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{20 Questions} Dalton Domino

Dalton Domino is one of the best young talents in our scene.  Originally from DFW, but emerging from the Lubbock hotbed of musicality that has birthed so many others, Domino has a distinct, colorful take on Texas Music.  He honors the traditions and forefathers while pushing it forward.  His engaging presence, quick wit and rock star attitude are joined by a backing band of some of the finest young musicians in this state comprising the Front Porch Family Band. With a new, buzzed about record on the horizon and a relentless touring schedule, Domino takes some time to run through the latest edition of our 20 Questions

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1. What’s new and exciting in the world of Dalton Domino? 

On tour right now, as always. We have a new album coming out soon and life is good, dude.

2. Did you change anything about the process of this upcoming second record versus what you did on the first one?

Yes. Very much. It’s darker. We all played on the album too. We didn’t on the last one. This one is more us. It’s crazy, man. Jay Saldana and Nick Jay knocked it out of the park with this project.

3. Name association:

William Clark Green– The greatest

Larry Joe Taylor – Dad

Cody Canada – Hero

Cleto Cordero – The future

Pat Green – Founder

Cory Morrow – Shoeless

Charlie Stout – Caw

Wade Bowen – Mentor

Randy Rogers – Ambassador

Jack Ingram – Endless

Cody Johnson – Le Doux

Josh Abbott – The reason I came to Lubbock.

Roger Creager – Beer showers

Evan Felker – Flawless

Charlie Robison – Ballsy

4. You recently did a long run of shows on the east coast and throughout SEC country.  What are the similarities you noticed about audiences in that region and Texas?  Were there any differences?

The “SEC” states are rowdy. For us, the rowdiest place in Texas is and will always be the blue light. It was bigger blue lights. Rowdy. Charlotte was crazy. Atlanta was the greatest venue and crowd we have ever played. Charleston was beautiful. There are a lot of similarities. The main thing is the appreciation towards the music. It’s crazy though. Texas has genuinely every landscape you can think of.

5. You spend a lot of time behind the wheel, what’s your favorite stretch of highway?

Anywhere in Alabama. Or the 380 route to get to Lubbock from Dallas. You have to drive it at dusk. It’s the most beautiful place. Or Roswell to Red River. I grew up around trees, so the big flat nothing really mesmerizes me.

6. If you had to pick another time period or era to be a musician in, which would you choose and why?

Late 70s. It was a wild, wild time, man. True outlaws. Whether it was country or rock. It was where everything I loved was born.

7. Favorite touring memory of the following towns:

Dallas -I’m not a fan of Dallas. Lots of weird memories. The only cool thing about Dallas is Deep Ellum and Texas Mardi Gras. That’s it. Those two things are the only reasons I ever visit that place. If you see me in the Metroplex, it’s in Fort Worth. They are a lot more relaxed than Dallas.

Stillwater– It’s always a party in Stilly.

New Braunfels – Getting to play Gruene Hall.

Houston – White Oak Music Hall. Hands down. Greaaaaat food there. Great food.

Amarillo – (laughs) Way too many memories in this town. Hoots and Golden Light. One time Randall king and I played to no one but the bartender and the bar staff after a band bailed on us. That was one of the greatest nights ever. With my best friend. Empty bar. Talking shit and playing tunes.

-Stephenville – This place is my second home. It’s where I currently live. The beauty and energy in Stephenville is endless. Too many memories here.

San Marcos–  I hopped on the train outside of Cheatham Street and rode it about ten miles out of town. Got lost. Crazy night.

Corpus Christi – Seafood. Port a trips. It’s my favorite spot on the road. Brewster street for days.

College Station – Harry’s is one of my favorite venues of all time. Aggies can party, man.

Tulsa – I played an acoustic show at Cain’s with Robert Earl Keen. He remembered our names. It was very, very cool.

Fayetteville – If I could do it all over again, the college thing…and I never knew about Lubbock, I would have moved to Fayetteville for sure. That place is killer! EJ Johnson is the dude to know here, and one of the greatest dudes on the planet.

8. I left Lubbock off that list on purpose, because I want you to delve into Lubbock as a whole.  It’s definitely influenced your music and so many others.  Many people have theorized as to why that dusty old town fosters such creativity.  What is special about Lubbock to you?

Dustin Six, one of the owners of The Blue Light, told us one time “You will never find a place on the road like The Blue Light. There is a spirit here like nowhere else.” He was absolutely correct. Lubbock is my home. I’ll be buried there. At times, I thought I was going to die there. There is no place like Lubbock. It’s a bloodline. You have to start there, and cut your teeth there, to know what I’m talking about. It’s a home for people who don’t have a home.

9. What are your thoughts on co-writing?  Is it something you enjoy and comes naturally? Or something you must force yourself to do?

