By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
And with audience members and music fans, her passion and ceaseless energy are infectious. She's in the crowds almost nightly, gauging responses and just talking music.
Getting crowds to shows is what puts a fire under Callahan. "Can you imagine what kind of a difference it would make if everybody just went to see one local band or one local show a week?" she asks earnestly, in response to a question about how our music scene needs mending. She knows her push for attendance—Callahan is more action, less bitching—landed her with a second Local Music Advocate nomination after last year's win. "I think I won it because I'm always bugging people about going to shows. I think they're like, 'Aw, she's always trying to get me to go to shows! She's definitely a music advocate.' " —Merritt Martin
There's the selection, of course—from the most obscure indie acts out there to the tried-and-true classics, such as The Replacements and The Pixies.
And there are the employees who do their darnedest, all with a certain charm, to help you find your next favorite band—or maybe order you a copy of that rare import you've been looking for.
But if there's one thing that truly sets Good Records apart from the other record stores in town, it's the fact that the store goes out of its way to keep us entertained, as it does nearly every week by offering up free in-store performances from local and touring musicians alike.
"What that does, more than anything, is offer exposure," store manager Chris Penn says—for the bands that play those in-stores, for the discs those bands are trying to sell and, most important, for the store itself.
Each in-store event isn't so much a performance as it is a rallying cry, announcing to the consumers that the store is still there, current economy or not, still giving a damn. By voting Good Records your favorite record store yet again, well, that's us just reciprocating the sentiment. —Pete Freedman
The history of Dallas music is littered with the obituaries of venues large and small, but few of them would elicit the outcry that might ensue should we ever lose our beloved Granada Theater, our winner once again for Best Venue.
Luckily, the Granada marks its fifth anniversary with a Slobberbone show next month, an occasion to celebrate one of its strongest years yet, with thousands of spectators taking in shows by everyone from Calexico to Grizzly Bear to Old Crow Medicine Show to Ratatat (as well as hundreds of local music fans coming to the venue's defense when a certain prima donna Canadian duo abruptly canceled its show and bad-mouthed the venue's sound system).
Sure, owner Michael Schoder and booking agents Kris Youmans and Helen Eaton constitute the best major booking team in town, stocking the schedule with loads of talent from across the musical spectrum and walking away with the award for Best Local Booker, but booking alone isn't what keeps the crowds and talent coming back for more.
"We run the theater like a family," Schoder says. From the staff to the customers, everyone at the Granada is treated with the kind of respect not often found in your average music venue. And with a backstage complete with a shower and the coolest crew in town, it's easy to see why bands love to play there too.
"It's so key for the bands to be in a good mood when they hit the stage," Schoder says. "If we're having fun, it's a lot easier for the customers to have fun... [and that] rubs off on the bands and then the bands rub off on us by bringing the spirit up onstage."
Tellingly, Schoder's own favorite Granada show of the year wasn't a big, sold-out rock affair, but a show that might have amounted to a massive failure for a lesser venue.
"We had all the power die up and down Greenville, and we had [country singer-songwriter] Hal Ketchum," he says. "And all of Greenville's totally dark. So we said, 'We're gonna light a bunch of candles, have the show anyway.'
"We didn't know if people would actually show up or what 'cause there were big storms and stuff. But we lit about 250 candles and had the show by candlelight. That was unbelievable.'"
For most big venues, maybe. But not for the Granada. —Noah W. Bailey
Paul Slavens has a long performance history in North Texas, having been a member of local music legends Ten Hands and an improvisational performer with Four Day Weekend in Fort Worth, and performing a standing gig at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton each Monday.
For the past five years, though, Slavens has also hosted KERA-90.1 FM's 90.1 at Night broadcast on Sunday evenings, serving as a slender link between today and a golden era when the station was the only one in town worth listening to for music. I refer, of course, to the days of Chris Douridas, Liza Richardson and others, who spun unconstrained playlists that informed, influenced and entertained a listening audience—an audience that included Slavens himself.