Monday, November 26, 2007

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

I'm still working out a few details about the first ever Ghost of Blind Lemon showcase, but here's the information that I can give you:

Saturday, December 29th
Opening Bell Coffee

Featuring: Fishing For Comets
Chris Holt
Rahim Quazi
Blue Petal

There's still hopefully going to be one more act on the lineup. I have a certain duo in mind; I just need to pin them down and get a confirmation from them. Even without them, though, just take a good hard look at that lineup. It's not that often you get that many great musicians under one roof. If you're not going on vacation over the break, then you need to be here.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Selections

OK, so yesterday it was almost exclusively about Fort Worth. I wasn’t able to make it out to AllGood, but I hope everyone in Dallas was there. Heck, who needs Fort Worth when you have Fishing For Comets and Chris Holt? Tonight, the choices are more plentiful within Dallas city limits. I give you three good choices for shows; go see at least one.

• Opening Bell Coffee is one of my absolute favorite hangouts in this city. I love it so much that I’m holding a musical showcase there on December 29th. I’ll announce more details on Monday, I promise. In the meantime, you can go there tonight to see Sarah Jaffe, Smile Smile, and Casey Shock with Christmas Belles. It’s an impressive lineup; almost as impressive as the lineup I’m planning. Just kidding. Sort of.
Maren Morris is holding her CD Release Party for All That It Takes tonight at Club Dada. She goes on at 9:30, and will be followed by one of my new favorites, Somebody’s Darling. Jevette follows, and the lovely and talented Anna Proctor will close the evening. I am not familiar with the music of Jevette, but I can tell you that Anna is worth sticking around for until the bar closes down.
• Tonight at Sons of Hermann Hall, The Hundred Inevitables will be playing an all too rare show. I hear a lot of people compare them to Big Star, and I’m not totally sure I agree with the comparison. Here’s what I will say: if you like power-pop music that knows how to rock, you will fall in love with Hundred Inevitables. Everyone’s favorite instrumental band, Shibboleth, opens up the show.

And not a single show in Fort Worth among the bunch. Hey, it works for me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

You Like Free Music, Don’t You?

That’s what I thought! Here’s the story: I saw Peter Black And The Lifters this past summer with the cut*off, and I thought they were a good band. They now simply go by Lifters, and emusic has made their song “Carolina” the free download of the day. I said the band was good, but this song isn’t good. No, this is a GREAT song, not merely good. Just to put this in perspective, I downloaded the song minutes ago, and am repeating the song as I type the blog. If you’re a fan of catchy rock music with a slight hint of country, then you need to .click here in order to get the free download. Hurry, don’t wait, as this is a daily free download, not a weekly free download like itunes. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, so get it while it’s there.

Fun Friday for Fort Worth Folks

First of all, let me give the good news to everyone in Dallas: the always awesome Fishing For Comets and Chris Holt (also awesome) are playing at the AllGood Café. Here’s even more good news for these two artists: I can see no major competition for the two of you. Hopefully that means all the music fans in Dallas will be dining at AllGood (I strongly recommend their chicken fried chicken) and chowing down on some good music.

Why is it that there is only one good show in Dallas tonight? Simple: everyone else is in Fort Worth. What’s the deal? Is Dallas not “cool” enough anymore? Oh well, even Fort Worth people need love too, and they will be getting more than their share this weekend. Just take a look:

• Easily one of the best bands in Fort Worth is Calhoun. This is a band that manages together rock, country, and even occasionally disco (yes, you heard me right), to create a great sonic landscape. Oh, and lead singer Tim Locke is one helluva songwriters. This band is a fine wine that gets better with age. Check out Calhoun at The Aardvark, along with The Barons, Collin Herring, and headliners Frontier Brothers.
• Right next door to The Aardvark is The Moon, where you can find Chatteron, The Iliads, and one of my personal faves, the cut*off. Heck, if you don’t mind spending a little extra money, pay to get into both clubs and jump between the two. On second thought, I have a feeling my two favorite bands of the bunch (Calhoun and the cut*off) may be pitted against each other. Curses!
• Wreck Room may be gone, but 6th Street Live is alive and well, and Baboon will be headlining what looks like a stellar show. They’ve brought in Houston’s own Bring Back The Guns along for the ride, and local groups Tame Tame… and Quiet and Blackheart Society will round out the bill.

