From the moment that the opening strains of the first song hit my speakers it was apparent that I was going to enjoy the devil out of this conglomerate of tunes. These songs are mostly songs that were recorded by the possum with an exception or two. I have a feeling that George is smiling down on Sammy as he listened to the playback of track after track of real good old country music.
The opening tune, “The Grand Tour,” finds Sammy sounding eerily like George Jones in some areas. It is apparent that this was a labor of love for Mr. Kershaw and not just another recording of songs.
A Johnny Paycheck tune is in the number two slot. The song, “Once You’ve had the Best,” is full of woeful hurt and pain that is delivered in a way that is very believable.
“She Thinks I Still Care,” is one of those George Jones songs that could just as easily be a hit today as when it was originally recorded and this version is just as moving as any version I have heard before.
From the opening fiddles on, “Why Baby Why,” you can easily feel Sammy’s Cajun roots running through the arrangement. This is a real gem from a collection of diamonds.
You would have to be from another planet to not feel yourself touched by the emotion that is in the timeless classic, “Walk Through This World With Me.”
Song six,”When The Grass Grows Over Me,” is one that I cannot really find words to describe. This is pain in the form of a song and I feel every emotion that he is singing.
Sammy breathes new life into the Classic, “Window Up Above.” It was great when Jones recorded it and this rendition does it justice and then some.
“White Lightning,” is one of the songs that have always been associated with George Jones. This is one that I thought was going to be a tough sell from anyone but this version works so well I couldn't stop my toes from tapping along. I hope Sammy keeps this in his live show.
There is only one way to put the cherry on top of a collection like this. That is a Duet with Georgette Jones, the daughter of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. This song is so close to country perfect there isn’t anything else I can say about it.
If you mention the name George Jones and ask people what song they associate with him. You will likely hear the answer “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. This version is true to the original and still holds its own against the radio cuts out there today.
If you love real country music then the next song, “The Race Is On,” is one that you have heard many times. This is another classic cover of a classic tune from the classic voice of country music.
One listen to the prophetic cover of, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” and you have your answer. That would be Sammy Kershaw. He does a grand version of this song. The sad part is that he is so modest that he does not feel that he has a right to that title. That is all the more reason that he is perfect for it and somebody needs to tell him he is filling their shoes.
“Do You Know Me,” is a song written that tells the story of George’s life. It is without a doubt one of the finest descriptions in music of the world of George Jones as envisioned from a writer putting himself in the shoes of the man himself.
“The Route That I Took,” is a look at George Jones through the eyes of his friend, Sammy Kershaw. It is sparsely orchestrated but it has the one thing that it needs and that is love in the form of Sammy’s voice telling the story of someone that he misses very much.
Some people say that real country music is dead. To those people all I can say is pick up a copy of this CD and play it from start to finish and then try and say that again. Sammy is to be applauded for having the vision and courage to put out a real country album in a time when bro country is taking over the airwaves.
Well played Mr. Kershaw. Well played indeed.