Sunday, May 31, 2015

Moving Day Is Here!

This is the final post I'll be making on this site. Don't worry, I will not be deleting any of the articles on this site. But I will now be posting at with a fresh new look. So come visit me at my new place, won't you?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Where Are We Now?

This song has been on my for a while, largely because it seems to be the question I am asking myself as a blogger.  Where are we now?  Perhaps more to the point, where am I now?  Where is Ghost of Blind Lemon now, and where should it head?

Over the past year, many factors I feel have distracted me from my original purpose.  Some of them stem from my day job, while others have been connected to my work within the music business.  Often times it’s easy to get distracted by the business end of the music business, which means the music end all too often gets overlooked.  That’s not why I started the blog.

I have also struggled with the direction of where the world of blogging is headed.  In this day and age where Twitter is king, I often fear that the days of the blog are numbered.  Any story longer than 150 characters seems to be too much for many to handle.  Many national blogs simply post up videos and Soundcloud tracks, write a few sentences, and leave it at that.  I feel the Dallas music community needs more than that.  It needs discussion.  It needs examination.  It needs more than can be accomplished in a single tweet.  Yet I wonder if that’s all the average music fan is capable of.

Please forgive this unusually cynical tone I am taking.  It’s just that over these years, I find that the number of true local music fans is dwindling.  In fact, fellow musicians and industry people make up the vast majority of any local act’s fan base nowadays.  Sure, there are people that follow individual acts.  Those, however, are primarily the friends and families of musicians.  These people rarely bother to support others on the bill, arriving just in time to see the one act, then leaving immediately after the set.  How does one build a music scene on that?

Often, I am been tempted to shut down the blog.  The only reason I have not is my love for both the music in the city and those who create it.  I do feel, however, that I still must carefully examine where both I and the blog are going.

So with that in mind, I am temporarily suspending the blog.  This is not the end of the Ghost of Blind Lemon.  This is a time to reevaluate where the blog is going, and my place within the world of local music.  I will continue to go to shows.  Not only that, I have several things in the works in terms of showcases.  Do not view this as an end, but more like a caterpillar creating a cocoon.  I hope that after a period of time, GOBL reemerges as a beautiful butterfly.  Pardon the corny analogy; it’s the best I could come up with.

I will continue to post on Facebook in order to keep you updated with information regarding the blog, showcases, Deep Ellum Radio shows (soon, I promise!), and the local music scene.  And please, fans, feel free to keep in touch with me.  I need your interaction to help this mission of mine continue.  But for now, the full length posts are on hiatus until further notice.

My apologies for exceeding 150 characters.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kickstart Your Workweek: 2/18/13

If you follow a number of local musicians (or any musicians not established on the national level, for that matter), you've no doubt seen your share of Kickstarter campaigns.  The website has become a major tool in helping musicians (among others) get funding for releasing records.  I've decided that every Monday, I will spotlight deserving local artists in need of your financial assistance.  So give these artists a listen, and if you like them and can afford to contribute, do so.  Plus, if you'll notice on their Kickstarter pages, there can be sweet incentives for donating, ranging from copies of the yet to be released CD all the way to private house concerts.  Check each artist's page for their rewards for donating.  Also, if you are in a band that has a Kickstarter campaign, email me at to let me know, and if I like your music, I'll be more than happy to spread the word.

Anna Thomas (Kickstarter page)
The young Ms. Thomas started recording her music at the mere age of twelve.  What makes that so amazing, however, is the incredible level of maturity, both in terms of performance and lyrics, that she possessed as such a young age.  Fast forward about five years later, and Anna is still writing beautiful and intelligent music that needs to be heard by all ages.  Fans of female pianists a la Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple should especially take note of her music.  She's already released an impressive EP entitled Break Apart, and is looking to record her first full length with producer Levi Bradford.  Her campaign ends in less than a week, so the time to donate is now.  And yes, there are rewards for donating.  My personal favorite is that for a $500 donation, one gets to co-write a song with Ms. Thomas, and she'll record a video of that song and post it on YouTube.  Pretty cool, huh?  Below is "Hush", the first song of Anna's I ever heard.  Listen and see if you love it as much as I did.

