By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Take for instance DOMA Best Song "Honky-Tonk If Yer Horny," which recalls the spirit of comic country classics like "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother," "Convoy" and "Up in Smoke" as it tells the tale of a truck-stop hooker named Clementine, "a guaranteed good time." Leading off The Hits—the Sues' proper debut—with a bang, the song proves once and for all that the Sues are the local kings of the beer-drinkin' anthem. "The Hits was intentionally conceptual," says Pedigo. "And by conceptual I mean we got together in one night with two cases of beer and a bottle of Tuaca and wrote the entire album and recorded it soon after. I don't think we recorded a song without giggling."
But it's not all goofin' off for the Sues, as The Hits also features some fine straight country tunes, from the easy shuffle of "Travelin' Down" to "Amber Friends," a tear-in-your-beer salute to the Sues' favorite liquid therapists, all spiked with the lovely, lilting fiddle lines of the band's secret weapon, instrumentalist Bobby Sue.
As for what's next for the three-time DOMA kings of country, it's anyone's guess, but it will certainly involve alcohol. "The Sues will continue to reign supreme and out-drink everyone under the sun," says Pedigo. "It's funny to watch people attempt to keep up with us. Sorry, but it's impossible. [Bassist Ward Richmond] and I alone 'beat' Australia and New Zealand and that ain't easy." And with drinkin' songs as good as these, it's hard not to believe him. —N.W.B.Mad Mexicans
There shouldn't be much for the Mad Mexicans to be angry about after this past year, according to founding member and vocalist Nelo Moa, aka El Mero Rockstar. "Winning the award last year gave us inspiration to step up the game," Moa said about the band's win for Best Latin Band. And step up they did. Since then they've played the American Airlines Center for the Diesel Fighting Championships, signed onto Headliner Artists and are planning to release The Revolution Has Begun, the follow-up to their 2005 release, later this year. And now they are two for two with fans naming them the best in town for Latin music, again. The 4-year-old rock-hip-hop-bilingual outfit proclaims itself the people's band with a party vibe and live up to that by making the fans the priority in their shows, whether it's bringing them onstage to sing or handing them an instrument for an impromptu play-along. They invite everyone to "Come get Mexicanized!"
"We make sure fans have a good time," Moa says. "We're from the old school. The fans are always first before we come first so this is really important to us." With upcoming shows at Firewater and an opening slot for Powerman 5000 at the Palladium, along with gigs in Austin, Laredo and College Station, they aren't slowing down anytime soon. Interestingly enough, no gigs lined up in Farmers Branch. Go figure. —R.L.Hard Night's Day
As long as this talented quintet decides to remain together, they will probably keep winning this award. For one thing, they have some pretty damn good source material. I mean, it's one thing to pummel a well-lubricated crowd with AC/DC or Led Zeppelin riffs and quite another to skillfully re-create some of the most cherished songs in music history. Second, these guys get special kudos for helping Club Dada get back in business; just how vacant would an already echo-filled Deep Ellum be without the glimmer of Dada? And finally, by expanding the set list to go beyond the standard British Invasion Fab Four fare (even throwing in some great McCartney and Lennon solo numbers), these cheerful lads avoid the annoying tendency of cover bands to champion authenticity over enjoyment. Sure, Hard Night's Day still dress the part in those fey suits and skinny ties, but when it comes to keeping 40-year-old memories alive, there are few groups better than Bob Cummins and crew. Check the Internet and you will find more than a dozen Beatles cover bands using the name Hard Day's Night, but you will find only one Hard Night's Day. —D.S.PPT
"It's a blessing to be a hip-hop group in Dallas," says Pikahsso, one-third of PPT, a trio of talented artists and producers who have quickly gained critical acclaim and a rabid, multi-ethnic fan base from all around the metroplex. Along with writing the official Dallas Mavericks playoff theme song and performing at a rally for Kinky Friedman, the trio found time to complete Tres Monos in Love, their impressive debut released early this year on Idol Records. "People want to like hip-hop, but they fear it," says the hyperkinetic and humorous 31-year-old Pikahsso, who insists his real name is a closely guarded secret. "PPT relates to the Dallas audience, and we can help them overcome their fear." Pikahsso is a graduate of Lincoln High School, and he met his cohorts, Picnic and Tahiti, at local nightspots. "We are a triple vortex," says Pikahsso, who claims he got his moniker because his rapping skills were so abstract. "PPT is like three tornadoes coming together as a funnel cloud, tearing up trailer parks." Already recording their next effort, Denglish, Pikahsso and crew have a leg up on the competition in that they mercifully never take themselves too seriously. —D.S.THe BAcksliders