Don’t worry, Dallas people: there will be more happening within the city limits tomorrow night. I’ll give you the scoop tomorrow morning.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Thanksgiving Blog

Too many people get caught up in the whole holiday meal tradition part of the holiday that they forget what the holiday is about. The name says it all: Thanksgiving, or giving thanks. I figure now would be the perfect time to reflect on some things I’m thankful for, as well as giving thanks to a few individuals.

• I cannot think of a better person to start the list than the lovely Camille Cortinas. Camille, you have been one of my biggest cheerleaders in regards to this endeavor, and you don’t know how much it has helped inspire me. Thanks for promoting me on your blog, on your MySpace, and thanks for the encouragement and help on my upcoming “Ghost of Blind Lemon” showcase. I promise, the rest of you will be getting the full scoop soon.
• One of the joys of starting this blog is that I have had the privilege of meeting some new wonderful people. People like Cari Weinberg from the band Lovie. People like Bill Holston, who is a truly interesting individual with a great blog that you need to be reading. People like Scotty Mankoff, a great photographer and all around cool dude. There are more cool people that I’ve met as a result of my blog, and if I didn’t mention you, I apologize for the omission and thank you for the pleasure of knowing you.
• Thanks to D.E.E.P. and all the other groups and individuals fighting to keep Deep Ellum alive. The neighborhood has seen more than its share of loss in the past year. Club Clearview, the original Gypsy Tea Room, Tomcats, Club One, and the list goes on and on. But there is still life in Deep Ellum, and perhaps with a few more clubs, the neighborhood can have a second shot at becoming what it once was.
• I would like to give a special thanks to The Demigs. They helped restore my faith in the local music scene, breathing new life into a comatose music scene. Also, thanks to lead singer Chris Demiglio for being my first interview. I don’t feel my interview did you justice as to what an interesting and talented individual you are. But thanks for helping me out, and keep on making great music.
• While I’m on the topic of new bands, I’m also thankful for Somebody’s Darling, Blue Petal, The Felons, The Orange, The LFD, and all the other great new bands I’ve seen in the past year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The problem with the scene is NOT a lack of good bands; it’s a lack of promotion and exposure for many of these bands. Do yourself a favor: go sample their music and try to catch some shows by these bands. These guys are pumping new blood into the body of Dallas music, and they need and deserve your support.
• Thanks to The Chemistry Set, the cut*off, and Rahim Quazi for playing at the Barley House for my birthday. Good times, good times.
• To all my friends, thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again. Your heart is true; you’re a pal and a confidant. Hey, why am I getting the sudden urge to watch Golden Girls repeats?
• Finally, thanks to everyone who reads Ghost of Blind Lemon. Thanks to all the people who have given me such positive feedback on the blog, whether it be thru email, thru my MySpace, or in person. It is encouraging to know that you’re interested in what I have to say, and more importantly, that you are interested in Dallas having a strong and vital music community. So to you, pat yourself on the back, and keep supporting local music!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weekend of Cavern Shows: Review

This past weekend was filled with plenty of fine options, but for me, the best two choices were at the Cavern. I started out Friday night expecting to see Villains, but for whatever reason, they were not able to play. The music therefore got a late start, with Rose County Fair going on at 11. This is my first full show to see of the band since Rob Schumacher joined the band, and perhaps it was my imagination, but the group seemed to have a new found energy in their performance. Don’t misunderstand me; Rose County Fair has never put on a weak show. It’s just that their songs seemed more energized tonight than usual. There wasn’t a large crowd for the band, but they did not appear to faze them in the least and played as if the house was full. They busted out such great songs as “Gettin’ By”, and the band did more than get by; they are thriving musically.

For as good of a performance as RCF delivered, however, the night belonged to THe BAcksliders. They played several songs from their upcoming CD, You’re Welcome, such as “Typically I Don’t Mind”, “Wedding Day”, and my personal favorite, “Fat Girls”. Guitarist and vocalist Chris Bonner not only busted out some impressive finger work on the guitar, he also was apparently having a good time, coming out into the audience while playing on more than one occasion. Kim Pendleton’s voice was, as usual, divine. Her voice can range from sounding energized to heartbreaking, depending on the song. Her vocals on “Pour Another Glass” were so intense you would think her heart had just been broken seconds before performing the song. I know, I know, it seems like I’m always raving about this band. Trust me, there’s a reason, and Friday night was a vivid reminder of why I love this band so much.

