Clayton Jones and The Bucks
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Clayton Jones and The Bucks

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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Clayton Jones and The Bucks

Naming the Animals 2012

The Groundhawgs featuring Clayton Jones

Little Big Easy Volume III (EP) 2012
Little Big Easy Volume II (EP) 2011
Little Big Easy Volume I (EP) 2010
Self-Titled (LP) 2004



“Clayton was the best guitar picker in our town . . .”
--Tom T. Hall, “The Year that Clayton Delaney Died”

Born in Northwest Georgia in 1975, J. Clayton L. Jones is a songwriter. He is named after two politicians and a country music song—comes from a very musical family: his Uncle Claude—like Bill Monroe’s Uncle Penn—was a an old time and bluegrass musician who greatly influenced him, and taught him; his father wrote songs as a hobby, was a speech writer for people such as Burt Lance, Jimmy Carter, and Zell Miller. Music was always present in his youth: both of his grandfathers played instruments. “My Papaw Jones played banjo claw-hammer style but with two fingers,” Jones said. “Papaw Solomon played guitar and sang.” And Jones sang with him too at church when he was five, but took the guitar up seriously when he was thirteen, although he’d had one since was seven.
As for highlights present and future, Jones’ first solo album, backed by his new band The Bucks, is entitled Naming the Animals. The songs are not only well crafted from his strong literary standpoint, but are fused with the Appalachian styles from his childhood, nuances of reggae, resonating vocals, and country blues. There is Jones’ unique guitar style, and there are also subtle world rhythms found within these songs considering The Bucks have three percussionists, an upright bass player, and a pianist. Thematically, the songs touch on the complexities of love, being from a small town, and—sort of like the songs from The Groundhawgs’ self-titled release (2004)—cosmic forces and outer space. Of Jones’ songs, critic Cuba Rhodes proclaimed, “When I think of Jones’ solid writing and musicianship, I can’t help wondering if a song about Earthlings (“The Planet Alabamie Rag”) might be exactly what Gram Parsons intended when proposed his dream of Cosmic American Music.”
Jones doesn’t like to talk about his musical influences that much, but he does love Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and Robert Plant. “I love the Bobs,” he says. “All three of them.” You can hear this in his songs because you could say he has a folk singers attitude, but a wild poets heart. “It must have been those political functions they took me to as a baby,” Jones said. “Even though I don’t write a whole lot about current events—well, I could be lying here—I know that music can change the world for the better, and that’s what I intend to do because I believe in people. I believe in community, and I believe in music.”
Jones wrote his first song when he was in 9th grade. “I remember my girlfriend dumped me, so I got over it by writing a funny song about it. I told Dad I was upset, but then I wasn’t anymore. He looked at me and said, ‘Good.’ I wrote some stuff for real later on in high school, and by the time graduation came around I had my mind made up,” he said. “Besides, it made it easier to pick up girls when you had a guitar on.”
Jones’ essence as a songwriter is illustrative of his musical background, but also his literary background. Jones is Associate Poetry Editor for FutureCycle Press; owner and editor Robert S. King is working with him on his first full-length manuscript in hopes of publishing it later this year. Nonetheless, Jones found out early on that he could write all kinds of things. In 8th grade, he won a poetry contest; he was editor of his high school’s literary magazine for three years, and he even published newspaper articles before he was in high school, yet music was what he wanted to focus on. Consider the following:

I knew I was going to go to college, but I didn’t go to get an English degree so I could become a professor. I sort of fell into that. I wanted to study great poets so I could be come a better songwriter. So really, I went [to college] to find people to play music with. (Jones)

In 1995, Jones moved to Athens, Georgia; he answered an ad in the newspaper—a band was looking for a guitarist; thus, he had a band before he had a place to live. “The band’s name was Kilgore Trout in reference to the Kurt Vonnegut novels. We were pretty popular and I didn’t even know at the time about the literary reference,” he said. A week after arriving in Athens, Jones played his first gig at the famous 40 Watt opening up for Allman Brothers side project band, Government Mule; the following week, Jones shared the stage with Derrick Trucks, nephew of Allman Brother drummer Butch Trucks, at The Georgia Theater. Even though Jones loved playing Southern rock, Kilgore Trout’s members also knew he had other things to do. “I wasn’t focusing as much on my writing, so I left and started my own band,” he said. “That’s when I began to gravitate back to my roots: acoustic music, country and blues.”
Flash forward to Jones’ senior year at the University of Georgia when he Jones studied creative writing and poetry with Coleman Barks, the famous translator of Rumi: “Dr. Barks and I used to go out drinking a lot. He didn’t have a clue what I was about until I told him that I