George Jones

8 p.m. Saturday, November 21. Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1 University Boulevard.

Nov 18, 2009 at 4:00 am

George Jones is known as the Rolls-Royce of country singers, but his origins are anything but luxurious. Born in a log cabin to a poor family in "the Big Thicket" region of East Texas, Jones started out imitating his idols Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, joined the Marines, served in Korea and became a DJ on a country station in Beaumont, Texas — all long before he would become the single most identifiable voice in modern country music. Unlike Williams, Frizzell or Cash, Jones is not known as a songwriter, but he is a melody maker, transforming the simplest of tunes with his plangent, supple melisma. At the age of 78, his ability to wring deep emotions from just a slurred vowel or a clenched consonant remains uncanny and unforgettable.