Our 20th Music Awards

1988-2008: Two Decades of DOMA

"Because I use it everyday and I had to sell two songs of mine to be able to afford it," Nourallah says.

And with a full slate of projects under way at his Pleasantry Lane studios, including albums by Jayson Bales and Fate Lions, don't be surprised if his name pops up here again next year. But considering the growing national reputation of North Texas studios and producers, don't be surprised either if the competition's even stiffer then too. —N.W.B.


BEST COVER/TRIBUTE ACT
BOYS NAMED SUE

It doesn't even matter that Boys Named Sue's last album The Hits, Vol. 1 is comprised of original tracks from start to finish, or that they've got The Hits, Volume Sue in the works for next year.

No, Dallas will not be swayed by some silly full-length effort. We refuse to stand idly by and salute originality. We want covers! We want Johnny and Hank and Buck to be spliced with Bowling for Soup and radio hits for supreme ass-shaking and shot after shot of that godforsaken Tuaca.

Bassist Dub Sue, aka Ward Richmond, says the band does find a certain pleasure via their mash-up madness in exposing the similar chord progressions and melodies between hip-hop, rock and country.

Plus, chicks dig it (Richmond would like to note that all the Sues—except for him—are single). After packing the biggest, baddest room of the House of Blues during the House of Sues show last December—one of the band's favorite Sue-related memories of the past year—the Boys proved they still draw the party crowd.

And they're certainly crowd-pleasers, juxtaposing original tunes with the demanded tributes for an average of 45-song sets (these days only 15 percent is Cash covers). But, still, winning this award is a bit awkward after winning Best Country/Roots Act DOMAs for the past three years.

These Boys (very good musicians, technically...especially fiddler Bobby Sue, aka Rob Stave, and front-Sue John Pedigo) harnessed their passion for beer-swilling country—transcending the cover-band label—and yet they actually won the award for the exact opposite category they were probably going for. Call it name recognition. Merritt Martin


BEST DJ
DJ BURLAP

Burlap kicks it jukebox-style; no scratching, no mash-ups, no "running my pie hole" over the music. Less action, more reaction. More Willie and Hank than ones and twos.

"I do work the crowd with my tunes, but in a more subtle way. I can get the crowd up dry-humping on whatever dance floor is available, crying in their beer and everywhere in between," DJ Burlap explains. "It's basically a record party with a little more thought and preparation put into it, but I am definitely not overthinking any of this."

That gets him a weekly residency at The Double Wide, some wedding receptions, the occasional out-of-town gig—you know, enough to occupy Burlap (aka Steven F. Berg) when he's not staying busy with his regular gig as the bass player for Eleven Hundred Springs.

"My work with Eleven Hundred Springs does create a situation where I can harness the marketing muscle of Eleven Hundred Springs and spread the good word about the DJ Burlap show," he explains. "Which, in turn, enables me to win awards like this." —P.F.


BEST LABEL
BEST RECORD STORE
GOOD RECORDS

Two years ago, that DART rail that still hasn't made it to Deep Ellum threatened the livelihood of the 6-year-old dream-come-true of Tim DeLaughter, Julie Doyle, Erik Courson and Chris Penn.

Now, Good Records stands bigger, brighter and chock-full of more new vinyl than most people could have wished for. The store opened a vinyl annex upstairs in April of this year and now sees not only a third of the store's shopping area devoted to "wax" (a term the store's music guru CJ Davis uses fondly), but also 30 percent of its overall sales coming from the elder format.

Penn credits indie labels with keeping vinyl alive, but the store has always stocked on demand from customers and in appreciation of the "warm sound" vinyl offers.

"Most importantly, 'You Can't Roll a Joint on a Digital Download,'" says Penn, citing the slogan emblazoned across store T-shirts sold at its eighth anniversary. Davis says some customers even purchase vinyl before investing in a turntable. But it's not all wax and needles at Good. The back wall (listening centers that showcase 45 new titles each month) and the patented Good Records in-store events (from Grandaddy to Enon to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' first in-store) have made casual customers regulars and made regulars become addicts.

Penn, Davis and Mark Church's inherent ability to provide recommendations based on customers' tastes doesn't hurt popularity, either. A trip to Good is a bit of a journey, and that's no accident.

"The main goal of Good Records is to offer our constituency a continued adventure in listening," says Penn.  "We are always looking for new and old artists that raise our skirts and perk up our ears."

Winning a Best Record Store DOMA is virtually a given for Good Records, but another division of the Good Umbrella came from behind to swipe an unexpected trophy: Despite Good Records Recordings not exactly being the most prolific of local labels (think fellow nominees Idol, Gutterth or even TXMF), the feel-good vibe of the Good family brought home the gold without any releases. Though, to its credit, the label's roster has included big names, such as the aforementioned Grandaddy, The Polyphonic Spree, Pilotdrift and even local darlings Centro-matic. If the past is any indication, the future for the label could be as bright as the future for a certain record store of the same name. —M.M.


BEST VENUE
THE GRANADA THEATER

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