If you've found yourself in Austin on a Sunday night, maybe you got lucky and some local tipped you off to the Saxon Pub, where a band of semi-legendary pickers and pounders called the Resentments were getting ever-looser and louder. Jon Dee Graham
is a lifer in that rogue's gallery, a guitarist provocative and versatile enough to get calls from Ry Cooder, Exene Cervenka, Kelly Willis and The Gourds, a songwriter with the cojones to face off against and equal Alejandro Escovedo in the True Believers. But nothing in his substantial, if somewhat obscure, career predicted the trio of solo albums that began with 1997's Escape From Monster Island
. Over the years Graham has amassed a fresco's worth of sacred and profane images, pouring them into songs every bit as tactile and stunning as his smoked-out growl and violent but lyrical electric guitar. He covers the Texas landscape, but without outlaw cant and without clipping the thorniest truths. No three-named singer/songwriter has ever rocked so hard -- he's bringing a full band to town -- and very few have written so well of the meanness and sweetness at the heart of daily living as Jon Dee Graham.