Closer Walk With Thee” is a traditional gospel song which was written in the 1800s. The exact author of the song is unknown, but evidence suggests that it dates back to before the Civil War. The song gained greater popularity in the 1930s when African-American churches held musical conventions.
Numerous country artists have covered the historic song, including Charley Pride, Randy Travis, and Charlie Daniels. Jones’ rendition remains one of our favorites, and for a good reason. The passion he put into his performance can’t be duplicated or imitated, which is what makes his version stand out from all others.
If you’ve never heard Jones sing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” before, then you need to tune in to the clip below. Even if you’ve listened to his rendition a hundred times already, you’ll still want to hit play!
George Glenn Jones was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including his best-known song “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, as well as his distinctive voice and phrasing. For the last twenty years of his life, Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer.
Country music scholar Bill Malone writes, “For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved.” Waylon Jennings expressed a similar opinion in his song “It’s Alright”: “If we all could sound like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones.” The shape of his nose and facial features earned Jones the nickname “The Possum.”
Born in Texas, Jones first heard country music when he was seven and was given a guitar at the age of nine. He served in the United States Marine Corps and was discharged in 1953. In 1959, Jones recorded “White Lightning,” written by J. P. Richardson, which launched his career as a singer. During his career, Jones had more than 150 hits, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists. Fans & music industry colleagues worldwide mourned Jones’ passing in 2013, aged 81, from respiratory failure.
One fan said it best, “Many artists have recorded this song… but no one (and I mean NO one) does it better. We miss you, George.”
Another touching comment reads, “George Jones was one of country music’s greats. He is missed by many and his legend will live on through his music.”
Check out this legendary performer and share your comments below. Do you have a favorite song by George Jones? Share it with us and maybe we can feature it here.