By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
At 7:10 last Thursday night, Davíd Garza took the stage at Club Dada. With just a guitar and a glass of red wine, he began playing through a handful of what he jokingly called "old geezer Deep Ellum classics"--Sara Hickman's "Simply" and Edie Brickell and the New Bohemian's "Little Miss S." It was a tip of the hat to the Deep Ellum of the late '80s and early '90s, when Irving's Garza was one of the area's rising stars. Since then, Garza has moved to Austin and then Los Angeles, won and lost a major-label deal and rebounded with grace, turning up as a solo act at venues like L.A.'s Largo, where balladeers such as Aimee Mann, Rhett Miller and Elliott Smith have played.
Now, more than a decade after leaving Big D, Garza is playing a series of free shows at Club Dada every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. "I can't believe I'm one of the elders now," he told the audience, who shouted out requests as Garza sipped his wine.
A woman in the front row suggested "Blue Green," from Garza's 1994 album Conmigo, back when he was still performing as "Dah-veed."
Garza scrunched up his face. "I don't remember that one," he said, laughing. "But I'll play it next week, OK?" (He did remember plenty others, including a bang-up version of "Black and Tan.")
He kept his repartee witty and self-deprecating--stories about playing an empty hall in Amarillo and rocking the MacArthur prom with his high school band Two-Way Traffic. He even launched into a fun and mostly bungled "triple shot--in the tradition of Q102" of Two-Way Traffic songs.
After two-and-a-half years in L.A., Garza has moved back to Texas, although he's not sure which city yet. For now, he's playing weekly sets in Austin, Houston and Dallas. "I wanted to let people know I was back," he says on the phone the next day. "If you don't throw yourself a party, who will?"
He's also gearing up to release a four-CD boxed set and DVD later this year, which he wants to promote. And, he says, "I'm getting back in the swing of being a Texan again." For at least the next five Thursdays he'll be holding court at Dada, bringing along some of his friends from the good ol' days. This Thursday, violinist Reggie Rueffer joins him. Garza hopes he can convince Ten Hands co-founder Paul Slavens and violinist Gale Hess to sit in on a set as well.
So far, it's looking like the best happy hour in town. Go, drink, relax, enjoy; if we're lucky, he just might stick around.
Deadman beat out more than 1,700 applicants and five finalists who performed in a Billboard-sponsored showcase at L.A.'s Knitting Factory on January 15. Judges based their decision on songwriting and originality. In addition to the title, Deadman also won a whopping $35,000 in gear. "It's a lot of services," Collins says. "A 24-track recorder. Some nice microphones, some monitors. New drum kit. New amp, new bass, new bass combo. A whole bunch of stuff."
So: Deadman garage sale any time soon?
Collins laughs. "You know, there actually might be."
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