To call Fort Worth’s Garrett Owen a captivating performer just doesn’t do him justice. Even as he sings songs about heartbreak and loss, he somehow pulls in listeners with an enthralling allure. There’s a melancholy that hangs over his music – he sings achingly of heartache, longing and loss – yet it still maintains a subtle charm. Part of this comes from the warmth of his voice, which is both lustrous and haunting. Part of it comes from the intimacy of the arrangements. Owen’s immaculate guitar-playing forms the musical centerpiece, handsomely complimented by delicate strings, keyboards and the occasional vocal effect.
All that said, it’s hard to get past the inherent beauty of Owen’s songwriting, which is emotional, intelligent and genteel. Have a listen and tell me you don’t agree.
John Pedigo of Dallas duo The O’s steps out with the debut of a new project named after his father’s legendary home brew (an apparently undrinkable concoction…). Anchored by Pedigo’s voice and guitar, the eponymous album leans heavily on country-tinged pop but Pedigo isn’t afraid to throw in a good horn-led beer hall sing-along (“Wet a Line”) for good measure. The album’s finer moments tend to focus on break-ups and heartache which Pedigo’s knack for catchy melodies somehow makes gently stirring.
Fort Worth songwriter Matthew McNeal travelled to Israel Nash’s Plum Creek Studio in Austin to record his latest album. The resulting sound definitely reflects the Hill Country setting in which it was recorded, infused with an airiness that makes it the perfect soundtrack for long drives down rural highways. McNeal’s lyrics reflect on “a hard six years” and being caught “high upon the tightrope line” but he views these challenges with restlessness and determination.
I saw a reference to Ashley Falgout’s debut EP that described it as “Adele fronting Lucero.” Paints a vivid picture, doesn’t it? Dallas rock outfit Dead Flowers, who most decidedly have the Lucero sound aesthetic, provide the musical accompaniment on Falgoo. Falgout’s similarity to Adele is the power of her voice, albeit with a grittier timbre. The five songs (really four with a striking stripped down song reprise) shift between brash and mellow rockers that provide a potent showcase for Falgout’s talents. Here’s hoping there’s more to come from this formidable collaboration between Falgout and Dead Flowers.
Speaking of the Dead Flowers, they released their 3rd full-length record last year. The fiery quartet whip themselves – not to mention listeners – into a fury with an album that careens from hard rock to punk and hits with a barroom blast. Singer-songwriter Corey Howe has a voice filled with grit and attitude that, when set against the band’s two guitar onslaught and pounding rhythm section, delivers some real fist-pumping rock glory. If you’re looking for the ramshackle spirit of rock and roll, you’ll find it on Let Me Be.
George makes a statement with “Step Aside,” the opening track on his just-released EP. “You better testify,” he wails as roaring guitars and a Miles Davis-esque trumpet urge him on. Things simmer down from there, if only a bit. George mines the depth of Southern rock with a healthy dose of soul thrown in for good measure. 1,000 Yard Stare is as impassioned as it is potent.
Young Remy Reilly – a determined 14 year-old – is a welcome addition to the Dallas music scene. She has an unassuming confidence as she rolls through a five-song EP of pristine pop. “Everyone has 26 letters but we don’t use them for the better,” she sings on this pop gem, “maybe if we had the right grammer we’d save a lot of disaster.” A song for our times.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.