By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Everyone wish the Granada a happy ninth birthday by seeing indie darlings Built To Spill mope their way through one of the more impressive back catalogues for guitar rock out there. Elsewhere: The final of three benefit shows for Dallas artist and cancer patient Nevada Hill and resurgent songwriter Cory Morrow plays Billy Bob's.
Built to Spill
Thursday, November 21, at Granada Theater.
Alongside contemporaries Dinosaur Jr., Pavement and Modest Mouse, Built to Spill were pioneers of a swooping, twangy lo-fi aesthetic that nearly defined the sound of indie music in the '90s. Once the kids raised on this music grew up, a sea of second-generation imitators flooded the music scene. But they didn't sound quite right. One listen to Built to Spill's magnum opus, Keep it Like a Secret, and those copycats fade away into a warm, golden memory of indie rock's halcyon days. After several years on hiatus, frontman Doug Martsch and crew are bringing their wistful sound and soaring melodies back on the road. Thursday at the Granada for the venue's ninth anniversary, Dallas will get its first glimpse of Built to Spill's new lineup. Their recorded material is great, but when Doug Martsch gets on stage the guy goes through a metamorphosis. What comes out the other side is barely a man at all, just a blur of fingers and arms producing unorthodox guitar-play with devastating artistry. Jonathan Patrick
Friday, November 22, at Billy Bob's, Fort Worth
After being arrested for drunk driving and cocaine possession back in 2005, country singer/songwriter Cory Morrow got his life together and the effect on his music was striking. More faith-based, but no less road weary, albums such as 2008's Vagrants & Kings featured songs that were nearly gospel in both attitude and execution. Still capable of the two-stepping, red-dirt honky-tonk that brought him acclaim in the late '90s, Morrow's songs these days are more mature and a little more restrained. In concert, however, the guy is capable of returning to the days of yore as evidenced by the feisty 2012 live effort recorded at the same venue Morrow is playing on this particular evening. Darryl Smyers
Dirty River Boys
Friday, November 22, at Granada Theater
You wouldn't know it by witnessing one of their rambunctious, foot-stomping shows, but El Paso's Dirty River Boys began their roots-rock journey using primarily acoustic instrumentation out of necessity. Nino Cooper, Marco Gutierrez and Travis Strearns (bassist Colton James joined the group later) were able to find gigs in their hometown only in the corners and cramped stages of local coffee houses and restaurants, and had to be more quiet than rocking. Given those origins, it's hardly a surprise that a Dirty River Boys show is among the rowdiest and most unpredictably fun concerts one can experience these days. It seems all of the energy that built up in those calm early shows has manifested itself in an extreme way. The members entertainingly play an elaborate game of musical chairs as they switch instruments and vocal roles throughout their concerts. From Celtic jigs to the saddest folk tune to epic Western sing-alongs, an evening with the Dirty River Boys will never be quiet again. Kelly Dearmore
New Fumes, Early Lines, Pinkish Black, Drug Mountain and Douche
Friday, November 22, at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, Denton
If ever there was evidence of a sense of community within local music, it's in a benefit show. Friday's show for local artist and cancer patient Nevada Hill will be the third and final installment in a series of similar events in Dallas and Fort Worth that have seen North Texas supporters show some love for an artist this area is fortunate enough to call its own. He's churned out poster art that challenges the standards in all the right ways for various venues and bands. He has performed in bands such as drone/metal band Bludded Head and Drug Mountain. And over the years, it's inevitable that this kind of dedication and contribution to the local art scene would touch and inspire so many people.
The last of these benefits will have a raffle, featuring art, posters and signed records. Not to mention an impressive lineup, including Pinkish Black, New Fumes (Daniel Huffman's multi-textured and multi-media audiovisual project), Douche from New York and the returns of Drug Mountain (which features Hill) and Early Lines, it's a rare opportunity to experience this much talent under one roof, and this much talent having the opportunity to reciprocate some support for someone who has been an integral addition to the art community. Aaron Ortega