Man, I’m not too big on co-writing. Randall (King) and I write songs. I’m not good at it though. It’s cool, and it’s definitely something I want to get better at.

10. You have ventured into festival promotion and done so successfully.  Talk a bit about your events and what you feel makes them special?

I put on two festivals. DRINKO and Dustbowl.

DRINKO is a shit show in the best way. It’s the biggest party in Lubbock in the spring, besides WCGs street show. I like to keep it inside and base it around buzz bands. One secret guest at the end of the night…that’s my back-up plan to pay the bills! (laughs)

DUSTBOWL is the cool down lap. More geared around songwriters. I have them at The Blue Light. I keep it inside. The reason why is because I like seeing big bands in small venues. It’s rowdy. It’s intimate. It’s fun.

11. If you weren’t a songwriter, what would you be doing for a living?

I would be a police officer. I almost became one. Weird right? I like helping people.

12. Stories behind the following songs:

-“Jesus and Handbags”-I met a girl one night in a bar that said this in the midst of our conversation and I wrote a song about it. (laughs)

-“Dallas” – As I talked about earlier, I am not a fan of Dallas, TX. This is that sentiment put to music.

-“Find Us Alone” I wrote this song for Randall King to use as a duet. He never used it…so I did. (laughs) I wrote it about Dustin Six and his wife. They’ve been together since they were like 16. Happily married with a beautiful daughter. And they still really, really love each other.

-“All That Matters” I wrote this song about loving someone unconditionally no matter who they used to be.

-“7 Years” – I dated a girl for 7 years. And it’s the tail end of a long relationship. You know it’s done. She knows it’s done. Y’all split. And it’s about running into each other and it’s that awkward “heeey” And moving on. It’s a bitter song about when the carpet gets pulled from underneath you.

13. You have an incredible social media presence.  It’s authentic, real, at times vulgar…but always honest.  Was that a conscious decision?  I definitely feel like people respond to that much more than canned BandsInTown/management tweets.

Man, it’s not conscious. I just say what I want to say. Sometimes it bites me in the ass. Sometimes it doesn’t. The bottom line is to just be real with people. I don’t treat people like “fans”. To me it is pandering and corny. Talk to them like adults. You’re not a product. You’re a person. Act like it. Also, Bands in town sucks! Don’t put it on your social media. It looks like spam.

14. You’ve been fortunate enough to meet and become friends with many of the artists that influenced you.  What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received and who did it come from?

Long talks with Cody (Canada) and Wade. Those two are my heroes and my mentors. Anything they say I do. I soak it up like a sponge. Anything Larry Joe says I listen to. Those are really the only three I give a shit about listening to. They are the real deal Holyfield and I am proud to call them friends.  The best advice anyone has given me is, “be great and leave.”

15. Your band is named the Front Porch Family Band.   It’s an apt description.  How did you link up with each of those guys and can you talk a bit about what they each bring to the project.

When I first moved to Lubbock, I knew no one until I met Joey Bybee. At the time, he played drums in a band called Washington Revival, which featured our original guitar player, Cooper Green and our original (and current) bass player, Michael Moad. Joey and I became buddies, and I was in the process of getting evicted.  So, I was crashing on every couch I could find.  One night during this time, Joey introduced me to a friend of ours, and still close friend of ours today, Dylan Schneider. The same night I met Dylan, he told me to come live with him. Rent was cheap, I could go find a job, and get back on my feet. So I moved in with Dylan in his spare room of his house off 34th street in Lubbock. They always talked about this guy named “Levi”. Well, Levi was gone, and I moved into his room. Fast forward a week or so, Dylan comes home and said that Levi was back in town and I had to meet him.

One night they all went out and I stayed home and crashed.  Levi woke me up around 3AM. Hammered and pissed that I was in his room.  He ended up sleeping in the living room on an air mattress.  Still pissed. The next morning I wake up, go out to the front porch and meet Levi again. Neither one of us had a job, so we sat out on the front porch with guitars, just jamming and writing songs all day. We’d get drunk, go to the bar, play songs, go home, wake up and repeat. We did this every day for about a year. In the process, we started a band. People would come over. Sit on the porch. Join us in what we were doing. People riding their bikes would even stop and listen.

Basically, everything we have now stemmed from that front porch. We all became a family. We were kids when we all met. Now we are older. Still younger. But not kids. We just spent time on the front porch slacking off and it turned into something. It was cool back then. No schedule. No goals. Everyone just wanted to play music and have fun. We, at least I did, took it for granted. I didn’t really realize the time we were living in.Red was still hosting Monday nights at The Blue Light. Cleto had just started Flatland Cavalry, Randall King still wore jerseys and shorts on stage. We all hung out. It was an incredible time.

I’m rambling now, but yeah…our band started on a front porch out in Lubbock. Hence, The Front Porch Family Band.

