Denton's Felt & Fur are "Open to New Persuasions of Weirdness"

Categories: Interviews

Albert Rodriguez
Denton's Felt & Fur, by ascending height. Left to right, Alizsha Pennington, Randall Minick, Jarrod Estes, Brandon Dupre

Felt & Fur's practice space plays home to a myriad of peculiarities. It's in an upstairs nook at Denton's premiere combination business: Sprockets Bike Shop and NV Cupcakes. It's painted baby blue and has a strangely low ceiling. Oh, and it used to be the daycare for a church that existed in this very spot.

But for the four members of Felt & Fur, it seems like a natural home. Kicking back and enjoying a few post-practice drinks, the four of them radiate an air of satisfaction at their practice, with that feeling that they're on the verge of something great.

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Lily Taylor Uses Her Voice to Build a Musical Universe

Categories: Interviews

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Wanz Dover

Last month, Dallas-based songbird Lily Taylor released her debut album, The Ride, for local indie label Pour Le Corps. The album explores a haunting and dramatic mood within the parameters of a minimalistic and bare bones sound world. This is not one of those easy to categorize albums. It's a work that well and truly exists on its own terms. Taylor manages to establish a distinct artistic voice that does not directly reference any particular music style, while also existing comfortably in a musical universe of Taylor's own making.



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The Jayhawks Reform Their Late '90s Lineup Tonight at the Granada

Categories: Interviews

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Marina Chavez

For most bands, whenever they cut a few records without a founding member, those records are almost forgotten about when that founding member returns to the band. Whether it's Van Halen, Iron Maiden or Bad Religion, this happens all the time.

With the Jayhawks, they cut three albums without founding guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Mark Olson between 1996 and 2003: Sound of Lies, Smile and Rainy Day Music. As great as those albums were, in the eyes of certain longtime fans, they were thought of as Albums Without Mark Olson and considered lesser works.

With a new generation of fans finding the band, though, they've reformed that era's lineup and will play the Granada Theater tonight. We spoke to frontman Gary Louris at his home in Minneapolis about reforming this line-up, having more songs to pick from for a live set and how the Jayhawks continue to have a dedicated following.


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Dallas' Johnny Stimson Has a Road Map for Stardom

Categories: Interviews

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Danielle Ellis
Johnny Stimson

When Dallas-based singer and songwriter Johnny Stimson graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in finance, he had his dreams for a music career all planned out. He made, as he refers to it now, a "two-year, thought-out decision to move to New York," where he spent a few months interning for a recording studio. "I was figuring out how the studio works and basically recording for free," Stimson says.

Equipped with a handful of songs for acoustic guitar and ukulele -- "good songs to begin a career with," as he puts it -- Stimson had reason to feel optimistic. But after playing those songs, songs like "Penny" and "Someone I Used To Know," in a meeting with executives from a potential management company, Stimson began to question his tunes.


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Michael Briggs Has Built a Hub of Denton Music in His Own House

Categories: Interviews

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Stanton J Stephens
Michael Briggs, the man with the plan in Denton
If Michael Briggs wants to see a show, record a band's EP or film a podcast, he doesn't have to step outside his own door. It is, shall we say, a bit of a luxury.

In Denton's independent music scene, Briggs is absolutely crucial in the booking, recording and promotion of bands in the area. He books shows at his own house, DIY venue Macaroni Island, records bands at Civil Recording in his home studio and does videos and Q&A's with bands in the Violitionist Sessions. All his work serves to give Denton bands a place to play, a place to record and a place to be seen.

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Crystal Yates Chased Her Country Music Dreams from Florida to McKinney

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The cover of Crystal Yates upcoming EP, I Believe.

As a child growing up in the tiny town of Niceville, Florida, McKinney transplant and country singer-songwriter Crystal Yates couldn't avoid the twangy sounds of country music even if she had wanted to. "My mom says I could sing 'Why Don't You Love Me' by Hank Williams before I could say my ABCs," explains the powerfully-voiced, dark-haired singer.

Although the classic canons of Merle Haggard and George Jones had been memorized in her younger days as she also began delving into the work of Shel Silverstein, it was her first musical purchase of an early Whitney Houston album that laid out the roadmap of classic country storytelling and bold vocals that she's followed ever since.


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Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill Looks to Shake Up Local Music in Its Second Year

Categories: Interviews

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Gas Monkey
Gas Monkey's owner Richard Rawlings and general manager Alex Mendonsa
The combination of motorheads, good food and great live music probably is probably, well, music to some peoples' ears, and it's one that has worked really well for the brains behind Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill. Outside of serving some really stellar brisket and other delicious food, Gas Monkey has quickly become one of the city's stand-out music venues, hosting monster acts like Hank Williams III, Marshall Tucker Band and the Sword.

"We initially discused doing a few shows a month, and then once we got into it, we quickly realized we wanted to do more than that," says Gas Monkey general manager AlexMendonsa. "And then we decided we wanted to kick ass and do as many shows as we can."

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1310 The Ticket's George Dunham Uses His Faith to Make a Difference with "A Presence"

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George Dunham Performing with the Bird Dogs

Some songs pop out of a writer's mind and onto tape in mere minutes. Other songs, however, require a journey with several stops in order to develop into the fully formed statement they need to be. Almost three years ago, during the Christmas season of 2011, popular sports-talk radio host George Dunham of 1310 The Ticket, had a rush of impactful memories overtake him as he found inspiration for a new song he would write. For a bit over four years now, Dunham has been the lead singer and songwriter for local country band the Bird Dogs, and he suddenly felt it time to write a song detailing his Christian faith and its seemingly indescribable influence on his life.

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Dallas' Bryan Fajardo May Be the World's Best Grindcore Drummer

Categories: Interviews

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Ben Cooper
Bryan Fajardo
Perfectionism, particularly in a musician, is most often viewed as a liability. Rather than focusing on the life-affirming qualities inherent in the struggle for perfection, many attribute negative personal characteristics -- difficult, hardheaded, intractable -- towards those with a desire for self-improvement. But there exists a rare breed that uses this inexhaustible drive for growth in a collaborative, positive way.

Drummer and Dallas resident Bryan Fajardo has spent almost 20 years on this single-minded path, learning from and teaching others on his journey towards true musical enlightenment. His expertise is in grindcore, a metal subgenre that melds the intensity of death metal, punk and thrash into a maelstrom of flurrying notes.

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Taylor Phelan Chases His Musical Destiny on NBC's The Voice

Categories: Interviews

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Steve Watkins
Taylor Phelan is one of two North Texas contestants on NBC's "The Voice"

Luke Wade isn't the only North Texas contestant on the new season of NBC's The Voice. No, competing alongside him is Taylor Phelan, who hails from Dallas. And the two have more in common than just geography: They've both chosen to work Pharrell Williams on the show. But for Phelan, making it onto the network reality show was a watershed moment as a musician.

"It was a very encouraging moment," says Taylor, when we caught up with him at the Truck Yard in Lower Greenville. He had prepared himself for an adverse outcome, for the possibility that nobody would turn around. "I realized that all the years' worth of effort ...was really being acknowledged in that moment. Maybe this is something I'm supposed to do."


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