Texas®



I hope you checked out the video above already. If not, go ahead and do it now. You probably won’t even need to read anything below this once you have. It’s a great film made of footage from a CD release show featuring one of the state’s great rising talents. Jessie Frye.

The quality of female talent that has been gracing the stages of North texas in recent years continues to grow. Not that it’s even been a wasteland for the fairer sex, musically speaking. It’s just that people beyond our state’s borders are taking notice too.

Sarah Jaffe and former Dallasite Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) are easily the most notable names to be bandied about these days. But one would be missing a ton if they were to forget about Amber Farris (the powerfully doulful lead singer of Somebody’s Darling) and relative newcomer Madison King, who might be the indie-heir to Miranda Lambert’s tough, Texas country throne.

While the list could continue for a while, for now, we’ll stop with Denton’s Jessie Frye. Having just released her second EP, Fireworks Child, Frye’s sweet voice seems to suit any style, but especially the eclectic indie-pop that her and super-producer John Congleton have dreamed up for this release. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Congleton has produced the much-lauded recent works of two ladies we previously mentioned, St. Vincent and Sarah Jaffe. Either way, the EP is a pleasing listen that impresses with each track.

Male or female, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the way in which you’ll find yourself either leaving the disc in your CD player, or how you’ll likely be smashing the repeat button time after time, once the record ends.

This past Friday night in Dallas two of the area’s best acts performed at their repsective CD release parties. Oh, by the way, each of these acts that I have claimed are among Dallas’ elite were merely releasing their first full-length records.

The folk-because-I’m-not-sure-what-else-to-call-them act The Fox & The Bird celebrated the debut of their superb and long-awaited album Floating Feather at Sons of Hermann Hall while country-blues-rocker Madison King busted out tunes from her new disc, Darlin’ Here’s To You in downtown at The City Tavern.

While the musical cauldron of Dallas has long been a well-blended melting pot, it’s tough to argue that the styles which lean towards even the slightest bit of rootsiness feel especially at home inside the bars of the Big D. In that sense, both of these new albums feel like the right albums in the right place at the right time.

Ultimately, there aren’t many comparisons to be made between the records outside of the artist’s current adresses and the fact they held release parties on the same night. One of the few similarities however, is the strength of the writing on each collection.

King wastes no time in getting dark and confessional as she lunges a bottle into he troubles. In the boot-stompin’, truth-seeking and hypocrite-bashing ”Whiskey In the Mornin’”, King busts out with witty rhymes such as “When I’m singin’ with the choir / they say, girl you’re such a liar,” and “He handed me some holy wine / and said, girl you’re doin’ fine.” Complex and dense? No. Perfect for a country tune with a message? Absolutely. The fact that King can also shift from front-porch pickin’ to a slicker, more modern and polished ballad such as “Affectation” so superbly says as much about her overall taste and maturity as her keen writing does.

The collective that makes up the Fox & The Bird has been a bit fluid as of late, but that certainly did little hurt the high quality of the new album. As the horns and banjo work themselves into the mix, the lyrics of “This is my home/ I call it home / and it’ll burn like Rome, before I go.” While the lyrics of this album head into a more abstract route than King’s, they still acessible and pointed. Resembling more a funky gypsy band than your typical folk outfit, this group has logged some serious miles in recent weeks as they gear up for what should hopefully be more shows with even more people getting into what they do.

Do yourself a favor and check out both albums and be sure to check them out live. It’ll be like they’re performing a CD release show just for you…