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.
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.
Gordon onstage at the Firehouse Saloon
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."
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.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Houston is home, Gordon says. Simple as that. "It's where we started and where we plan on staying," he elaborates. "I guess the biggest reason is that it's where our fan base and band family began. Our kids have grown up here and all of their friends are here. In our small community, when I park my truck and get out people know who I am, and make me feel at home."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: He's got two: rudeness and people who are late: "Your fans, friends [and] family are the ones that get you to where you are or want to go," Gordon says. "I feel you should always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. There is no reason to be rude...just smile! Being late -- can't stand it. I'm a planner and just can't stand being late."
Five Desert Island Artists:
- Ronnie Dunn
- Goo Goo Dolls
- Steve Wariner
- Ronnie Milsap
- ZZ Top
Best Concert You Ever Saw: Gordon's wife bought him tickets to Brooks & Dunn's final show at Reliant Stadium on the duo's "Last Rodeo" tour in 2010. "We got to meet them both and then sit down on the dirt to watch their concert," he says. "The best part of it all was that she did that for me."
First Song You Fell In Love With: Garth Brooks, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" -- "It was the first song I performed in public...EVER."
Gordon's upcoming shows, and there are plenty, can be found on his Web site, juniorgordonband.com.
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
Chad Smalley, Blaggards' Barse Player Damien Randle, K-OTIX Man of Action Kevin Anthony, 45 Southbound Man DJ Good Grief Knows How to Have Fun Robert Kuhn, the Well-Traveled Islander Gunnar Cushway, Insko's Feel-Good Utilityman Mario Rodriguez, Tax the Wolf/Bang Bangz's Wonky Power Monger John Smith, Goodtime Continental Club Manager Dwayne Cathey, A Good Man to Scare People With Walter Carlos, Guitar-Punisher of Funeral Horse Ryan James, Putting Up a Good Fight John Cramer, Guitar Apostle of Project Grimm Big Gerb, Houston's Hongree-est MC Steven Higginbotham, Hard-Working Wheel Worker Alisha Pattillo & Her Swaggering, Soulful Sax Brandon Ray, Punk Rocker Turned Filmmaker/Animator The Excitable Boys of Another Run Flash Gordon Parks, DJ as Funky Professor DJ Main Event, Kratez Crew JumpOff Man Odd Hours and Back to Back's Hank Doyle Legendary K-OTIX Producer Russel "The ARE" Gonzalez Dylan Bryson Sings the Blues (Rock) DJ Damon Allen, R.O.C.O. Fellow Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy Joe Ortiz, Clockpole's Master of Nonsense Marzi Montazeri, the Man Dimebag Darrell Called a Bad Motherfucker John Salinas, the Beat Beast of Only Beast Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters Adam Bricks, NYC Expat Metal Journeyman and Blasé Bassist Alan Hilton Kyra Noons, Houston's Reggae Sunsplash DJ AudiTory, the Maestro of LuvItMane The Nephilim Terror's Death-Metal Growler Danny Carroll Tommy Grindle, Guitarist of Square and Compass The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary" DJ Twinkle-Toes, Won a "Dick-Measuring Vinyl Orgy" With Two iPods Beanz N Kornbread, Gmail-Loving Production Duo You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Slim Thug Takes That #BossLife to His People Bun B & the Houston Symphony's "Concert Against Hate" at Jones Hall Brrr! The 10 Skimpiest Costumes at Something Wicked R.I.P. Elroy Boogie: Popular Kracker Nuttz DJ Passes Away at 27
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.