Caterpillars (Kickstarter page)
I first met Caterpillars' lead singer Christopher Robinson during his stint in Menkena.  He had the unenviable job of taking over Nolan Thies' position in the band.  And yet with his skills on the guitar, Mr. Robinson proved that he would not just merely "fill in" those shoes, but prove himself to be a musical equal to Mr. Thies.  That's no easy task.  Caterpillars may share some of the dreamy qualities of Menkena, but also manage to incorporate elements of electronica with slight hints of emo (and while I'm not generally a fan of that genre, Caterpillars make the sound work).  And the time to donate for Caterpillars is urgent, with less than three days left.  Below is my favorite track from their self titled debut EP, ":Lifetime in the Pretense".

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Lucky Thirteen: 2/17/13

I've decided to move the Lucky Thirteen from Monday to Sunday, because starting tomorrow, I begin a new feature called Kickstart Your Workweek. What is that, you ask? Find out tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are thirteen totally awesome songs for you. As you may have noticed, I have moved from Grooveshark to Spotify for my playlists. On one hand, there is the disadvantage of a more limited song selection with Spotify.  What I like, however, is that my understanding is that artists get compensated when their songs are played through the service.  It may not be loads of money, but nevertheless, every penny (or fraction of one) adds up.  I'd encourage any artists who would like their music to be part of the Lucky Thirteen to add their works to the Spotify catalog.

Now, for what you've been waiting for, the music...

  1. "Just One More (Monolith)", These Machines Are Winning
    It's safe to say that if Dylan Silvers is involved in a project, it's gonna be good. Whether he's working with other bands (THe Deathray Davies, The Polyphonic Spree) or his own efforts ([DARYL], The Crash That Took Me), I cannot think of a single exception to this rule. His newest project, These Machines Are Winning, maintains the same level of quality I'd expect from Mr. Silvers. This is more of a return to the electronic music he played in [DARYL], though with a more modern indie dance aesthetic. My only complaint: what's up with these freaky masks on the album cover and in the "Fornication" video? Kinda weird and creepy.

  2. "Supernatural", Rahim Quazi
    Rahim, you said in 2011 you'd release your follow-up to Supernatural. Then last year, you promised that it would REALLY for sure be released by the end of that year. 2013 is here, and still there is no new album from you. If this album doesn't come out soon, I'm going to start shouting out requests for Boston songs at your shows. You stand forewarned.

  3. "Ripper", The Roomsounds
    The Orange will finally release their first full length album, and the CD release show happens Saturday at Curtain Club. Unfortunately, the new music is not yet available on Spotify. So instead, I offer up The Roomsounds, who are sharing the bill with The Orange. Consider this another reason why you need to be at Curtain Club Saturday

  4. "Low Wishes", Air Review
    I loved this song when it was first released as a single, and I still love this song, now the title track of their new full-length.

  5. "Old News", Hawk vs. Dove
    Combining elements of prog-rock and sludge into a hypnotic yet thundering sonic landscape, Hawk vs. Dove's self titled debut album is nothing less than amazing and captivating. Fans of everyone ranging from True Widow to straight ahead rock need to check this out. Also, for those who like good drumming, Dallas has no finer drummer at this moment than this band's Joe Hardy.

  6. "Annul", Parallel Play
    You remember last year that Parallel Play's Jeremy Drake put on a pretty folkin' cool lineup at The Prophet Bar. Expect more good times the Big Folkin' Festival 2, happening Saturday, March 30th.

  7. "Four Leaf Clover", Old 97's
    Rhett Miller, why do you hate me so? Last year, you start a tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of Too Far to Care, my favorite album, then put your show up against my 5 year anniversary show at Curtain Club/Liquid Lounge. Now you return with the tour, and put the show on a school night (Thursday at Granada Theater, to be specific). Come on Rhett, help a long time fan out, won't you?

  8. "Like Waking Up From the Longest Dream", Dustin Cavazos
    Had to put this on the Lucky 13 again because I'm just digging this song that hard.