16. What do you make of the trend toward vinyl?  We live in a digital age, but more and more music fans are seeking out vinyl, even for new releases.

I think it’s cool, it’s bringing back album art which is super rad.

17. What’s the best hidden secret restaurant/bar/truckstop or other place you’ve found on your travels?

Rocky’s in Big Spring.

18. Rapid fire:

Favorite emoji?

Topo Chico—with or without grapefruit? Without

Tortillas—for tossing or eating? Tossing.

Kliff or Leach? Kliff is awesome, but Leach is and always will be the man.

Apple or Android? (laughs) Apple dude…all the way.

19. What’s your favorite George Strait song and why?

“Run” because Tony Lane wrote it.

20. What sets the music you and artists like you are making apart from the mainstream?

To me, we take it upon ourselves to try to be different. Sometimes it works commercially. And sometimes you just go down as “cool”. I guess we are genuine. We don’t sell out. We just buy in.

{Review} Paul Cauthen – My Gospel

1Oftentimes in the scene of music we cover here and in the macro Americana scene, the songwriter portion of singer/songwriter can often overshadow the former.  Chalk that up to the influence of Dylan, Clark, Waits and Van Zandt.  When an artist is able to combine a strong songwriting prowess with powerful vocals, then you’re on to something.  Paul Cauthen definitely has the pipes to match his pen, and then some.  Cauthen cut his teeth in the Texas scene as part of the San Marcos based duo Beck and Cauthen. **Disclaimer–for which I wrote a stirring biography that they eventually had to shelve alongside the name due to legal action from the loser team of Beck Hansen.  Paul and David Beck then transitioned to the name Sons of Fathers; and pushed their music to a more eclectic/folk-rock sound.  After that band came to an end, Cauthen hit rock bottom and began searching for his next artistic pursuit.  He looked deep within himself and began woodshedding; eventually writing upward of 50 songs and being offered a deal on Jack White’s boutique label.  He turned it down because he wasn’t done searching.

Cauthen eventually found solace in his own gospel.  A wide-ranging adventure soon took place that found him at the studio doorstep of producer Beau Bedford.  The long introspection was turning into a fruitful vision and sound. That sound would go on to be tracked in three different studios across the vast expanse of California, Texas and famed Muscle Shoals, AL.  Bedford and Cauthen have woven together a masterpiece.  It’s epic in the traditional sense; not the overused bro sense.  Sweeping, eclectic, emotional, unhinged and free.  The production has a Muscle Shoals thickness across all tracks and what stands out the most on each song is Cauthen’s vocals.  Echoes of Waylon, Elvis, Bono, Springsteen, Marty Robbins, Chris Isaak and even Neil Diamond find their way to full throttled wails and emotive nuance throughout the album.  Those are some heavy, heavy comparisons…but they are more than appropriate.  Bedford keeps those booming vocals out front in the mix in a powerful, commanding manner.

“I’ll Be the One” most closely evokes the mysticism of Robbins and Isaak as Cauthen pleads with a girl who doesn’t want him to give him a chance.  “As Young As You’ll Ever Be” showcases some of the most shifty chord changes since Radiohead’s “Kid A”…and on a country song no less.  The Springsteen influence shows up on “Once You’re Gone”.  “Saddle” and “Marfa Lights” are just plain weird and odd in the best ways possible.  “Still Drivin'” is the self-assuring call to arms that is home to the only chorus to ever leave you humming about timpani drums.  The Austin Gilliam co-write “Hanging Out on the Line” possesses the type of chorus that stays with you once the speaker is turned off.  Each track contains that ever present Waylon howl crossed with the Elvis snarl.

Yet, despite all these evident influences, the coolest thing about this record is that this is the sound of an artist sounding like himself.  Cauthen searched deep within his soul for these songs and this sound and has discovered something heavenly within his own gospel.  A unique, charming, distinct and diverse gospel.  That self discovery has led Cauthen to create the record of 2016.

 

 

 

{Brad's Corner} October 2016: You Are What You Eat

{Brad�s Corner}

Just like eating junk food is bad for your body, listening to junk music is bad for your brain and soul.  It’s a simple premise, but just as a great majority of folks hit that drive thru as opposed to seeking more fulfilling nourishment because it’s so much easier, music consumers do the same.  … Read the rest

Texas Best Americana Red’s Volume 4

The final installment of my attempt to categorize and chronicle the signature songs of our music scene can be found below.  This has been an extremely rewarding and satisfying trip down memory lane and into the future.  The feedback has been phenomenal and I’m proud that this will stand as a testament to all that we as a music scene and community have been a part of.… Read the rest

Heavenly Rhymes and Vines

After nearly 20 years of attending and reveling in the April tradition that is Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Fest, I was excited to take in my first Rhymes and Vines on the occasion of its eleventh happening.  For ten years I’d heard tales of how it was superior to the April fest for music lovers.  … Read the rest