By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Jordan Gibbons has sung with George Strait’s back-up group, the legendary Ace in the Hole Band, while deep in the heart of Texas.
So making two appearances in Toronto should be as easy as a stroll along The Riverwalk in her hometown of San Antonio.
The daughter of the Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and her band Southtown will play seven songs Saturday night at the Horseshoe Tavern opening for the Rheostatics, with Dave Bidini, the noted author who wrote the classic Baseballissimo among other books.
And Sunday morn at 11:20, Southtown entertains Rogers Centre fans before the finale of the Texas Rangers-Blue Jays finale on Country Day presented by TD. Jordan was here a year ago to see Tim Hicks perform -- not the former owner of the Rangers but the country singer.
Now, the band Southtown -- Dana Smith, Gabriel Acevedo, Colton Daniels and Jordan -- will perform in its largest house. Now, not all are likely to be in their seats that early. But take a tip from someone who can tell Sugarland from Lady Antebellum, and has heard Southtown, if you are going to the game, leave an hour early and enjoy the concert.
Since the band is just starting Smith, who also sings picks mean guitar and handles percussion, also works the front desk at the Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort and Spa in Boerne, north of San Antonio. And since country music Hall of Famer George Strait is a part owner of the resort, Southdown was booked to play the patio after the “Vaqueros Del Mar Invitational” fund-raising golf tourney. The country legend staged the golf event to benefit the Troops First Foundation that benefits wounded servicemen and women..
“Our band played the one night and then George Strait had a concert for the wounded servicemen,” said Jordan. “George’s son, Bubba, was there, he played a few songs with us, John Michael Whitney (Strait’s Keyboard player from the Ace in the Hole Band) and Keith Gaddis (who toured with Dwight Yoakum) sat in a well.”
The next night Strait and the Ace in the Hole Band -- Terry Hale, Mike Daily, Ronnie Huckaby, Rick McRae, Benny McArthur, Mike Kennedy, Gene Elders, Joe Manuel, Marty Slayton and Whitby -- played to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. For someone who has seen Strait more than 15 times and listened to Strait’s “Live From The Astrodome” 100s of times names of Ace in the Hole Band are familiar: there was a time when I could recall who was from New Branufels who was from San Marcos and who was from Austin.
Jordan Gibbons was invited, along with her mother, Julie, and her father, John. They watched King George perform and got to sing a duet with Jamey Johnson.
Johnson and Strait sang Bob Wills Texas Swing hit from the 1940s “Take me Back to Tulsa,” “I was Kicked out of Country,” “Goin’ Goin’ Gone” from 2015 and “Give It Away” written by Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon and Johnson in 2000.
When Strait finished performing and left the stage, pa Gibbons ambled over to dad to someone, while the Ace in the Hole Band stayed on stage. A number of people went up to sing.
“My dad got to talking (to the co-owner of the resort) then someone came over and said ‘Hhey your father said you are a singer, wanna got to go up and sing?’”
The daughter has her father’s sense of humor answering: “I had had a couple of vodkas with sprite, so I said sure.”
And then Jordan Gibbons, 24, who always liked “old country songs” went up and sang Loretta Lynn’s 1966 classic ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).”
You’ve come to tell me something you say I ought to know
That he don’t love me anymore and I’ll have to let him go
You say you’re gonna take him oh but I don’t think you can
Cause you ain’t woman enough to take my man
Women like you they’re a dime a dozen you can buy ‘em anywhere
For you to get to him I’d have to move over and I’m gonna stand right here
It’ll be over my dead body so get out while you can
Cause you ain’t woman enough to take my man.
Jordan hit all the notes as did The Ace in the Hole Band, a group that has backed up Hall of Famer Strait on his 60 No. 1 hits.
“Getting to sing with the Ace and The Hole band was like getting called up from rookie ball to the big leagues,” said Jordan of her move to the stage and her back-up group for that night in Hill Country.
Jordan isn’t strictly old-timey music like Loretta Lynn. Often the band Southtown sings Miranda Lambert songs and is a fan of Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves.
“I’m a huge Miranda Lambert fan and we play in Austin a lot,” Jordan said. “One night I stayed over with my girlfriends. The next day we went to eat at a place on South Congress. About 100 feet away from our table there was Miranda with her boyfriend. I was so star struck. In hind sight I wish I could have gone up and said ‘Hey I’m in a band, I cover your songs.’”
The name of the Waylon Jennings classic is ‘(It don’t matter who’s in Austin) Bob Wills is still the King’ which begins “Here’s a song I wrote on a plane between Dallas and Austin Goin’ to El Paso.” If Bob Wills is still the King, Miranda Lambert would be close to being The Queen.
Jordan recalls her father taking her to see Rush and meeting Geddy Lee. Now, Lee sits in the “front row,” the Bob Uecker seats ... well actually the second row of the action seats behind home plate.
Two years ago this August, after graduating University of Texas at San Antonio with a teaching degree, Jordan decided that she would try an Open Mic night where amateurs give singing a try. Plenty of times Jordan would sing around the house, but this was the first time in front of people when she grabbed the microphone at Olmos Pharmacy a classic San Antonio diner, soda fountain and pub.
“We put a video on Facebook and I heard from Colt,” Jordan recalled. Colton Daniels and Jordan had gone to fourth grade together. Colt saw the video on Facebook and passed along a note “Hey we saw your video. I’m in this country band. You should try out.”
Originally Jordan thought “too much too soon,” but eventually she joined and sang back up behind a woman singer. After three months, there was a “falling out.”
“I was the lead singer and fronting the band, that’s how crazy it was,” said Jordan, who dated Dana for a while. “The singer and guitar player, they always wind up together. We’re just focussing on the music.”
This is Gibbons city. Her second city. It’s where her, Troy and Kyle and mom used to spend their summers from 2002 -- when dad arrived as a bullpen catcher -- until president Paul Godfrey and general manager J.P. Ricciardi made a change bringing back Cito Gaston in 2008.
We’ve read about bands and the pitfalls and all the stress involved. We’ve never asked anyone because A) we were too nervous other than to say hello to Randy Owen of Alabama and B) we were too nervous to say much to J.P. Pennington of Exile.
But we asked Jordan ...
“We’ve run into some tensions. There have been some arguments, I think that is commonplace when you have four different opinions. But we all love each other.”
The band had recorded a demo in a home studio, Now, they finding a producer and a studio to find a professional studio and get their EP -- extended play list of above five or six songs -- recorded.
For this weekend Southtown is moving north.
Next stop Nashville or Austin?