Time moves a bit slower in the Texas Hill Country, it is just built that way. And time seems to move even a tick slower when you’re hanging out with “Big G” Gordon Ames of Revolution FM’s “Texas Roadshow” out of Kerrville. It’s not that the man is lazy; quite the contrary. But Big G seems to personify the Hill Country way of life: enjoy living, don’t compromise your principles for anything, and you’ll get there when you get there. In fact Big G’s big voice is in hot demand these days, not only doing the overnight show on KOOK 93.5 FM and other Revolution FM shows, but also doing voice work for television and other projects. Far from an overnight DJ vying for attention, Big G has become a regional celebrity.
“My wife loves it when were trying to eat a meal at a restaurant, and some girl walks up like ‘Oh Big G!'” he says, rolling his eyes.
Big G is his own man. Even when Revolution FM went through a format change recently from country to classic rock, he insisted on keeping his overnight show the way it has always been: that unique blend of what he likes to call “True” country, along with some blues, rockabilly, and good old rock n’ roll. And though he has a keen local following amongst night owls, third shifters, and late night truckers rolling down the I-10 corridor, Big G has also garnered a huge following on Revolution FM’s online audio stream at revfmradio.com.
The unique blend of “Roadshow Approved” music, as well as excellent interviews with big names has earned Big G quite the national reputation, with a few listeners poking in from overseas as well. “I’ve got Tonya Watts lined up tonight” Big G says as we walk into his lair at the Revolution FM studios. His office is to a DJ what a candy store would be to a kid if it was his bedroom: Signed posters and pieces of memorabilia lining the walls, all manner of audio equipment, and whatever song he feels like playing at his fingertips. He’s a mad scientist of spinning records, with any tool necessary at his disposal.
We sit down and he starts fumbling through stacks of CD’s. There’s jewel cases and mailers piled to the ceiling, all from artists and record labels who have heard of this unique DJ in Kerrville and have sent their stuff to him, hoping it can be branded “Roadshow Approved.” “Have you heard the new Flaming Hellcats?” he says to me. “Or how about The Resin Valley Boys?” Soon Big G is rummaging through his CD’s stumping me at every corner, reducing my own audiofile status to rubble as he rattles off names. “Nope, never heard this,” I admit. “No, never heard of them. Never heard of them either. Actually I have heard of them. That name sounds familiar. No bells ringing. Wait, I though he was dead.”
Big G is an encyclopedia of country, roots, blues, and rockabilly. This is symptom of his severe passion for music. As he’s popping CD’s in and out, he peers at me from under the wide brim of his hat, with a child-like, enthusiastic grin saying “Man, can’t you just hear that? You can just hear when something is real or not. When it has THAT sound.” The plan was to pop in and out of the studio real quick, and then head down the street for lunch, but after an hour, Big G is still playing music for me. My grumbling tummy can wait: I’ve got my own personal DJ, and that DJ is the legendary Big G. Pulling Big G away from the music is like trying to get an 8-year-old out of a bounce house.
My patience is rewarded when Big G treats me to some authentic Texas barbecue, and then we head back to the studio for an interview . . . well . . .a conversation. One of my favorite parts about Big G’s show is the casual way in which he interviews his guests. He has a way of being able to make them unwind instead of tense up. You listen to a Big G interview, and you picture it is taking place in a living room or on a back porch, and you have the privilege of being able to peer in on a private, casual conversation between two people. This makes for some of the most unique, revealing, and entertaining interviews. Big G disarms you. And when he lets go one of his deep belly laughs, he puts you in a place you want to be. People that Big G has interviewed vary from Kinky Friedman, to Hank Williams III, Unknown Hinson, Dale Watson, and the list goes on from there.
Music has always been Big G’s passion, but he spent 25 years in Houston paying his dues before he was able to move to to Kerrville for the easier lifestyle and to be closer to the music. You could say that Big G and his show are a dying breed, but nothing about what he’s doing smells of death by any stretch. On the contrary, you look at Big G and his show and wonder where it is headed next. With the radio landscape so void of independent music and DJ’s who are willing or able to play what they want, Big G and the Texas Roadshow seem to be filling a niche that the country has a voracious appetite for, and at the same time, giving real, independent music a safe harbor in a stormy sea.
And isn’t it fitting that this safe harbor would be in the Texas Hill Country, amongst the granite and oaks, just down the road from Austin and Luckenbach, and where the Kerrville Folk Festival still happens and Jimmie Rodgers was born.
And where The Outlaws once bivouacked before riding off to save the music.
Big G’s Texas Roadshow can be heard mornings on KOOK 93.5 FM Junction, TX and simulcast on AM1230 Kerrville Texas from 5 -10 am. Listen Online 24/7 here.
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Kyle “Trigger Man” Coroneos is music journalist currently residing in the Texas Hill Country.He is the owner of the very popular music blog, “Saving Country Music.” (www.savingcountrymusic.com). He’s also a musician and a strong advocate for real country music.
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