Baltimore Sun

George Jones brings classic country to Port Deposit

A month after the original scheduled date and on a windy, but sunny day, more than 1,000 people gathered in Port Deposit's Marina Park for a salute to the "good ole' country" days.

Leading the all-day entertainment at the Cecil County Food and Wine Festival Saturday afternoon was country legend George Jones, who brought listeners something different than the "new," "hot" country out today.


"They completely quit playing them good old cheating and drinking songs," Jones said at one point to many cheers.

Even though he had a sinus infection, Jones said he wouldn't miss the Port Deposit concert because the original event had already been rescheduled from September, when Port Deposit flooded because of Tropical Storm Lee.


He was worth the wait, however, for several people.

Nip and Nancy Conner traveled two hours from Marydel, Del., to see Jones, who Nancy Conner said she had been listening to since she was a kid. The couple won tickets from 94.7 WDSD-FM, a country radio station in Delaware.

"I probably screamed through the radio," Nancy Conner said.

Her favorite song is "He Stopped Loving Her Today," while Nip Conner said he liked "near all" of the songs.

"That's all I listen to," he said, "old country music."

Debbie McKinney and Francis Jones drove two hours from Delaware to see Jones in concert as well, but were disappointed with the performance.

"I love George Jones, but not today," McKinney said.

Both women were lifetime fans of Jones, they said, and the "oldies," too. They had never been to Port Deposit either, but were impressed with the park, with McKinney saying she "loved this place."


The crowd was full of longtime fans of Jones, including George Winter, a Korean War veteran who came as part of the Second Wind Dreams program in the New Jersey Veteran's Memorial Home.

The program grants wishes to residents, event co-coordinator Sam Dixon said last week, including everything from barefoot walks on the beach to helping a husband and wife go out to dinner without nurses or aids.

Not only did Winter and his wife get to attend the concert, but also they were the only people allowed to meet Jones, who Dixon said refused meet and greets with anyone else.

Winter also received a signed guitar at the concert.

T.T. Tucker and Bronwyn Phillips both came from Baltimore, but while Tucker has been listening to Jones for "decades," Phillips joked that she had been a fan for 45 minutes.

For her, this was an "opportunity to see an icon," she said.


Even as a new listener, Phillips still echoed what many longtime fans said, calling Jones a "classic" and "comfortable in his own skin."

Tucker, who said he was a musician, too, likened Jones to "all them boys" of "real country," such as Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. But Jones, he added, was "the king."

The concert attracted fans from around the region, but there were many Port Deposit residents there as well, including Mary Atwell, who came with her husband, who had received free tickets.

Jones is a "longtime favorite" of Atwell's, she said, calling him a "great singer."

"I've listened to him since I was a kid," she added.

Like many in attendance, Atwell commented on the early fall weather and praised the festival in general, while encouraging future events in Port Deposit.


"They need to have stuff like this more often," she said. "I think it benefits the town."