Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights play Friday night at Granada Theater.Bailey Hart
Looking across the acts playing concerts this week, we can't help but notice the incredible mix of songwriters we have coming our way. Kicking things off with folk artist Joshua Radin Thursday night, The Kessler hosts two of the week's best shows with Sarah Jaffe playing Saturday night. On Friday night, heavy psych band Temptress turns up the volume in Deep Ellum while blues rock band Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights bring the house down on Greenville Avenue. Over the weekend, the ever-poignant pop artist Evelyn Gray sings her truth in Denton, and Washed Out brings the chillwave to Deep Ellum. Bell Biv DeVoe and Kansas — each legends in their own fields — will also play North Texas in the coming week with a bluegrass show by Trampled By Turtles and a punk-turned-pop show by Set It Off in between. This is definitely a week to discover new favorites and rediscover some old ones. Joshua Radin 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, at The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., $28+ at prekindle.com
Joshua Radin had an unlikely start to his career. A longtime friend of actor Zach Braff from his time at Northwestern University, Radin's very first composition, "Winter," was used on the sitcom Scrubs in 2004. Considered one of the best episodes of the show, it features Brendan Fraser as Ben, a character who dies, and as the show cuts to his funeral, "Winter" plays in the background. Radin had released no songs in any format at that point in his career, but the poignant use of the song in the episode created a demand that made Radin an immediate success in the world of acoustic folk. Radin has released nine albums since then, and his songs have been heard in countless TV shows and movies for their stunning emotional depth. Radin plays Thursday night at The Kessler with opening support from pop, folk and soul singer Molly Parden. Temptress 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $15 at seetickets.us
Dallas' female-fronted, heavy psych-rock band Temptress plays its first show of the year Friday night at Three Links, kicking off what is shaping up to be an exciting year for the band. Though Temptress has not put out a new release since its self-titled, three-track demo in 2019, the group has been hard at work in the studio preparing a debut album, which should see the light of day in the coming year. In October, guitar player Erica Pipes made the difficult decision to leave the band citing health issues shortly before Temptress embarked on a 25-date tour with Monte Luna, but this did not stop the band from rocking it hard across America, playing shows on the East Coast, in the Rust Belt and all through the South. At home, Temptress is known to absolutely bring it with heavy licks and heady lyrics. Opening for the band are three more homegrown hard rock bands: Bull By The Horn, Summit and Realm Drifter. Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $20+ at prekindle.com
Formed in Dallas in 2007, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights hit the ground running, wasting no time before putting out the debut album Hot Trottin' the very same year. A blues-rock band down its core, the band rounded out its sound with soul through the addition of backup singer Emotion Brown to the lineup. It was in this format that Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights began to attract national attention, opening for a variety of touring acts such as Erykah Badu, Kool & The Gang, Cross Canadian Ragweed and Lynyrd Skynyrd. 2010's Pardon Me earned the band even more attention from the national press as the single "Gypsy Woman" climbed the U.S. rock charts. Since then, Tyler has recorded mostly under his own name, still bringing the rock 'n' soul wherever he goes. Austin singer-songwriter Reid Umstattd opens for Tyler and company Friday night at the Granada Theater. Evelyn Gray 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore St., $10 at the door
The bio on New Haven, Connecticut, avant-indie artist Evelyn Gray's Bandcamp page reads that the singer "spent 25 years living someone else's life. Now, she's making up for lost time." A proud trans woman, Gray's spellbinding music bolsters deeply confessional lyrics dealing with her struggles with coming out and being accepted in a society that often abhors or avoids trans people. The songwriter's most recent single "chosen family (i'm not coming home this year)" was released just in time for the holidays. Delivered with more of an indie-rock punch than her previous work, Gray's anti-holiday song gives an honest look at the fear trans people experience when they are forced to face their unaccepting family members. Gray will have opening support Saturday at Rubber Gloves from Nashville indie-folk artist and tour mate basement brain as well as local support from emo-punk band Upsetting. Sarah Jaffe 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St., $26 at prekindle.com
