Jacob Furr Celebrates Life in the Wake of Devastating Tragedy

Brain Carroll/Jacob Furr Facebook

Folk singers are storytellers. The best ones are able to take the most simplistic subject matter and make it ache with beauty. The great ones can also take life's greatest complexities and unanswerable questions and present us with a new, relatable vision with which we can view such big-picture wonderings. Fort Worth's Jacob Furr, 28, has been that type of troubadour for some time now.

Last August, Furr, his family and friends faced the harshest side of life's possibilities when his wife of three years, Christina, died of cancer. It's not a stretch to say that even though he's still quite young, the passing of his wife, whom he had known his "whole life," will likely be his most excruciating artistic inspiration, regardless of how long he lives.

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Danny Rush Introduces His Danny Diamonds Persona to the Violitionist Sessions

Categories: Local Music

Still from "Hot Summer" on the Violitionist
Danny Rush a.k.a. Danny Folmer a.k.a. Danny Diamonds and his band playing for the Violitionist
You could probably refer to Danny Rush with just about whatever surname you want to at this point. That's pretty well what he's started doing. Many know him through his musical exploits in Denton as Danny Folmer, some as Danny Rush, and nowadays he calls himself Danny Diamonds. We just, of course. Through his work with bands like the Paper Chase and the Designated Drivers, Rush has established himself as a uniquely gifted, if sometimes enigmatic, songwriter over the years.

Naming aside, Rush has a new record out, the self-titled "debut" for Mr. Diamonds, and it's pretty great. (More on that record in this space tomorrow.) There's also a new Violitionist session out that features Rush and his band, in which he manages to kill two birds with one stone: He breaks down some of the naming confusion and tears through a handful of new songs. Check out the video after the break.

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At Dia de Los Toadies, Hometown Pride Was the Main Attraction

Dia de Los Toadies Facebook Page/Michelle Pelissero
The Toadies on Saturday Night in Fort Worth.

Dia De Los Toadies Festival
With the Toadies, Old 97's, Ume, Quaker City Night Hawks, Pleasant Grove, Somebody's Darling, Residual Kid, The Longshots and Blank-Men
Panther Island Pavilion, Fort Worth
Saturday, September 13, 2014

With apologies to the out-of-town artists that performed during Saturday's Dia de Los Toadies concert at Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth, the event was indeed a parade of musical civic pride. And with further apologies to any attendees under 30 years of age, and there were a good bit of you there, you may have enjoyed the near flawless sets from such pedigreed acts as the Toadies, Old 97's and Pleasant Grove, but you likely did so without the nostalgic gut punch that most of us older folks experienced.

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Pleasant Grove Have Weathered Personal Demons and Are Ready to Bounce Back

Marcus Striplin
Pleasant Grove are preparing to release their first album in a decade -- after they play Dia De Los Toadies Fest

This Saturday in Fort Worth at Dia de Los Toadies, on a line-up filled with promising talent and proven veterens, there may not be a band that represents the past while pointing to the future as vividly and dramatically as Pleasant Grove does.

The five-piece, formed in late 1998 by Marcus Striplin and Brett Egner, quickly became a prime local purveyor of stellar, contemplative, folk-tinged indie rock. Their excellent self-titled debut in 2000 certainly impressed, as did the locally beloved 2001 LP Ascultation of the Heart. The group's final album, 2004's Art of Stealing is a stunning collection that holds up remarkably well a decade later, much like the better albums from a couple of the revered bands they'll be sharing the stage with on Saturday such as Old 97's Hitchhike to Rhome and Too Far to Care, and of course, the Toadies Rubberneck.

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Off the Record is a Stylish Bar and Vinyl Shop Hybrid in Deep Ellum

Categories: Local Music

Jeff Gage
Off the Record is a new combination bar and record store in Deep Ellum
Watch out, Deep Ellum; there's a new gang in the neighborhood. Well, sort of. The folks behind Club Dada rolled out a brand-new venture Tuesday night with the soft opening of Off the Record, a unique combination bar and record store in the space adjoining the Elm St. music venue. (It was, in fact, previously the backstage area for visiting bands at Dada.)