  9. "Bragging Type", Trey Johnson
    Mr. Johnson has a new project, The Family Piano, and the first single "We're Together" is available on iTunes. I'd love to put "We're Together" on the playlist, as it yet another argument in favor of why Mr. Johnson is arguably this town's best songwriter. Alas, the track is not on Spotify yet, so I leave you with this wonderfully fun track from his solo debut, Mount Pelee.

  10. "You Ought to Know", The Phuss
    After years of creating blistering rock anthems, The Phuss have settled down, creating beautifully introspective folk music. Don't worry, fans, I'm just kidding. No, The Phuss rocks as hard as ever. If you doubt that, listen to this track, then see their show Friday at Sundown at Granada. It. Will. Rock. Hard.

  11. "You've Got Your Heart", The O's
    New music from The O's is on the horizon! The band will hold their CD release show for album #3 (not sure of the name of the album yet) Friday, August 19th. Telegraph Canyon and I Love Math open the show. Expect this to be a serious, somber event. Again, I'm just kidding; every O's show is a big old party.

  12. "Bet You Know", Vinyl Pilot
    Typically, hearing that a band opened for Forever the Sickest Kids is not the strongest endorsement in my book. But after both hearing their songs online and seeing them perform live, I can say that this band knows how to bust out some great rock and roll tracks. They'll perform next Sunday at Prophet Bar, and I suspect they'll have copies of their new EP, Beautiful Disaster, available for purchase. And yes, you'll want to make sure to pick it up before leaving.

  13. "Run Run Run", The Chloes
    Simply put, a great song from a great album (Vanish) by a great band. Any questions?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Lucky Thirteen: 2/11/13

Hello, local music fans. Remember me? Your favorite Ghost (I hope)?

Yes, it's been way too long. As someone on my Facebook said, it's as if the Ghost has become a ghost. And I did. For many reasons, my attention was shifted away from local music. Plus, promoting local music can be a grueling and often thankless task, so perhaps a temporary step back was a much needed thing. But now seems to be the right time to start slowly easing back into my job as local music advocate. I hope to start bringing you, the local music fans, more updates on a regular basis.

But for now, let's keep it simple and start with a playlist. Consider this a Cliff Notes version of what I should have been sharing with you over the past few months but haven't. Hope these sounds bring joy to your eardrums.

Standard playlist disclaimer: any artists, record labels, etc. who do not wish to be on the playlist for any reason whatsoever, email me at and I will gladly remove the track.

  1. "Like Waking Up From the Longest Dream", Dustin Cavazos
    It's taken me more than a little while to get into Mr. Cavazos' music, but his newest effort In and Out of Sleep is a gorgeous and thought provoking album that is one of the more unique local albums in recent memory. This is also the type of album that I suspect will grow on me more with continued listens. An early contender for a Top 10 album of the year.

  2. "Bonnie & Clyde", Goodnight Ned
    Played the earlier recording of this quite a bit on my Deep Ellum Radio show and liked it. But this new recording brings new life and energy into this already excellent track. Catch them Saturday at The Magnolia Motor Lounge with Foxtrot Uniform (more on that band later).

  3. "Plug-N-Play", Sunward
    I haven't heard much from the band since their CD release for A Magical Display of Lights and Rays (which also brought about the awesome reunions of Chemistry Set and Tabula Rasa). It's a really catchy collection of quirky indie pop songs, and I'd welcome more performances on behalf of this band.

  4. "Rocket", Home by Hovercraft
    The song sounds really good on CD, but it pales in comparison to their energetic and tight live performances. There's a similar energy to The Happy Bullets onstage, but with even better songs than the already impressive Bullets. Can't wait to see what the band can do for their CD release of Are We Chameleons? March 2nd at Dada.

  5. "Drunk Love", Snow tha Product
    When I look back at last year's Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase, the performance that will be remembered the most by me is that of Snow tha Product. Although her set of about 20 minutes was way shorter than I would have liked, in those 20 minutes she bowled me over with her excellent beats and razor sharp skills in terms of both flow and lyrics. I predict this will be a huge year for Snow, so I would encourage everyone to take note of her music, or as she would say, get "Woke Up".

