Events

FULL CIRCLE: The McEuens to play Poor David’s Pub this Friday Night – May 4th

Full Circle

The Metroplex is in for a treat this Friday night, May 4th, at Poor David’s Pub in downtown Dallas as multi-talented, award winning John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and his sons Nathan and Jonathan, collectively performing as The McEuens, take center stage.

The McEuens have time-treasured family harmonies that cannot be replicated by the manipulation of  bits and bytes of a computer program. As pure as mountain stream water, and equally as refreshing, The McEuens bring the heritage music full circle.

Before you get any ideas that Jonathan and Nathan are riding Daddy’s coattails, let me set you straight. They are remarkable musicians, songwriters and performers in their own right. John might have donated the foundation of impressive genes and given them his last name, but their talent and abilities are their own.  I can only imagine that as a father he must be both proud and in awe of their accomplishments.

The music business is tough, and in this day and age when everyone thinks they can make a record in their living room, sitting in their pajamas, its not gotten any easier.  To his credit, John was straight up with them about what they were getting into. “I warned them against it, or about it,” he tells me, “But I did not discourage. I just made sure they understood the 2nd word as best I could: Music BUSINESS.”

Their debut project, The McEuen Sessions – For All the Good is as inspiring and symbolic in many ways, as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken was way back in 1971. It’s more than time, for our roots to be replanted and tended to, and the family harmonies that weave the notes of the songs on this album together, are demonstrative of the effort that is needed to make that happen.

If there was ever any doubt that this family’s DNA is treasure load of talented genes, one only has to listen once to For All The Good. The McEuens’ individual talents shine throughout but also collectively meld into a distinctive sound all of their own. There is no doubting their connection, both on a family level, as well as artistically. It’s obvious they’ve been singing together a long time before this record was ever made.

As much as music can bring people together, parents often struggle with feeling a definite void as their children develop their own tastes and preferences in music. I found myself wondering if John McEuen ever uttered the fateful words “Turn that music down” that I so often heard in my own home. I  had a chance to ask him about the proverbial generation gap. “I learn from them constantly, and they welcome the ‘heritage’ music. We do some of it (mine and NGDB) in the show.” he shares, before adding, “There were times, around teenage years, when they shied away from ‘the old stuff’, but later realized that what counts is what it means to people.”

I can’t imagine having a finer example of what music can do for multiple generations, than having John McEuen as your father.

Music labelled as traditional sometimes gets easily dismissed as unsophisticated and dated, and The McEuens music challenges that misnomer, by delivering pure familial harmonies against the background of impeccable instrumentation that makes some of its more traditional fare sound not only  fresh, but as relevant as ever. Their songs will pull you in and keep you there until the last track has finished playing.

I wanted to tell you this was a folk album, but its not completely true. Nor is it completely a country album, or rock album and yet all of the components are there are certain times. Some might label it Americana, but its deeper and wider than that. What I can promise you is this: For All the Good is simply good music. It will touch, lift and surround you all at the same time.

The album opens with the familiar Rodney Crowell penned Long Hard Road, which the NGDB took for a ride up the charts previously, and is both indicative of where things have been for them as a family, and where they are headed. From that starting point, the album is  a journey through generations of influences, both past and present. The highlights are many, but as a mother – the sound of Jonathan’s 11 year old vocals drifting from the past to the present on Red Foley’s Old Shep, touched my heart. Each one of them brought their own style and songs to the table and what was created was something that stands to represent all of them together. Fittingly the album ends with John playing an extended track titled, The Goodtime Suite, which conjurs up images of years gone by,  undoubtedly for them, and for us, as well.

With over 40 albums to his credit, and more on the way, John McEuen rates this one in his Top 5. Never one to let grass grow under his feet, he’s got many projects on the way, but thankfully for us he’s taken the time to sit and sing a spell with his sons. This needed to happen, the time was right, and in the end, For All the Good is one for the ages.

Kudos to The McEuens for continuing to keep that circle forever unbroken.

The McEuens will be performing live at Poor David’s Pub in downtown Dallas Friday May 4. More information can be found at:  Poor David’s Pub and John McEuen website .

Poor David’s Pub is located at: 1313 South Lamar is in Downtown Dallas, 2 short blocks south of the Dallas Convention Center
and 1/2 block west of the Cedars Dart Station.

