Best Country Vocalist 2017 | Madison King | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Mike Brooks

In a traditionally male-dominated Texas country music industry, Madison King is a guitar-picking lyricist who, as we pointed out in April 2014, "brings a unique timbre and color to the state that sets her apart from the rest, especially in soulful tunes." King picked up the guitar when she was 8, started singing as a teenager, and honed her guitar and vocal skills in church. Influenced by artists such as Ryan Adams, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she later shared the stage with artists like the Old 97's, Polyphonic Spree and Foreigner. She released her first album, Darlin, Here's to You, to critical acclaim in 2011, appeared on NBC's The Voice in 2012 and gained radio airplay. She followed it with Onward & Upward.

Courtesy of Teenage Sexx

Formed in a bedroom in a trailer park in 2014, Teenage Sexx began as a garage-punk solo project, as we pointed out in our May 31 profile, before lead guitarist Caleb Lewis and bassist Kevin Adkins hooked up and later joined drummer Charlie Debolt. They claim they're a pop-punk band, "like a '90s band that's still trying to make it," but they released a self-titled debut album in 2015, followed with Flavour Country and performed on a split EP with their "big-brother band," the Loafers, in 2016. They recently released another EP, Jesus Christ. "Our songs may sound angry and sad, but I think we're basically writing pop songs," Lewis told the Observer in May.

In Tombstone, Arizona, in the 19th century, "The Black Moriah" was a hearse that took the dead to Boot Hill. Flash forward to the 21st century, and The Black Moriah is a local metal band that's been shaping thrash metal into a unique dark sound since 2011. And with the recent addition of drummer Joey "Blue" Gonzalez from Warbeast and Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals, its black metal sound has kicked into overdrive. The band, which includes guitarist Zawicizuz Sawicky, bassist Syzygy Derive and vocalist "The Mad Arab," recently released the single "Summer of the Diabolical Holocaust" on iTunes and the fifth edition of its album Casket Prospects to some rave reviews by local metal sites.

Dan Porter

Formed in Denton in 2014, Buffalo Ruckus came together to make Southern rock 'n' roll, Texas style, but created psychedelic Americana injected with '70s Southern soul. It's better described as experimental country-fried rock, but it's really just Texas music at its finest. The band members, admirers of Ray Wylie Hubbard, released their self-titled debut shortly after they formed and spawned two radio singles, "High Again" and "Angilee." Then they wowed critics with the release of their album Peace & Cornbread in 2016. "Soulful, wild and crazy, strong lyrics that make you listen," Brett Dylan from KHYI-FM (95.3 The Range) claimed. "Jason Lovell has the voice and spirit. Great name, great band." Lovell is joined by guitarist and mandolin slayer Brad Haefner, bassist Michael Burgess and percussionist Jerrod Ford. They've "spread the Ruckus" at places like Billy Bob's and House of Blues and opened for bands such as Foghat, Cheap Trick, The Dirty River Boys and Merle Haggard before he died in April 2016.

Courtesy of Warstic

This year Jack White appeared in Deep Ellum with a surprise announcement. The lead singer and guitarist of The White Stripes is co-partner and lead investor in Warstic, a local outfit that designs and produces fancy baseball bats. He's been seen around town quite a bit this year, shopping and drinking at Deep Ellum haunts like High & Tight and Drugstore Cowboy and appearing at a pop-up shop for the brand. Those who've run into him report he's an affable and charitable fellow, and the more he visits, the more that reputation seems to be true. In August, he showed up at a baseball game with former Texas Ranger Ian Kinsler — another partner in Warstic — to raise money for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Warstic founder Ben Jenkins, a Dallas native who played minor league ball, said White approached him and has been very hands-on with the company. We're looking forward to seeing more of you, Jack.

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