The Rocks Off 200: Junior Gordon, Big Man With a Big Sound
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Junior Gordon first came to our attention last year, when his fans launched him onto our Houston Press Music Awards ballot in the Best Country category, and boy howdy is he country. Gordon's sound is about as big as the ten-gallon hat he wears on the cover of his album, BIG, which is in all caps because lowercase letters just couldn't contain him. Like Tracy Byrd or Mark Chesnutt before him, Gordon's brand of starched-Wranglers honky-tonk is a little too twangy for Nashville, especially these days, but Texas to the bone.
Photos courtesy of Junior Gordon/Junior Gordon Band
In other words, if you're looking at him, you're looking at country. Gordon describes himself as a "good, old-fashioned guy who has an astonishing love for Christ, his family and music...the type of guy who respects and is grateful for the awesome gifts in his life." The most recent single from BIG, "Sunday Morning," is currently bubbling under the Top 100 of the Texas Regional Radio Report, while Gordon's booking calendar is booked six ways from Sunday, including dates at Galveston's Mardi Gras weekend and March 12 at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo's Hideout Club.
He's also nominated in three categories, including Record of the Year, in next month's Texas Music Awards.
Home Base: Gordon grew up around Conroe and has lived in Alvin for the past 24 years. But he considers the entire Houston area, where he plays most of his shows, as home. "Don't get me wrong, it's cool to have shows all over the place, to meet and see new things and people," he says. "But I love hometown shows."
Gordon onstage at the Firehouse Saloon
Good War Story: Early in his career, Gordon was an eyewitness to an honest-to-Pete bar fight he says was instigated by a man who really wanted to hear some Alan Jackson. Here's how he tells it, taking us back to a "hole in the wall ice house" somewhere in Southeast Texas...
It was truly the type of place where I could tell what they would want to hear was not Texas Country. About 30 minutes into the show a guy from the crowd of six said, "Do you know any Alan Jackson?" We told him no. Three songs later, now a crowd of five people, same guy, same question, same response.
Two songs later, crowd of five counting the bartender, same guy, same question. My response was, "I'm sorry bud. I know his music, just as a band we don't collectively know any." His response was, "You guys suck." Now keep in mind this was our first time and, we would find out soon, our last time to ever want to play this venue.
One of the other four patrons, enjoying his cold adult beverage, said to the No. 1 Alan Jackson fan, "Sit down and shut up, he told you they can't play any of his songs." From there it escalated into a heated argument and then into a fight. The No. 1 Alan Jackson fan pulled out a knife and then proceeded to the beer-drinking patron. The beer drinking patron then pulled out a pistol and shot the guy.
There was no stage -- we were on ground level with everyone else. Needless to say, our gear was packed up, the tires were on the pavement and we knew to learn some Alan Jackson songs.
Story continues on the next page.