Saturday night teamed up another favorite of mine (the cut*off) with two other bands I had never seen perform (The Felons, Somebody’s Darling). As usual, the cut*off rocked my socks off with favorites of mine like “Adults We Know” and “Hold Me Down”. The recent addition of keyboardist John Chapman has enhanced the songs without overpowering them with unnecessary keyboard solos. Jenn Nabb also joined the band for a couple of songs, and well, Ms. Nabb could sing the telephone book and I’d be entranced. Don’t take that too seriously, guys. I’m not looking for any duets between lead singer Kyle Barnhill and Ms. Nabb entitled “Dallas White Pages”.

The Felons set started a little rough for me, simply because of sound difficulties. I’m not sure if it was issues with the sound guy or if I was too close to the speakers, but once I moved, the sound improved. Once I got through that minor glitch, it allowed me to see all that was right with the band, which is plenty. First and foremost, Dave Hickmott is more than just a vocalist; he is a singer. And in case you’re wondering, there is a difference. Dave is one of the stronger male singers I’ve heard in these parts in quite awhile. It is obvious that he has put a lot of work into his singing voice. The songs are reminiscent of what was played on The Edge during its heyday when alternative music actually mattered. It is refreshing to hear a rock band that harkens back to that period without sounding clichéd. And last but certainly not least, Fred Holston gives the band some great keyboard parts that help make the songs even catchier. The Felons may be a young band that has only been together for a year, but they already show more musical maturity than a lot of bands that have been playing for years.

Saturday night concluded with what I could only describe as an explosive set from Somebody’s Darling. You may have read the Dallas Observer article and wondered if former editor Jonanna Widner got it right. She absolutely did. This time you can believe the hype. Lead singer Amber Farris gave such a passionate performance that if it had been any more intense, I would have thought Janis Joplin had been resurrected from the grave. She sang to a packed house that was energetic and ready to dance to such catchy tunes as “Give Me Time” and her cover of Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”. If Amber’s vocals don’t move you, check your pulse to see if you’re alive.

These five artists show that the Dallas music scene is doing more than surviving; it is thriving. Whether it be a band like Rose County Fair filled with local music veterans or up-and-comers The Felons, there is plenty to music to be excited about. My hat goes off to each and every one of the bands that played at The Cavern those two nights. Well done guys, well done.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekend shows

I got about 3 hours of sleep, so forgive me if this lacks the usually witty commentary on each show that I usually feature. No comments this time around, but know this: The Cavern is where you'll find me both nights this weekend. But in case you disagree, I'm listing a few other shows that are still pretty damn cool.

• THe BAcksliders, Rose County Fair, Villains (The Cavern)
• Pleasant Grove, 13 Ghosts, Scott Adair (Double-Wide)
• Johnny Lloyd Rollins, Shanghai 5 (Dan’s Silverleaf)

Somebody’s Darling, The Felons, the cut*off (The Cavern)
Rhett Miller (Granada Theater)
• Dean Wright, Kristin Leigh (White Rock Coffee)
• The Slack, Peter Black & The Lifters (The Moon)
• The Drams, The Band Of Heathens (Dan’s Silverleaf)
• Airline (Barley House)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Giving Spirit of the Holiday Season: Part I

Heaven knows that it's easy toget all caught up in the spending and shopping frenzy of the holiday season. But before you spend hours and hundreds of dollars at the mall, let me remind you the old cliché: it is better to give than to receive. So over the next week or so, I'll be highlighting some ways to not only do good deeds, but where you can help support the music scene in some way, shape, or form.

Tonight would be a wonderful night to get into the charitable spirit. If you know Chelsea Callahan, aka Dirty Cha Cha, I'm sure you're familiar with her Rock & Roll Charity Galas she does every year around her birthday. This year's gala is number four, and it's sure to be a killer show. For a mere $5, you get Little Big Horn, Brake! Vegas, Dove Hunter, Glen Farris, and you also get Joe Butcher playing DJ, and last but not least, Andrea Grimes hosts this fun filled evening. Proceeds go to benefit the Carter Albrecht Music Foundation.

Oh, and I suspect Chelsea will personally accept any donations of alcoholic beverages for her birthday. After all, it is the giving season.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Return of the Ray

I had the opportunity to speak with John Dufilho at the Carter Memorial Show at Granada last month, and I asked him the same question that I've asked him for the past year. The question is quite simple: when will Deathray Davies play again? Don't get me wrong; I understand that many of the members are busy with other side projects. John has been busy drumming for Apples in Stereo, Jason Garner is drumming for the pAper chAse, and Kevin Ingel has his own band Sparklepussy Barbie to keep him occupied.