With over 20 beers on tap, a full liquor bar, and a selection of roughly 2,000 records on vinyl curated by Lower Greenville's Good Records, the new venue presents a fascinating and stylish new addition to the neighborhood.

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5 North Texas R&B and Soul Acts You Need To Hear Now

Categories: Local Music

Will Von Bolton
Larry g(EE), one of the bright lights of emerging North Texas soul and R&B

Dallas, you're hard to understand. It's hard to contextualize a lot of your actions. How is it that even though Erykah Badu is from these parts, you don't give much attention to R&B and soul music. Badu is perhaps the greatest R&B/soul act since the Chitlin Circuit cooked its way throughout the south all those years ago. So it would make sense for an insurmountable hunger for all things like Queen Badu to pulsate through Deep Ellum.

R&B acts, as I've come to find out, are not very good at putting their music on the internet. They don't have the urgency of rappers who release songs at a rapid and unfettered pace. Nor do they have the nonchalant verve you see in rock bands who will record music with sound quality worthy of its own season of American Horror Story.

Nevertheless, here are a few R&B acts you should be listening to and/or actively trying to see perform, with a sample of their work.

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Melissa Ratley's Stolen Guitar was a Story with a Happy Ending

Categories: Local Music

Melissa Ratley Facebook
The stolen guitar after it was returned to it's home last week

In the early of hours of last Wednesday morning, after playing a Tuesday night set at Adair's in Dallas, someone broke into the car of local country singer-songwriter Melissa Ratley and stole her beloved acoustic guitar. While a few other personal items from her vehicle went missing as well, it was her black acoustic's disappearance that hit her the hardest.

Thankfully, unlike some other notable recent musical theft -- in particular, that of the still-unrecovered Frankie 45 memorial guitar from Club Dada -- this tale has a happy ending. But before the joy of being reunited, Ratley felt the sick, instantly-pounding pain of loss. "My heart immediately sank in my stomach," says the Flower mound-based Ratley. "I ran out and flipped the back of my Jeep open to make sure some of my other gear wasn't stolen, and thankfully it was still there -- which means it was a snatch and grab job. I couldn't believe it happened."

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Wild Detectives Embrace the Culture of Oak Cliff with Chicha Concert

Categories: Local Music

Catherine Downes
The backyard of Wild Detectives should be much busier than this come Saturday night

About six months ago, The Wild Detectives opened its doors with the intention to be more than just a bookstore. So far they've hosted readings, wine tastings and book presentations as well as their backyard shows. As an aspiring member of the Oak Cliff community (and not just another fixture of the rapidly changing Bishop Arts District), the store has strived to embrace its neighborhood.

Tomorrow night, they'll be expanding their eclectic offerings with a Chicha party featuring live music and cultural revelry. Food will also be served by Taqueria el Paderino because, let's face it, every facet of life is improved by adding tacos.

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Dallas' House of Blues is the Fourth Most Popular U.S. Club Venue

Categories: Local Music
image via Live Nation
Billboard, everybody's favorite trade music magazine, just put together a list of the 25 Most Popular Music Clubs is the U.S. There are many takeaways here, but the most pertinent one for Dallas music fans is that our local House of Blues was the fourth-most attended venue (222, 988) in the whole country during the calendar year stretching from May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014. So, Dallas, go ahead and pat yourself on the back or have an ice-cold Revolver. You did well.More »

Bethan Announce Debut Time Gone By, Due Out October 7

Categories: Local Music

Courtesy the artist
Bethan are finally going all-in with a full-length record, "Time Gone By"
This one's been a long time coming. Really. (No pun intended.) Bethan's debut album, Time Gone By, could be traced back about four years, to when husband and wife Daniel and Jessi Hall (then Jessi James) first started a recording project together. There have been some recordings released along the way -- two EPs, to be precise: Chapter 1 and a collection of Christmas standards -- plus a host of live performances, but a proper full-length has yet to come from this something-of-a-supergroup, which also includes Jesse Hopkins and Kevin and Becki Howard.

This morning, however, came the news that Bethan will finally be releasing Time Goes By this fall. It drops October 7 via Blue Velvet Music.

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