  6. "Arise", Sol Tax
    If my memory serves correct, I saw Sol Tax's lead singer, Sydney Wright, perform solo about six years ago at Opening Bell Coffee. As I recall, I was quite impressed by her singing ability and songwriting skills, but didn't get the opportunity to get to know her music better since she soon thereafter moved away. Now Ms. Wright is back with a new band, which will perform this Saturday at Hailey's along with GOBL favorites The Virgin Wolves.

  7. "Animal", Air Review
    Probably my favorite track off the band's second full length, Low Wishes.

  8. "Black Licorice", Daniel Hart
    Mark of the Local Edge ranked Mr. Hart's "O Sangeeta" as his favorite local music jam of 2012. Although I chose a different favorite track for 2012 (revealed later), I must disagree with Mark as to Mr. Hart's best track. "Black Licorice" is his strongest track as far as I'm concerned, although some of the lyrics could present a problem being played uncensored on the air.

  9. "Cold Hands", Somebody's Darling
    Although I liked the bands self titled debut full length album, I missed the more bluesy influences that the band possessed earlier in their career. So I'm quite happy to say that the blues influence can be found throughout their second album, Jank City Shakedown, and particularly in the album's strong opening track, "Cold Hands". Nice work, guys.

  10. "Edge of the World", Foxtrot Uniform
    This band seemed to come out of nowhere to enjoy a large amount of critical success and even airplay on KXT. Songs like "Edge of the World", with its laid back groove, clearly demonstrate the band's appeal. As mentioned earlier, they'll be at Magnolia Motor Company Saturday with Goodnight Ned. Quite a nice lineup for those needing a good Fort Worth show.

  11. "Oh, Warden", The Hanna Barbarians
    Speaking of good FW shows, The Hanna Barbarians open for Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights Friday night at the Live Oak.

  12. "With Love", Ronnie Fauss
    My congratulations go out to Mr. Fauss. He's finally getting some well deserved attention since being singed to New West Records imprint Normaltown Records. His debut for the label, I Am the Man You Know I'm Not, shows off his songwriting skill, and this track here, the album's closer, is a gorgeous heartbreaker. Check him out live Friday at Sundown at Granada.

  13. "The Road", Dovetail
    The song starts slow yet lovely and captivating, and by the end turns into an almost epic style conclusion. Throw in some lyrics that appeal equally to the head and heart ("Lend me a moment/Something that pain cannot erase"), and a gorgeous blend of southern rock with modern elements, what does that leave you with? The best local song of 2012, hands down. That's what.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Top 50 Songs of the Last 5 Years

