Grant Jones and the Pistol
Okay, so it's not the kind of name you'd throw around at a church social, but, hey, when was the last time you were at one of those, anyway? Singer/songwriter/guitarist Brent Best reminisces: "I thought it was funny when we first named the band. I was sitting on the back lawn with Lee, our old bass player, and the dog was playing with this big ol' bone, and we always called them slobberbones as kids. So I said, 'That's a nasty-ass slobberbone,' and Lee said, 'That's it!' At the time, it seemed like an innocuous name." So there it is, a casual decision that only has broader implications when people start to care about what you do.
Slippage, Slobberbone's 4th album, was recorded by legendary producer Don Smith (Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Rolling Stones), whose experienced hand enabled the band to dig deep into their sound. Slippage is packed with great rock 'n' roll songs, from the flippant kiss-off of "Springfield, IL." to the bloodstained triptych of "Butchers" to the hopeful yearning of "Back", where a wayward friend longs to right his wrongs in the life he left behind. There are no extraneous bells and whistles here, just dead-on observations from the dark side of the human condition sung with the conviction of someone who's lived it; guitars that push, pull, snarl and wail with desperate and joyful abandon, and underneath it all, the warmth and soul of a natural born rock band living and dying for every note.
Ronnie Fauss grew up in the brutal Texas heat where 95 degrees often constitutes a nice night, and where a man may seek relief through the nearest watering hole or under the chords of a freshly-tuned guitar. Possessing a unique voice in the alt-country vein seamlessly stretching towards moments of Americana and folk, Fauss is both optimist and realist, chasing his dream girl down a long dirt roadand lamenting the struggles of his friends and neighbors, which serve as a microcosm for the country at large.
The Dallas-based singer-songwriter announced his arrival on the scene with a string of EPs in 2009 & 2010 (New Songs for the Old Frontier, I Can’t Make You Happy, Mulligan) that provided rough sketches of an artist stomping around in space until solid ground appeared beneath his feet. On I Am The Man You Know I’m Not, a gifted bare bones storyteller has emerged, singing in warm, personal tones accentuated by flourishes of electric guitars, fiddles, organs, and steel guitars.
Baring the influence of John Prine and Steve Earle, Fauss’ songs excel with a remarkable economy of words and poignant, catchy hooks. The sparse, pastoral duet with Lilly Hiatt on Gram Parsons’ “Sin City,” an homage to the legends of Fauss’ sub-genre, is tempered by the uptempo, Neil Young-channeling “The Night Before the War.” Whether wandering around broken-hearted (“I Don’t See You”) or at relative peace (“Pistols in the Air”), Fauss eschews the whisky-guzzling country bad boy façade in favor of the genuine article.