Better Know an Artist (Vol 36): Stephen Beatty (of Un Chien)

Un Chien is a Fort Worth band with a sound owing debts to 90’s alt rock (a la Smashing Pumpkins) and modern psych rock (think Black Angels or Tame Impala). Bandleader Stephen Beatty (formerly of Stella Rose) assembled a talented band of respected local musicians (Rachel Gollay, Kris Knight, Jerrett Lyday, and Taylor Craig Mills), and set out to attain a more experimental sound with his music. After a self released EP in early 2013, they signed to Hand Drawn Records and issued an impressive self-titled debut album later that year. Their sophomore effort will be released later in 2016, but Stephen sat down to answer some questions while we wait.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

SB: I first got into music around 4th grade when we could join the school band. I played saxophone. Marty McFly was probably my main reason for wanting to play guitar (I watched Back to the Future at least once a day when I was a kid). Begged my mom to get me a guitar around 11 years old, got one for Christmas, and never stopped playing (or buying) them.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

SB: I usually just tell people, “Alt Rock” because I hate trying to describe my own music.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

SB: Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins were my gateway bands which opened me up to bands like Sonic Youth, Pixies, and Jesus Lizard. I love bands that balance chaos and noise with a good melody. I also respect the underground/punk mentality of bands like those. Brian Jonestown Massacre is another huge influence musically.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

SB: We have a song called “Amarillo” that’s going to be on our new record.  We’ve played it live a few times.  I was in a long-distance relationship (she live in Amarillo) that ended badly.  It’s about that.  Writing that song was my way of coping and closing that chapter of my life

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

SB: Dead: Nirvana, so I could see a Nirvana show
Alive: Queens of the Stone Age

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

SB: Jetta in the Ghost Tree

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

SB: Smashing Pumpkins “Gish”

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

SB: I love that everyone knows each other, I hate that everyone knows each other’s business. It feels like a big dysfunctional family.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

SB: Lola’s, because I’m OG.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

SB: umm, Un Chien, *wink wink

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

SB: I’m much, much nerdier than you’d probably think. I’ll leave it at that.

Many thanks to Stephen Beatty of Un Chien. I’m really looking forward to hearing new music from this talented batch of musicians with a pretty unique sound for the area. Check out Un Chien’s debut album below, and look out for the sophomore record later this year.

Photo Credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography

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BKA #TBT: Matt Tedder

#TBT Update: Local boy Matt Tedder will be a contestant on this season of the Voice. His Blind Audition should air this coming Monday or Tuesday. Be sure to tune in and support one of the most talented cats on the scene.

I first found out about Matt Tedder when I used to work with his sister. She’d tell me about her little brother being a musician, but then I finally got around to checking him out, and he’s a regular blues dynamo. His sound invokes all of the masters, and while he’s taken his guitar with him to Nashville to chase his dreams, he’s still born and raised in DFW and he’s currently in residency at Magnolia Motor Lounge. Here’s what Matt had to say.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

MT: My dad was really into guys like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. He used to sing a lot of songs like that around the house with an acoustic guitar. I remember being interested in music, but it wasn’t until I found an electric guitar that I became addicted. The first genre I attached to was the blues, because of guys like Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Winter. The way they played and sang sounded so real and heartfelt, which gave me something to aspire towards. And I was set on being a musician when I first picked up the electric guitar when I was 7. It was all I wanted to do. Once high school came around, the option of college came up and I turned it down. I figured the earlier I start at this stuff full time, the better.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

MT: Rootsy Rock N roll. Like putting blues, folk, soul and country in a blender.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

MT: B.B. King has to be well up there. He was the only idol of mine that I ever got to meet. It always makes me get so much more into an artist’s music when they are nice people, and he was the nicest to me. Musically, what a master? He puts so much raw emotion into every lyric and every note. Ray Charles is a huge influence because of his versatility. He put unique interpretations on all of my favorite genres of music and I always thought that was so cool. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, because of everything: simplicity, tasteful musicianship, authentic songwriting, and their longevity. They put out another record last year that I thought was golden, after 40 years of being together. And lastly, for this condensed list, the Rolling Stones, my favorite Rock N Roll band.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