Back in June, I began a project where I was going to recap my 50 favorite local tunes released since the blog began.  Each day, I would reveal a new song on the countdown until today, where I would reveal the number one song.  Unfortunately, I was not able to keep up with the project as I would have liked.  But today would be the perfect day to catch up, right?  So here is the complete Top 50 list, with comments beginning at number 8.
  1. "Who's That Girl", PPT
  2. "Same Old, Same Old", Hello Lover
  3. "All Inside", The Felons
  4. "German Chocolate Cake", Bravo, Max!
  5. "The Message", Dem Southernfolkz
  6. "Nip/Tuck", The Orange
  7. "Icarus", Arielle
  8. "We Will All Be Changed", Seryn
  9. "Virtue And Vice", The Virgin Wolves
  10. "Little Bear", Elkhart
  11. "Love Bomb", Rude King
  12. "The Great Escape", Damaged Good$
  13. "Need a Release", the cut*off
  14. "Were Her", The Orbans
  15. "Young & Reckless", The Roomsounds
  16. "Three", The Timeline Post
  17. "Dalton the Prophet", Nicholas Altobelli
  18. "You Pressed the Crash Button", Novaak
  19. "Paper Girl", Katie Carroll
  20. "Move Along", Blue Petal
  21. "Pastel Lights", Ishi
  22. "Seven", Ducado Vega
  23. "Love That Leaves", Somebody's Darling
  24. "Black Light", Macon Greyson
  25. "Aim High", Chris Holt
  26. "Set Me Free", The Red 100's
  27. "Truth on Tape", Smile Smile
  28. "Mindreader", Lovie
  29. "Wire to the Walls", RTB2
  30. "All Because You're Mine", Air Review
  31. "Just Wanna Try", Luna Matto
  32. "Burning Pictures", The Monco Poncho
  33. "Hang On", Salim Nourallah
  34. "Swelling", Sarah Jaffe
  35. "Try Try Try", Spector 45
  36. "Bleeder", True Widow
  37. "For Keeps", Iris Leu
  38. "What Turns Inside", Dove Hunter
  39. "I Still Wait", The O's
  40. "Gypsy Woman", Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights
  41. "Indian Melody", Pale Horse
  42. "You're No Good", Pale Horse
  43. "Where the Light Is", Emmeline
  44. Back in the summer of 2009 when I was booking shows at Lakewood Bar & Grill, assistant manager John Keener recommend I come out one night to watch Emmeline play.  My first impression was quite positive, but over the years, I have watched her develop into one of the best entertainers in the metroplex.  Emmeline always manages to balance the humor with the heartbreak, although this track is firmly in the heartbreak camp.
  45. "Slow Southern Home", Doug Burr
  46. Mr. Burr's On Promenade was released almost at the same time as the blog.  It was as if my blog was created to gush about how wonderful an album Doug released.  Not really, but it'd be an easy argument to make.  It's hard to select just one track from the album, but "Slow Southern Home" is such a perfectly paced song that slowly and steadily worms its way into your consciousness.  While the word pop seems a weird choice to describe this song, it's catchy, melodic, and memorable.  So in a sense, Mr. Burr has created a great pop song with "Slow Southern Home".
  47. "Red in the Morning", Menkena
  48. Who would've thought that my favorite shoegaze band in Dallas would have been formed by a punk rocker?  And yet Jimmy Menkena, former lead singer of NYC punk band INDK, has created some of the most gorgeous sonic landscapes I've heard these past five years.  Even more impressive is his ability to write heartfelt and thought provoking lyrics to these songs.  Most shoegaze acts tend to neglect the lyrical aspect, but Jimmy embraces it 110%.
  49. "Afraid of the Dark", Sorta
  50. It's interesting that Sorta, a band that primarily existed before the birth of Ghost of Blind Lemon, made it into the Top 5.  But Sorta's final eponymous album ranks as one of their strongest works, with no song stronger in my opinion that this one.  This songs breaks my heart a little each time I listen to it.  And the ending line, "Oh, it's over" sends chills every time.  In fact, the part of the song where the background vocalists sing that line was recorded shortly after Carter Albrecht's death.  That only makes the line more chilling.
  51. "Fat Girls", THe BAcksliders
  52. It's a shame that THe BAcksliders broke up just weeks ago.  The band was arguably the best, most consistent live band over these five years.  Between Kim Bonner's soulful vocals and Chris Bonner's underrated work on guitar, the shows were always electric.  Plus, having Taylor Young recording with the band in the early days (including this track), you can't go wrong.
  53. "Rivers Into Rum", Carter Albrecht
  54. One can't help but wonder what music would have come out of Mr. Albrecht over these years if he was still with us.  If this song is any indication, we've missed out on a goldmine of potential material.  I'm not sure what else to say, except that I never tire of this song.
  55. "Supernatural", Rahim Quazi
  56. If this list was about the top 50 artists over the past five years, Rahim would for me take the top spot.  His performances are ever evolving, and his lyrics are always spot on.  I've included him on countless Ghost of Blind Lemon showcases, and have loved every time he has graced the stage with his presence.  And while the title track of his 2008 CD only takes the silver, it is nevertheless one of the best written songs I've heard, local or otherwise.  Personally, I believe that this track could have even been a true hit single given the right chance.  Even had I not known Mr. Quazi personally, I can tell you that the opening hook would have grabbed me and forced me to take notice.
  57. "Echo and the Pass", Hendrick
  58. I knew Gregory Pierce from performing with Iris Leu (see song #14).  When his other project, Hendrick, released Exhale, he sent me a copy.  I sampled the album, liking all the songs, but when it came to this track, I knew this song would be my favorite from the CD.  Only a week after hearing this track, I predicted that it would likely be by number one track of 2009.  Sometimes songs that are defining for a year eventually get dated, but that has yet to be the case for me with this song.  Every time I listen to "Echo and the Pass", it is a deeply moving personal experience.  There's something almost symphonic in the structure of the song, and once the song reaches its climax, words cannot do justice.  I must, however, give props to Hans Grumbein and his phenomenal guitar work in this song.  And Joshua Hendrick's vocal performance is so perfect and chilling, I believe that the heartbreak in his voice translates, no matter what language you speak.  This is one of my all time favorite songs, local or otherwise.  Simply put, the best of the best.
And that concludes the countdown.  For those who want to listen, I've included all the songs in this below playlist, starting with song 50 and ending with "Echo and the Pass".  Listen, and enjoy.

