Blackberry Smoke Plays Possum
When country-rock band Blackberry Smoke found out George Jones was going to duet with them and pal Jamey Johnson on a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Yesterday’s Wine,” they were more than happy to let the legend take the wheel.
“There was no plan about what George would do, whether he’d sing a line, the whole song or what,” says Blackberry Smoke singer Charlie Starr. “The producer said, ‘I don’t know what we’ll get out of him or if he’ll even be into it,’” adds drummer Brit Turner.
But George was clearly into it, forming a vocal trio with Charlie and Jamey in the studio. “We all sang it together and George was like, ‘Well now, initially I sang this line,’” says Charlie, recalling George’s other recorded version of the song, with Merle Haggard. “I was like, ‘Yes, sir, I know that. Do whatever you want to do. You can sing the whole damn thing and we’ll take my voice off. That’s fine with me!’"
Of course, you need only listen to the finished product to know that’s not what was decided. Included on Blackberry Smoke’s second album, A Little Piece of Dixie, the all-star interpretation of “Yesterday’s Wine” is a career high point for the Georgia band—as was simply meeting the Possum.
“He walked in the door and it was a collective jaw-drop,” says Charlie, smiling. “He’s a legend, he’s George.”
Read more about Blackberry Smoke and their duet with George in the Oct. 18 issue of Country Weekly, on newsstands Oct. 11.