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Grant Jones leaving it all on the stage last Wednesday night.

Yes, Austin is the live music capital of the world. That might be a fancy, market-tested slogan, but it’s also hard to argue with. Of course, those who live in the North Texas region aren’t exactly hurtin’ for quality acts that set up shop within the Metroplex on a weekly basis, either.And for fans of rocking country (or any kind of country music, for that matter), Dallas is especially kind to their musical appetites. Well, just this past week, we took the chance to see a few of our favorite North Texas area country bands in a couple of different environments, yet the results were all the same: Stellar.This past Wednesday night, Grant Jones and The Pistol Grip Lassos took the dimly-lit stage at Renfield’s Corner in the Uptown section of Dallas. A European inspired pub might seem like an odd place for a revved up country act that sings songs about heartache, drugs and more heartache, but in Dallas, it seemed to fit. Jones and his crew, featuring Miles Penhall on lead-guitar, blistered through tunes featured on their still relatively new, self-titled album, as well as songs that Jones says will be featured on the bands next record. Among the new material, “Amphetamine” was a powerful gem and made us hope for Jones’ new album much sooner than later. Their countrified rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” came off as a honky-tonk standard and not some hick-ish send-up, performed only for the sake of attempted irony.There’s a lot of pain in the music of Grant Jones, but his impassioned performance for the crowd of several dozen made it seem as though he was getting all of the hurt out before he stepped off the stage around 11:00pm.

On Sunday, braving the dropping temperatures and the looming possibility of rain, we headed to Deep Ellum, just outside of Downtown Dallas, to help celebrate the 48th Birthday of a Dallas musical landmark/institution, Adair’s Saloon. Simply suggesting that this place has some character is pretty much missing the point. The grease-smeared walls are covered even more by the marks-a-lot drawings from decades worth of drunken and frisky, musical revelers. Their annual celebration consists of beer, bands and, yes, baskets of crawfish (the main three B’s of any good weekend afternoon, right?), and this year’s line-up, which performed in the parking lot behind the saloon, consisted of Big Gus & Swampadelic, The Will Callers and The King Bucks

 

Swampadelic gettin' Cajun with it on Sunday.

Big Gus and Swampadelic (a band we featured, back in the summer of 2010) were an appropriate pick, given the crawfish being served was as Cajun and spicy as many of their Louisiana-informed tunes were. Blending blues, zydeco, country and rock, Big Gus wasn’t concerned with the weather as much as he was making sure everyone in-front of him was having a good time and having enough crawfish and beer. On this afternoon, the band favored some boogie-woogie jams that featured steady beats and smokey guitar, which was perfect, given the temps were still dropping.

Thankfully, we hung around long enough to catch a few tunes from Ft. Worth’s the Will Callers. Look in the dictionary under “promising young act” and you’re likely to see a picture of this group. The recent winner’s of the Shiner Rising Star award, the foursome just finished the recording of their upcoming record with none other than Ray Wylie Hubbard. Frontman, Jake Murphy has continued to grow into his power as a formidable lead singer, and entertainer. Interestingly enough, the Will Callers and Grant Jones have both suffered tragedy in recent months (check out a feature article I wrote on their respective circumstances), but the Will Callers, just as is the case with Jones, have displayed a resiliency that’s nothing short of inspirational.

So, here’s the lesson: Head Uptown, or Downtown, when in Dallas, and you’re extremely likely to find some serious, live country music available rather easily.

It happened late last night. The phone goes off with a text message: You have to watch my new TV show, Cuffs.

Now it seems Drams and King Bucks ivory tickler, Chad Stockslager, wants bad guys to eat lead. Eat it hard. Starring as Slade McGowan, Stockslager is joined by karaoke ringer and friend, Cheyenne.

Says Slade about Cuffs:
“When people threaten my great great great Grandkids, the shit hits the fan hard. And that bitch is turned all the way up– I’m talking 3 clicks. That’s right, shit’s all over the place. We’re the guys that clean it up. Like a mobster janitor; a criminal vacuum cleaner; a terrorist hoover; a bad-guy dyson. I think you know what we’re talking about.”

See for yourself…

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