Standout Track: No. 4, “Lie to Me,” a parched country song that’s more Townes Van Zandt than CMT. A simple acoustic hook gives way to electric-guitar chords as Justin Jones describes a woman who would make Joan Crawford look like a sweet date. “Just when things get dire, she finds another man,” he sings. “Just when things started looking bad/She’s looking good again.”
Musical Motivation: “The storyline is pretty much just a girl—a kind way to describe her would be to say that she’s promiscuous—who sleeps around trying to find somebody to care about her,” says Jones, 28. “I’m not coming at her from a romantic level—more from the sidelines.” Luckily, Jones isn’t dating his song’s protagonist—“Lie to Me” is largely fiction. “Technically, I just write love songs, so it’s nice to not be the subject or be directly involved with the subject of the song,” he says.
Bar for the Course: Six years of bartending at the 9:30 Club have soured Jones on rock-star illusions. “I’ve seen great bands disappear and terrible bands take off,” he says. “As far as trying to make it goes, that part of me as a musician is gone.” He’s unenthused about touring as well, thanks partly to a squabble with clubgoers at a gig in Jackson, Miss. “Playing in front of three people? Two of them want to fight you? I figure, let’s just play where we want.”
Justin Jones & the Driving Rain play the Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday, Oct. 26.