50-1 by Chris Mueller on Grooveshark

Five Years

Five years ago on this day, I finally took a friend’s piece of advice and started a music blog.  My only concern at the time was that the market might be oversaturated with local music blogs.  Back then, we had The Fine Line, Boca Tina, and We Shot JR each providing their unique twist on the local music scene.  Five years later, I’m the only one of those sites still running and posting on a (somewhat) regular basis.  Why I'm the last man (or Ghost) standing, I do not know.  Some might say it's my persistence, others would say my stubbornness.  Either way, it seems this is the last of the truly LOCAL music blogs in the area.

These five years have been filled with everything from joy to disappointment, hope to frustration, optimism to cynicism, and just about every sentiment in between.  I’ve seen the best sides of the music scene, as well as the... uh, other sides.  Through that time, the one thing that has never disappointed me is the music coming from our area.  I could run through a laundry list of flaws with the scene: fickle fans who only support their friend’s bands, venues that don’t pay bands fairly, bands who don’t promote and have unrealistic expectations of payment.  Sadly, all of those problems are all too real and common.  Still, the music remains, and it remains strong as ever.

As for the scene, it is certainly stronger than when the blog began.  My biggest motivation for starting the blog was seeing what a hit the music scene (particularly Deep Ellum) had taken.  At that time, the neighborhood was all but a ghost town.  Now, people are returning to the area on a regular basis.  It’s not what it was in the 1990’s; parts of me doubt it may ever reach that level again.  Still, Deep Ellum is alive and well now.  People are walking the streets, going from club to club, making it a destination neighborhood again.

My only hope is that I can continue to help the musicians and the community, Deep Ellum and beyond, continue to grow.  Between booking and my other job, I often feel that this blog is way underutilized.  There are too many bands, shows, and events that it seems I do not have the time to write about.  That has become too frequent of a problem over these five years, and for that, I sincerely apologize.  I won’t promise that it will get better, simply because I fear that it would be a broken promise.  The only thing I can do is try to do more.

Other than that, there’s not much more to say other than this: thank you.  I have a long list of people to thank, so bear with me.  First off, I have to thank Cindy Chaffin of The Fine Line.  When I decided to start the blog, she was the first one I talked to about the idea.  She has always been extremely supportive of all my endeavors, and considering what a strong advocate of local music she has been, that has meant a lot to me.  Thanks to Neil Connell, owner of The Crown and Harp, for giving me the opportunity to become a regular booker for his venue.  I look forward to bringing bigger and better shows to your place in the coming months.  To Chad Lovell and Kim Keebler, thanks for letting me be a part of the dysfunctional family unit known as Deep Ellum Radio.  Ever since I was young, I’d always hoped to have my own radio show.  You’ve given me an opportunity I was thought would merely be a dream for me.  I owe an additional thanks to Kim for allowing me to book shows at her store, In Accord.   I cannot wait to see what the store looks like after the remodel!  To all the wonderful musicians I’ve met over the past few years, thank you for your support.  There are too many of you to name each and every one of you that has enriched my life over these years.  Just know that you are what keep me going in my journey of local music.  Finally, to all of my readers and all fans of local music, thank you.  Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, and more than that, thank you for supporting local music.  Without you, nothing happens.

And as my way of saying thank you, expect a very major show announcement in the coming days.  I’ll give more details soon, but I’ll tell you to mark August 24th on your calendars as the celebration of the five year anniversary of Ghost of Blind Lemon.

In the meantime, enjoy this Polyphonic Spree cover of Bowie’s classic “Five Years”.  I mean, what else would I play today?

