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One of the hardest-touring bands of the '90s, Jackopierce slipped under the mainstream's radar to earn a widespread following on college campuses with their pleasant acoustic folk-pop. Guitarists/singers Jack O'Neill and Cary Pierce founded the duo in 1988, while both were attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas as theater majors. Honing a charmingly simple, low-key sound centered around vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars, the two developed a strong local following around the Dallas area. In 1991, they self-released an eponymous first album on their own Rhythmic Records, and embarked on a grueling touring schedule that helped cultivate a national collegiate following. Two more self-released albums -- the 1992 fan favorite Woman as Salvation and 1993's partly new Live From the Americas -- helped expand that following, as did an extensive nationwide mailing list that kept their fan base well-informed (in the days just prior to the explosion of the Internet). Jackopierce's DIY spirit was rewarded with a major-label contract from A&M in 1994. Their debut album, Bringing on the Weather, was produced by T-Bone Burnett, who added extra instruments to flesh out their sound. Virtually ignored by the mainstream media, the album nonetheless sold over 100,000 copies. In its wake, O'Neill and Pierce added a full-time rhythm section in bassist Clay Pendergrass and drummer Earl Darling. Their next effort, 1996's Finest Hour, was a fully electrified break from their long-established acoustic sound. However, it failed to break the band into the mainstream. In late 1997, they decided to break up and move on, and embarked on a national farewell tour. They also issued the double-disc retrospective Decade, which featured a smattering of live performances and unreleased tracks. Both O'Neill and Pierce continued to write and record on their own; O'Neill also moved to New York and joined the Bat Theater Company. In late 2002, Jackopierce decided to reunite and hit the road once again, to the delight of their still-active fan base.
© Steve Huey /TiVo
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