At 7:10 last Thursday night, Davíd Garza took the stage at Club Dada. With just a guitar and a glass of red wine, he began playing through a handful of what he jokingly called "old geezer Deep Ellum classics"--Sara Hickman's "Simply" and Edie Brickell and the New Bohemian's "Little Miss S." It was a tip of the hat to the Deep Ellum of the late '80s and early '90s, when Irving's Garza was one of the area's rising stars. Since then, Garza has moved to Austin and then Los Angeles, won and lost a major-label deal and rebounded with grace, turning up as a solo act at venues like L.A.'s Largo, where balladeers such as Aimee Mann, Rhett Miller and Elliott Smith have played.
Now, more than a decade after leaving Big D, Garza is playing a series of free shows at Club Dada every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. "I can't believe I'm one of the elders now," he told the audience, who shouted out requests as Garza sipped his wine.
A woman in the front row suggested "Blue Green," from Garza's 1994 album Conmigo, back when he was still performing as "Dah-veed."
Garza scrunched up his face. "I don't remember that one," he said, laughing. "But I'll play it next week, OK?" (He did remember plenty others, including a bang-up version of "Black and Tan.")
He kept his repartee witty and self-deprecating--stories about playing an empty hall in Amarillo and rocking the MacArthur prom with his high school band Two-Way Traffic. He even launched into a fun and mostly bungled "triple shot--in the tradition of Q102" of Two-Way Traffic songs.
After two-and-a-half years in L.A., Garza has moved back to Texas, although he's not sure which city yet. For now, he's playing weekly sets in Austin, Houston and Dallas. "I wanted to let people know I was back," he says on the phone the next day. "If you don't throw yourself a party, who will?"
He's also gearing up to release a four-CD boxed set and DVD later this year, which he wants to promote. And, he says, "I'm getting back in the swing of being a Texan again." For at least the next five Thursdays he'll be holding court at Dada, bringing along some of his friends from the good ol' days. This Thursday, violinist Reggie Rueffer joins him. Garza hopes he can convince Ten Hands co-founder Paul Slavens and violinist Gale Hess to sit in on a set as well.
So far, it's looking like the best happy hour in town. Go, drink, relax, enjoy; if we're lucky, he just might stick around.
Dallas' Deadman can slap a new title on their résumé: "Top Independent Act in the Southwest."
"At least according to Billboard," says founder Steven Collins, back in town to finish work on the band's upcoming Our Eternal Ghosts.
Deadman beat out more than 1,700 applicants and five finalists who performed in a Billboard-sponsored showcase at L.A.'s Knitting Factory on January 15. Judges based their decision on songwriting and originality. In addition to the title, Deadman also won a whopping $35,000 in gear. "It's a lot of services," Collins says. "A 24-track recorder. Some nice microphones, some monitors. New drum kit. New amp, new bass, new bass combo. A whole bunch of stuff."
So: Deadman garage sale any time soon?
Collins laughs. "You know, there actually might be."
On New Year's Eve, Project 232's lead singer Chad Breedlove died. Three months earlier, he suffered a severe electric shock and fell into a coma from which he never recovered. This Saturday, January 31, there will be a memorial show at the Curtain Club, including performances by members of Slow Roosevelt, Jibe and Big Iron. All proceeds will go to Breedlove's wife and son.
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Following the cancellation of their show last January 18, Guided by Voices has rescheduled for Friday, March 5 at Trees. Tickets purchased for the original show will be honored. Those who missed the boat the first time around get a second chance.
This week's lead music story is a profile of singer-songwriter Sara Radle. Just so we're clear: Sara is a part-time Dallas Observer employee. She handles our club listings and sits a few cubes over from me. Sometimes, I accidentally get her mail. At first, I was reluctant to green-light the profile, owing to obvious conflict-of-interest issues. Eventually, I changed my mind. Sara is a terrific performer and a talented songwriter, and it is so weirdly refreshing to see a woman onstage who isn't rubbing her belly or doing a pole dance. She deserves to be featured in the paper, no matter where she works.