Five Years by The Polyphonic Spree on Grooveshark

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GOBL's Top 50: #10 & #9

I must confess, I'm one to enjoy a good list. So needless to say, I always look forward to December, when I get to compile my list of the top 40 songs of each year. It's a difficult process to order the song for the most part. But with few exceptions, the easy part is determining the number one song of a given year. The next two songs had the distinction of reaching the top slot in my countdown. For the first time last year, my top 40 countdown was broadcast over Deep Ellum Radio. And for those who listened regularly to my shows, rare was the episode where Calhoun was not played. Their album Heavy Sugar returned lead singer Tim Locke to a more pop sounding style, making it perfect radio ear candy.  At least that is what one first notices upon first listen.  But Tim Locke's other strength besides melodies is his ability to craft lyrics that tell a story.  No song better exemplifies that strength of Tim Locke's than "Indian Melody", with imagery so vivid it's as if he has transported you into his story.

Indian Melody by Calhoun on Grooveshark

For song number nine on the countdown, rewind one year to 2010.  That was the year when Pale Horse emerged from the ashes of Greater Good.  It was quite a transformation for the band, moving from 60's style pop-soul to the darker southern vibe that was Pale Horse.  Equally as dark as the melodic mood of the band were the lyrics, ranging in topic from life after war ("Will You Be There") to religion ("Don't Lose Your Soul").  Religion plays a role in "You're No Good", the story of a preacher who uses religion to excuse the sins he commits against his family.  It's an intense story, with an equally intense vocal performance by lead singer J.R. Denson.  His gritty, deeply emotional delivery fits the song perfectly.

While the EP was good, Pale Horse's strength was in its live shows.  Unfortunately, the band is no longer together.  My understanding is that Mr. Denson has a new band he's working on.  I look forward to whatever music he puts out in the future.  Until then, check out song number nine on the countdown.

You're No Good by Pale Horse on Grooveshark

Friday, July 20, 2012

GOBL's Top 50: #50-11

It's funny how whenever I try to take on a project like the Top 50 or the A-Z playlists, life somehow gets in the way. I'm taking a moment to get the countdown back on track. The bad news is that a number of artists will not get the level of a write up that is deserved. And for that, I apologize. I'll try to write a little something about each artist that has been neglected for the past week.

The one bright side is that doing this should have everything on track for next week, when we finally enter my picks for the top 10 local tunes of the past year.

So let's do a full recap, complete with a playlist at the end.