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EVENT: Free Concert April 19th – Season 1 Finale of Troubadour, TX

WHO: Twelve artists from the Troubadour, TX television series: Zane Williams, Kylie Rae Harris (w/ Wayne Kirkpatrick & Gordon Kennedy), Beth Wood, Woody Russell, Susan Ashton, Cary Pierce (of Jackopierce), Little Brave, Nicolette Good, Kirk Thurmond, Guthrie Kennard, Ryan Edgar and Tom Faulkner
WHAT: FREE concert and live taping for Season 1 finale episode of Troubadour, TX
WHEN: Thursday, April 19. 7:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
WHERE: Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive, Addison, TX 75001
NOTE: This is a FREE event with FREE parking. The festivities will be taped for the Season 1 finale episode of Troubadour, TX, which airs in the Dallas/Fort Worth market on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on TXA 21. Click HERE to see where TTX airs in your market.
For more information about the Troubadour, TX concert in the park, visit: www.facebook.com/events/377830872251738/
For more information about the Troubadour, TX television series and TTX artists, visit www.TroubadourTX.com.
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Mark Your Calendar – Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival April 20-21

This weekend is the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival
April 21-22
Antique Car Show and John Denver Tribute Concert…(free) – April 21
Historic Preston St. Garage Sale – April 20-21
BBQ Cookoff at Knights of Columbus Hall – April 20-21
Don’t miss it!
More information here 

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Each of Them Stars in Their Own Right, It Was Their Night To Shine

Maurice Anderson and Ron Jones were just two of the Superpickers who took front stage center Saturday Night at the Arlington Music Hall

Any entertainer will tell you that the real stars of a stage production, are often the unsung heroes, the people who serve behind them in the shadows. Week after week the Arlington Country Music Revue shows are backed by a stellar group of musicians who are all stars in their own rights, and this past Saturday night, they stood front and center and showed just why they’re aptly titled “The Superpickers”.

The first half of the evening the audience was entertained by the familiar production of performers singing a bevy of familiar tunes. Regulars Ginny Lynn, Stephanie Pruitt, Krista Bailey, John Sharp and emcee Michael Hix all took turns at the microphone. Stand out performances were made by Jon Rutherford and James Hinds who had the audience toe-tapping and smiling in unison.  Rutherford gave the audience a great rendition of George Strait’s The Fireman, and followed up with his own Love Makes The World Go Round. Hinds followed next, and obviously a seasoned peformer, he didn’t miss a beat, as he built on the energy Rutherford had built. Although his performance was unscheduled, it proved to be one of the evening’s best, as Hinds performed the classic country standards Luckenbach, Texas (Waylon) and Little Sister (Dwight Yoakam).

It was in the second half of the show that the stars began to shine their brightest, as The Superpickers became the main act.

The Superpickers are a group of, give or take, ten musicians who have accumulated countless hours on the road backing some of the biggest names in country music.

Steel Guitar Hall of Famer, Maurice Anderson, kicked off the second half of the show on his pedal steel, with an instrumental rendition of the The Flintstones theme song, that showcased not only his, but the entire band’s top notch talents.

Bass player, Colin Yarbrough, sounding very much like Radney Foster himself as he sang Foster’s Just Call Me Lonesome. With his vocal abilities no longer a secret, I suspect we’ll be hearing more from him on the AMH’s Country Music Revue.

Jeff Williams was up next, on keyboard performing the classic instrumental hit, Last Date, which he followed up by combining his vocal ability with his instrumental one, for Haggard’s That’s The Way Love Goes.

Glen Fleming, has backed up such notable names as Gary Stewart and Ray Price, with his guitar, but on Saturday night he was under the spotlight himself, singing Johnny Cash’s hit Ring of Fire.

Dale Morris, Jr. comes from a long line of talented musicians, and was recently inducted into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame. It was an honor that had previously been bestowed on his father and his uncle. When he isn’t on the road with Ray Price, Morris can be found at the Country Music Revue. On Saturday night, Morris celebrated his musical lineage, by performing Bob Wills’ Home in San Antone.

Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame inductee Dale Morris, Jr. demonstrates he comes from a long line of talent

Guitarist Ron Jones (Charley Pride band), and Maurice Anderson on lap steel performed a memorable instrumental duet of My Little Ballerina. As Maurice headed back to his pedal steel, band member Kevin Bailey, and his harp, joined Jones as he played guitar and sang, for his second number, Workin’ Man Blues.

It was drummer Josh Rodgers’ turn to shine next. Staying behind his drum kit, he performed The Eagles’ Peaceful, Easy Feelin’.

Kevin Bailey’s musical resume is longer than both his arms, and his performance demonstrates that as clearly, if not more than, a paper version would. He was a member of the notable The Shoppe, and currently is a member of the Light Crust Doughboys. He plays guitar, harmonica and banjo, in addition to lead and harmony vocals. Saturday night he performed I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, to a mesmerized and appreciative crowd.

The band’s second Ron Jones’ plays saxophone, and although country music isn’t what he was accustomed to playing before joining the CMR, he has fit in wonderfully. Jones’ previously played with Al Green and Smokey Robinson, and has added a new energy to the band’s performances. On Saturday he performed two numbers including  Fats Dominos’ Blueberry Hill.

The show culminated in a standing ovation, the first I’d seen since covering the weekly stage show, and it was well deserved. They played their hearts out that night, much like the do every week, but this time the glory wasn’t shared with a headline performer, and the applause was theirs alone to savor.

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And the Winner Is….

The winners of the 2nd Annual Texas Regional Radio Awards were announced Sunday night in Arlington, Texas

Being in the music business can sometimes be a pretty thankless job. Sometimes those endless nights on the road are nothing but a blur of names, faces and smoke-filled barrooms. Sometimes an artist wonders if he’s making a difference or wasting his time.

This past Sunday at the Arlington Music Hall, some of Texas’ finest troubadours had those feelings put to rest at the 2nd Annual Texas Regional Radio Awards.

Emcees for the event were the lovely Ali Dee and the equally lovely, and effervescent Deryl Dodd.

Emcee Deryl Dodd, performed "She'll Have You Back" from his Pearl Snaps album as well as an impromtu acoustic performance of "You Just Can't Say No to Larry Joe"

Throughout the show the stage showcased some of the nominees as they performed to an appreciative crowd of peers and fans. Aside from a few minor technically difficulties and one wayward drummer – the performances, peppered throughout the award presentations were a top notch, well rounded representation of what the moniker “Texas Music” encompasses.

A clear stand-out was the performance by Zane Williams and Kylie Rae Harris, as they sang Pablo and Maria. Also performing were Deryl Dodd, Ali Dee, Steve Helms, Matt Hillger, Bo Phillips, Blacktop Gypsy, Jamie Richards, TJ Broscoff, Randy Rogers and Brady Black, and the Casey Donahew Band.

The awards during the first half of the show were handed out to the winning nominees in the radio industry categories:

Radio Station of the Year

Super Market – KHYI, Dallas
Large Market – KNUE, Tyler
Medium Market – KRVF, Corsicana
Small Market – KNAF/KEEP Fredericksburg
Out of Region – WDMS, Greenville MS
Internet Radio Station – BigStar97.com
Syndicated Radio Station Show – Texas Red Dirt Roads

On-Air Personality

Super Market – Justin Frazell, KFWR, 95.5 The Ranch – Fort Worth
Large Market – Neely Yates, KJDL, Lubbock
Medium Market – Nash and Carey Dean, KRVF, Corsicana
Small Market – JD Rose, KNAF/KEEP, Fredericksburg
Out of Region – Ashton Taylor, KVOM, Morrilton AR

Festival/Event of the Year – Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Fest
Record Label of the Year – Winding Roads Music

On-Air personality, Justin Frazell won this year’s Humanitarian Award for his efforts to raise funds with his annual “Pickin’ for Preemies” charity event.

There were three new artist awards given to up and coming performers.  Heather Roberts took home the award for New Female Vocalist, William Clark Green took home the New Male Vocalist and Six Market Blvd. took home the prize for New Duo/Band/Group.

Sweeping multiple categories was the Eli Young Band for their hit song “Crazy Girl”, taking home the honors for: Duo/Group, Song, Single and Music Video.

Sunny Sweeney won Female Vocalist and Stoney LaRue took home the Male counterpart.

It was Texas Music scene veteran Randy Rogers and his band, that took home the evenings top 2 awards, much to the pleasure of the audience.  Randy and the band won both Album of the Year (Burning the Day) and Entertainer of the Year.

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Mark Your Calenders – March 31st Ennis Cultural Festival in the Park

What a great way to spend a weekend —

Where? Bluebonnet Park, Ennis, Texas
Date/Time: March 31st from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Bring lawn chairs, picnic basket (no alcohol) and enjoy a wonderful day of live entertainment! If inclement weather it will be at Knights of Columbus Hall, located on 850 S. IH-45

Event includes: Fort Worth Scottish Pipes, Ennis Lionettes, Trinity River Desperados, Salute to Patsy Cline, Cornell Kinderknecht, Bandan Koro African Dance, Salute to the 1940’s, Grupo Pakal Mayan Dance and Tropikal Production.

Conclude the day with a visit along Ennis’ spectacular Bluebonnet Trails — hurry before their gone until next year!

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Top 10 Things to Do this Weekend in FW

We’re going to be out and about the next few days but we’ll be back Monday with a couple of restaurant reviews, a report on the Texas Regional Radio Awards Show, a recipe that promises to spice up any burger and a Day-Trippin’ feature.

Meanwhile – here are our Top 10 personal picks for things to do this weekend in Fort Worth

1. Visit the FW Botanical Gardens and take a stroll through the Japanese Gardens to catch a glimpse of its colorful pink blossoms. Don’t forge the Butterflies in the Garden exhibit in the Conservatory.

2. Visit the historic Stock Yards and catch the cattle drive (Daily at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) More info

3. Visit the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge on Saturday morning and take a hike. Hikes are free and begin at 10 a.m. sharp. Be sure to bring water and dress for the weather.

4. Visit Kincaid’s Hamburgers for lunch.

5. Take a drive out of the city in search of bluebonnets. I hear 1-20 is a great route.

6. Support the Arts in FW and visit a local museum. The Amon Carter Museum is offering a free film screening; a Double Wild West Feature on Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Rango
12:30–1 p.m. Refreshments
1–4:15 p.m. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

7. The FW Museum of Science and History is currently showcasing the Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. They also have a film screening on Sundays – this month’s theme is Mad Scientists.  March 25, 2012 – Who Killed Doc Robbin? (Hal Roach Studios; 1948) George Zucco plays the elusive Dr. Hugo Robbin, a nuclear researcher whose disappearance sends a gang of neighborhood children on a wild chase.

8. This is the last weekend to catch the Sandra Day O’Conner exhibit at the National Cowgirl Museum.

9. Visit the Log Cabin Village and experience what life was like in Fort Worth in the 1840’s.

10.  Visit the duck pond in Trinity Park, bring along a picnic lunch – the weather promises to be beautiful!

Visit the Log Cabin Village and go back in time...

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Spring has Sprung

Bluebonnets are blooming fast and furious along the highways in the Metroplex

Springtime in Texas in a lesson in contradictions. As North Texas braces for the season’s first significant storm today, we’re reminded of the volatility that encompasses this time of year, and yet, while there is no doubt  the weather radars will be spotted with splotches of stormy weather over the next few months, this is also a time for renewal and signs of life.

The dull grays and browns of a brief and mild Winter season, are now giving way to hues of bluebonnet blue and Indian paintbrush red, as they dot the landscape against a backdrop that seems to have turned to a brilliant, spring green, almost overnight.

These days the Spring color brigade is on a fast track along the roadsides on Texas, thanks to unseasonably warm weather, coupled with record breaking rainfall.  If you watch carefully, you’ll see glimpses of Spring as you travel down the region’s interstates enroute to your job. Another option is to slow down and take advantage of your weekend down-time, and visit the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

Located in the Cultural District near the city center, the 110 acre green space is a welcoming oasis of color and flora. Set midst a back drop of massive live oak trees, with their almost human-like limbs stretching regally out in all directions, the gardens offer an extensive network of trails and gardens, with most of them being accessible without user fees. In addition to free parking, visitors can meander through most of the area free of charge, with only the Japanese Gardens area charging nominal fee of $4.00 an adult for entry.

Spring is in full swing at the Fort Worth Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens are world class. Although impeccably groomed year round,  in the Spring and Fall, they are particularly stunning. The full cherry blossom season is usually around Easter, but this past weekend, it was obvious the mild weather had kick-started their season early, just as it had for the wildflowers. Delicate blossoms of pink and white are beginning to appear, as the lush green returns to its Spring glory.

The colors of Fall and Winter are giving way to the gentle new green of Spring

Once you’ve spent ample time being transported to the peaceful sereneness of the Orient, the rest of the Botanical Garden awaits. There is a small, but interesting cactus garden, the newly built Texas Native Forest Boardwalk, the All Seasons Garden and of course, the historic Rose Gardens that edges a picturesque reflecting pool that is home to an abundant amount of turtles.

Currently, and running until April 8th, the FW Botanical Garden is hosting the exhibition “Butterflies in the Garden”, in the conservatory. Tickets for timed entry are sold for $10 a person, and more information can be found on the website, linked below. Entry to the exhibit runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., daily.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden is located at 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. in Fort Worth.  They can be reached by phone : (817) 871-7686 or via their website at : http://www.fwbg.org/

The unseasonably warm winter brought an early Spring to North Texas.

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