At the end of February, I'm leaving the Dallas Observer to take over as the music editor for Denver's Westword. The move brings me and my partner back where we came from and where we hope to stay, and it's really as simple as that. Working at the Observer has surrounded me with writers and editors as smart and passionate as any journalist could hope to keep as company, and North Texas is home to more skilled, inventive musicians than I could have known if I'd lived here another 30 years.
The Observer's music section is in fine hands. I'm still learning more from the writers here than they are from me, and they will continue to provide music fans with a gathering place in the pages of our print edition and on this music blog.
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We will need a new music editor, though. If your friends have to tell you to just shut up already on the drive home from every concert, if you keep a copy of Strunk and White close at hand and if you have a touch for juggling a crowded email inbox, send your resume, some published writing samples and an email explaining how you would cover North Texas music to Joe Tone, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with Music Editor in the subject line.
My favorite piece of American interstate is a horrible stretch in eastern Colorado between Burlington and Limon. If you hit it heading west, you've probably spent most of the day on the treadmill that is I-70 through Kansas, and the plains stretch for hours ahead. And then the road bends around a little hill and when you get beyond it you see the Rocky Mountains for the first time.
I have made that drive close to 30 times, and every time I hit that spot it means I'm almost home. I grew up in the shadow of the mountains and got my start as a music writer there. So when I get close to that hill on I-70, I queue up the biggest guitar riff in my CD collection (lately "A More Perfect Union" by Titus Andronicus). Every time it's a little bit different, depending on where I'm coming from. And when I hit that curve in a few weeks I'll be thinking about Dallas, with all its overpasses and ambition, about the honky-tonks and hip-hop shows and all the people who taught me a few of the many things it means to be a Texan.