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Domino Theory

by: Heather Copeland


Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about the recent controversy between up-and-comer Dalton Domino and a patron of his recent show at Hoot’s Pub in Amarillo. Much ado about smoking was made by the patron and the controversy sparked a trending hashtag on Twitter #LETDALTONSMOKE. To summarize the patron attended a show with a friend who has severe asthma. She claimed to have attended this show in particular because the venue recently became smoke free. During his set Dalton began smoking on stage. The patron and her posse quickly left the venue and received a refund at the door. The patron later posted on Domino’s Facebook page that the smoking rules applied to him as well and if he couldn’t follow the rules he shouldn’t play there. A week later Domino responded to the patron with, “Go Fuck Yourself.” The comments quickly escalated from there with Dalton calling the complaining patron every name under the sun. He went as far as posting a response video giving her the finger while pretending to masturbate. That video was actually some of the least of the offensive tirades posted by Domino himself.


Those of you in the music business probably feel one of two ways about this. You either agree that for the sake of his career he should have kept his mouth shut and just let it be or that he’s just a guy who has a right to say whatever the hell his artistic mind conjures up. After all, this is ‘MERICA, the land of the free and the home of the brave! And what about the point of view from the fans – the guys and gals who stand hours on end in the rain to see an artist like Domino light up the stage.


I fall into the latter. I’ve stood on top of a couch in my flip flops surrounded by 40,000 of my closest friends, 3 days post-surgery, to see artists just like Domino. I’ve straddled the fence about this exchange between Domino and the complaining patron and can tell you that artistic freedom of expression had not a damn thing to do with this exchange. Dalton claims he didn’t ask to be a role model and therefore is exempt from giving two shits about politely replying to her. In almost every instance I would defend an artist to the death.  God knows that riding around in a van living on gas station burritos for weeks at a time certainly takes a toll on a person. But in this case, I can’t even imagine fathoming a defense for this artist. Now before you go all post-apocalyptic, fuck you, on me – hear me out.



We currently live in a society full of complaining ass holes who bitch, moan and cry foul at every drop of the hat over the most trivial things. I’m so sick of listening to these whiny bitches who cry foul. If you want to change the world and the society we live in stop bitching on social media and actually do something. Protect the innocent, vote, enact legislation and for God’s sake if all you can do is bitch and moan please take a seat. Now I know most of you are saying AMEN… but that is exactly what this lady did… bitched and moaned. She made no change, just bitched and moaned on social media for attention. But here’s where you’re wrong; she affected the bottom line of this artist and his band and potentially the venue. By leaving the venue and requesting (and receiving) a refund she affected the bottom line, even if it was a meager sum. She did what she felt was right and stood her ground. She has the same rights as Domino but chose to exercise her free speech in a manner that the Neanderthal Domino could only dream of being classy enough to choose.


Like minded fans quickly jumped on the band-wagon to defend Domino by calling the patron, “pussy”, “inbred bitch” and a slew of other filthy words. One fan even implied she deserved to be raped by a cock so large it would shut her up. I’m all for freedom of speech and a strong back-bone but when did we become a society so ill equipped to debate that we resort to fear mongering and insulting hate speech? Oh right, I forgot, this is ‘MERICA. To put it in Dalton’s own words from his song “Corners”, “I blamed it on the devil when it was me this entire time.” You’re right Domino, it was you this entire time. The ironic hindsight here certainly 20/20.

{Review} Drew Kennedy – At Home in the Big Lonesome

Songwriting is a wide and varied art form that takes on many different personalities depending upon the writer and the subject matter.  Drew Kennedy is one of the best songwriters on the planet and has been for some time.  He’s good because he’s honest, even when making the story up about something from the ether of his imagination, a high school anecdote or a gig routing trip through the vastness of west Texas. He writes what he knows and he knows more than most.  Kennedy is an intelligent, observant philosopher on the human condition.  He’s able to consider the many angles and trails that lead us down the paths we travel each day.  Even when he writes about things he has no clue about, he makes you believe it…and that’s the beauty.  You fall into the wondrous rush of his words and melodies until you yourself end up in that desolate, descriptive place Kennedy has created.  It’s transcendent work on the level of Clark, Van Zandt and Keen.

Over the course of his career, the Pennsylvanian turned Texan has grown with each album.  A constant creative visionary in a land of guys trying to sound like someone else.  Kennedy has embraced his off-kilter singing voice and knack for storytelling to create a canon of work as good as any hero you can name.  When it came time to record this latest project, At Home in the Big Lonesome, Kennedy sought to make the type of record he himself would enjoy listening to in the car as opposed to catering to radio, expectations or trying to fit songs into a vacuum.  He went where his ears, brain and soul took him and brought producer Dave Brainard along for the adventure. The results are spectacular Americana-folk-country-pop jaunts through space, time and existence.  This is thinking person’s music. As Kennedy himself said,  “If you’re looking for songs about a bonfire party in a field or hell-raising anthems to crack a Natty Light to, well, you’ll be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong… I’ve done all of those things. I’m just not doing them now.”  What he is doing now is making fantastic American music.

The Sean McConnell co-write “24 Hours in New York City” was a late addition to the project and we should all be thankful it made the cut as it is a monster song.  The story of young lovers traversing the Big Apple on borrowed time and credit is a splendid, nostalgic snapshot of youth. “House” flips the script on making a house into a home in a heartbreakingly honest way.  “Cream and Sugar”, long a live favorite has found its home here as a Bruce Hornsby simmer, behind closed doors reality.  “Open Road” is the type of easygoing foot on pedal, hand on wheel, windows down anthem we don’t hear enough of.  It encapsulates the version of freedom we enjoy that showcases good tunes on the radio and a blur of landscapes beside you.

Rather than give a full track by track breakdown, I’ll just say that this is Kennedy’s finest work and that is truly saying something.  Much like the Turnpike Troubadours who also recently released their best effort, it’s encouraging to see artists continuing to evolve, grow and get better with age instead of resting on laurels.  Kennedy is a strong, confident writer and performer that has cobbled together the type of life experiences and wisdom to match his artistic appetite and leave us all satisfied.

On Top of the Red Dirt Mountain (By Era)

Ric Flair famously proclaimed “To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.”  A farcical taunt in the world of pro wrestling about who was the biggest, baddest and best at any given time.  Someone who puts butts in seats and causes a reaction. … Read the rest

{Review} Turnpike Troubadours – A Long Way From Your Heart

For nearly a decade, the Turnpike Troubadours have been standard bearers for the ragtag, raw, honest, genuine type of country music favored by folks in this region. The band, fueled by the Walt Whitman and Larry McMurtry infused lyrics of frontman Evan Felker, has always stood apart from peers and imitators because they are so damn good…and so damn real. … Read the rest

{Brad's Corner} October 2017 – No Answer

{Brad�s Corner}

Over the years, I’ve prided myself on always having an answer when asked a variation of the following question.

“Who should I be listening to?” “Who’s the next big thing?” “Who’s about to blow up?”

This past Sunday at our big Texas Music Flood Waco event, I had no new names when this question was posed to me. … Read the rest