MT: “Down the Road” means a lot to me. The song itself is pretty straight forward about a restless feeling and an ambition I still feel to travel. It seems like the crowd always enjoy it when I play out too, and when that happens with a song, there’s no forgetting that one.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

MT: I would love to open for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or the Rolling Stones, because they are some of my favorite classic rock acts still around putting on killer shows.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

MT: I found the London Souls online not too long ago, a rock band out of Brooklyn, and they are nothing short of amazing. Locally, I think Rise & Shine, Jonathan Tyler, and the Texas Gentleman are solid artists really keeping Rock N Roll alive on the scene.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

MT: The first Crosby, Stills & Nash record. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, that record is flawless.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

MT: My favorite thing about the scene is the people. They’ve always been really supportive to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. My least favorite thing is that it could be so much more. This city is steeped in musical tradition, from Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dallas & Fort Worth sits on a gold mine of musical history, and yet we don’t attract as many music lovers as somewhere like Nashville does. I think more people need to know about this place!

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

MT: Magnolia Motor Lounge. It has great sound and atmosphere.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

MT: Rise & Shine, those guys rock.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

MT: I would love to be able to dance like James Brown…

Matt Tedder is yet another young player with a passion for the history of the music he plays. He wants to follow in the footsteps of some pretty big ghosts, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to think he can’t. He’s a fabulous player who’s still quite young, so expect a long career doing what he loves. You can catch Matt every Tuesday until the end of the year at Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth.

 

Better Know an Artist (Vol 9): Tyler Rougeux (of Whiskey Folk Ramblers)

When my wife and I first started going out to see local music, there were 4 groups we tried to see as much as possible: Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, the Burning Hotels, Telegraph Canyon and Seryn. Early on, the latter 2, we almost always saw playing together, but later in this period, they started branching off and tended to play with 2 other bands you might know now, Quaker City Night Hawks and Whiskey Folk Ramblers. Today’s guest, Tyler Rougeux is the frontman and lead songwriter for Whiskey Folk Ramblers. His current project is called Classic Cult with a few of his other talented musical friends. Tyler sat down and answered some questions for me, and what ensued is the following. His dream concert is pretty legit, although I might play it for free (but I suck, so….). Also, my wife and I just met on eHarmony. His story’s better. Anyways, here we go:

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

TR: When I was ten years old, I saw a bunch of bands play at a block party, and had never really noticed live music before then, and I fell into it then. I went home, begged for a guitar, ended up saving money and getting one that year. I got bored easily as a kid & music has been one of the only things to really stick with me over the years.

My Grampa and uncle used to play music every Christmas, too, and my Grampa would talk about his 9 brothers and 2 sisters, and how everyone played an instrument and they would have family hoedowns, and I was always fascinated by that.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

TR: Well, it’s tough. That’s been a frustrating topic over the years. I would really like to say that Whiskey Folk Ramblers are a Country band, or a Rock & Roll band, or a Rockabilly band, but it’s not truly any of those things. I suppose Folk is the right category, even though we don’t sound like other folk bands, because a lot of these songs tell stories about things that middle & lower class “folks” can relate to, or just any class of people in some cases. Stories about the corrupted preacher, the true alcoholic, poverty, the old lady at the pie stand, things that are simple and can be considered folk stories.

So instead of saying we’re a Spaghetti Western, Rockabilly, Country band, it’s safe to just say we’re a Folk Rock band.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

TR: I love artists like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, the Gun Club, the Cramps, Scott Walker, sounds of those nature, the best. However, I take influences from a wide variety of genres.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

TR: The answer to this question is always changing. If I write something new, then I can connect to it on that honeymoon level, but there are songs WFR has played for 8 or 9 years that just never stopped being fun, or never stopped evolving, or maybe it’s got nostalgia. But to give a dated answer, my current favorite to play is a song we have not yet released, called “Firefly Lights”. It’s about going to where the Robert Johnson story took place, & a bunch of other things about growing up.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

