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Texas has long embraced musical outlaws and rebels. Oddly enough, however, recent times have seen the so-called “Texas/Red dirt” scene slowly morph into something that’s much more akin to Jagermeister-scented Rascal Flatts than it is something that champions heart over highlighted hair.
The Hell-raisers of the contemporary Texas country landscape are the honky-tonk heroes that aren’t afraid to actually let their wide-ranging and old-school influences shine through in their music. The gritty truthfulness is there for all to see, and isn’t merely an act of lip service from a dude wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt while playing something that sounds way too much like warmed over 80’s soft-rock.
Grant Jones and the Pistol Grip Lassos out of Dallas, TX not only embody the faded spirit of country greats past, but they also take their trend-bucking ways further by brandishing lyrics that often reveal personal pain that drink or even drugs seem to be unable to heal. Such stoned-heart-on-the-sleeve sentiment is as pure as the warm brown whiskey that soaks so many of the bands songs is deadly strong.
Jones made his way from Brownwood, TX up to Denton, and eventually in to Dallas, where he has faithfully and popularly served as a spiritual mayor to the historic and rejuvenated Deep Ellum district. Originally playing as a 3 piece, in 2006, Jones joined forces with Guitarist Miles Penhall, Drummer David Fiegelman and bass player Ace McNeeley, then proceeded to become a top act in the north Texas country scene. Jones recognizes Penhall’s contributions as something that the band was missing at the beginning, and has added so much sense. “His playing is intense,” says Jones. “His playing gives the sons life that I don't think we could find with many other players."
Since then, the group has suffered tragedy, however. In the summer of 2010, while on tour, McNeely died tragically, sending the band into an intensive search for a bass player that would help make the band feel whole again after the sad loss of the man that Jones has described as their “spiritual core.”
After naming former Bart Crow Band bass player Rocky Garza as the new member, the crew has simply gathered more steam and are planning and ambitious follow-up album that will continue to carve a unique spot for them in the country corners of the US.
It's odd and perhaps a bit sad that we're in a spot where simple, vulnerable storytelling and keeping sounds from country acts of the past present inside of the current sonic of a band can be considered rebellious. Thankfully, it is with all that in mind that Grant Jones and the Pistol Grip Lassos simply know that they need to be what they are and not what others try to be. Reality is the revolution, indeed. Kelly Dearmore-Best of Texas & Dallas Observer