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For this edition of Rockin’ the Lens, we not only roam out of the musical realm, but outside of the geographical realm of Dave Heidle’s usual Lone Star backdrop. Our fearless camera-guru trekked to Taos, NM to celebrate the Solstice recently. So, for the sake of this post, let’s just say that one of our state’s (see, Best of Texas, right?) brightest, young photographers has some thing he wants to share with his fellow Texans. There, you have plenty of Tex-centric connections now…

 

 

 

The Felice Brothers “Ponzi” by fatpossum

We really dig The Felice Brothers. On record, they’re great and they keep getting better. On stage, they’re an uncontrollable, vaudevillian force. Teaming up with Fat Possum records, the boys from New York State have a new album to promote and are hitting the road. Celebration Florida will be out in May, and if the song above is any indication, we are all in for a new turn in the ragged road The Felice Brothers generally traverse – which is fine by us. We trust these guys.

For those in Dallas, catch them tomorrow night at The Loft, located inside of the Gilley’s complex. If this time through town proceeds similar to the last time, then expect a wild and loose show with plenty of energy and sing-along good-times.

Let’s be honest: We love our fellow-Texan musicians and, for the most part, we have great reason to feel that way. There’s just something to being a proud member of this state’s population that lends a native artist an honesty and insight into their work than what might come from an “outsider” when it comes to spinning yarns that relate to the folks who live here.

Of course, there have been many an act make their way to Texas from other areas, only to become hometown heroes, none the less (See: Reckless Kelly or The Mother Truckers in Austin). On top of that, there are the artists who simply do not make Texas their home, yet seem to just get it. They visit for the occasional tour and seem to have crowds awaiting them when they come as if they were regulars or neighbors. Been to a Chris Knight show in Dallas anytime recently? You know what I mean, then. The talented, but a little scary Kentucky-dweller hits Texas regularly and still pulls in crowds that would make most jealous. His music speaks to Texans in a way which comes across as if he’s speaking in a code that is spoken only south of the Red River.

Another artist that fits that description is California’s Ted Russell Kamp. A prolific singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist, Kamp stays busy when it comes time to release an album, but especially when it’s time to hit the Lone Star State. Kamp’s stellar new album, Get Back to the Land, is absolutely making the miles add up for him these days. Just this past week, Kamp played what must’ve been 10 different gigs from Austin to Parker County and from Ft. Worth to Hill Country.

What’s even more interesting is that Kamp’s distinctive Cali-country sounds are likely what makes his presence in Texas so welcome. As Texans, we appreciate an artist who likes sharing his regional love with an audience, even if it’s not our region, necessarily. In fact, as is the case with other records from Kamp’s catalog, especially the excellent Poor Man’s Paradise from a couple of years back, Kamp manages to push the influences of his life on the road (this guy has literally seen the world from a tour bus) into his songs, as he incorporates southern, soulful horns and roadhouse boogie-woogie vibes into the mix. And hey, if there’s another thing we Texans love, it’s Southern soul, right?

So, remember, local is great, but an out-of-towner who appreciates what we have locally is pretty sweet also.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly.

Wait, what…I thought everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was supposed to be bigger in Texas, people? Now I have to find out this morning that not only did Australia just cement the title for World’s Biggest Burger, now I find out that they stole said aforementioned title from MICHIGAN who held the previous record of 185 pounds!

Fer crying out loud, Texas…I thought we were better than that!

Photo Courtesy of News Group Newspapers

 

I was able to get away for a few days and make my way to Austin last week for this year’s edition of the South by Southwest Music Conference. My camera wasnt overly cooperative with me – even if it had bee, my photography skills arent exactly Danny Clinch-like, as you’ll see – so I was only able to snap pictures of Thursday’s events. Thankfully, Thursday proved to be rather eventful. See for yourself below: 

Lilly Hiatt and her band, The Dropped Ponies, kicked things off at The Belmont for the New West party and did her papa, John Hiatt, proud as he stood near the stage and sang along approvingly with her honky tonk stylings.

