Greenfield lost one of its most well-known residents when guitarist Gary Adams passed away at the age of 78 during a bout with COVID-19 on Jan. 7 at Adena Greenfield Medical Center.
Adams, who played with his brothers in The Adams Boys, was best known as a founding member of George Jones’ touring band, The Jones Boys, and as a member of Johnny Paycheck’s touring band, The Lovemakers. He also played with a number of other country greats.
Along with his brothers, Don and Arnie, Adams was featured on two episodes of “Tales From the Tour Bus,” an animated documentary by Mike Judge that premiered on Cinemax in 2017. In the episodes, Adams and his brothers were animated through a technique known as rotoscoping, and they were featured recounting anecdotes about Johnny Paycheck and George Jones.
Longtime friend and musician Johnny Deans, who served as a pallbearer for Adams, has fond memories of their times together. “I got close to him once I moved here to Hillsboro 20 years ago,” said Deans. “Me and him just became inseparable, dear friends, and we both loved music.”
Following his career playing and recording music, Adams settled down in his hometown of Greenfield and started a family with his wife, Barbara, who passed away in 2008. In his later years he played live music regularly with The Southern Memories Band and other artists.
One of Deans’ most vivid memories of Adams comes from the time they spent together traveling to the funeral of George Jones in May of 2013. “Gary just told me about George, and he was so emotional at that time,” said Deans. “I think you start having a mortality attack as so many people pass away.”
During Adams’ later years, Deans took a cross-country road trip with him so Adams could play a show in Texas along the Mexican border. “That was a great memory because at the time we were working on a segment for Blue Highway,” said Deans.
Deans said when people see the public side of Adams, they don’t always get the full story. “Everyone hears all these stories, and you’ve saw the movies and all the orneriness and all the talent, and they’re all amazing, but what people don’t realize is how close to God he was,” said Deans.
“I want people to know that although in their heyday they were ornery, talented hellions, like any young boys would be that became living legends, Gary could have been a preacher. I know Gary is up there in Heaven singing with George Jones and Johnny Paycheck.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.