It took 10 minutes for Bay City, Texas’s best 13-piece gospel band to turn the Zilker Tent into an honest revival. Not bad considering it took the Jones Family Singers–five sisters, their two brothers, their dad–more than 20 years to release an album.
"You could make all sorts of money if you just switched over to rock and roll," lead singer Alexis Jones said. "But we rockin’ Jesus and then we roll in the Holy Ghost."
The Gospel Brunch alums are a Friday ACL asset here on the strength of April’s "The Spirit Speaks." Last week the ladies donned matching pink shirts and denim skirts, today was more casual (non-matching t-shirts) and perhaps as a result, the band inspired a slightly more energetic and unguarded crowd of hand-clappers. I stopped counting the earnest, fedora-wearing nerds in running shoes but their unpretentious tendency to dance loosely to anything that sounded good was to be commended.
"Anybody like the blues?" asked the lead singer and part-time beautician, Alexis.
Baby brother guitarist (and chief studio engineer) Fred Jones, Jr. proceeded to rip one off one of the most technically sharp and melody-laden solos anyone is likely to hear this weekend. A lifetime in the family business helps keep the chops in top form.
Three of the members from Shields of Faith, that had just performed prior, clapped like a hometown team quarterback sack.
"I’m not afraid of The Lord Jesus Christ," patriarch and band leader Bishop Fred A. Jones said as pixies with hula hoops spun indiscriminately in the crowd, "When they invite me to the White House, you know what I’m going to do?"
Like the rest of his gospel tent compatriots, Bishop Jones proceeded to shuffle his feet like they had holy soles.
Shortly after, the band wrapped with bassist Kenneth Jones performing a fam-approved rap over Joe Cocker’s "Woman to Woman." Jones, Sr. nodded like a proud pop.