TR: It would be a Time Warp Johnny Cash show, and it would start in the early 2000s. He would be touring with the American Records albums, and people like Fiona Apple & Tom Petty would be there to back him up. Then, during his set, he would transform into a younger Johnny Cash, and he would do an Elvis impersonation (which you should look up on YouTube), then play a full band set of old classics. Whiskey Folk would, hypothetically, open the show and make a lot of money and have a blast.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

TR: My mind goes blank when asked that question. THere are so many great DFW bands and beyond. I really don’t want to leave anyone out by singling out others. Just keep learning about bands an artists (Editor’s note: this is a good space to do that <end promotional plug>), new or old. But also see my answer to the next to last question below.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

TR: I feel like there are some rules to this one. Like, it can’t be a compilation, or a Best of, things like that, but I am gonna cheat a little bit, by picking a multi-album, Orphans, by Tom Waits. But only because it’s way longer than 45 minutes and I could totally live with it.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

TR: I’m gonna start with what I don’t like. I hate it when people shit talk the surrounding cities they don’t live in, like it’s some kind of competition or rivalry.

What I love about Dallas, Denton & Fort Worth is that they all welcome new bands, respect old bands, there are so many music venues in this area. I guess I’m just glad I don’t live some place that’s musically dried up.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

TR: In Fort Worth, it’s Lola’s. I miss the Wreck Room. Other cities, it’s too hard to choose.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

TR: Well, since you’re asking ME, I’m gonna go ahead and be biased, and say that everyone should check out the band, Classic Cult. it’s a band I started with some friends from Dallas.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

TR: Little known fact: I would have never talked to my wife if we hadn’t first accidentally talked & bonded over old Chipmunks albums, randomly.

Shout out to Tyler Rougeux for being so kind as to join us. Keep an eye out for gigs with his original band, the Whiskey Folk Ramblers (Check out their most recent album, the Lonesome Underground below), and his latest project, Classic Cult.

And as a bonus, here’s that video of Johnny Cash impersonating Elvis Presley:

Better Know an Artist (Vol 8): Jake Robison

Jake Robison is a talented songwriter from Fort Worth with a sound that screams Fort Worth. Mostly folk, but occasionally tripping into more traditional country music, his debut album, Como Mansion, released in December, is calm and lovely take on alt-country. Jake sat down and took the time to answer these questions that I didn’t take the time to come up with specifically for this interview.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

JR: I joined a couple of bands playing as a sideman for several years when I moved to Fort Worth after high school – that really helped me cut my teeth as a performing musician and singer..fun times. Somewhere around late 2012, after the last band I was in dismantled, I started writing and performing as a solo artist. With the support and encouragement of a lot of local musicians, I started growing little by little and finally cut an album of my own last year. I can’t say that I do this for a living as I work full time at a motorcycle dealership to support my family. I’m a father who writes songs in the spare bedroom about experiences I have had or have experienced through people I have met. My wife is extremely supportive and now that the record has released, I look forward to playing more live shows again, getting back out there, and taking it all day by day. I would love to somehow find a way to write music for other people or get involved with placing songs on television, movies, etc, along with performing live, so that I could always be close to home.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

JR: I never know how to answer that question, but I guess the standard reply is typically “folk” or “singer-songwriter” stuff.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

JR: I fell in love with music after hearing the Beatles, so they probably get credit for starting to listen to music differently than I did before that. My main influences though, would be John Prine, Jackson Browne, Ryan Adams, Wilco, and a ton more Americana/Singer-songwriter types – I really just love music that makes me feel something – and that is a pretty broad scope.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

JR: That is a hard question as I have emotional ties to a lot of my tunes and typically I love the most recent one that I ahve written. All in all though, I would probably say “Blue & Trains” as I wrote it about my wife when we were dating when I felt like I had finally found someone who understood me….and put up with my antics. When I sing that song live, I tend to connect more frequently than with other tunes.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

