Mason Dixon was a rock-tinged country band from the '80s that was formed by New York native Frank Gilligan and Texan Rick Henderson, who adopted the band's name in tribute to their mixed Northern/Southern roots. The two met in college during the mid-'70s and started playing around southern Texas together; in 1979, onetime solo act Jerry Dengler, who was originally from Odessa, TX, joined the group to make it a trio. They hired several supporting musicians and attempted to mount a tour, but a shortage of bookings forced them to shed most of the additional lineup. A self-released single, "Armadillo Country," caught the ear of promoter/producer Don Schafer, who signed Mason Dixon to his local Texas Records label. Starting with a 1983 cover of the Police's "Every Breath You Take," they scored a few local hits, which also included "I Never Had a Chance With You" and "Gettin' Over You"; in 1985, they also released an album called The Spirit of Texas, in conjunction with the state sesquicentennial. In 1986, the band moved to another indie, Premier Once, and issued several singles with producer Dan Mitchell. These led to a deal with Capitol, and the band's major-label debut, Exception to the Rule, was released in 1988. They had limited success with the singles "Dangerous Road" and "When Karen Comes Around," but Henderson left the group in 1989, to be replaced by Terry "Caz" Casburn. A follow-up album, Reach for It, appeared in 1990, but didn't sell particularly well, and the group later disbanded.
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