By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Drinking beer in the afternoon, playing low-stakes poker with good friends, tubing on the Guadalupe—Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos have the innate ability to provide the perfect soundtrack to all these activities. Theirs is great music to be played while you're doing pretty much anything other than listening—because in order to fully enjoy this disc, it helps to be distracted.
It's not that the record is all that bad—sloppy sections here and there and a slightly exaggerated country twang in Jones' voice are its biggest flaws. For the most part, Jones leads his band through a handful of pretty good slow-burning ballads, as well as a few up-tempo numbers about drinking and losing relationships because of drinking. "Beaten Path," actually, comes off as a truly heartfelt, melancholy country song.
But when compared to Whiskeytown, Lucero and the band's other obvious influences, the songs simply don't measure up. Sure, the style is there, along with the gritty guitar solos and empty-barroom anthems, but Jones and company are missing the most important ingredient of all—well-written songs.
It's good drinking music, though. Good fishing and poker music, too. It's just not really good listening music.