  1. "Who's That Girl", PPT
  2. "Same Old, Same Old", Hello Lover
  3. "All Inside", The Felons
  4. "German Chocolate Cake", Bravo, Max!
  5. "The Message", Dem Southernfolkz
  6. "Nip/Tuck", The Orange
  7. "Icarus", Arielle
  8. "We Will All Be Changed", Seryn
  9. "Virtue And Vice", The Virgin Wolves
  10. "Little Bear", Elkhart
  11. "Love Bomb", Rude King
  12. "The Great Escape", Damaged Good$
  13. "Need a Release", the cut*off
  14. "Were Her", The Orbans
  15. "Young & Reckless", The Roomsounds
  16. "Three", The Timeline Post
  17. "Dalton the Prophet", Nicholas Altobelli
  18. "You Pressed the Crash Button", Novaak
  19. "Paper Girl", Katie Carroll
  20. "Move Along", Blue Petal
  21. "Pastel Lights", Ishi
  22. "Seven", Ducado Vega
  23. "Love That Leaves", Somebody's Darling
  24. "Black Light", Macon Greyson
  25. "Aim High", Chris Holt
  26. "Set Me Free", The Red 100's
  27. "Truth on Tape", Smile Smile
  28. "Mindreader", Lovie
  29. Harshmellow waso the first CD mailed for review by The Ghost.  While it was never formally reviewed (which happens rarely on here), the band received plenty of mentions for their super catchy tunes.  Plus, you can't beat lyrics like "Oh yeah, he loves me, he loves me not/Blah blah blah blah blah".
  30. "Wire to the Walls", RTB2
  31. Ryan Thomas Becker is arguably the best musician in Dallas right now.  While known mostly for his guitar work, this song proves that he is capable of writing an incredibly catchy tune in under 100 seconds.
  32. "All Because You're Mine", Air Review
  33. In the fall of 2009, I was at a show at Trees, chatting with John Solis.  I asked him what bands he recommend I check out.  In a separate conversation that night, I asked Pete Freedman the same question.  Both had the same response: Air Review.  My curiousity was piqued, and I was not disappointed.
  34. "Just Wanna Try", Luna Matto
  35. Luna, I know you're busy with Polyphonic Spree and the like, but Dallas needs more of your music.
  36. "Burning Pictures", The Monco Poncho
  37. I remember the first time that I heard this band, I instantly fell in love and became a fan. Yes, what a lovely story.  There's only one problem with the story; it isn't true.  I must confess, it took me a few shows to understand the campy goodness that is Monco Poncho.  But underneath the western shtick, there are some really well crafted pop tunes.  And of that group of tunes, none demands repeated listens quite like "Burning Pictures".
  38. "Hang On", Salim Nourallah
  39. Mr. Nourallah usually specializes in sweet pop melodies that hide a darker story.  In this case, it's almost the reverse.  While the lyrics are hardly joyous, there is a certain level of hope mixed with the sadness, as exemplified by lyrics like, "You've gotta love this life, even when it has you beat."  NOTE: had Hit Parade been out longer, the title track might be right here instead.  Yes, it's that good.
  40. "Swelling", Sarah Jaffe
  41. When I got to attend the 2007 Wall of Sound Festival, I made a point of arriving early, mostly to see an artist I'd heard such good things about, Sarah Jaffe.  Not only was I not disappointed, the performance left me with speechless and with goosebumps.  The latter symptom is one I have experienced at every performance of hers I've attended.  And while "Vulnerable", "Clementine", and "Glorified High" are her biggest hits, I remember continually playing this track on her MySpace back in the days.  For that reason, "Swelling" gets the #17 slot.
  42. "Try Try Try", Spector 45
  43. There's no doubt that there is still a hole left in the local music world from the deaths of Frankie 45 and Adam Carter.  In fact, when you mention the band nowadays, there's a certain sadness felt when thinking about the loss of these two young men.  Yet if you listen to the music, what you hear is a band that was raw, energetic, and, well, alive.  That's the way I like to remember Spector 45.
  44. "Bleeder", True Widow
  45. It was the 2009 Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase, and I was trying to figure out which bands to see.  Unfortunately, many artists I like were scheduled against each other.  Such was the case with Doug Burr and True Widow.  I walked into The Cavern, planning on catching a few TW songs before checking out Mr. Burr.  I never made it to see Doug's set that night because I was hyptonized by True Widow's performance.  That set of theirs just might rank as my favorite performance of the past five years.
  46. "For Keeps", Iris Leu
  47. "What Turns Inside", Dove Hunter
  48. "I Still Wait", The O's
  49. "Gypsy Woman", Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights
You'll have to forgive me for not commenting on the last four songs.  I seem to be experiencing writer's block.  Perhaps to be more accurate, I'm starting to have a hard time discussing these songs in such a way that does them justice.  I simply hope to start finding the words again for the songs in the Top 10.  In the meantime, here's the playlist I promised.

50-11 by Chris Mueller on Grooveshark T

Monday, July 9, 2012

Opening Act, and Opening Bell Coffee

By now, you've probably seen the commercials for the reality TV show Opening Act.  In the show, relatively unknown musicians get the opportunity to open for a well known national artist.  The show debuts tonight at 9 p.m. CST on E!, and Dallas's own Arielle is a part of the premiere episode.  As you know, I've been a convinced fan for well over a year, and apparently the producers of the show are as convinced as I am.  And the artist she'll be opening for?  None other than Rod Stewart.

You can watch the show at home.  If you're feeling more social, then you might want to head out to Opening Bell Coffee.  Opening Bell Coffee is a fitting site for the watching party, considering the fact that it's where Arielle discovered that she would be on the show.  In fact, some of the clips used in the commercials were shot at OBC.  If you plan on going to Opening Bell, get there early.  An open mic starts at 7, and then Arielle herself will perform at 8. Here's a little sneak preview of what's to come tonight.