Dallas Sounds – D Magazine

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The history of music in Dallas is longer and more involved than we can get here. We don’t even have room for all the fun facts and answers to trivial questions that come up when you start researching our city’s place in the broader American music scene. (A few that come to mind: Did you know that half of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson’s entire recorded output came from a session in Dallas in 1937? That Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs, the band origin of the beginnings of the classic rock and roll “Wooly Bully”, formed here? This member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Steve Miller, began his career while a student at St. Mark’s?)

We certainly don’t have the space to feature all the future stars who are currently plying their craft on our local stages, or all the legends who paved the way for them. But we’ve done our best to at least give you enough information to start a conversation, and maybe a few arguments.

What Dallas Looks Like Now

Parker Twomey

“Counting the Days”

This neighbor singer-songwriter is 21, about 15 and looks like a 42-year-old man working on a second divorce. “If only I knew a love like this, deeper than blood and bone / Maybe I wouldn’t be a dreamer digging my grave since I was born,” he sings on “Counting Down the Days” to a driving beat provided by Centro-matic producer and drummer Matt Pence. Twomey nails that particular Dallas sound that isn’t exactly country, rock, or pop, but is still one beer away from all of it.

BeMyFiasco

“Bad dream”

“When you listen to R&B, you search for the soul,” the singer who goes by the name BeMyFiasco said. Magazine D‘s Taylor Crumpton late last year when she released her feature debut where i left you. You can hear what former Bianca Rodriguez means by that on a song like “Bad Dream,” which is all about her voice and emotion. Bonus: Dallas-specific references to Big “T” Plaza and Rudy’s Chicken.

The 40 acre mule

“Handsome Man with Brown Eyes”

With its jerky beat, blistering saxophone, and Isaiah Evans vocals, The 40 Acre Mule’s music has a straight line to early rock and roll, especially in the way it never forgets that second part. But it’s not a nostalgia piece. It’s more like a cleansing, taking it all away until you can hear that indefinable rumble that scared parents and pastors back then.

Jacks Haupt

“35mm”

The Oak Cliff singer is one of the subjects of the documentary mija, which played at Sundance and the Oak Cliff Film Festival earlier this year. It makes sense. His music already sounds cinematic, thanks to a dreamy and slightly quirky voice, an idiosyncratic instrument destined to appear in the soundtrack of a David Lynch project. “35mm” would have been comfortable playing over the credits of any of the twin peaks‘ episodes of the third season.

Girlo

“Candy (Payton Song)”

The first thing you notice about Girlo is obviously Natalie Winkler’s voice, if only because it’s impossible to ignore. There are times on “Candy (Payton’s Song)” where she sounds like a scream could scream. It’s a voice that starts out in the red and then goes on to do the most. But the band – guitarists Jackie Abbott and Kavan Spooner, bassist Mason Blair, drummer Humberto Ochoa – provide the right launching pad, with loud but rock-solid melodies.

Tev Coach

“Elderberry”

You may not get it right away. Coach Tev is almost too assertive for his own good, actually standing out at first, flowing conversationally over quiet stormy beats. He lets the game come to him: “Life is the journey, kid, not the race.” But as you immerse yourself in the world of rapper Irving, you’ll find that his voice is in your head long after you’ve removed the AirPods. It has already peaked at #23 in iTunes streaming chart without any support.

Joshua Ray Walker

“Sexy After Dark”

When Walker gets to the chorus of “Sexy After Dark” – which he played on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon— suddenly he’s Otis Redding in the body of a baby-faced white country singer built like Dusty Rhodes. It goes from a kneeling cry, baby, please, to a falsetto above the tree line with such ease it feels like a magic trick. Which it is in a way since it produces the same reaction.