JR: 100%, it would be John Prine. I would love to have the opportunity to hang out with him and my father would be even more excited as he showed me a lot about writing through Prine’s albums as a kid…even if I didn’t understand what he was showing me at the time.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

JR: I don’t know how “new” all of them are but there are tons of local guys and gals from Fort Worth who are amazing musicians and writers. It’s crazy to me how much talent is right here in town and from neighboring cities. Jacob Furr and I have become good friends in recent years and I love what he does. Thomas Flynn is one of my favorite writers and was one of the original people who encouraged me to take a stab at serious songwriting – he is busy behind soundboards a lot these days, but when he performs, it’s greatness. I know I will miss people  and regret it later so I hate to even attempt to make a list of everyone – they all know who they are as I try my best to support them anytime I can by going to their shows or reaching out to let them know I dig what they are doing.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

JR: This is almost impossible to answer, but if I must, I’d say the white album [Beatles]. I’ve love that record since I was a kid.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

JR: I don’t think I have a least favorite thing – from the music venues to the musicians, everyone is extremely supportive of each other – I love it.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

JR: My heart lives at Magnolia Motor Lounge – they have supported me since day one, the sound is always great, the staff is awesome, and you can typically find musical gold there seven days a week. That being said, I really think all the music venues are very supportive and offer a great place to perform and listen.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

JR: I recently discovered Garrett Owen and was blown away – super nice guy as well. Taylor Tatsch turned me onto him as he recorded his record at Taylor’s studio after I did — I’ve heard it…and when it releases, I expect great things for him. He has mastered his craft as a player and performer and it’s awesome to see live — go see him next time you can.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

JR: Some people in Fort Worth remember me as a comedy musician. I did a duo thing for a while with a buddy at comedy clubs and such and then after that I played a lot of open mics around Fort Worth because I loved being on stage and making people laugh. I even took a stab at stand-up comedy for a bit. Every once in a while, someone will request a “funny song” at a show, but I typically decline…those usually only come out at late night jams with friends…which probably means I’ve stayed up a bit too late.

Shout out to Jake Robison for wasting time with me. Everybody should go check out his record, Como Mansion, which I’ve conveniently attached below. It’s pretty great. Also, get out and catch Jake at a show in support of the album. He’ll be performing at Magnolia Motor Lounge for their Holiday Hangover Recovery event on New Year’s Day.

 

 

 

Better Know an Artist (Vol 6): Matt Tedder

I first found out about Matt Tedder when I used to work with his sister. She’d tell me about her little brother being a musician, but then I finally got around to checking him out, and he’s a regular blues dynamo. His sound invokes all of the masters, and while he’s taken his guitar with him to Nashville to chase his dreams, he’s still born and raised in DFW and he’s currently in residency at Magnolia Motor Lounge. Here’s what Matt had to say.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

MT: My dad was really into guys like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. He used to sing a lot of songs like that around the house with an acoustic guitar. I remember being interested in music, but it wasn’t until I found an electric guitar that I became addicted. The first genre I attached to was the blues, because of guys like Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Winter. The way they played and sang sounded so real and heartfelt, which gave me something to aspire towards. And I was set on being a musician when I first picked up the electric guitar when I was 7. It was all I wanted to do. Once high school came around, the option of college came up and I turned it down. I figured the earlier I start at this stuff full time, the better.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

MT: Rootsy Rock N roll. Like putting blues, folk, soul and country in a blender.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

MT: B.B. King has to be well up there. He was the only idol of mine that I ever got to meet. It always makes me get so much more into an artist’s music when they are nice people, and he was the nicest to me. Musically, what a master? He puts so much raw emotion into every lyric and every note. Ray Charles is a huge influence because of his versatility. He put unique interpretations on all of my favorite genres of music and I always thought that was so cool. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, because of everything: simplicity, tasteful musicianship, authentic songwriting, and their longevity. They put out another record last year that I thought was golden, after 40 years of being together. And lastly, for this condensed list, the Rolling Stones, my favorite Rock N Roll band.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

