The Toadies And The Reverend Horton Heat Team Up For A U.S. Tour, Leon Bridges and Bobby Sessions Stake Their Claims On Hollywood And So Much More.
The Toadies‘ platinum-selling Rubberneck album turns 27 years old this year, but because that seminal North Texas release doesn’t look a day over 25, it’s passing the quarter-century mark that the band is choosing to celebrate in 2021.
Any who can blame them after the year we all just collectively endured?
Since coronavirus nixed the band’s initial plans to tour on the anniversary of that LP, the band is gearing up to hit the road again this fall for a U.S. tour celebrating their awe-inspiring LP. And, since these will be the band’s first road shows since their 2019 tour with the Vandoliers, the Toadies have decided to up the ante on these proceedings by bringing their fellow ’90s Dallas icon and rockabilly legend The Reverend Horton Heat along with them.
For their part, the Rev will be playing their own 1994 album, the Al Jourgensen-produced Liquor in the Front, in its entirety during their opening sets. The Austin-based Drakulas (featuring Dallas- and Denton-sprung members of Riverboat Gamblers and Rise Against) will provide support on a few early dates on the run, too.
Says Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler of the importance of getting back out and playing again: “I recall seeing the White Stripes play live five days after 9/11, and it was one of the most cathartic music experiences I’ve had. It was simply healing to see live loud rock and roll after such a troubling week. I imagine it will be a similar experience for music fans to get out again and see their favorite bands live, just as it will be for me when I get to see my faves again. As much as anything, though, I miss playing music with these three guys, and can’t wait to do it again so I’m really looking forward to the tour.”
Adds bassist Doni Blair: “It’s scary, exciting and don’t forget… scary. But someone has to go out and show people that, because vaccines work, things might be able to go back to some sort of normalcy.”
That’s not the only trick the Toadies have up their sleeve these days. Along with their multiple band-branded beers, they’ve also recently partnered up again with Dallas coffee roasters Full City Rooster for another release of coffee beans called Dark Secret to pair with their earlier-issued Texas Pecan blend for the coffee label. Full City roaster Michael Wyatt says the new brew “goes beyond smoky and intense not unlike the band itself.”
Of course, not everything lasts forever like the Rev and the Toadies. In a post shared to Facebook by frontman Matt Hillyer last week, the North Texas country favorites Eleven Hundred Springs announced that they’ve decided to call things quits. Rest assured, Hillyer will continue to write, release and perform as a solo act for some time to come, but the band itself’s last show will arrive on November 26 at the Granada Theater.
Still on the up-and-up himself, Leon Bridges — recently named Texas State Musician of 2021 — is all set to release his third full-length studio album Gold Diggers Sound on July 23 via Columbia Records. The 11-track album marks Bridges’ first full-length follow up drop since his critically acclaimed Good Thing LP that was released in 2018. Per a press release, the new album is named after the Hollywood bar, hotel and recording studio where Bridges actually spent the last two years prepping his upcoming release.
Says Bridges himself: “I spent two years jamming in what often felt like a musician’s paradise. We effortlessly moved from the dancefloor to the studio. We would be finishing our tequilas at 10 a.m. and waking up with coffee and getting to work at 10 p.m. It was all for the love of R&B and musicianship. This is my most sensual and confident album to date and I cannot wait to unleash it.”
Fittingly, Bridges will host a live-streaming event from the Gold Digger’s Hotel itself this Friday — and, come winter, he’ll tour the states in support of that album. While he’s released the cities he’ll be hitting, that tour’s dates and details of that run are still to be determined. But you can still see the rest of his show schedule, including his upcoming scheduled festival stops, here.
Of course, as Bridges took over East Hollywood to record his album, Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions — hot off the release of his debut album Manifest on Def Jam Records over the weekend — decidedly took over Hollywood West. His album, turns out, was recorded at Westlake Recording Studios in the same room where Michael Jackson recorded Thriller.
