The Legend of George Jones, a tribute show sharing songs and stories from country music legend George Jones’s life, comes to Quesnel June 6 and is also playing in Williams Lake June 5. Photo contributed

Singer Duane Steele brings George Jones songs to life in new concert series

The country singer will sing Jones’ classics in Williams Lake and Quesnel this month


Observer Contributor

When Duane Steele was asked to be part of a tribute show sharing songs and stories from country music legend George Jones’ life, he said no at first.

Steele, an award-winning singer-songwriter in his own right, has been performing The Legend of George Jones for just over a year now. Friends of his, who are now partners in the show, had asked him to be part of it.

“I actually turned it down originally because I wasn’t sure I could sing George Jones,” he says in a phone interview from his Alberta home.

“It was daunting. He’s considered the greatest country singer of all time, and he has such a unique singing style that I wasn’t sure I could do him tribute.”

Steele says he has always been a fan of George Jones, and he played some of his songs when he was younger. His friends kept at him and eventually told him he could pick the songs that made up the show.

“I didn’t jump on it immediately, but I’m glad I did,” says Steele. “I do love doing the show because not only the music, but George’s story is just phenomenal.”

Steele did his first The Legend of George Jones show in March 2017, and he says the response has been “fantastic” and the shows have almost all been sold out.

“Part of the reason I think it’s so popular is I believe people are starved for classic country music, and I think this fills a big void in some of those listeners’ lives, for sure,” he says.

Steele says there are people who have come back to see the show three or four times, and he gets to visit with many music fans after the show and hear about their connections with Jones and his music.

“It’s a very emotional show for a lot of people,” he says.

The Legend of George Jones, which comes to Quesnel June 6, takes the audience on an audio-visual journey through Jones’ incredible musical career and tumultuous personal life.

In a career that lasted more than 50 years, “the Possum” evolved from a young honky-tonker to a music icon, as he recorded nearly 150 albums and became the symbol of traditional country music. His music continues to inspire artists of all genres.

With this show, Steele and his band take music fans on a journey of Jones’ life through stories and songs. Steele sings the George Jones hits that spanned five decades, including his duets with Tammy Wynette, right up to the No.1 country song of all time, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Audience members will also hear stories of Jones’ life, which echoed the country songs he sang – filled with success, failure, hard drinking and heartbreak.

Steele says it is hard to pick a favourite George Jones song, but “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is always a highlight for him and for the audience.

“All the songs we do in the show are favourites of mine, but I think I’ve got to say when I tell the story leading up to ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ arguably his biggest song, that gives me the greatest thrill,” he says. “It’s very recognizable, and people go crazy for it.”

While researching songs for the show, the song “Once You’ve Had The Best” was a revelation for Steele. He had never sung the song before, and he hadn’t realized it was written by Johnny Paycheck, who was in Jones’ band for a while.

“I always enjoyed the song and listening to it over the years, but once I started researching it, that was an interesting story, and their relationship was really interesting,” says Steele. “We tell a lot of these stories as a prelude to many of these songs.”

Steele is very clear that this is “Duane Steele singing George Jones” and not Duane Steele trying to be George Jones. He says one of the reasons he originally turned the show down is he didn’t want to be part of a tribute band or try to be the second coming of George Jones, because he doesn’t enjoy those types of shows as an audience member.

“In order to sing George Jones, he has to be researched, and for the songs to come across, he has to be emulated to a certain degree, but I try to maintain Duane Steele as a recording artist,” says Steele. “We try to maintain the show as that, Duane Steele bringing George Jones to people and not trying to be a George Jones clone, so to speak.”

Steel thinks there are a lot of reasons Jones has made such a lasting impression on so many people, but it really comes down to the fact people can relate to him.

“His voice is very, very unique, for one thing,” says Steele. “He has an absolutely amazing singing voice. I think also because of his troubles, his struggles as a human being, people relate to that. I think his songs are very indicative of his life.

“I think people really believe him as an artist. He lived the words he sings. I think when they hear him sing his songs, I think they can feel the angst and pain in the country songs he sings. I think he’s just a believable artist.”

The Legend of George Jones comes to the Quesnel and District Seniors’ Centre June 6 and will also be in Williams Lake, playing at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Centre June 5.

In Quesnel, doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the Quesnel show are available at Circle ’S’ Western Wear and online at Tickets for the Williams Lake show are available online at

The Observer has six tickets to give away to The Legend of George Jones! Turn to page 14 for your chance to enter, or follow our Facebook page at for a chance to win.

Just Posted

Photos: Rugby hall of fame inductee imparts advice to Falcons players

Leslie Cripps represented Canada at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and was captain in 2010

Family and friends give heartwarming send off for Make A Wish recipient

Cancer survivor Lucie Bertoli off to Florida for a dream family vacation

IIO clears Williams Lake RCMP of wrongdoing in serious harm allegation

Independent Investigations Office of BC says injuries were not sustained during police custody

Cross country ski club hosting free family day at Bull Mountain trails

If you’ve ever wanted to give cross country skiing a try there’s no better time than this Saturday

Over 30 unique, diverse courses available at Elder College

The deadline to register for one of Elder College’s courses is fast approaching.

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Man, 31, charged in Cache Creek fatal shooting

Corey Richard Harkness appeared on one count of murder in provincial court in Kamloops

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read