MT: “Down the Road” means a lot to me. The song itself is pretty straight forward about a restless feeling and an ambition I still feel to travel. It seems like the crowd always enjoy it when I play out too, and when that happens with a song, there’s no forgetting that one.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

MT: I would love to open for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or the Rolling Stones, because they are some of my favorite classic rock acts still around putting on killer shows.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

MT: I found the London Souls online not too long ago, a rock band out of Brooklyn, and they are nothing short of amazing. Locally, I think Rise & Shine, Jonathan Tyler, and the Texas Gentleman are solid artists really keeping Rock N Roll alive on the scene.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

MT: The first Crosby, Stills & Nash record. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, that record is flawless.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

MT: My favorite thing about the scene is the people. They’ve always been really supportive to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. My least favorite thing is that it could be so much more. This city is steeped in musical tradition, from Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dallas & Fort Worth sits on a gold mine of musical history, and yet we don’t attract as many music lovers as somewhere like Nashville does. I think more people need to know about this place!

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

MT: Magnolia Motor Lounge. It has great sound and atmosphere.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

MT: Rise & Shine, those guys rock.

Me: And for shits and giggles, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

MT: I would love to be able to dance like James Brown…

Matt Tedder is yet another young player with a passion for the history of the music he plays. He wants to follow in the footsteps of some pretty big ghosts, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to think he can’t. He’s a fabulous player who’s still quite young, so expect a long career doing what he loves. You can catch Matt every Tuesday until the end of the year at Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth.

 

Top Shows Coming to Town for 11/13/15-11/19/15

Leon’s back, y’all. A hot ticket show. If you’re a bucket lister, you might want to catch #2 or #4, as well. And if you managed to pull a ticket for Leon and for Nathaniel Rateliff, good on ya. Here we go!

1 Leon Bridges w/ Kali Uchis @ Majestic Theatre (Dallas) Sat 11/14/15

Leon himself might not agree with being ahead of the next one, but this has been a super hot ticket, as Fort Worth’s native son makes his return to the Big D amidst his blowed up tour. Probably the last time he plays a venue this size in DFW for a while.

2 Gladys Knight and the O’Jays @ Verizon Theatre (Grand Prairie) Sun 11/15/15

This should be a cool show. If I had known about it earlier, and wasn’t going to Leon the night before, I might have bit on this.

3 Chance the Rapper @ South Side Ballroom (Dallas) Fri 11/13/15

One of the hottest rappers in the game right now. Out of Chicago, the 22 year old recorded his first mixtape 10 Day while serving a 10 day suspension in high school. Then, he blew up with his 2nd mixtape, the critically acclaimed Acid Rap.

4 Merle Haggard @ Gas Monkey Live (Dallas) Sun 11/15/15

One of the last remaining old school country legends. You’re gonna have to make a choice on your bucket list shows.

5 Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats w/ Caroline Rose @ Trees (Deep Ellum) Weds 11/18/15

Like Leon, Nathaniel Rateliff is also a soul singer that’s spent 2015 blowing up. He was a pretty successful folk singer before this new project, but there’s just something different about what he’s doing now.

6 Houndmouth w/ Howard @ Granada Theater (Lower Greenville) Thurs 11/19/15

I really like Houndmouth’s bluesy sound and enjoyed their latest record, even if it didn’t get the best reviews. Howard’s pretty solid too.

7 Israel Nash w/ Jake Paleschic @ Dada Dallas (Deep Ellum) Fri 11/13/15

Israel Nash is a really exciting Alt-Country act to catch live, and he’s performing with one of my favorite local artists, Jake Paleschic.

8 Diana Krall @ Verizon Theatre (Grand Prairie) Sat 11/14/15

This jazz singer was blowing up back when I was a music major. She’s been around a while now (I’m old).

9 Jay Farrar @ the Kessler (Oak Cliff) Sat 11/14/15

Son Volt frontman and former founding member of Alt-Country pioneers Uncle Tupelo, Farrar will be performing Son Volt’s Trace album.

10 Deafheaven @ Trees (Deep Ellum) Sun 11/15/15

One of the few “metal” bands I can tolerate for more than 30 seconds. Their music is often lovely and atmospheric enough that I can ignore that there’s someone in the background fucking growling at me.

