However, as many artists are wont to find out, the music remained in his blood. And that’s how Grady’s 66 Pub, 444 W. Main in Yukon, was started.
“I wanted to still be involved in the music business, wanted to still be surrounded by the music and the musicians, so what better way than to open a venue?” Cross said. “It’s not the biggest venue, but man, it sure packs a big punch!”
In the short time Grady’s has been open, it has gained considerable attention as a venue that is keeping not only Red Dirt — or, as Cross calls it, “real country” — alive in Oklahoma, but attracting acts as diverse as the Bellamy Brothers and Stoney LaRue to Dale Watson and The Damn Quails.
“I’ve got some Top 40 buddies of mine — Dierks Bentley and Gary Allen — I like that stuff, but some of that other stuff, I can’t hardly stomach. It doesn’t do anything for me,” Cross said. “To me, Red Dirt is real. Red Dirt is just like a family. Red Dirt guys are real dependable. I guess that’s all I’ve ever really played. It’s just what I was raised on.”
This passion for keeping it real — and Red — inspired Grady’s brother, Nathan, to become Grady’s general manager. A self-proclaimed “huge fan” of Red Dirt, Nathan Cross said the pub is important to the local music scene because the brothers “bring something back to country music that hasn’t been seen in a long time.”
“I think that Grady’s works because both of us bring a pretty good element to the table,” Nathan Cross said, noting 23 years of experience booking entertainment and working in bars and restaurants. “[Grady] knew the perspective from the band’s side — what the bands would be looking for, how to treat them and such — and I knew the business side. It was a good partnership.”
It’s a partnership that continues to grow stronger as more metro music lovers flock to Yukon for this type of decidedly homegrown tunes. After all, according to Grady Cross, it’s not that long of a drive.
“Some people seem to think it’s so far out of the way, but it’s only really about 13 miles,” he said. “People in Dallas will drive twice that, plus traffic, for a venue they love.”
While Cross Canadian Ragweed is no more, that doesn’t mean that some nights at Grady’s, you won’t find its former guitarist picking up the instrument again to play.
“Every once in a while, I’ll jump onstage,” he said. “I still have that in me. I probably always will.”