Rather, this time around is special because Holt was nominated for another DOMA: Best Solo Act. He didn't win—and, truth be told, he didn't really expect to.

"To be nominated in a category alongside Salim [Nourallah], Sarah [Jaffe], Doug [Burr] and Glenn [Farris]?" Holt asks. "That's pretty serious company, and it's flattering as all hell to be even considered in their same ballpark."

Holt should know; he's played with all of those musicians plenty before. This upcoming year, however, could see him finally stepping out beyond their shadows. In October, the rock outfit he fronts, The Slack, will release its new record. Then, come spring, Holt will release yet another disc—a solo record produced by Nourallah. And the early returns on both are looking quite promising, even if Holt's self-deprecation prevents him from getting too excited about the prospects before him.

"Just getting nominated for something at this point is great," he says. "At this age, it's good to know I'm still relevant." —Pete Freedman

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If you like The Beatles—and who doesn't?—Hard Night's Day is about as close to the Fab Four as five guys can get. And it's really no surprise that they've reclaimed the title of Best Cover/Tribute Band that they lost to Boys Named Sue at last year's music awards.

After all, this year marks HND's eighth acceptance of the Best Cover/Tribute Act award. And though they'll happily receive the title, Doug Cox, the Ringo Starr of the band, recognizes that a few of his own band's members even voted for some of the other tribute bands it was competing against for this award.

"We've been for years thinking, 'Somebody vote for somebody else, please!'" Cox says. "There are so many other good bands."

With a repertoire of some 213 songs ranging from their unforgettable 1950s skiffle to post-India psychedelic rock, HND doesn't reinvent the classics, but rather reincarnates them. And if The Beatles is what it takes to keep the interest in Dallas' live music scene alive, Cox doesn't mind doing the gig.

In fact, he knows that even a crummy Beatles cover band would still draw a crowd. Lucky for HND, that's not a problem. Melissa Crowe

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With a stable that includes The Toadies, Bush and the just-signed Bob Schneider, Kirtland Records isn't trying to win cool points with the hipper-than-thou music intelligentsia. Founder John Kirtland and general manager Tami Thomsen are more concerned with doing right by their artists—and choosing artists willing to commit to music as a way of life.

"Smile Smile went out on tour with Metric literally with a couple days' notice," Thomsen says. "We have to have someone who is willing to make that commitment, no matter what it means for their job or any other situations...If I'm willing to work full-time for you, you have to be willing to work full-time for yourself."

Kirtland himself knows about doing music full-time. His stint as drummer for Deep Blue Something took him through the gears of the music industry, from low-paying weeknight club shows to chart-topping single to being dropped from a label. With that experience, he's sympathetic to his artists.

"When we're talking budgets, you might say, 'We have to get this record done in three days,'" Thomsen says. "And John will say, 'You can't make a good record in three days. I've tried to do that.'"

Coming months should bring new releases from Smile Smile and Schneider, whose Kirtland debut (tentatively titled Lovely Creatures) is set for a September 29 release. —Jesse Hughey

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For the past few years, whenever Salim Nourallah's name has been brought up by a recording musician, it's usually just "Salim." This is not just because of the distinct nature of his name or some sort of Cher or Prince thing; it's because Salim has a great reputation as a producer and a singer-songwriter. There's a lot to be said for his reliability and his results, and his track record keeps getting longer every year.

As the co-owner of Pleasantry Lane Studios, Nourallah has helped numerous bands and solo artists, from Johnny Lloyd Rollins to Blackheart Society to Rhett Miller, document something worth preserving. Eric Grubbs

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Chelsea Callahan, admittedly, has her "fingers in lots of music pies"—Double Wide booking; Manhandler Management for Dove Hunter, Record Hop and Hello Lover; serving on the board of directors for Art Conspiracy and Carter Albrecht Music Foundation. There's a slew of other projects too: ReFactory 1, M2S2, charity events and whatever else strikes a chord in her music-loving heart. Hell, the brassy gal recognizable for her auburn curls and cowboy boots even DJs.

But while it's easy to chart her impact on the Dallas music scene with a run-down of accomplishments, Callahan probably makes the biggest mark when she simply has a conversation with someone. She attends countless shows to experience and meet bands, aims to respond to every booking inquiry and tries to recommend a venue if a good band doesn't fit hers—all in an effort to keep music flowing into Dallas.

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