Also in town this week: 11/13 the O’s (Album Release Party) w/ Deep Blue Something & Matt Hillyer @ the Kessler, Green River Ordinance w/ Jenny & Tyler @ House of Blues, Keep Shelly in Athens/Different Sleep @ the Foundry, Giada de Laurentiis @ Majestic Theatre, Rat Rios w/ Future Self, a Smile Full of Ale & Ethics @ Rubber Gloves, John Fullbright @ Dan’s Silver Leaf, Mighty Dark to Travel w/ Ben Cosgrove @ Shipping & Receiving, Scotty McCreery @ Billy Bob’s, Keller Williams & EOTO @ Trees, the King Bucks @ Sundown @ Granada, Rise & Shine & Timeline @ Adair’s; Jake Robison Album Release @ Magnolia Motor Lounge 11/14 Health w/ Pictureplane @ Trees, Rebirth Brass Band @ Granada Theater, Lincoln Durham @ the Prophet Bar, Travis Tritt @ Billy Bob’s, Stoney Larue @ House of Blues, Mind Spiders w/ Sealion, Fungi Girls & Slimy Member @ Three Links, Mur w/ Bravo Max! & Mike Graff @ Dada Dallas, Hibou @ the Foundry, Shane Smith w/ Strangetown @ Magnolia, Suicide Girls @ Gas Monkey Live, Wayne “the Train” Hancock @ Gas Monkey Bar n Grill, Petty Theft @ Dan’s Silver Leaf; 11/15 Evanescence @ South Side Ballroom, RAC & Big Data w/ Karl Kling and Filous @ Granada Theater, Kenny Uptain @ Live Oak Roof Top, Jim Heath w/ Revolution Mother, Tiki Bandits & Matt Miller @ Three Links, Little Image w/ NeonNoah & Canvas Bride @ the Prophet Bar, the Fall of Troy w/ Kylesa & Powwers @ the Door; Justin’s Soul Shakedown ft. Josh Weathers, Jake Paleschic, the Hendersons, and Tripp Mathis and the Traitors to benefit the Justin Wade Elliott Scholarship Fund @ Lola’s 11/16 Niykee Heaton @ House of Blues, Hogan & Moss @ Gas Monkey Bar N Grill; 11/17 Plain White T’s w/ Matt McAndrew & Beta Play @ Trees, Circa Survive w/ Rx Bandits & Citizen @ House of Blues, Ratboys w/ Wild Pink, Bedroom Sons & Whimper @ Rubber Gloves, Quaker City Night Hawks @ Lola’s; 11/18 Collective Soul w/ Magnets & Ghosts @ House of Blues, Here We Go Magic w/ Big Thief @ Three Links, 11/19 A Silent Film w/ Flagship @ Dada Dallas, Keegan McInroe w/ Chucho & Jacob Furr @ Lola’s, Rev Run w/ Ruckus @ Gas Monkey Live

Anyways, that’s all for this week, so……

Get out there and see some shows!

Better Know an Artist (Vol 1): Vincent Neil Emerson

Vincent Neil Emerson is a promising young (23) singer-songwriter based out of Fort Worth. He takes his songwriting seriously, and you can hear it in the works he crafts. His songwriting draws from some of the true powerhouses of the craft like Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt, while his sound invokes folk music with a hint of the country sound his now hometown is known for. I sat down (emailed him) with Vincent and asked him the soon to be obligatory questions you all want to know. Check out his really introspective responses below and check out some of his sounds. He’ll undoubtedly be playing somewhere near you soon.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

VNE: I got my first guitar right around the time I dropped out of high school when I was 17. I’m not sure why I started playing and writing. I guess I was already writing poetry, so it just made sense to put those words to music. It’s easier to show people poems when they’re in song form, I suppose. It’s easier for people to digest.

