Local Musicians Live and Fly

I’m writing live from the Lonestar Country Club. Tonight, and the second Friday of every month, we come to see a pretty incredible show here. I wanted to write a bit about it and how it’s now inspired a major artlovemagic project.

It’s a local music jam called the “To Live Is To Fly” festival (named from a Townes Van Zandt song). The show is the brainchild of Richard Paul Davis, lead singer of The Texas Redlegs.

Once a month the Redlegs share their stage with 2 to 3 other local acts, mostly quality musicians early in their performance careers, who need room to grow. While there are a lot of open mic opportunities out there (ours included) for musicians to play a song or two, a good act is going to need more room than that to grow. This show creates space for those acts, putting them in front of a receptive audience for full sets.
The result has been a collective of Dallas based talent, that you can literally watch develop month after month. I’ve been to about five of them, and I’m loving it each time. It’s gotten a small but dedicated following, so you get to see a lot of friends each time out as well.

Many of my favorite local songwriters premiere new songs here. Erin Gayden and Jaimie Reeves regularly play new stuff here. Tonight I’m especially looking forward to sets by Jacob Reeves and Southern Karma.

Each night ends with a long set by The Texas Redlegs, and if you haven’t seen them.. WOW. Pure Texas Rock and Roll. It’s a four piece band, and every member (Rick, Shaggy, Greg, and Tommy) is ridiculously talented. Rick is an incredible frontman. It’s truly a joy to see a passionate band rock a show in a small venue. You can really feel it when you’re only feet away.

A conversation with Rick about why he started this festival led to a similar project at artlovemagic. Our new Concert Series, begining April 16th, is also intended specifically to give longer stage times to acts who are ready to grow. While most artlovemagic shows rotate talent on the mic quickly, the Concert Series will focus attention on only three acts per night, each getting at least a full half hour on stage.

Southern Karma just took stage. I’ve been loving their music lately. Early into their set, they play a brand new song – Get It Right, written by Tony Cherry. On it, Tony’s acoustic guitar mixes with lead singer Melody’s voice to create a really haunting sound. Soul stirring. This is an act to pay attention to and I hope to get them in one of our future concert series.

…Okay, so I’m blogging this whole show live going back and forth between watching and writing. The Redlegs just surprised the crowd by playing the first half of their set an hour early… prior to one of their opening acts. Even cooler, they open with their most explosive song, Black Sky Growl, usually reserved for the end of the night. This is a great surprise for those like me who come every month. Plus, they absolutely kill it. The energy in here is insane.

…Now Jacob Reeves is on stage. I’ve been a big fan of his for about a year now. He’s a great singer and songerwriter and a truly talented harmonica player (proof of this exists in his faded fools video on the artlovemagic.com video page). If you asked me who are the most talented young musicians who I’ve seen since starting artlovemagic three years ago, Jake is one of the first names who’d pop into my mind.

Jake’s Dad has been coming to some of his shows lately and playing harmonica on a few tracks as well. A treat. Then, a few songs in, Jake asks for a bit more back up, and one by one each of the Redlegs join him on stage.

The Redlegs proceed to open their last set by inviting everyone from the night to play with them. Van Zandt would be proud as they collaborate with the other acts on a few of his songs..

Once again, the show does not dissappoint. If you come out to this festival, chances are good you’ll see me, chances are definite that you see great music. Bring a friend next time. Packing out shows like this and our concert series ensures a healthy scene for local musicians.

I hope we see you this Thursday at Mokah as our own concert series premeiers with Parallel Play, Richard Paul Davis (playing a rare solo act), and Shantytown featuring the lovely Deborah Driscoll. It promises to be a passionate night full of great live music.

More details at http://www.artlovemagic.com
You can check out the Texas Redlegs at
http://www.myspace.com/texasredlegs
where you can listen to much of their music for free

Story and pics by Michael Lagocki

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