George Jones Funeral: Laura Bush, Mike Huckabee to Speak; Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley to Perform
Country music legend George Jones, who died last week at the age of 81, will receive a star-studded sendoff at his funeral at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on Thursday, with a ceremony that will include speakers such as former First Lady Laura Bush and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, as well as musical performances from an array of musicians including Charlie Daniels, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley and others.
Along with Bush and Huckabee, Kenny Chesney, Grand Ole Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, singer Barbara Mandell and CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer will speak in honor of the "He Stopped Loving Her Today" singer.
The other musical performers include Vince Gill (who'll perform with Patty Loveless), Ronnie Milsap, the Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna and -- yes -- Kid Rock.
No word on whether Huckabee, who's been known to pluck at a bass guitar now and then, will strap on the four-string to jam along with any of the performers.
"The caliber of speakers and performers is a testament to what George Jones meant to everyone in the world," spokesman Kirt Webster said of the assemblage. "(Jones' wife) Nancy is overwhelmed by the love and support of not only George's fans, but also the music community, public figures and friends."
The ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. Central time on Thursday, is open to the public. Those unable to attend can watch the funeral on CMT, GAC and FamilyNet, and local Nashville stations will be airing the funeral live. Fans who wish to honor the country giant in internet-age fashion can log onto opry.com to watch the funeral, or listen at wsmonline.