I started listening to Bob Dylan pretty early on, and that opened up a whole world of music for me. I think I realized that I wanted to do this for a living when I was about 19. I was recording my songs and playing shows and open mics around Denton and Dallas. Back then, I had some pretty big ideas about being a famous musician. Those dreams kind of pittered out though. I started seeing the bigger picture, and reality kind of fell on top of me.

A few years ago, I was sleeping in my car in the dead of winter. I was homeless and jobless. I’d just gotten kicked out of my girlfriend’s house. I was a high school dropout with no future, but somehow, through the mercy of good people, I got back on my feet.

Now I’m focused on trying to build a lasting career. Fame has nothing to do with making good songs, and truth be told, a lot of things that come along with doing this for a living have nothing to do with making good songs. Right now I’m paying my bills with my songs. I feel like I’ve made it already, regardless of everyone else’s idea of success. Whatever happens next is just a plus for me.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

VNE: If I had to describe my music to people in terms of genre, I guess I would be somewhere along the lines of country-folk, and early rock and roll with a honky tonk vibe, but I’m sure that will change with time. I’ve always tried to write good music with honest lyrics that are easy to understand. I like to keep things simple. I guess the best way to find out what kind of music I play is to decide for yourself. I don’t claim to be anything, I’m just here doing it. If people dig it, that’s cool. No matter what genre they slap on it.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

VNE: I hate to give you the cliche answer right away, but Bob Dylan is one of my biggest influences. Tom Waits once said that he’s like hammer and nails, every good songwriter should keep Dylan in their tool box. My songwriting world kind of got flipped on its head when I heard Townes Van Zandt. He’s the best songwriter that I’ve ever heard, and if you believe in the muses, he must have been having a love affair with one of them. John Prine is another one of those people that hit me like a ton of bricks, he showed me how to incorporate humor right alongside tragedy.

Lately, I’ve been on a Willie Nelson kick. Everybody loves Willie Nelson. He’s more American than Apple Pie or Television. But once you start digging in, he will change the way you think about music. He’s a damn genius. I also listen to a lot of newer people like Justin Townes Earle and John Moreland.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

VNE: I wrote a song called “7 Come 11” that I just released on my first record. It’s a requiem for Townes Van Zandt. Townes made a record called 7 come 11 back in the day that never made it to the public, due to complications iwth his record label and manager. It just sounded like a good title, so I took it and made it a song. It’s my favorite one so far, and I think I’ll be playing it for a long time. It feels like something that can last.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

VNE: I think I’d like to open up for Harry Nilsson. I heard that guy knew how to party. I’d also like to play a show with Steve Earle before one of us dies.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

VNE: John Moreland is a fairly recent discovery for me. That guy is killing it. Kenny Uptain is another local artist that I really enjoy listening to. David Matsler from the Quaker City Night Hawks is a badass too. Denver Williams and Luke McGlathery are two of my favorite Fort Worth artists to watch as well. Those guys know how to put on a show.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

VNE: Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

VNE: I really dig playing around DFW. It’s my home, there’s so much to love about it. My favorite thing about the DFW scene is the sense of community I have here with a lot of the people I play shows with. They’re like my family.

My least favorite part about the DFW music scene?…. I don’t really know. I tend to ignore the people and things that I don’t like or believe in. I don’t really spend too much time on the negatives.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

VNE: The Where House was my favorite place to play. I’m sad it’s gone. There’s a lot of great places to play around here though. Anywhere where good people are hanging out is usually where I wanna be.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

VNE: Charley Crocket is the jam. Denver Williams is great too. And I’m still waiting for David Matsler to put out a solo record. And Kenny Uptain, of course, my horse.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

VNE: Not many people know this, but I’m actually named after Vince Neil from Motley Crue. It’s gonna come out eventually, so I might as well fess up. Also, I don’t consider myself a country singer! Who would have known?

 

A big thanks to Vincent Neil Emerson for wasting his time to share his soul with us. The kid’s a great songwriter and he should have a bright future going forward. Be sure to check out his new record, East Texas Blues, below and pop out and say ‘Hello’ at an upcoming show. Vincent will be performing November 20 at Adair’s Saloon in Dallas.