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Kent Finlay

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Nobody respected a song more than Kent Finlay. ¬†The first time I met him was in 1999. ¬†He’d just recently reopened his famed Cheatham Street Warehouse and was in the process of reaffirming the atmosphere and dynamics that he’d fostered for so many years. ¬†Weekly songwriter nights were a blend of professional and amateur. ¬†But, each lyric, note and artist received the same bent ear from Kent. ¬†He didn’t care who you were or what you were about as long as you respected the song. ¬†It was always for the sake of the song. ¬†He’d nearly driven himself bankrupt for the sake of the song. ¬†It was all that mattered.

Watching Kent reign over CSW as a young college student first immersing myself in Texas Music on a large scale made a deep impression on me.  Being quiet at a concert had never occurred to me until Kent tutored us by example on how to be reverent during a songwriter round.  Through my expanding prism of Finlay proximity, I was able to watch Kent tutor a slew of young singer/songwriters.  Guys and gals my age.  Randy Rogers, Mark Sanders, Ryan Turner, Brandon Wayne Jones, Micah Harris, Angie McClure and many others from this time period come to mind.  We all knew his George Strait resume, but not because he told us about it.  We were witnessing how he worked first hand.  It was a magical time.  Kent always made people feel that way though.

Closing out each songwriter night with … Keep Reading

Observer’s Best 50 2.0

In light of the passionate online response to the Dallas Observer’s “50 Best Texas Country/Red Dirt Songs of All Time”, we put modern online democracy in action and let you speak your mind. We set out to gather up your 50 “best”. ¬†Using whatever metric you decided was most appropriate. ¬†Popularity, influence, favorite, longevity, style, importance etc. You responded in a big way via Facebook, Twitter, IG, Reddit, email, carrier pigeon and smoke signal. ¬†We cobbled all of YOUR¬†responses together and put them in popular order. ¬†The results are below. Is it perfect? No. Is it a more “legitimate” (term we used probably a little harshly) than the Observer list? Probably. But the cross section that voted in this unscientific poll still don’t represent all tastes. We could do it again next week and get a different 50. ¬†Speaks to the quality of songs over the years.

Will people still be upset? Definitely.

1. Robert Earl Keen – “The Road Goes On Forever”

2. Charlie Robison – “My Hometown”

3. Pat Green – “Carry On”

4. Cory Morrow – “Nashville Blues

5. ¬†Pat Green/Walt Wilkins – “Songs About Texas”

6. ¬†¬†Jason Boland and the Stragglers – “Somewhere Down in Texas”

7. Cross Canadian Ragweed – “17”

8. Turnpike Troubadours – “Every Girl”

9. ¬†Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Snake Farm”

10. Jack Ingram – “Biloxi”

11. Randy Rogers Band – “This Time Around”

12. Bart Crow – “Wear My Ring”

13. Brandon Jenkins/Stoney LaRue – “Feet Don’t Touch the … Keep Reading

Best of All Time?

Anytime a “best of” list is compiled, there will be much criticism. Today the Dallas Observer published a list we termed “interesting” on social media. ¬†Interesting due to some glaring omissions and strange inclusions. ¬†An extremely impassioned response broke out on our Facebook page decrying the list. ¬†This motivated us to undergo a remix.

So…we’d love to hear your top 5 (not 50 unless you feel inclined) best Texas/Red Dirt songs “of all time” using whatever metric you determine. We’ll compile the results of this informal poll into what is hopefully a more legitimate representation of “best”. Hit us with your TAKES below!… Keep Reading

February 2015: Conflating the Good Times Balance

2015 has already gotten off to a busy start for words that end in -late. ¬†Deflate. And, now conflate. Deflate was brought to the national consciousness via the New England Patriots alleged football tampering during the NFL Playoffs. ¬†Conflate has arrived on the back of a Chinook helicopter piloted by Brian Williams…or something to that effect. Webster defines conflate as follows, “combining two things (ideas, stories, etc) into one”. ¬†I was recently confronted by a message board post someone sent me that criticized Texas Country music as being just as bad as mainstream bro-country by saying:

“Texas country is just as bad, it’s the same thing that the labels put out to teens¬†with boy bands and girly pop.¬† What is happening is that awesome parties, nights at the bar, or having a great time at concerts is¬†distorting your view of the music being played.¬† I understand.¬† It’s Pavlov’s theory of conditioning.¬† You are equating a drunken good time in the company of good looking girls with good music, and that’s not the case.”

While I don’t necessarily wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, I feel as though there is definitely some merit there. ¬†There’s nothing wrong with a good time. ¬†In fact, it’s an essential life element to enjoying a well-balanced existence. ¬†However, there is something wrong if that’s all you’re doing. ¬†And, music that is only about the party is destined to have a short shelf-life. ¬†That’s why I enjoy both types of shows. ¬†That’s why Greenfest has … Keep Reading

Tempting the Fire Marshall: Magnolia with AA

Currently, there is not a better show than American Aquarium at the Magnolia Motor Lounge in Ft. Worth. Will they¬†outgrow the venue? No doubt. Last Saturday night they set the attendance record for the place –¬†packing almost 500 people into a 300 person capacity room. Last year when they played the Magnolia,¬†it seemed just as crowded as Saturday night. But the Magnolia has been fans of theirs for a long time ‚Ästlast show, B.J. paid homage to the owners, telling the crowd that the first time they played there, they¬†played to a crowd of about 10 people, but the Magnolia believed in them and kept having them back.

The Magnolia got the return on their investment Saturday. Jonny Burke opened the show to the capacity crowd and most gathered around the stage to hear him sing. He pulled songs from his CD Cup Runneth Over and his self-titled EP. Jonny seems to be everywhere all of the sudden, opening up for Cody Canada, Jason Boland, Turnpike, and others. It will not be too long until he’s the one headlining packed houses.

Next up the USAq guys took the stage. About two songs in, B.J. told the crowd that it was going to be a long night if they keep singing every¬†word back to the band, and a long night it was. There is nothing better than when a crowd, a venue,¬†and a band all fit together perfectly for one night of great music. … Keep Reading