A recent addition to the New West roster, southern rockers Ponderosa, added a little Allman Brothers-style scorch to an already simmering afternoon.

After learning that Kris Kristofferson would NOT be performing at the New West party, my dejection led me many blocks down 6th Street to the Red Eyed Fly. Thankfully, Denton's own Sarah Jaffe and Those Darlins from Nashville helped ease my sorrow and sent me back to The Belmont in a better mood. Thanks to Jaffe's stellar showing, I didnt even care that I missed John Hiatt's entire set, weird, right?

A bad photo of the very good Those Darlins.

Hello high-point of the afternoon, my name is Kelly, nice to meet you. Buddy Miller's blend of expert guitar slingin', soulful vocals and sincere lyrics proved to be a fitting and wholly satisfying end to the New West party.

Oh yeah, Patty Griffin joined Miller on stage for a couple of songs, including "Gasoline & Matches"...that's only insanely awesome, right?

Heading down a few blocks on 6th Street from The Belmont, I arrived at the Pigeon Publicity party at Opal Devine's, ready for some Texas-bred talent. Somebody's Darling from Dallas, was so freaking incendiary that I literally forgot to even attempt any picture snapping. Really. In the picture that I did manage to take while at Opal Devine's, the excellent John Arthur Martinez helps everyone mellow a bit with some tunes from his suberp, recently released, Purgatory Road album.

Later in the week, I’ll have more to share with all of you. I had a great time at Stubb’s, among other places to close out the evening, and I have the photos to prove it!

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

The official, official, trailer is up and running for the highly anticipated film THE RUNAWAYS– which tells the story of the badass rock chicks that made up the 1970s band staring Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, played by Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. Take a look:

From Ecksteins Collection

From Eckstein's Collection

Last year my pal and New Yorker cartoonist – though it’s been a while since we last chatted – Bob Eckstein published a wonderful book, History of the Snowman. Amazon, in fact named it the best book of the season last year! The book is a beautiful, whimsical, oft hysterical walk through the history of the world’s most revered, crystalline water ice man and Bob was able to trace the snowman’s roots almost back to the ice age.

Visit Bob’s Today’s Snowman for laughs, including his snowman personal ads, and for details on how Bob will send you a nifty poster if you order five books. Don’t wanna order five books? Just visit your local Border’s or Barnes and Noble today.

The book is filled with Bob’s collection of snowman paraphernalia, postcards, illustrations and photographs. Take a sneak peek here:

Hey ladies that asked about my shoes and such, I was browsing online today, on my lunch break of course, and saw that two pair of the shoes I bought on ‘What Not to Wear’ were on mega sale at Piperlime.

shoe1These really awesome snakeskin Boutique 9′s – which are super comfy and far prettier in person than in this pic – are now just $59 bucks!

 

shoe2And these colorblocked peep-toe pumps by Biviel Couture in grey, turquoise and brown are now just $79 bucks!

 

 

I still have yet to find one single place that is offering the red shoes Read more

It is far from a secret that I am obsessed with all things bacon and cooking and considering that our CEO here at BoTx, suggested I start putting some of my recipes up here on the blog, I thought I’d start off with a bacon-y treat. I’d take pictures of the process to show you, but I can’t seem to find my battery charger at the moment, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Amanda’s Texas Pecan, Maple & Bacon Monkey Bread

Wake up at the crack of dawn, wash face, turn on some music, start coffee maker, yawn. Then gather together:

6 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 3/4 c. whole milk
¼ c. cream
¼ c. sugar
¼ ounce of dry yeast
2 large egg yolks
5 ½ c. of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of salt
16 slices of bacon, chopped roughly
1 c. of pecan halves, chopped (if you don’t like pecans, try chopped apple, instead)
1 c. of maple sugar – (if you can’t find maple sugar, use 1 c. of brown sugar, plus ½ c. of REAL maple syrup)

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter on medium low heat. Add milk, cream, and the white sugar stirring until warm. Turn off heat and sprinkle the yeast on top of the mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It will get a little foamy looking, that’s okay. Then whisk your egg yolks into the yeast mixture.

Oil a large mixing bowl lightly and in another bowl, whisk together your flour and salt. Next add your yeast mixture and stir together until it turns into a soft dough. Flour a work surface, and turn the dough on to the surface. Knead dough until soft and elastic, about 10 minutes or so. Shape your dough into a ball, and place into the oiled bow and cover with a towel. Let rise at room temp for about two hours, until the ball expands to double in size.

Waste an hour or so by surfing the interwebs, watching the news, taking a shower, annoying your spouse, playing with your choice of companion animal, reading a book or playing Risk online.

While your dough is still doing its thing, cook the bacon until barely crisp. Drain on paper towels. Then toss the bacon in the maple sugar or your maple/brown sugar mixture. Add pecan pieces to the mixture. Butter a Bundt pan and sprinkle about half the bacon/sugar/ pecan mixture in the bottom.

Turn your dough onto and UNFLOURED work surface and mash it into a rectangle shape. Cut the dough into 36 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Arrange 18 of the balls in two layers in the Bundt pan and then cover the remaining bacon/sugar/pecan mixture over them. Arrange the remaining half of the balls on top, set as many of them as you can in the little hollows of the first dough ball layer.

Cover with a towel and set aside for about two hours, allowing the dough to rise a second time. If you’re impatient, you can cover the pan in plastic wrap, set in the fridge, pull it out the next morning. If you do this, you’ll need to let it come to room temp before baking the following day.

If you’ve opted to be patient, by now, unless you’ve started at say, 4 a.m., it should be reasonable for you enjoy a late morning/early afternoon approved adult beverage, such as a Bloody Mary or screwdriver…or beer. 

Pre-heat your oven to 400. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and pour this over the bread. Bake for 15 minutes on a center rack, then tent with foil. Continue baking for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool the pan for about 10 minutes, unmold and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

Early one Christmas morning I was craving this bread and tried to do a lazy person’s version by using canned biscuit dough. It sucked, so I don’t recommend that at all. You can also adjust this recipe to a hearty cheddar and bacon monkey bread, but I’m not going to tell you all my secrets.

If you guys like this recipe thing, let me know, and I’ll do it again.

Last week, I actually left the state and took a vacation to New York City to visit a friend and celebrate my 39th (again) birthday. While walking the streets of the city that never sleeps I came upon a reminder of home – Dallas BBQ.

The BBQ isn’t as good as it is in Lockhart, but it’s pretty good if you’re yearning for a taste of home. The atmosphere is basically crowded diner with some taxidermy and Texana thrown in for good measure. But, the drinks are generous and tasty – especially the margaritas. You can order the frozen drinks either Texas sized or regular. Dallas BBQ has a full bar.

The appetizers include shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, onion loaf, and chili that’s made twice every day. The crispy shrimp and wings really hit the spot – they’re served with tartar and red sauces. And, the barbecued baked beans were not just pinto – but a sweet and spicy five bean combo.

Beef short ribs, Carolina pulled pork and sliced beef brisket are just some of the favorites available from the smokehouse. It’s good – but not as slow cooked in the indirect method as a true Texan would like. The barbecue is drowning in sauce – not the usual Texas dry rub. And, if the ‘cue isn’t spicy enough, you can always add a few or several shakes of Tabasco sauce to turn up the heat.

Dallas BBQ also has burgers – the usual ground steak as well as turkey and veggie burgers.

Rotisserie chicken is juicy, spiced just right and falls off the bone. Dallas BBQ also serves Angus steak, catfish and cod.

The available side orders include French fries, baked potato, cole slaw, corn on the cob or yellow rice.

Dallas BBQ
8 Locations
New York City

So, if you’re feeling homesick in the City, a taste of home isn’t too far away – especially if you’re hungry for barbecue.