That doesn't change the simple fact that I have missed seeing DRD something fierce. I've missed Kevin's crazy antics and mad theramin skills. I've missed the dance parties that are what some call a concert. I have missed hearing "Chainsaw" and "I Regret the Day I Tried to Steal Daniel's Ego" and and too many other classics penned by Mr. Dufilho. Simply put, I have missed anything and everything related to Deathray Davies.

You can only imagine my sheer joy to discover that Deathray Davies are playing their first show in over a year! They will be performing with Salim Nourallah on December 20th at the Granada Theater. Word has it that Jason Garner is now on drums, and there will more than likely be other changes in the band. Odds are they will even bust out a few songs from their upcoming CD.

In the meantime, I leave you with a homemade video made by Dufilho himself. This is hands down my favorite song the band has ever done.

The Deathray Davies - The Fall Fashions

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Week in Review (11/4/07-11/10/07)

Here’s what you need to know, in Cliff notes version:

KDGE sucks even more than usual now that The Adventure Club is gone. I can only hope the tyrants, I mean CEO’s, don’t axe The Local Show. True, it’s not as good as The Adventure Club, but it’s the only show on mainstream radio that gives a damn about the local music scene.
• The band Tonite Tonite has broken up. The music is quiet and somewhat raw, and that’s the beauty of the band. I never got to experience the band live, and it appears I never will. I can only hope that the upcoming album, produced by Salim Nourallah, will see the light of day. Keep your fingers crossed; perhaps lead singer Andres Negrete will keep playing either with a new band or solo. It would be criminal for these songs to die with the band.
Hogpig has broken up as well. Rumor has it that the members were arrested for kicking too much ass with their music. Seriously, this is one of those rare bands for me where my ears bled AND I enjoyed it.
• More Dallas clubs went before the City Planning Commission, and Monkey Bar has joined Club One and Tomcats even the ever growing graveyard of Deep Ellum/Exposition Park clubs. Clubs like Dada, Double Wide, The Bone, Fallout Lounge, and too many others to name, go before Dallas City Council on December 12th. These are scary times for clubs; there are too many vultures trying to swoop down and destroy Deep Ellum. They talk about “the future of Deep Ellum” with no understanding of its past and what made it the successful, vibrant neighborhood it once was. Dallas has plenty of high-rise communities; we cannot afford to destroy what once was the center of Dallas music (and what could be the center once again) in favor of more homes for yuppies. Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox.
• Actually, let me get back on for one more second. Bar of Soap has been going through some rough times lately, so if you're in the Exposition Park area, swing in for a second and have a drink. Oh, and bring your dirty laundry too. Where else can you do necessary chores AND toss back a few with some friends?
• Black Tie Dynasty brings their 80’s meets 00’s sound to Firewater tonight. If you go to that show, make sure to get there in time for The Orange. I have a feeling this band is gonna explode soon. Go see them tonight and see them “before they were stars.”
• Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights and ODIS are playing at Double Wide tonight. I guess it is soul music, trailer trash style? Opener Kristin Leigh is a little of an unusual choice for an opener, sounding closer to Joni Mitchell than Aretha Franklin. But just because it’s an odd pairing doesn’t mean it’s not worth your listen. All I'm saying is she'd make more sense opening for Fishing For Comets or Salim Nourallah than these guys. Still, if you like sweet acoustic songs, then she's a real treat for your ears.
• Last, but not least, Theater Fire plays tonight at Lee Harvey’s. The band needs no introduction. If you think they need an introduction, you haven’t seen them. If you haven’t seen them, something’s wrong with this picture. Change that tonight. Immediately. Seriously, go.

That wraps it up for this week. Hopefully I'll be writing before next Saturday.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Write this date down in ink, not pencil

The date is Saturday, December 29th. I don't want to say too much yet, but The Ghost of Blind Lemon is cooking up a tasty musical treat just for you. The lineup is not 100% solidified yet, but I'm working on it. I can tell you that the location of this musical treat will be Opening Bell Coffee. Keep checking this website for more details on what's to come.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fall Out Boy Instead of Flaming Lips

It is 6 P.M. on a Sunday night. At this time, I should be hearing the theme music for either Dallas or Dynasty coming out of my radio, announcing the beginning of The Adventure Club. Instead, I get Fall Out Boy’s “Thanks For The Memories.” Apparently, when Josh Venable was fired on Friday, the show got the can with him.