That’s a fitting reveal, as Sessions has been saying all along his new album is a thriller itself. Yesterday, he was the subject of a Billboard interview in which he continued his string of boastful claims: “In using the tools of visualization, I would imagine Billboard having a story on the 50 greatest debut albums of all time, and I imagine myself clicking that article and seeing Manifest there. We were in such an incredible zone for this album… It was the most effortless thing ever… I think all the timing and experience on my previous projects led me to figure out how to get my messaging across in a more entertaining way with a perspective that can connect with a lot more people.”
Seems Sessions has utilized that strategy not only to connect with fans, but with heroes of his own as well. By his own account, Rick Ross‘ Trilla was the first album a young Bobby ever purchased — and now Ross is featured on the opening track of Sessions’ own debut.
Also perpetually making waves is the former Dallas resident Charley Crockett, who has had quite a bit on his plate lately after recovering from health complications that led to a heart surgery in 2019. Aside from headlining local festivals, the country musician earlier this year released a tribute album to Jim Hand called 10 For Slim — Charley Crockett Sings James Hand. Hand, you see, was a legendary Waco-born honky-tonk singer, and focus of the 2014 Matt Muir film Thank You A Lot that premiered at South by Southwest in 2014 and featured Hand playing himself in the starring role. That story appealed to Crockett, who befriended Hand and arranged to tour alongside the performer before the untimely event of Hand’s death in June last year. That reverence is palpable when listening to Crockett sing “Lesson for Depression,” which was originally released by Hand in 2012.
Crockett is also set to release another full-length album later this year, but is already nominated for the Americana Music Association‘s Emerging Act of The Year award. On top of that, he will make his Austin City Limits television debut July 28 as part of a season 47 lineup that also includes North Texans Miranda Lambert and Leon Bridges, plus Brittany Howard, Jon Batiste, Sarah Jarosz, Billy Strings, Jade Bird, Brandy Clark, Terry Allen, Dayglow and Jackson Browne.
Crockett is also featured in the Country Music Hall Of Fame‘s “American Currents” exhibit alongside fellow North Texans Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton, The Chicks and the aforementioned Lambert. The exhibit is meant to recognize the current state of country music and provides a virtual walkthrough of the artifacts on display. For his part, Crockett is represented in a bolero jacket and pantsuit he performed in at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival.
Lambert, meanwhile, keeps pushing her Marfa Tapes project alongside SMU alum Jack Ingram and Dallas resident Jon Randall, most recently by performing the song “Two-Step Down To Texas” alongside her collaborators on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this week.
While that’s a good look, this one’s significantly less so: Last week, the Dallas Morning News took a deep dive into an ugly lawsuit brewing in which a Tyler cop named Tyler Pride, who says he is the late Charley Pride‘s son, is trying to stake a claim in the groundbreaking country musician’s estate. Pride died of complications relating to COVID-19 late in December, you may recall.
As if that weren’t enough, another area icon pass in late May as the pop, country and gospel performer B.J. Thomas passed at the age of 78 in Arlington after a fight with cancer. Among other many notable accomplishments, Thomas will go down in history for his songs “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” and “Hooked On A Feeling.”
Fortunately, we’re not lacking for new talents around these parts. Just last week, in fact, the icy area metal behemoths of Frozen Soul saw their debut full-length LP Crypt of Ice flagged as one of Revolver Magazine‘s best rock and metal albums of 2021 so far. Reads the write-up: “Although they hail from Fort Worth, Texas, Frozen Soul make death metal that conjures the sub-zero temperatures of an arctic wasteland. Their debut full-length, Crypt of Ice, is a shiver-inducing avalanche of wicked growls and bitter riffs that’ll chill you enough to justify turning off the AC.”
On the flip side, if it’s hardcore and punk rock news you’re after, Zach Abrego (formerly of Blot Out) has a new hardcore punk band called Hard Detox, which released their debut EP The Great Cleansing last summer. Now the band is hitting the studio to prepare its sophomore EP.
If that weren’t enough, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater soundtrack-featured punk band Speedealer just announced its first show in two years. Just like the rest of us, you can bet they’ve been losing their shit after having been all cooped up indoors this past year. Expect this party — set to go down on June 25 at Three Links — to be a rager where some OG Dallas punk rockers will let it all out.