Sarah Jaffe's musical career has touched upon indie-folk, electro-pop, hip-hop and really just anything else she wants to do. Created in the grief of heartbreak, Jaffe's latest album SMUT, released back in October 2019, displayed the songwriter's talent for mixing spatial ambient sounds with uplifting melodies and lyrics as she searched for a way to have fun again. In 2021, Jaffe released a series of three singles, and in each of these singles, Jaffe showed a different side of herself. The first was the avant-pop song "Dinosaur" followed by the soulful "Nice to See You Again." Jaffe's most recent single "The Championship" came out with the B-side "Frances McDormand, Catherine O'Hara" — a tribute to the singer's all-time favorite actors. Jaffe will play Saturday night at The Kessler with opening support from singer-songwriter Bosque Brown. Trampled By Turtles 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at The Factory in Deep Ellum, 2713 Canton St., $40+ at axs.com
Minnesota bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles rounds out a three-day run through Texas Saturday night at The Factory in Deep Ellum with Rhode Island folk-rock band Deer Tick. Trampled By Turtles took the bluegrass world by storm in 2009 when its fifth album Palomino stayed in the Top 10 bluegrass albums for a full year. The album even had some crossover success. As Americana bands like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons stomped and hollered their way into the mainstream, Palomino put the Turtles on the indie-rock charts as well. With a lineup made up entirely of string instrument players, Trampled By Turtles makes high-energy bluegrass music for the people. In other words, you don't have to have a deep appreciation for Appalachian music and culture to dig into the music, just a desire to move and maybe a partner to dance with. Washed Out 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $30 at prekindle.com
Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr. (aka Washed Out) is a bedroom pop artist who kicked off his career on MySpace back in the late '00s. Bedroom pop is a kind of lo-fi pop music often produced in the musician's home. Unlike pop music heard on Top 40 radio, bedroom pop does not aim to get you up and dancing but for you to chill out, kick back and listen. Think of the opening theme music to Portlandia and how it sparkles and fades into a slow bass line that gets heads bobbing while the rest of the body stays motionless. That intro is "Feel it All Around" from the 2009 EP Life of Leisure by Washed Out. Joining Washed Out on Saturday night at Granada Theater is LANNDS, a bedroom pop duo from Jacksonville that mixes dreamy pop vocals with a psychedelic soundscape. Bell Biv DeVoe 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, at Texas Trust CU Theater, 1001 Performance Place, $39.75+ at axs.com
When Bell Biv DeVoe released its first album Poison in 1990, the R&B world was turned on its head by the sound of new jack swing. The new genre mixed elements of hip-hop, dance-pop and contemporary R&B into something that was fresh and funky. The album's title track soared on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and effectively distanced Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe from their time with Boston-based quintet New Edition. The group would only release three more albums over the next three decades, and none of those albums would ever match the success of its debut. Still, Bell Biv Devoe never stopped touring and performing for adoring fans. The trio headlines the MLK R&B Weekend this Sunday at the Texas Trust CU Theater in Grand Prairie, which features even more favorites from the '90s including Jagged Edge, 112, 702 and Tony! Toni! Toné! Set It Off 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17, at The Echo Lounge & Music Hall, 1323 N. Stemmons Freeway, $27+ at ticketmaster.com
Taking its name from Fall Out Boy's early song "Calm Before The Storm," Set It Off set out on its musical journey as a pop-punk band from Tampa before moving to Los Angeles, losing a lot of the punk but maintaining all of the pop. With emotional lyrics and punk-laced dance tracks, Set It Off's sound is reminiscent of the music that dominated radio stations in the early '90s only with a moodier edge. The band has recently worked with tour mates and label mates AS IT IS on the heavy-hitting single "IN THREES." Set It Off's show will also be joined by alt-pop artist No Love for the Middle Child who featured the band on his single "Older." With all of these collaborative efforts between these acts, there are sure to be some great live moments. Australian pop punk band Stand Atlantic completes Monday night's lineup at The Echo Lounge & Music Hall in Dallas' Design District. Kansas 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Will Rogers Auditorium, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., $25+ at ticketmaster.com
Although drummer Phil Ehart and lead guitarist Rich Williams are the only members left from the band's classic lineup, progressive rock band Kansas has been keeping things going from its debut in the '70s through its 16th studio album The Absence of Presence in 2020 — the band's second release after the departure of original lead singer Steve Walsh in 2014 — to its concert at Will Roger Auditorium in Fort Worth. Kansas made its biggest impression on the music world with the back-to-back releases of multi-platinum albums Leftoverture in 1976 and Point of Know Return in 1977, which gave us the classic hits "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind," respectively. Although Kansas is currently on a Point of Know Return Anniversary tour, next Wednesday's concert will be a "Kansas Classics" date, featuring a full set of Kansas' classic hits and fan favorites from the band's 50-year-long career.
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David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.