Right now, words cannot express my disgust at the station. Josh has spent over a decade helping break artists on that show. From Oasis to Old 97’s, many artists have gotten their first airplay in the COUNTRY on The Adventure Club. Who will be there to promote new quality music on the station? And no, Fall Out Boy does not qualify as quality music. Perhaps I’m out of touch, but I don’t see any other mainstream outlets giving exposure to The Shins, The Arcade Fire, or Wilco, all of which are entering the Top 10 Album charts on Billboard.

I haven’t even touched on the effect that this will have on local artists. The Adventure Club was the first place where bands like Tripping Daisy, Old 97’s, and Black Tie Dynasty received radio play. The show has also spotlighted many other local artists such as Sorta, centro-matic, Pleasant Grove, and Smile Smile, which have not broken through with mainstream radio play. True, Ayo still hosts The Local Show at 9 p.m., but the show caters more towards more mainstream and metal based local bands.

I wish Josh nothing but success with whatever he chooses to do in the future. He is not only a man with first rate musical taste, but on the times I’ve spoken with him, he has shown himself to be a very likeable person. I also hope that The Edge will develop a show that will help fill the void that is left by Josh’s firing, but I’m not holding my breath. Why would they do that when Clear Channel can fill the airwaves with more formulaic alternative rock? And by alternative, I mean mainstream, bland music.

Oh well, at least you can still here The Local Show… for now. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before the powers that be figure out that they can replace local music with another hour of “cutting-edge” artists like Plain White T’s and Puddle of Mudd. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll put on some Smiths music and wonder what happened to a station I once loved.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Stomach Flu... Yuck!

My stomach is revolting against me, which will keep me from going to any shows this weekend. Just because I’m stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Take a look at these fabulous shows occurring over the next two days. If you can’t find some place worth going, something is severely wrong with your musical taste buds.

• Boys Named Sue play at Allgood Café tonight. If you’re craving country tonight, this is where you need to be.
• I saw Blue Petal play at White Rock Coffee almost a month ago, and I said “with a little extra confidence on behalf of their lead singer, the sky would be the limit for this band.” Well, tonight they return to White Rock Coffee, and I have a feeling that the nerves will be gone, leaving the audience only her beautiful voice to focus on.
• The cut*off recently added keyboardist John Chapman to the band, and he makes a wonderful new addition. Don’t take my word for it, though. Hear for yourself at 6th Street Live in Fort Worth, when they with The Gunship from Norman, Oklahoma, and Fort Worth’s own Get Well.
• Do you like rabbits? Help a rabbit out at the Rock N’ Roll Rabbit Benefit at City Tavern, with live music from THe BAcksliders, Escort Service, and The Anna Show. You know how much I love THe BAcksliders, but let me encourage to take a listen to The Anna Show. It's not often that Anna does shows anymore, so get there early to check her out. There is no cover, but donations will be accepted for The North Texas Rabbit Sanctuary.
• It was a year ago that Kristy Kruger’s brother, Lt. Col. Eric Kruger, was killed while fighting in Iraq. She is playing a show tonight at Club Dada in memory of her brother. Donations will be accepted tonight for Fisher House and/or TAPS. Oh, Hard Night’s Day plays before Kristy Kruger, and J.D. Whittenburg will play a set afterwards.

• Do you have your copy of Harshmellow yet? If not, head over to Club Dada to the Lovie CD release party. You can even get your CD autographed by the lovely Lovie ladies (try saying that ten times fast). Sunward, MC Router, and Austin’s Golden Bear warm up the stage for Lovie.
• I saw Stella Rose about a year ago at The Moon, and was very impressed. I have never gotten a chance to see the band since, but if you’re curious, you can see them at The Moon, along with The Frontier Brothers. I have never seen them before, but all the recordings I’ve heard have me quite curious. If you’re in the Tarrant County area, this is where you need to be.
• Did you miss the cut*off and The Gunship on Friday night? Here’s your second chance to see both bands, along with The Demigs. All three will be playing at Andy’s. There are few things I enjoy more than a cut*off show, but one thing that is even more fun is to see The Demigs perform with the cut*off. Don’t bother wearing socks to the show, because they will be rocked off.

This is a hard weekend to pick out a “best” show for. Hell, I’m not sure I can single out a best show for each night. So just pick a show, go out, and have all the fun I’ll wish I was having.