Cameron McCloud

“What’s This? (Thursday)”

Released earlier this year, 7 days in life, the rapper’s solo effort Cure for Paranoia, clocks in at just under 15 minutes. But McCloud, cool and charismatic, doesn’t need any more time to prove why Erykah Badu brought him along to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. On “What is this? (Thursday),” he rides the beat like he’s in a five-point harness while giving life lessons: “What are you doing right now that keeps you moving? / I need you to think about this thing and keep doing it.

abraham alexander

“Wicked Game”

When you can cover someone else’s signature song and make people forget it’s not your signature song, that’s a rare superpower. Johnny Cash did it to Trent Reznor. Mary J. Blige did it at U2. And Abraham Alexander does it to Chris Isaak here, whittling him down even further until all that’s left is his aching voice and haunting guitar.

Ariel + Culture

“No Puedo”

If Jason “Ariel” Bobadilla’s music doesn’t get you Googled for flights to Mexico City, we don’t know what to tell you. “No Puedo” is a mix of indie pop and R&B, with bright guitars and a cheerful beat that belies the haunting tone of Bobadilla’s mix of Spanish and English lyrics. It’s Dallas’ answer to DF’s Little Jesus.


The essentials: You can’t talk about Dallas music history without these key artists.

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Reverend Horton Heat

The stage name of guitarist Jim Heath. Also, the rockabilly punk band he has played in with bassist Jimbo Wallace and a drummer card since 1985.

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Ronnie Dawson

The Blond Bomber cut the “Action Packed” revved-up when he was 19 in 1958 and continued to rock until his death in 2003. A Rockabilly Hall of Famer.

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Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan

Oak Cliff’s blues brothers rose to fame separately – Jimmie with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie solo – but reunited to Family Style in 1990 (released after Stevie’s death).

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Post Malone

Grapevine’s own broke Michael Jackson’s record for most weeks BillboardRanking of the best R&B/Hip-Hop albums. He’s not yet the new King of Pop, but he’s only 27. It’s time.

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charley pride

One of RCA’s best-selling artists, second only to Elvis, lived quietly on the Tollway for much of his country music career, which included such impressive hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’.”

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Tim DeLaughter & Marc Piro

The vocalist and bassist have been making music together since 1990 (when they formed Tripping Daisy). They are still there with the Polyphonic Spree.

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Old 97

Even celebrating the 25th anniversary of their major label debut (and the alt-country standard) Too far to carethey remain too vital and creative to simply spin as greatest hits.

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Toads

No band in Dallas has a song that gets played more than “Possum Kingdom” (from 1994 Onlooker). Not was. East. As in: again. “You want to die ?” This staple of alternative rock will never be.

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Big Tuck

“Southside da realist/Drug dealers, killers/Sharks and gorillas… Who said we weren’t drug dealer wizards?/Cars changed color like chameleon lizards.” South Dallas National Anthem.

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Power trigger

One of the nation’s top metal bands was about to beg for more when beloved vocalist Riley Gale passed away in 2020. “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)” was nominated for a 2021 Grammy.

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St. Vincent

Annie Clark is the rare guitar heroine who doesn’t always show her assets, letting her songwriting and genre-hopping — and increasingly theatrical live performances — get more of the spotlight.

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The chicks

They started on street corners in Deep Ellum decked out in cowgirl duds. They became a juggernaut when they dropped costumes (and, later, Dixie from their name) and added Natalie Maines.

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Cedar Walton

The jazz pianist has played with John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Ornette Coleman and Etta James, appearing on over 100 records, not to mention dozens of his own bands.

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Nemesis

Debuting in 1987 with “Oak Cliff,” the first hip-hop group from Dallas to put the city on the national map did so with heavy 808. Suzuki Samurais soundtrack all over the place.

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Bobby Patterson

“TCB or TYA”, “She doesn’t need to see you (to see through you)”, and “Quiet!” Do Not Disturb” are some of the best Stax singles the legendary soul label has ever released.

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Meatloaf

The pride of Thomas Jefferson High School had a voice that could be as powerful as a running train coming out of a tunnel or delicate as a watchmaker at work, often on the same song.

Author

Zac Crain

Zac, editor-in-chief of Magazine D, wrote about the explosion in West, Texas; legendary country singer Charley Pride; Tony…

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