A week earlier, though, you can chip in on a good cause. Last week, we told you about Dallas musician and producer Jeffrey Saenz being hospitalized following a freak electrocution accident. Now, the folks at Goodfriend Burger House & Beer Garden are organizing a benefit on Saenz’s behalf. Set to take place on June 19, the so-called “Benefit for Baby Snakes” will feature raffles, food, drink and live music from Frankie Leonie, Wesley Geiger and Quaker City Night Hawks frontman Sam Anderson.
Moving on to new music news, Dallas rapper Ghost Nowitzki released a skyline-featuring video for his DJ GoodWitIt-produced song “Superstar” in which he sounds off on the hook by saying, “This life I live real savage, I ain’t average, I need cabbage.” Honestly, I can get with that!
Meanwhile, Oak Cliff rapper Frank Rashad was featured in the Dallas Observer for launching his own fashion line in the vein of Nipsey Hustle and Master P. His latest album The Process dropped in November, and he casts a bit of shade on the video for his song “Finesse City.”
Then there’s this new one from Outlaw Mel of The Outfit, TX called “InfinnaDDD WAR,” which is well worth the watch and listen — if not for the way in which it puts on (per usual) for the city, then for its trunk-rattling bassline.
Also using simplicity in its favor is the new song “And I Say (La Da Di Da)” from a pair of Pearl Earl members’ new No Good Babies side project.
The summer vibes are strong, meanwhile, on Dallas indie pop singer Vanalika Shan‘s new “Lonely” single.
That said, Westonn takes things in an even more arid — but still vibey! — direction on his own new single, “Missing You,” the video for which was shot in the desert.
Electro-pop act Sandovall has more night-time vibes in mind with his new house-oriented “Sweet Vibrations” track.
Everyone’s embracing their inner poptimist these days, it seems. That’s true, anyway, for former Sad Cops frontman Grayson Harris, whose new Hubby project finds him synth-ing things up a bit and pleading for some dancefloor action.
Also in the pop realm is newcomer Alex McArtor, whose “Bras and Jeans” single brings to mind some more-mainstream Lana Del Rey vibes.
Texicana member Chris Norwood, however, is much more focused on being himself these days. Case in point? The video for his new “I’m Am Not Cool” single.
Hey, it’s tough to try new things! Well, unless you’re Fox & The Bird‘s Daniel Bowman, who is picking things right back up where he left off from his old project in his new vocals-focused folk project with Tarun Krishnan called Telephone House. Check out their debut “Cracks In The Pavement” single below, then catch the band as an expanded seven-piece when they hit Ruins for a Deep Ellum gig on June 24.
It’s nice when there’s a path laid out before you sometime, no? To that end, it seems like, if you’re a member of the Ottoman Turks and you’ve got a solo project in the works, you can rest assured that Rolling Stone will be paying attention. Following in the footsteps of his bandmates Joshua Ray Walker and Nathan Mongol Wells, Turks bassist Billy Law became the latest member of the band to get some national attention via that iconic rag — in this case, earning an approving nod for his new “Voicemail” music video.
Also on the country front, Vincent Neil Emerson has a new LP on the way that was produced by the great Rodney Crowell. Before that comes, though, give lead single “High On Gettin’ By” a listen below.
If ambient instrumentals are more your jam, then the new 40-minute release from The New Year and Bedhead member Bubba Kadane‘s Sigh Of Relief moniker makes for some prime chill-out audio.
Looking for something a little more familiar? Try the goth-influenced and Dallas-sprung indie pop artist Maggie Lindemann‘s cover of No Doubt‘s “Just A Girl” on for size.
Or, if you haven’t yet tired of the ubiquitous “Drivers License” from Olivia Rodrigo, then maybe this pop-punk take on the song from Dallas’ own Chaney Elaine is for you.
Either way, we’ll see you back here next week.
Cover photo by Allan Hayslip. Got a tip for White Noise? Email us!