Washington musician best country male artist at Carolina Music Awards

Published 7:31 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

For many years, David Lee Jones had a standing gig at the VIP Lounge in Chocowinity. Now, he’s aiming for bigger stages as winner of the Carolina Music Awards Best Male Artist of the Year in the country category, Jones said.

The annual awards show was held at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh last Saturday.

Jones and music go a long way back — as far as he can remember.

“I’m 45, so 42 years,” he laughed. “I actually started playing keyboard when I was three. But professionally, it’s been about 30 years.”

At 15, Jones played his first show at the Bethel Harvest Festival with a band made up of schoolmates, Bad Influence. Over the next three decades, he’s lent his talent to the Powell Brothers Band, 8 Second Ride, Ghostryders and Sixgun. But it was when he decided to branch out on his own that he feels his music started taking him places.

“I’ve done more since I started marketing myself, since I went out on my own. It’s hard to market a band, but I can sell myself to anybody,” he laughed.

His music is original, a style he says is a mix of old-school and outlaw country — Waylon Jennings with shades of Alan Jackson and a bit of Jason Aldean thrown into the mix. Jones’ latest album, Carolina Sunset, is gaining him recognition from surprising sources and in unusual places. On a trip out West, he said he was in a Casper, Wyoming, Walmart when a woman approached him and asked if he was the singer of “Dance in the Moonlight,” a single released two years prior.

“I can go into Food Lion — no one pays me any attention, but if I’m up in Virginia, Nashville, people know who I am. I guess I’m just a regular face around here,” Jones said. “North Carolina is tough. They’re playing my music everywhere else in the country, but I can’t get them to play it in North Carolina.”

With the win in Raleigh, however, Jones said he’s going to be devoting his time and talent to music. On the heels of the award, he signed on with a sponsor out of Havelock who’s going to be facilitating the move, he said.

“The coolest thing for me was that Nashville’s Luke Holmes, who’s from (NC), was in the same category. If you win a category that Luke Combs is in, that’s a pretty big deal,” Jones said.