The Stones Return To Dallas, Leon Bridges Is Everywhere And A Local ‘American Idol’ Alum Is Arrested On Charges Of Sex With Minors. Plus So Much More.

We’re not yet out of the woods as far as the COVID-19 pandemic goes — in fact, thanks to the delta variant and the throngs of Texans refusing to get vaccinated, the state’s currently enduring its first spike in positive cases in six months — but live music is fighting to return to a semblance of normalcy just the same. And, while we’ve seen plenty of shows from locals and big-name touring acts alike around these parts recently, perhaps the biggest sign of a return to regular programming hit our inboxes just this morning.

That big Rolling Stones show that was slated to hit the Cotton Bowl on May 29 of last year — and then justifiably postponed — officially has a new date. Just this morning, the band announced a 13-city makeup tour that includes a November 2 return to the Cotton Bowl from the band. Previously purchased tickets to the show will be honored at the re-do, and additional tickets somehow do remain for purchase right here if you’re looking to get in on that action.

Speaking of action, Leon Bridges has been all about that recently. In advance of his third LP Gold-Diggers Sound dropping tomorrow, the Fort Worth singer has been engaged in all kinds of press, earning in-depth features from his hometown Fort Worth Star-Telegram plus Yahoo!, The New York Times and Texas Monthly, just to name a few. That Texas Monthly piece goes especially deep, with writer Casey Gerald embedding himself with Bridges’ friends both in the Fort an in Los Angeles, where he wrote and recorded his new material, while diving into the performer’s struggle to overcome shyness and being pegged as little more than a soul revivalist.

Says Bridges of coming to grips with success in that Texas Monthly piece: “There’s a solitude that comes with success and notoriety. Initially, when I got in the game, I was swept up, and I didn’t express that to anyone. I just had a really hard time, on a lot of levels, being in the limelight… It’s one of those things that you feel is very minuscule, you know? You wonder how people are going to respond. You think they’ll say, Oh, you got everything—how are you feeling that way? But the wild thing is to have everything but still feel that way.”

As all the press he’s participating in seems to show, though, he’s starting to come to terms with his celebrity. To that end, catch him performing this evening on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on NBC.

Meanwhile, Charley Crockett recently announced that his next album Music City USA will release on September 17. That album will be his second full-length release of this year, and his 10th since 2015. Along with that announcement, he premiered the video for a single called “I Need Your Love,” and already it’s received what amounts to more than just a few words of praise from both Rolling Stone, which premiered the video, and American Songwriter.

As for what the term “Music City” means to Crockett, he told American Songwriter it refers partially to his time spent fronting a band on the streets of Deep Ellum: “You can feel all that energy from those magic, golden days [on the album].”

Traditionally, of course, the “Music City” moniker is reserved as a nickname for Nashville, Tennessee.

Crockett continues: “My point is that there are a lot of music cities. It means something to anybody. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with Nashville, and it has everything to do with Nashville. But that’s almost not even the point. I learned how to play this music on the street corners, byways, everywhere. I don’t even claim to be any good at it.”

When Crockett tours in support of that album, he’ll do so alongside another other unstoppable North Texas force in Joshua Ray Walker. That tour will find Walker wheeling around the countryside apart from his band The Ottoman Turks, which is currently midway through a July residency alongside Deathray Davies frontman John Dufilho at the Barley House that runs Tuesdays through August 3. The Turks also have a few other shows slated to speak of around the metroplex and further beyond the Red River. As for Walker the solo artist, he just finished up his latest batch of Texas shows on his own and is set to headline a couple shows at the Mercury Club in New York City and The Hotel Cafe in L.A. outside of his upcoming tour opening for Crockett.

Sticking in the country music lane, Vincent Neil Emerson has also been furthering the region’s prominence as a hotbed for the genre. His self-titled sophomore album was released back in June on La Honda Records/Thirty Tigers and produced by Texas country icon Rodney Crowell. That LP also hit Rolling Stone’s radar  recently, with the magazine running a piece last week about how Emerson’s Fort Worth hero Townes Van Zandt led him to a darker sound than pervaded his 2019 debut, Fried Chicken and Evil Women. As Emerson told the magazine: “As you get older, you kind of learn how to deal with your feelings and emotions a little bit better. If nobody likes this record for the way it sounds, at least someone can appreciate its honesty.”

To that point, he sings “Ain’t it funny how the world will set you free?” on the lyric video for a ballad about his late father’s suicide, “Learnin’ to Drown,” from the just released album.

If you’re looking for something a little different, then the one-time Polyphonic Spree member and all-time eclectic art pop-rocker St. Vincent has you covered via an upcoming live streamed concert event called Down and Out Downtown that will takes place online on August 4 at 4 p.m CST. The concert promises “a sepia-toned tour de force of gritty grooves, hungover glamour and spellbinding musicality,” featuring several of the artist’s most-loved works and debut performances of her recently released Daddy’s Home material that we’ve covered pretty extensively in this space already. Tickets are now on sale for her streaming debut here, and you can peep the teaser trailer below.

