Best Local CD Release (2006)

The Theater Fire

Is there a better way to describe the Theater Fire than "the Fort Worth sound"? It's the phrase co-songwriter Curtis Glenn Heath picks when asked about the "border sound" tag the band has received countless times, thanks to its blend of mariachi and country. But there's more than a mix of classic AM radio signals at work on Everybody Has a Dark Side. Singers Heath and Don Feagin honed their songwriting chops during years in local space-rock bands, and that experience is evident in this sophomore album's all-acoustic arrangements. From the ambient tones filling the air of the sparse "Civil Warrior," to the contrasting, poking notes of banjo, fiddle and vibraphone in the title track, the stories of Southern vulnerability match the sound perfectly. "Useless and awkward/Like a flightless bird," Heath whimpers in his loving ode, "These Tears Could Rust a Train." In this song, a piece of pure songwriting with living room production that allows an acoustic slide guitar to echo as much as his sentiment, the Fort Worth sound doesn't get clearer.

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