The Best North Texas Folk Acts

Categories: Best Of

Brian Carroll
Jacob Furr's Trails and Traces is a beautiful yet heartbreaking album.

With the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner -- in fact, voting is open right now -- we're looking to spend the next several weeks taking the opportunity to highlight some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say that these artists are the "best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 150 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.

Like so many other once-solid genres, folk music's boundaries have become fluid, and that's made for some interesting times in the past decade or so. Sure, Dylan plugged in back in 1965, but he didin't have a kick-drum! While the sounds of this year's DOMA Best Folk Act finalists vary in many ways, there's an important thread which ties them all together in the most folkie of ways: These artists spin a yarn and weave a tale with the best of them. The story is king in folk music, and that will never change.

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Rhett Miller Found His Philanthropic Calling with the Cystic Fibrosis Concert Series

Categories: A Good Cause

Courtesy the artist
Rhett Miller has championed the cause to cure cystic fibrosis for nearly a decade

Eight years ago, Rhett Miller's brother, Ross, also a musician, felt compelled to figure out how he and his famous brother could help a friend of his. A wife of one of Ross's friends was battling cystic fibrosis, so the two Millers got to work on a plan that would raise some money for the cause.

"We decided to learn about CF so we could see what we could do about it," says Miller over the phone as he walks in the sand of California's Hermosa Beach, where the Old 97's front man prepares to play a solo show. "There's so many things in the world that you feel like you can't do anything to help, but this felt like something I could do something about."

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Freddie Jones is the Trumpet Player Behind Every Dallas Cowboys National Anthem

Categories: Local Music

Courtesy Freddie Jones
Freddie Jones and his trumpet deliver the National Anthem at each Dallas Cowboys home game

Trumpet player Freddie Jones makes the word "casually" seem too studious an adjective. He sits inside a coffee house in Carrollton, cutting off golden, flaky morsels of apple pie as he remembers getting a call from the Dallas Cowboys. A trumpet player by trade, Jones plays the national anthem before each of the team's home games at AT&T Stadium. He's the first person in seven years to earn that privilege on an exclusive basis.

"I got a call, and I said, 'Yeah, I'll come do it,'" says Jones.

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The Best Concerts in Dallas This Weekend, 11/21-11/23

Categories: Previews

Courtesy the artist
Hoodie Allen, a blue-eyed American patriot, comes to South Side Ballroom

This weekend you can hear the raspy tales of Jeezy's street life at South Side Ballroom. Captured! By Robots, a band comprised of one human captured by robots, plays a wacky set at Three Links. Garage rockers Jacuzzi Boys take on Club Dada. Hoodie Allen and Chiddy Bang will play the safest rap show you've ever conceived possible at South Side Ballroom. Plus there's much, much more.

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In the Garage Alliance Looks to Help Dallas Musicians Who Lack Health Insurance

Categories: A Good Cause

Karlo X. Ramos
Sealion join Jacuzzi Boys and others for the first In the Garage Alliance fundraiser this Saturday
Being in a band is a full-time job. Anyone who has played in one will tell you this. Between jams to write music, rehearsals, recording and gigging, it is exhausting and taxing. The trouble with playing in a band is that musicians see very little from it, aside from a select few who go on to broader notoriety. Most of the money for a band usually goes to printing merch, recording sessions, a crappy van if you're lucky, printing more merch and then to fixing the crappy van you were lucky enough to get in the first place.

Being in a band kind of sucks if all you're in it for is money. What you do get from being in a band is a surrogate family by way of other bands you play with, regular attendees of shows, promoters, and sometimes venue staff. When you're in a band, you're always rich in love. But more often than not, one thing artists are lacking is access to health insurance.

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The 15 People You Meet in Dallas Nightlife

Categories: Columns

Roderick Pullum
Keep chugging and we'll put you on this list: Dallas night life is full of characters

By Amy McCarthy and Jaime-Paul Falcon

Bars, clubs, and music venues are generally great places to be, especially when you factor in copious amounts of alcohol and loud live music. Still, there are plenty of people in Dallas who are dead-set on harshing your mellow while you're taking in a show at Club Dada or drinking at Twilite Lounge.

There's no question that most of us spend too much time out at the bar, which means that you've inevitably run into these 15 people in the pursuit of a drunkenness and a good time. It is also likely that you fall into one of these categories, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing or an indictment of your character. Just know that we've got your number, Dallas.

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The New Bedhead Box Set is the Most Essential Dallas Reissue of 2014

Categories: Columns

Courtesy the artist
Bedhead are best heard with headphones -- even if you're Bedhead

Last week, Bedhead, the renowned slowcore pioneers from Dallas led by brothers Matthew and Bubba Kadane, saw the re-release of its entire body of recorded work. Chicago-based record label Numero Group, a label that specializes in offering up richly detailed, comprehensive collections from artists deserving of further inspection, released the box set Bedhead: 1992-1998. The collection contains the band's three studio albums (1994's WhatFunLifeWas, 1996's Beheaded and 1998's Transaction de Novo) in addition to an extra disc of demos, singles and unreleased tracks.

2014 has been a year rife with backward-looking reissues (Dallas artists have been no exception to the rule), but when one takes into account the thoughtfully written 25,000 word essay/book, this box set is a stunning addition to any personal music collection. Don't just take our word for it - Pitchfork, NPR and the A.V. Club are but a few of the notable outlets hurling hosannas at the band and this early Christmas gift.

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Slayer Rose Above the Death of Jeff Hanneman Last Night at Verizon Theatre

Categories: Last Night

John Gilhooley
Slayer performing in California in fall of 2013

With Exodus
Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
Wednesdany, November 19, 2014

When I was 12, I wanted to listen to Slayer. I wanted to listen to Slayer so badly. My cousin got to see them whenever they played Los Angeles and he had all of their albums. I was listening to a lot of heavier stuff at the time: Metallica, Black Sabbath and others. My cousin kept telling me I was too young for Slayer. He said it wasn't for me. I didn't get it. So after skipping lunch for a few days, I hopped on my bike to the Warehouse Music near my house with enough money for a Slayer CD. My cousin, much to my disdain, told my parents to make sure that I don't listen to Slayer, so the whole excursion was a bit of a secret mission for me.

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Dallas Hip Hop Needs a Unified Sound to Get National Attention

Categories: Columns

Nicholas James Harris
Buffalo Black is one of Dallas' hottest rappers. No one else sounds quite like him
The most popular rapper to have ever come from North Texas is one Robert Matthew Van Winkle. You probably know him as Vanilla Ice. This is nothing short of equal parts silly and embarrassing. Vanilla Ice is the Psy of the '90s and "Ice Ice Baby" is hands down the "Gangham Style" of those times. Drop those songs back-to-back in a club and the same people will sing and dance to them both. The same people will also sit the fuck down.

It's very important to be wholly transparent right now and say that this is not the fault of rappers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton or -- well, those are the only places that have rap around here, right? It's all on the average consumer, who relishes a simple familiarity.

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Local Over Everything Flies the Flag for Dallas Music on the Radio

Categories: Interviews

Karlo X. Ramos
Brothers in arms, the trio behind Local Over Everything are out to champion Dallas music

On Thursday night, the Deep Ellum on Air show Local Over Everything began its second season. The show's hosts Rodney Blu, Mo the Bear and Simon Phoenix brought in Dallas rapper Blue, the Misfit to mark the occasion. The show has done well with its unconventional, but authentic program format. Local Over Everything gives listeners the feel that they're hanging out at their homey's stoop rather than listening to a simple radio show.

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