Regular readers of DC9 and regular drinkers at just about any North Texas honky-tonk are likely familiar with Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos by now.
Between celebrating a great victory in the 2009 Shiner Rising Star Contest (where they won a recording contract) and suffering unimaginable loss when their spiritual leader and bass player, Ace McNeely, passed away, this is a band that's far more resilient than many of the down-and-out characters that inhabit Jones' tales of drink, depression, drugs and deeds-done-wrong.
In a refreshing turn, Jones and his band are nominated for the Best Country Act in the Dallas Observer Music Awards this year. It's saying a lot that they gained the nod in a year where they've been working on a new record, rather than releasing one. Ultimately, though, what that really speaks most loudly is that this current version of the Pistol Grip Lassos really knows how to throw down live.
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Whether you listen to any of the band's recordings, or simply chat with Jones for more than a few minutes, you know that the dude practically sweats country music. And he's is the rare Texas talent that also isn't shy about expressing his love for country acts residing outside of the Lone Star State.
To celebrate Jones' vocal independence, as well as his DOMA nomination, we thought it would be cool to get his All-Time Top Five Non-Texan Country Acts. A note from Jones regarding this list: "This was a tough one. I narrowed it down to a top five but I can't really give a particular order. You could say that this list is more chronological with regards to influence and upbringing."
Check his list out after the jump.
Grant Jones' All-Time Top Five Non-Texan Country Artists*
Alabama. 41 No. 1 hits? That says it all. Real damn good.
Keith Whitley (Kentucky). Growing up in Brownwood, Texas, in the '80s, the radio was all that we had. Well, that, and my folk's cassettes and eight-tracks. I remember wearing out a white cassette tape of Keith Whitley's Greatest Hits. I knew it, and probably still know it, from front to back.
Restless Heart (Tennessee). If you are from the South and anywhere around my age (31, by the way), then you probably have no idea how many Restless Heart songs you actually know. Start yourself a Restless Heart Internet radio station and you will be surprised.
Garth Brooks (Oklahoma). I will probably catch grief for this one, but Garth's first three albums were absolute greatness. I try to put the whole "Chris Gaines" thing out of my head. Jesus, what a shit idea.
Chris Knight (Kentucky). I know there is a big difference between the previous four artists and Chris Knight. But the brutal honesty in Knight's songs brought me back to country music and the familiar sounds of my youth. I had shunned country music for most of my teen years, and it wasn't until I heard artists like Chris Knight that I realized country music was a viable outlet for intense, creative and believable storytelling.
*Artists I had to leave out because they are from Texas: Willie Nelson, George Strait, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Bob Wills and Billy Joe Shaver