Joshua Ray Walker’s Fallon Appearance Is A Go, Dallas Arts Groups Receive $450,000 In Grants And The Tiger King Gets Resentenced.

Dallas musician Trey Johnson, one of the co-founders of State Fair Records and singer of the band Sorta died the morning of morning Jan. 31. The cause of death has not been confirmed.

A Dallas native and graduate of The University of North Texas, Johnson found success as the frontman of Sorta, which put out four albums in its seven-year run, but disbanded after the death of member Carter Albrecht. Beyond the band, Johnson continued to perform and create, releasing three solo projects — Mount Pelee, Where The East Ends, and The Family Piano — all while starting a family and teaching at a music school, as he shared in a 2018 interview with Voyage Dallas.

Along with two partners, Scott Davis and Paul Williams, Johnson formed local label State Fair Records in 2013 which has released material from favorites like Ottoman Turks, The Vandoliers and The Deathray Davies.

Davis and Williams sent out a statement as follows:

“He was the sails, the anchor and the wind” — Davis.

“The State Fair Records family is devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Trey Johnson, co-founder and co-leader of our record label, both physically and spiritually.
We grieve along with his family and will do everything in our power to pick up the shattered pieces of this tragedy, and form them into something worthy of Lewis Johnson III.” –Williams

A beloved force in the community, friends of Johnson took to social media to share fond memories of him.


One of musicians represented by State Fair Records is Joshua Ray Walker, who was supposed to be the musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on January 11, but was cancelled the night before due to a positive COVID case. In a caption of an Instagram post announcing the cancellation, Walker called it a ” small speed bump on an amazing ride.”

Tonight, the ride can finally continue. The Dallas country star will make his highly anticipated debut on the national talk show with his song “Sexy After Dark.” A free watch party will be held at Double Wide Bar tonight, hosted by State Fair Records. The party starts at 9 p.m, and a super secret special guest is showing up at 9:30 p.m.

As Walker gets national praise for his talents, so do other Dallas musical creatives — which we love to see. Four arts groups have been granted $450,00 from the National Endowment for the Arts, KERA reports. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the grant helps arts and culture groups financially recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The Bishop Arts Theatre Center and Dallas Symphony both received $150,000. Dallas Black Dance Theatre received $100,000 and Cara Mia Theatre received $50,000.

In less classy news, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as the Tiger King, was resentenced to 21 years in prison — which was previously 22 years. While the tiger-abuser and hitman-hirer was based in Oklahoma, as seen in the sensational docuseries on Netflix, Maldonado-Passage has Dallas ties.

He went to Pilot Point High School in Denton County and was eventually named the police chief of a town that later consolidated with The Colony. He worked at The Round-Up Saloon in Oak Lawn and while living in Arlington, owned Pet Safari, a pet store. Maldonado-Passage was also friends with Dallas pornstar Rachel Starr, who made a brief appearance in the series.

So why is the Tiger King on today’s White Noise agenda? Well, he’s a musician — kind of.

Look, sometimes it’s a slow week for Dallas music news and you have to get creative.

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