The next St. Vincent, meanwhile, could currently be just learning the ins and outs of her instrument thanks to the folks at Girls Rock Dallas, which just this week announced acclaimed Dallas harpist Jess Garland as its new executive director. Girls Rock Dallas was founded in 2011 as an organization that empowers women of all ages, plus gender-expansive individuals, to promote self-esteem by teaching them to express themselves creatively through music. Garland’s qualifications for the position are plenty. She is a founder of 501 (c) (3) nonprofit Swan Strings that provides similar services and is a board member of Girls Rock Camp Alliance. She also recently released an art film presented by Dallas Aurora called Harp and Sol with an accompanying composition that explores black feminism and systematic racism in Dallas. Oh, and she was also featured on the title track to Eastwood Music Group’s Truth To Power Project.

Speaking of that project, it just became the latest local music entity to have a beer made in conjunction with them. Rollertown Beerworks in Celina — a venture co-owned by Eastwood co-head Jeff “Skin” Wade — recently hosted an album listening party for the Billboard-approved collaboration and unveiled a barrel-aged strong ale named the Barrel Aged Brewser that sees a portion of its proceeds going towards that community building project.

Moving on but sticking with a spirit of lending a hand, some other North Texas punk rockers have taken it upon themselves to be the difference in a community that has seen far too much loss due to tragic but preventable overdose deaths. Dallas Harm Reduction Aid is a no-judgement mutual aid program that provides resources and supplies — including the opioid antagonist used to reverse an overdose known commonly as Narcan — in an effort to reduce the dangers associated with drug use. The program is celebrating its first birthday next month with a show at Charlie’s Star Lounge featuring music from Summit, Polystarra, Hard Detox, Pissed Grave, Cygnus, Imperial Slaughter and DJ LZRPRK.

When Dallas helps its people out, it really does go all out. Need proof? Look no farther than the Jeff Saenz Recovery Project fundraiser JEFF FEST at the Double Wide a couple weekends back. Just today, it was reported that the all-day affair — featuring performers such as Paul Cauthen, Jonathan Tyler and Delta Spirit’s Matthew Logan Vasquez while raising funds for the Dallas musician and producer Jeff Saenz, who has tragically seen both of his hands amputated in the wake of a freak electrocution accident — garnered a grand total of $83,315.46 to its righteous cause. Well done, everyone!

Of course, not every story has a happy ending — not even for the delightful Dallas pop-punkers in the The Happy Alright. Last week, the band announced that it was ending its efforts and breaking up after a 10-year go of things. No hard feelings, though: The band says its run “was a surreal, beautiful adventure.”

Of course, when one punk rock door closes, another opens. Trey Alfaro, the former drummer of the defunct Dallas punk band The Phuss, has a new band in the Austin-based band Holy Death Trio. The band’s recent show schedule has proven them no stranger to the Dallas nightlife, and they are dropping a new album Introducing… on Ripple Music September 17. Check out the first single off that upcoming album “White Betty”.

As for post-punk band Rosegarden Funeral Party, their drummer Dylan Stamas just released his first dubbed-out solo electronic/instrumental album that has a vibe somewhere between DJ Shadow and Radiohead’s Kid A album. Yes, dude’s got beats in case you hadn’t already heard, and Rosegarden fans shout follow this link to check out what Stamas was up to during all the excess downtime last year’s shutdowns provided.

There’s also several other new videos from around the way. The gentlemen in 40 Acre Mule released a new video for a Chuck Berry cover “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” that pays homage to one of rock and roll’s earliest originators.

Hen & The Cocks also released a new music video called “Astrovan” off their upcoming album. Give it a click if you’re a fan of The B-52s or Amy L & The Sniffers.

Meanwhile, Devante Fields dropped a smooth new lovers anthem called “By My Side” that was produced by Deltah Beats with video direction by 6th Element.

Meanwhile, Fort Worth’s Igemeji just dropped the video for their November-released single called “Magic,” which provides a lover’s vibe all its own.

Beautiful as all of the above may be, it’s sometimes important — if fair warning, potentially triggering — to remember that everything isn’t always as hunky dory as it appears on the surface.

To that end, the Fort Worth-based former American Idol contestant Ron Bultongez, whose has received more than its fair share of acclaim in the local press over the years, was arrested on July 15 in Tarrant Count. He is being charged with four counts of sexual penetration of a minor under the age of 17 on four separate occasions. Bultongez has since been released on $50,000 bond. The Dallas Morning News has more sickening alleged details on the accusations if you care to see them.

Unlike some others in the region who’ve been accused of similar atrocious misdeeds involving children, neither Bultongez nor his attorneys have yet to comment on the charges.

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