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The Chance

Chance Martin (aka Chance, Alamo Jones, the Voice in Black, and the Stoned Ranger) is a songwriter, guitarist, lighting director, stage manager, radio show host, and much more. He is one of South Nashville's most legendary and mythologized personas. Martin began his career in 1969 as the cue card man for Johnny Cash's television show. He also began working with the artist as his lighting director on tour. During the TV show's three year run, the two became inseparable. Chance became Cash's confidant and go-to man; as a token of friendship, the singer gave him his own D35 Martin guitar and dubbed him "the Voice in Black." Chance wrote his first song on that guitar, "Loser Til You Win," and began writing in earnest; he worked as lighting director and stage manager for Cash's House of Cash publishing company. When home, he worked top-tier rock & roll shows that came through town and occasionally took to the road, working in various capacities for artists he'd impressed with his streetwise acumen, homespun wisdom, and canny ability to take care of business under pressure. Martin's songwriting continued in secret. In 1977 he left Cash's employ and used his savings to purchase enough gear to furnish a rehearsal space and taping studio in a spare room above his parents' garage; it was tricked out with soundproofing, top-flight recording gear, a bar, and a bedroom. Later that year, he and a group of professional Nashville sidemen began working in the space he dubbed "the Dead End." Over the next five years, the Chance Band rehearsed and recorded demos for what would become the legendary underground classic In Search album. It was recorded professionally in secret nighttime sessions at Cowboy Jack Clement's studio and at the Music Mill. The final product was rejected by every major label because of its uncategorizable sound, which wed everything from honky tonky and outlaw country to folk, hard rock, funk, and blues. Martin pressed up a few hundred copies and released it himself in 1982, then sat on the masters after it sold out, making it a prime collector's item. Martin went back on the road to support himself, working with Alice Cooper, David Lee Roth, and many others for the remainder of the 20th century. He began co-hosting the weekly Outlaw Radio Show for XM Sirius with Clement in 2010. He returned to recording in 2011, releasing the self-titled hard country record Alamo Jones 2012. Paradise of Bachelors Records' convinced Martin to allow them to remaster and reissue In Search. It appeared in a deluxe package in July of 2013. ~ Thom Jurek
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