Nancy Jones Releases New Book On Her Marriage To George Jones, ‘Playin’ Possum: My Memories Of George Jones’

George Jones country music
Nancy Jones

By now we’re all familiar with many of the stories surrounding the legendary George Jones.

Everybody’s heard the story about Jones taking his lawnmower to the liquor store after his wife hid the keys to his car to keep him from drinking. Or the story of him telling his producer that “nobody’ll buy that morbid son of a bitch” after recording “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

But nobody knew George Jones better than his wife of 30 years, Nancy Jones.

And today, Nancy has released a new book on her memories of country music’s greatest singer.

The book, Playin’ Possum: My Memories of George Jones, was written by Nancy Jones along with 18-time New York Times bestselling author Ken Abraham. And it’s being released today, on what would have been George’s 92nd birthday.

It’s been 10 years since we lost the legendary George Jones. So what made Nancy want to write the book now? Well according to her, she decided to write the book after she died from COVID.

Yes, you read that right.

Two years ago, Nancy was rushed to the hospital with COVID when her oxygen dropped to 42 and her heart stopped. Doctors and nurses told her manager, Kirk West, that there was nothing they could do: Nancy was gone.

And as they worked frantically around her, Nancy says she was transported to a room that was radiant white, and she felt at peace.

So when she regained consciousness and eventually recovered, Nancy decided that she wanted to finally tell her story about George Jones.

In an interview with Nancy, she told Whiskey Riff:

“I died. I came back, and I think that’s what I wanted to do, was just write a story and tell the truth about George. He was a wonderful man. People didn’t really realize how great this man really was and the great things he’s done, the music he put out there.

And I know there’s some bad things of George, so when I wrote this book, I didn’t hold back. I told the truth. Even if it hurt me, I wanted the truth out there about George.”

But Nancy admits that it wasn’t easy revisiting all of the memories as she worked with Abraham to write the book:

“Sad. Happy. Spiritual. Brought back a lot of memories…

A lot of people don’t know the real George Jones, and I wanted that out there.

You know, you stop and say, ‘Well George was a drunk, he was this, he was that.’ George really was a spiritual man also. I think his fans need to know that.

He was a lot of ‘No show,’ but there was a lot of reasons why he was not at some of these shows that has never been told, and I told those too, what I knew, because we were married 30 years, and I know if anybody knows George Jones, I know George Jones.”

And Abraham adds that there were times that it was painful:

“Sometimes I felt like I was taking a knife and scraping it over wounds that had really not even had a chance to heal 30 years later. But Nancy was so good and so honest, she was willing to tell the whole story, and sometimes it was painful.

But on the other hand, it was also a lot of joy too. A lot of fun. We had some good laughs.”

Nancy recalls one of those humorous moments with George, when he was taking his car to get chromed out and Nancy had refused to go with him.

Apparently George had never heard of an HOV lane, so he got pulled over for driving solo in the lane meant for carpooling:

“They said, ‘George you’re supposed to get over, you only have one person in the car with you.’

He said, ‘That’s because Nancy wouldn’t get up.’”

Abraham adds with a laugh:

“George knew every policeman in Williamson county. Or they knew him.”

It’s those kinds of memories – sometimes painful, but many that gave them a good laugh – that fill the book and give fans a new picture of the man that we already know so much about.

But overall, Nancy said she hopes there’s one thing fans take away about George Jones the man:

“He was really, truly, a spiritual man. Whenever he was messed up, strung out and all of this, I could talk about his mother and I could talk about God. And once I did that, I could always calm him down.

And that’s things that people didn’t really know.”

The book is a brutally honest look at a life that’s been so widely reported – and misreported – on already.

To so many people, George Jones is a legend. The greatest country singer of all time.

But to Nancy, he was her husband, through the good times and bad. And she’s ready for people to hear her memories of the man that so many think they know.

Although according to Nancy there’s one thing that everybody gets right about George:

“He lived country music. That was his life.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock