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OPENING SHOT

Joshua Sinai at Banter on June 2. Photo by Ed Steele

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Little d After Dark

July 2012


J U LY 2 0 1 2 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 11

Photo by David Minton

Doug Burr released his debut album, Sickles & Sheaves, in 2003. Just six years later, Denton guitar maestro and singer Robert Gomez would release Pine Sticks and Phosphorus, a full-length record that was as much a chamber-pop record as it was an atmospheric, folk-tinged record that swathed Gomez’s lyrics with symphonic melodies. Were it not for the enterprising pens of musicians like Burr and Gomez — and later, Sarah Jaffe — Denton’s folk scene would probably be confined to downtown coffeehouses. Story by Lucinda Breeding

C O V E R S T O RY

opening shot

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good dates

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editor’s note

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5

work the room Dan’s Silverleaf has

F E AT U R E S >>

THE ELEMENTS

spent its 10 years in business becoming

holding back in earnest Known

one of Denton’s top live music destina-

for its vast range in prog rock and frequently

tions.

filled-to-the-brim songs, the five-year-old

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Denton group Ella Minnow has finally found

the alchemist Drink to bitterness

restraint. And it’s a good look on them.

and kick-you-in-the-pants tunes with the

punked-up kicks If only 30 people

Knicker Twister.

show up to see the Mike Dillon Band play

party people

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Dan’s Silverleaf in July, it won’t be a reflection on Dillon’s music or the music he’s brought

flavor junkie Homemade ambrosia in

out of the bands he’s been in over the last 20

the form of a cool Greek salad.

years.

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Courtesy photo

Publisher Bill Patterson Managing Editor Dawn Cobb

Advertising Director Sandra Hammond

940-566-6879 | dcobb@dentonrc.com

Advertising Manager Shawn Reneau

Features Editor Lucinda Breeding

940-566-6843 | sreneau@dentonrc.com

940-566-6877 | cbreeding@dentonrc.com

Classified Display Julie Hammond

940-566-6820 | shammond@dentonrc.com

940-566-6819 |jhammond@dentonrc.com

Contributing Writers Alyssa Jarrell, Andy LaViolette, Rachel Watts Designer Rachel McReynolds Photographers David Minton, Ed Steele On the cover Mathew Grigsby at Hailey’s Club. Photo by David Minton.

The contents of this free publication are copyrighted by Denton Publishing Company, 2012, a subsidiary of A.H. Belo Corp. (www.ahbelo.com, NYSE symbol: AHC), with all rights reserved. Reproduction or use, without permission, of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited. Little d After Dark is published monthly by Denton Publishing Co., 314 E. Hickory St.


have your people call our people

SUNDAY 1

Luke Wade, noon. Free. Love Shack. Porter Robinson, 7 p.m. $25. Granada Theater. The Roomsounds, We’rewolves, Cozy Hawks, 10 p.m. $5$9. Lola’s.

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to submit an event for little d’s calendar, e-mail littledcalendar@gmail.com

MONDAY 2

Ganelle & Donny Ray, 7:30 p.m. J&J’s Pizza. DJ Questionmark, 10 p.m. Free-$5. Hailey’s Club.

WEDNESDAY

TUESDAY 3

Brave Combo, 7 p.m. Free. Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater. Mister Joe & Friends, Le Not Quite So Hot Klub du Denton, 8 p.m. Free. Banter.

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Bonnie and Nick Norris Swing Band, 10 a.m. Free. Dan’s Silverleaf. Willie Nelson, noon. $35-$55. Billy Bob’s. County Rexford, 7 p.m. Free. Abbey Inn Restaurant & Pub. Melissa McMillan with Pete Weise, 9 p.m. $8. Dan’s Silverleaf. V.O.C.A.B., Matty Dee Two 40s, Mr. Ellis, K.MC, Androppolis, Tunk, Lace Tunes, 9 p.m. $5. Hailey’s Club.

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Link Chalon, 6 p.m. Free. Banter. Rod Balch, 6 p.m. Free. Love Shack. The Mastersons, Bonnie Whitmore, 8 p.m. $10. Dan’s Silverleaf.

Independence Day

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Luke Wade, noon. Free. Love Shack. Mike Calaway Band, Benjamin Folke Thomas, 10 p.m. The Basement Bar. Power Strangers, Swizzle, Mooseka, Sofaking, 10 p.m. Free-$5. Hailey’s Club.

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Aaron Lewis, 8 p.m. $29.50-$55. House of Blues. DJ Questionmark, 10 p.m. Free-$5. Hailey’s Club.

10 Whitnye Raquel, Freebie Kings, 9 p.m. The Basement Bar.

21st Century Goliath, FireFire, 7 p.m. The Basement Bar. Rookie of the Year, Eryn Woods, Challenger, 8 p.m. $8-$10. Dada. Neon Trees, Penguin Prison, 8 p.m. $18-$20. House of Blues. Yip Yip, Touch People, Pataphysics, Eat Avery’s Bones, 9 p.m. $5-$7. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.

15 Reel Big Fish, Suburban

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17

22 Luke Wade, noon. Free.

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24 Darius Rucker, 8 p.m.

29 Luke Wade, noon. Free.

30

31 Robert Jon & the Wreck,

Legends, Big D and the Kids Table, 7 p.m. $20-$25. House of Blues.

Love Shack. Year of the Bear, Mora Collective, UBOAT, 10 p.m. $5-$9. Lola’s.

Love Shack. The Shell Corporation, Samuel Caldwell’s Revenge, How’s My Driving, the Pajammas, China Kills Girls, 7:20 p.m. $5-$9. Lola’s. Thomas Wynn & the Believers, Michael Donner & the Southern Renaissance, 8 p.m. $7-$10. Dan’s Silverleaf.

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$49.50-$65. House of Blues.

8 p.m. Andy’s Bar. Stefan Prigmore, Trailer Park Princess, 8 p.m. The Basement Bar.

National Get Out of the Doghouse Day: July 16 & National Doghouse Repairs Month

FRIDAY

THURSDAY 6

Levi Cobb & the Big Smoke, Bone Doggie and the Hickory Street Hellraisers, the Prospect Before Us, 8 p.m. Abbey Underground. Jaye Muse, 8 p.m. Andy’s Bar. Serosia, URSA, 8:30 p.m. $8. House of Blues. Baring Teeth, Giant of the Mountain, Cerulean Giallo, 9 p.m. $1-$3. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Dangle Dixon, 10 p.m. $5. Dan’s Silverleaf. Dusty Smirl, 10:30 p.m. Fry Street Tavern.

SATURDAY 7

Sydney Shaw, 6 p.m. Andy’s Bar. Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Marcy Playground, 7 p.m. $20-$40. Billy Bob’s. Jennifer Escue, 8 p.m. Free. Cafe Du Luxe. Bloodwitch, Deep Throat, Dharma, 9 p.m. $1-$3. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Jay Muse, 10 p.m. The Garage. The Angelus, Warren Jackson Hearne & Le Leek Electrique, Clint Niosi, 10 p.m. $7. Dan’s Silverleaf.

11 Earl Bates, 7 p.m. Free.

12 Rudy Cervantez, 6 p.m.

13 Lost Immigrants, 6 p.m.

14 James Hinkle, noon. Free.

18 County Rexford, 7 p.m.

19 Link Chalon, 6 p.m. Free.

20 Sarah Jarosz, 8:30 p.m.

21 Devin Leigh, noon. Free.

25 Earl Bates, 7 p.m. Free.

26 Joey Green, 6 p.m. Free.

27 Eleven Hundred Springs,

28 Gorilla vs. Bear II: Glass

Abbey Inn Restaurant & Pub. Bass Drum of Death, DZ Deathrays, Hollows, 8 p.m. $10. Dada. Bug Fight! improv, 8 p.m. Free. Dan’s Silverleaf.

Free. Abbey Inn Restaurant & Pub.

Abbey Inn Restaurant & Pub. Amanda Shires, 8 p.m. $8. Dan’s Silverleaf. La Jeder, Jacob Furr, Greg Schroeder, 9 p.m. $8-$12. Lola’s.

Free. Love Shack. Cinderella, Seventh Rize, 8 p.m. $32.50-$59.50. House of Blues. Boxcar Bandits, Backwater Opera 10 p.m. $7. Dan’s Silverleaf.

Banter. Rod Balch, 6 p.m. Free. Love Shack. Fit for a King, Indirections, Dark Horse Darling, Down to Friend, Through Arteries, Fire from the Gods, Visions, 7 p.m. $7-$12. Hailey’s Club. Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys, High School Caesar, 8 p.m. $12. Dan’s Silverleaf. Eisley, Merriment, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, 8 p.m. $15-$18. Rockin Rodeo.

Love Shack. Little Feat, Tom Fuller Band, 7 p.m. $30-$50. Granada Theater. Pudge Brewer (album release), AV the Great, Band Nerds, D. Smiley, DJ Yeahdef, 10 p.m. $5. Dan’s Silverleaf.

The Abbey Underground reverbnation.com/ venue/1003284 Andy’s Bar reverbnation.com/ venue/andysbar Art Six Coffee House facebook. com/artsixcoffeehouse Banter dentonbanter.com Dan’s Silverleaf danssilverleaf.com The Garage thedentongarage.com Hailey’s Club haileysclub. com Love Shack loveburgershack.com Rockin’ Rodeo rockinrodeodenton.com Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios rubberglovesdentontx.com Sweetwater Grill & Tavern sweetwatergrilland tavern.com Dada dadadallas.com Granada Theater granadatheater.com House of Blues houseofblues.com/dallas The Basement Bar basementbarstockyards.com Billy Bob’s Texas billybobstexas.com Lola’s lolasfortworth.com

Little d After Dark

Free. Love Shack. Terri Hendrix with Lloyd Maines, 7:30 p.m. $10. Dan’s Silverleaf. Sincerely the Reaper, 8 p.m. Andy’s Bar. Roky Erickson, the Futura Bold, 8:30 p.m. $20-$30. The Kessler. The Mike Dillon Band, 10 p.m. $8. Dan’s Silverleaf.

$22.50-$33.75. The Kessler. Tenacious D, the Sights, 9 p.m. $42.50. Palladium Ballroom. Save the Humans for Last, the Tony Cliftons, Foolish Two, 9 p.m. $5-$7. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. The Neckties, 10 p.m. Andy’s Bar. The Basement Bar. Jack Ingram, 10:30 p.m. $12$20. Billy Bob’s.

Boxcar Bandits, Jason Eady, 7 p.m. $13-$20. Granada Theater. Cerulean Giallo, Ibnubo, 9 p.m. $1-$3. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Hudson Moore, 10:30 p.m. $10-$15. Billy Bob’s.

Love Shack. A Hard Night’s Day, 7 p.m. $10$16. Granada Theater. Link Chalon, 8 p.m. Free. Cafe Du Luxe. Blind Pilot, Lost Lander, 8:30 p.m. $20. The Kessler. Panteon Rococo, 9 p.m. $25-$30. House of Blues. The Red Death, Sol Tax, the Phuss, 9 p.m. $1-$3. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Bubba Hernandez y Los Super Vatos, 10 p.m. $8. Dan’s Silverleaf.

Love Shack. Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, 7 p.m. $20-$30. The Kessler. Nerdist Podcast Live: Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, 8 p.m. $25-$30. Palladium Ballroom. Baby Atlas, 8 p.m. $8. Dan’s Silverleaf. Vorvon, 10 p.m. $7-$11. Lola’s. Tanya Tucker, 10:30 p.m. $12$20. Billy Bob’s.

Candy, Chromatics, Twin Sister, Taken by Trees, Laurel Halo, A.Dd+, DJ Sober, 7 p.m. $20. Granada Theater. Foxtrot Uniform, 8 p.m. Free. Love Shack. Brave Combo, 9 p.m. $10. Dan’s Silverleaf. Goodnight, Neverland; Fate Lions; Mills and Co., 9 p.m. $8-$10. Lola’s. Bob Schneider, 10:30 p.m. $15-$25. Billy Bob’s.

JULY 2012 MUSIC at Denton venues MUSIC elsewhere

July 2012


dan’s silverleaf

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by lucinda breeding

Chords over cords

D

enton music keeps popping up outside the city limits. Earlier this year, a magazine article about little-known global music hotspots cited Denton, but mentioned only Bowling for Soup and Meat Loaf. The article didn’t mention the Denton Americana scene once. If you get down to brass tacks, it’s the local folk scene that has put us on the map as a formidable music community. Midlake might not be pure folk, but there’s enough folk in the band’s stewpot to make it at least a cousin. Doug Burr keeps releasing albums that succeed on music and poetic merits, and before Sarah Jaffe released The Body Wins, she was making fresh, significant folk music. Some of the best albums out in the last 12 months are Americana records. Boxcar Bandits’ Live at Dan’s Silverleaf bears the band’s “skunkgrass” genre stamp, but with a washboard, banjo, guitar and upright bass, the Bandits are welcome in the Americana party. Hares on the Mountain hasn’t released an album, but the punk-folk outfit is as Americana as can be, fusing punk attitude with Celtictinged murder ballads. And in one of 2012’s best releases to date, Restless & Waiting, Mathew Grigsby proves that the scene hasn’t been exhausted. In fact, the simplicity of Grigsby’s arrangements hints at something more to come. And Denton’s L.E. Taylor? If she isn’t snatched up by Kirtland or Spune before long, we might have to eat an edition of Little d. Right now, the real magic in Denton is folk — pure and simple. — Lucinda Breeding

Contributors ED STEELE has a passion for capturing the alchemy of art and performance at live shows. He works part time as a music photographer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but his heart belongs to Denton. Steele has photographed numerous bands and performers including Brave Combo, the Wee-Beasties, Bubba Hernandez, the Flametrick Subs and Greg Ginn, founder of Black Flag. Steele was a sponsor of the grass-roots music festival 35 des Refuses, and his shot of Brave Combo from the fest appears in the group’s latest CD. When he’s not busy photographing rock stars, Steele volunteers with his wife at a cat rescue group. Award-winning documentary filmmaker and jazz guitarist ANDY LaVIOLETTE owns and operates a busy North Texas video production company, Mr. Magic Carpet Ride Productions. By day, he and his wife shoot high-definition video and photographs for clients. By night, LaViolette shoots footage of local bands. He and his wife live in Denton with their daughter. July 2012

Photo by David Minton

Perfect 10 Guided by voices, Dan’s marks decade as music mecca

D

an’s Silverleaf is about to lift a glass (or a bottle of Shiner) to a milestone. The downtown watering hole is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and it’s been a decade of which to be proud. Named for owner Dan Mojica, the bar really led the exodus to Industrial Street, which was once a row of merchants that sold groceries, livestock feed and other dry goods. Once Mojica reopened his bar on Industrial Street, he showed skeptics and naysayers that Denton’s downtown could — and eventually would — become a hot spot for culture seekers, loft apartment shoppers and foodies. Without Dan’s Silverleaf, there might not be a Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Denton, a Rooster’s Roadhouse, a local Burguesa Burger or Mellow Mushroom. Belly up to the curvy bar at Dan’s and you can walk away with a frosty domestic or imported beer, a glass of wine, a mixed drink or a cocktail. But can we give a cheer for the scuffed cooler of ice water at the end of the bar, just a step away from the door to the patio? If you’re a smoker, you’re exiled to the patio to puff. But no worries, a second bar is Little d After Dark

there with a friendly bartender ready to top you off. The drinks are reliable, but what Dan’s serves up exceptionally well is live music. Before the bar joined Spune, a North Texas recording, production and event company, the bar already had a steady stream of Americana luminaries — the likes of Susan Gibson, Terri Hendrix and James McMurtry. Since Spune took over much of the booking, the venue has taken on a more focused calendar — alt-country and roots music acts share bills, Denton indie acts hone their craft and peddle recordings, and touring groups bring a broader sound to the city. It doesn’t hurt that Dan’s is the unofficial birthplace of Sarah Jaffe, a point of pride for Denton music buffs (even if other regional magazines think the claim is witless). These days, the venue is a regular gig for Hares on the Mountain, a folkpunk outfit that shows all the signs of taking off in a big way. If the next 10 years are as fruitful for Dan’s, locals will have to get in the habit of getting to the door. early. Or not. There isn’t a bad seat in the joint. LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached by calling 940-566-6877 or sending an e-mail to cbreeding@dentonrc.com.

DAN’S SILVERLEAF 103 Industrial St. Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. danssilverleaf.com. on.fb.me/LkqWEs.

DAN’S ON THE FOURTH If you’d rather not tempt mosquitoes at a fireworks show, Dan’s Silverleaf is waxing patriotic with “Lullaby for the Summer,” featuring Pete Weise and Melissa McMillan, on July Fourth. McMillan and Weise will perform the music of Jimi Hendrix — he who turned “The StarSpangled Banner” into a guitar solo for the ages. The show starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $8.

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knicker twister

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by rachel mcreynolds, mariel tam-ray and lucinda breeding

The drink ice cubes 1 ounce dry vermouth 1 ounce sweet vermouth 1/2 ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram dash of orange bitters 2 ounces India pale ale 1 lemon twist, for garnish Fill a mixing glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the vermouths, allspice dram and orange bitters, and stir. Strain into a chilled tumbler. Top with the IPA. Run the lemon twist around the rim, twist it into the drink and drop it in. Serve immediately. — recipe from Beer Cocktails by Howard and Ashley Stelzer Betcha thought it’d be something patriotic, huh? Sucker. As much as we love the good U-S-of-A (and we do, with the freedom and women’s right to own property and whatnot), this drink is more up our alley than your typical cold domestic brew. And since we love you all so much (except you — you know what you did), here’s a warning: IPAs are for serious beer snobs. This cocktail’s gonna kick you down a flight of stairs, then set your hair on fire. It may bang your mom just for good measure. It’s strong and potentially offensive, is what we’re saying. Here be dragons, folks — tasty, very bitter dragons — so watch your ass.

The tunes While you’re sipping, listen to these ear-splitting, teethspitting bands: Riverboat Gamblers (ex-Denton band makes garage-punk rock ’n’ roll that’ll knock out teeth — literally, once — but leave you pumping your fist and chanting along), Mind Spiders (the buzz-hum of this Denton/Fort Worth power pop/punk outfit’s guitars is the perfect background music for an aural meltdown), Black Sabbath (get those pretty little knickers in a real twist, or just sit back and enjoy the ride, with this iconic British metal foursome).

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Photo by David Minton

Little d After Dark

July 2012


the atom age at andy’s bar (june 14)

July 2012

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photos by ed steele

Little d After Dark

7


by lucinda breeding >> features editor

D

oug Burr released his debut album, Sickles & Sheaves, in 2003.

The record was a mix of gothic Americana and gospel.

And looking back, it was probably that album that set the stage for Denton’s indie-folk and Americana scene — or at least embodied the naked, poetic lyrics and acoustic arrangements that lingered in the shadows among the city’s folk

musicians. Burr started picking up awards and critical praise almost immediately, especially among the singer-songwriter circle that likes its music a little literary. Six years later, Denton guitar maestro and singer Robert Gomez would release Pine Sticks and Phosphorus, a fulllength record that was as much a chamber-pop record as it was an atmospheric, folk-tinged record that swathed Gomez’s lyrics with symphonic melodies. Were it not for the enterprising pens of musicians like Burr and Gomez — and later, Sarah Jaffe — Denton’s folk scene would probably be confined to downtown coffeehouses. Denton Americana is still on the skinny side, but a pintsize scene shouldn’t be mistaken for pipsqueak sound. A new generation of folk and folk-influenced musicians are on the hustle in Little D. 8

Little d After Dark

July 2012

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Continued on 10 9


Mathew Grigsby: Folk, pure and simple His catalog: His debut album, Restless & Waiting, came out in March. Listen at: mathewgrigsby.com He doesn’t do swagger. Mathew Grigsby is as unaffected as his music — and that’s a good thing. And he has at least one thing in common with Doug Burr. “I didn’t grow up playing music. I didn’t pick up the guitar until I was 19 years old,” Grigsby says. “I was living in East Texas, going to junior college. I was actually studying theater.” Grigsby is gigging as a solo artist and with his band, the Merry Monsters, with Jake Dill on upright bass and Trent Reeves on drums. He moved to Denton from Kilgore with the idea of enrolling at the University of North Texas. When he got to Denton, Grigsby says, a couple of things happened — he started going to shows (largely with a group of friends who faded away over time), and his father was incarcerated. “When my dad went to prison, it didn’t seem like a good idea to go to school,” he says. “I have two brothers, and my mom was going to have to take care of them all by herself.” Theater lent the artist a flair for words and an ear for mood, and years in public school choir (“I pretty much came out of the womb singing,” he says) gave him an easy tenor — no baroque fireworks, thanks — that evokes Willie Nelson. Grigsby wasted little time when the songwriting bug bit. He put a band together, the Poison Whiskeys. “We did bluegrass,” he says. “Apocalyptic bluegrass, we called it.” By then, Grigsby says he was determined to do music. Restless & Waiting is a quiet record, with a chord organ here and a toy glockenspiel there. Grigsby writes from his experience — a working man without a car or much in the way of money. It begins with “Walkin’,” an ambling ode to Grigsby’s second favorite pastime: strolling and reflecting. “I go walkin’ towards Jerusalem, the holy city. They got all the best guns,” he sings, before explaining that he’s not resentful about his lack of money and wheels. “I got legs and I got dreams,” Grigsby says. He’ll walk until his feet give out. It’s “Sidewalk Bird” and “Ada and the Wandering Spirit” that show Grigsby’s songwriting chops as well as his talent for lyrics. “Sidewalk Bird” is a tribute to a stonedead bird he noticed on one of his many walks. What could be a macabre discovery becomes a hat-over-heart sermon about the fleeting gifts and graces that visit even the smallest of God’s creatures. Grigsby sings: “Sidewalk bird, I walk by you everyday. Sidewalk bird, I been watching you decay. Used to sing, used to fly, till your joy was spent and you had to die, oh sidewalk friend of mine.” Then he finds the spot where their lives intersect: “World didn’t know you very long, never appreciated your song. Now you’re gone and I can see the inspiration a death can be.” In “Ada,” Grigsby sings from the point of view of another man who walks, but whose wandering is more emotional and spiritual than literal. The narrator has wandered far enough from his commitments that now he needs to make amends to a certain heart he left idling by the hearth. “Ada, oh Ada, I done you wrong, I done you wrong, left you standing on a deadend street, left you whiskey bottles and debts at your feet. ... These teary eyes ask you >>

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L.E. Taylor: Folk tunes, poppy vocals

Karyna Micaela: Pop with a dash of folk

Sounds like: Abigail Washburn reinterpreted the songbook of Sweet Honey in the Rock, including some of the vocal flourishes reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan and Sixpence None the Richer.

Her catalog: Micaela has an album worth of songs in the hopper. Sounds like: Erin Austin meets Sara Bareilles, with a retro twist. Listen at: reverbnation.com/ karynamicaela

L.E. Taylor deserves more recognition in Denton, but it’s probably on its way. Angelic harmonies, chimes and banjo played with a delectable touch make Taylor an artist who is perfect for the coffeehouse, but deserving of the Austin City Limits stage at the very least. And yet Taylor hasn’t let the slow slog of self-promotion weigh her music down. That’s the thing that makes her a musician to watch. Folk music in general (and Denton folk in particular) can be a dour affair. You know the routine: Lay your soul bare with a whisper, and accompany it with sober acoustic guitar. Not Taylor. Each of her songs creeps upward, like the rising sun. “Faithful and True” starts off with the typical earnestness that makes the form ripe for SNL parody. But before it gets mired down with the sighing folk music hey-man-life-is-a-riddle posture, Taylor lets the light in. Taylor’s music has an unexpected heft to it. “Oh Lord” sounds like a damn good bookend to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Nothing But the Water.” Where Potter pleads loudly with the heavens to let the water wash clean what baptism and the Bible couldn’t, Taylor nearly whispers about an urgent need to get things right before the last hour comes, like the proverbial thief in the night. It’s a slow burn that builds, hope shimmering off of intensifying banjo, guitar and cymbal. The artist observes the majesty of creation with a prayerful praise, then

Karyna Micaela is more pop than folk, but she’s absorbed a thing or two in her many sets at Banter, a downtown bar and restaurant that has been incubating a goodly number of Denton’s rising folk artists. The California native came to Denton about three years ago. A choir student who majored in music, Micaela did her homework and knew Denton would be a good place to concentrate on music. She works full time in a University of North Texas residence hall, and has been hard at work with Dallas musician Zach Balch, who is producing her debut album. Micaela has recorded piano, vocals, drums and horns; all that remains is to mix and engineer the album. “Denton is a good place to pursue music,” Micaela says. “Maybe because it’s not oversaturated, like Austin or Nashville. It’s accessible. Where we’re sitting is pretty much the heart of the singer-songwriter scene locally.” And she was sitting at a table at Banter, where a two-person crew was setting up the sound system for the open mic that would begin in three hours. Like folk artist Mathew Grigsby and Balch, who plays Denton regularly, Micaela has found a reliable testing

Continued on 11 Little d After Dark

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Continued on 11

Continued on 11

L.E. Taylor, left, and Karyna Micaela. Courtesy photos. Mathew Grigsby, top. Photo by David Minton.

July 2012


the mike dillon band

mathew grigsby

Continued from 10 >> to forgive me. Let this wandering spirit finally sleep, and sleep.” Grigsby says he’s trying to make music in the vein of “divine folk.” He cites Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. (He nearly channels Dylan on “Humble as a Child,” a song that settles in the back of his throat — just above the heart chakra, to be more Buddhist about it.) “I write about characters who are down in the muck,” Grigsby says. “The songwriting has been really different with different songs. A lot of songs start with me walking around — that’s no big surprise, I guess. “It starts with a mood, mostly. I try to let the songs write themselves. You can’t limit yourself. If a song takes you someplace, let it.” Grigsby takes a page out of the Rufus Wainwright school of songwriting — morbid or downer lyrics are buoyed by sweetly

gradually breaks into full-on Appalachian begging for redemption that transforms. She ends with a sated whisper.

If Taylor can produce folk like this with her own ear, voice and guitar skills, imagine what she could do with focused artist development.

karyna micaela

Continued from 10 >> ground in Banter. The snug restaurant — with its small coffee menu and generous beer, wine and food menu — has continued to nurture the local music scene. Banter is as committed to jazz as it is to indie music; Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton earned its big following on the small corner stage. Micaela makes the kind of music that gets picked up for shiny-happy advertising campaigns by Target, the Gap and J.C. Penney, and she admits that she worries that could be a liability in the North Texas music scene, which tends to favor insider music by not-so-radio-ripe acts like Midlake, the Angelus and Seryn — all of whom come by critical gushing honestly. Denton’s favorite music only reaches as far as public radio, unless you consider pop acts like Bowling for Soup — and they claim Dallas as home base. “It’s been a challenge,” Micaela says. “It’s not an easy scene to break into. My record is a fully fledged pop record. Zach and I are interested in licensing and writing, and that’s not the focus of most of the music here. I’ve kind of wanted to go down to Dallas, because it’s closer to that July 2012

by andy laviolette and lucinda breeding

upbeat tunes. Put the question to the songwriter himself, though, and he’ll tell you his songs are a distilled pull of gladness. In “Can’t Do Right,” Grigsby sings about a man who could be lucky enough to win “the key to the holy gates” but likely to “lose it in a poker game or trade it for a couple of bucks.” Grigsby says he owes his musical ambitions to Denton, where musicians like to help each other out. Restless & Waiting was recorded on the Denton indie label Metamorphosis Records, run by local musician Taylor Moseley. “I don’t know that I’d become a songwriter if I weren’t in Denton,” Grigsby says. “It’s not as small as people think, but Denton has a real small-town feel. But it’s big enough that you can do things you can’t really do in a small town, as opposed to where I grew up. “In Denton, you can be a hippie or a hipster and no one minds.”

l.e. taylor

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part of the business.” Micaela is right. Denton musicians emphasize community over cash, and sometimes, process over product. Take the now-dormant tradition of Rock Lottery, which created new Denton bands for one day by inviting musicians to draw names out of a hat, then write and perform a full set on the same day. The result isn’t always good, but it’s definitely enthusiastic. But make no mistake: Micaela isn’t trash-talking community. The community was one of the reasons she left the temperate summers of San Jose for Denton. So far, Micaela has created a set list of music that shows off her training — she studied classical music for a while before she realized she wanted to study vocal jazz. And both show in her lilting voice and stage presence. Regardless of geography, Micaela will do her music — piano pop with that Billie Holiday vibrato — and she’ll tailor it to the venue. “I can’t do anything else,” Micaela says. “It’s such a part of my identity that I’d feel like something was missing if I didn’t do music.”

Courtesy photo

Jazz attitude adjustment Trusty vibraphone helps Dillon inject genre with added cool

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THE MIKE DILLON BAND IN DENTON 10 p.m. July 13 at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St. Cover is $8. No smoking. danssilverleaf.com

f only 30 people show up to see the Mike Dillon Band play Dan’s Silverleaf in July, it won’t be a reflection on Dillon’s music or the music he’s brought out of the bands he’s been in over the last 20 years. THEY’RE WITH Dillon is a Louisiana guy (by way of Texas) who has written THE BAND probably one song to make it onto the radio. He’s a full-time Mike Dillon — touring musician who has driven his career with a mix of persistvibraphone, ence and curiosity. percussion and Dillon is a jazz man who has played with some of Denton’s lead vocals favorite acts — Ten Hands, the sonic laboratory supervised by Carly Meyers — Denton’s mad musical scientist, Paul Slavens, and Brave Combo, trombone, Moog and drummer Earl Harvin — and the It girl of the indie music Taurus pedals movement, Ani DiFranco. Dillon’s probably most noted for his Adam Gertner — tenure leading Billy Goat, a ’90s Dallas group that might have drums eclipsed its own chops when its members shucked their clothes Cliff Hines — onstage. Dillon is a vibraphonist, percussionist, singer and musiguitar, bass and cal detective. keys The Mike Dillon Band is a fresher project, but is bound to have the rhythm, groove, feel, defiance, impulse and communication its leader has shown in all of his musical endeavors. The common thread among every group is Dillon’s electrified, psychedelic, Coltrane-induced vibraphone playing, a tabla jam on a level that few have witnessed in person, seemingly rehearsed yet sporadic auxiliary drum jams, and half-spoken, half-sung lyrics about issues like drilling for oil, the war in Iraq, cellphones and six-breasted puppets.

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ella minnow

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by rachel watts

Less is more Ella Minnow’s latest album an exercise in well-timed restraint

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nown for its vast range in prog rock and frequently filled-to-the-brim songs, the five-year-old Denton group Ella Minnow has finally found restraint. And it’s a good look on them. The group’s recently released fifth album, Honey Sweet Devils, showcases Ella Minnow’s growth from a band using every trick in its (very large) book into a seven-piece force that creates more focused, solid songs. “We’ve calmed down a bit,” guitarist Corbin Childs said. “I guess that happens when you get older. Our earlier stuff is a lot more rowdy, I guess. We weren’t very good at leaving space.” With Honey Sweet Devils, Ella Minnow has stayed true to its busy, creative songwriting style rather than undergo a total overhaul, opting instead to refine the method to members’ madness. “Initially, it was all about cramming every sound into the limited space of a recording,” keyboardist Trey Price said, “and we’ve come from there to understanding how delicate we can place a melody across a verse or chorus and try not to crowd it out with too much irrelevant noise.” After recording each track separately failed to yield the energetic sound they wanted, band members got together and live-tracked most of the rhythm and guitars in Childs’ living room — in true Denton fashion. “Every release has been a marker along the way to show what we were working on and what we had in mind at the time,” Price said. Cohesion and women were two such things on their mind in Honey Sweet Devils. After adding two female vocalists to the group a couple of years ago, Price said, the group’s sound evolved and fans took notice. “People responded to the girls, so we became full-time members of the band,” vocalist Tiffany Graber said. “I think that the success of Ella Minnow grows with every album and every year.” >>

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Courtesy photo

Track for track: Honey Sweet Devils PUSH, PUSH As the song’s low tones and sex-clad keys slowly ease you into busier guitar riffs and a growing tempo change, lead vocals prompt trouble with argumentative lyrics. “Push, Push” is the epitome of the push and pull present in a battle of the sexes, as exemplified through the instigating male vocals and provocative retort by the challenging all-female harmony.

ALONE The momentum of this somewhat sedating, psychedelic surfer-rock song steadily grows from ambivalent vocals into angst-filled cries, accented by decrescendos into what can only be described as the dusty, desertscape sounds of a good Tarantino flick.

LOVER’S THREAD A complete surprise to the album’s repertoire of songs, “Lover’s Thread” shocks your senses with a feel-good country love song upbeat enough to two-step to. The twangle-dangle of guitar, overlain by brass horns, makes this ballad-esque country tune a horse of a different color.

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July 2012


sarah’s greek salad pile-up

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by alyssa jarrell

Sarah Daniels. Courtesy photos/Chris Newby

Fit for the gods Fight the ever-rising Fahrenheit with this simple, colorful Greek salad

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riends, it is hot. I mean, really hot. So hot that all I want to do all day is hang out by the pool. So hot that I almost refuse to turn on my oven (and that’s pretty severe, since I love baking so much). So hot that I only make iced coffee at home. So hot that I basically refuse to do any cooking that is not on a grill. Thank goodness for salads. July 2012

laying by the pool), and lots of vegetables that are at their peak in the middle of the summer, so that you can make the most of the goodies you gathered at the Denton Community Market. Now, friends, don’t be alarmed by the long list of ingredients. This is all chopping and mixing — no crazy cooking techniques involved. So bust out your best knives, your favorite cutting board and a big fork to enjoy this meal for four.

Ah, salads — sweet delicious salads that don’t require heat for preparing, that are cooling and refreshing and light. Our sweet friend Sarah Daniels, whom you can find at Loco Cafe on any given day, has graciously shared with us her favorite summer salad recipe. And what a salad it is. Sarah was a vegetarian for several years and really knows how to build a tasty salad that is colorful, filling and full of amazing flavors. She made sure to include plenty of protein (energy for all the

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Little d After Dark

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ella minnow

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Roasted red pepper tzatziki 2 tablespoons roasted red bell pepper, chopped 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt In a food processor (or a good blender), combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth.

ALYSSA JARRELL is an adventurer in the kitchen who enjoys giving her culinary creations to family and friends. Her website is thepinkantler.com.

RACHEL WATTS enjoys participating in the local music scene and co-owns a small independent record label called I Love Math Records. She lives in Denton.

Greek salad

Tapenade

1 cup cucumber, diced small 3/4 cup tomato, diced small 3/4 cup red onion, chopped 3 artichoke hearts, diced 15 ounces garbanzo beans, cooked and cooled 1/2 cup Greek dressing (I prefer Newman’s Own) 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped finely 1/4 cup dried and pitted dates, chopped finely 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients, makes sure that everything is coated evenly with the dressing.

For finishing

1 pita per serving 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Graber said the first things that struck her about the band were its standout vocals, incorporation of many instruments and wide-ranging sound. The same principles apply to the group’s newest album, as it weaves in and out of musical styles — from psychedelic surf to progressive rock to country music — in an ever-changing fashion that’s become Ella Minnow’s credo.

— Corbin Childs, Ella Minnow guitarist

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In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.

Toast pita. Place a large scoop of the Greek salad on the pita, top with a small spoonful of tapenade, drizzle with the tzatziki, and top with a little bit of mint.

“We’ve calmed down a bit.�

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Little d After Dark

July 2012


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Little d After Dark

July 2012

July Little d After Dark  

Monthly entertainment guide of the Denton Record-Chronicle

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