North of the Dial

Five months.

When Pete Freedman first asked me to take on this column, I confess that I thought, at the time, I'd be lucky to last that long. I was already over-committed with work and family and had backed off music writing a good deal over the past few years for that very reason.

But the thought of covering Denton music on a regular basis was too much of a temptation. So I constructed an array of rationalizations, a strictly defined and now seldom-followed bar tab budget and I dove in, starting with a naïve but well-meaning post on the Denton Rock City newsgroup.

The good news for me was that Denton musicians are, for the most part, a thoughtful and uncynical crowd, rightly proud of their community and somewhat protective, but not so protective that they weren't extremely helpful in getting me bootstrapped into the project. Having been a Denton resident since 1995, I was familiar with the scene, but I really had no idea of the sheer number of bands-per-capita—and quality ones at that—the city boasted.

It was a full month and a half of venue-hopping, contact-collecting and myspace-link-gathering before I felt even partially ready to attack my first essay. Five months and nearly 20 columns into it, it has been the most engrossing writing project I've ever had.

Unfortunately, it's not my day job, and my day job has moved. To Phoenix.

And so I will be handing the column off to some other, no doubt far worthier, soul, but I leave with a couple of parting observations.

First, Denton remains a healthy music community. Somehow, it has retained just the right balance of talent and venues, mutual support and artistically competitive spirit to continue to attract and cultivate young artists of virtually every stripe. It does not feel like a scene resting on its laurels, or one that is becoming hard-bitten and jaded.

Second, it's fairly amazing to me that the town still seems mostly oblivious to a music culture within its own city limits that has an international profile. I'm hopeful that the current city administration, under new mayor Mark Burroughs, may be able to remedy that to some degree.

Finally, I just don't have enough space to thank everyone for the help, interviews and amazing music over the past few months. There is so much more music I wish I had been able to cover. As someone once said, I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

I'm pretty sure that comes out to a compliment.

 
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