Odds & Ends

For the record: Congratulations to Brave Combo, who received their sixth Grammy nomination in the Best Polka category for their new album Let's Kiss. Their 25th anniversary album, Let's Kiss contains such chestnuts as a polka version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and the band's indelible take on The Simpsons theme song, which they performed for the Oktoberfest episode last spring on which they appeared (Simpsons creator Matt Groenig is a superfan). The band won the Best Polka category in 2000 for Polkasonic; how 'bout another round?

Dallas' favorite evangelist, Bishop T.D. Jakes, was also nominated for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for He-Motions, the CD version of his book He-Motions: Even Strong Men Struggle, featuring contributions from Fort Worth gospel superstar Kirk Franklin and Houston gospel singer Micah Stampley.

Of course, Dallas homegirls the Dixie Chicks were nominated for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group for "Top of the World," and Booker T. Washington alum Norah Jones netted five nominations, including Record of the Year for her collaboration with Ray Charles on "Here We Go Again" from Genius Loves Company.

Perhaps the biggest Grammy surprise for Texas artists was the ascension of San Angelo's Los Lonely Boys. Virtually unknown a year ago, the brothers Garza were nominated for Record of the Year (for "Heaven"), Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, Best New Artist and Best Rock Instrumental. Guess it never hurt to have Willie Nelson and Carlos Santana on your side.

Denton cares, y'all: On Saturday, December 18, Pyramid Scheme presents "The Red Velvet Deception 2004," the second annual holiday bash to benefit Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots and the North Texas Food Bank. Bands in this year's lineup include The Bobby Weaver Band, Super Love Attack and The Theater Fire, who will each play a 30-minute set featuring a few Christmas standards thrown into the mix. The inimitable Fishboy hosts the evening's festivities, which last year featured such zaniness as musicians Matt Barnhart and Chris Flemmons wearing elf costumes. The show is at Dan's Silverleaf, starting at 8 p.m. Admission is $10, or $8 with a donation of a new unwrapped toy or two food items.

Deedle's last dance: Guitarist and backup vocalist for pop-punk band 41 Gorgeous Blocks, Deedle LaCour, will play his last show with the band on Friday, December 17, at Tony's Pizza in Arlington. LaCour is leaving the band in order to focus on other projects. Special guests include Red Animal War and (he sure gets around) Fishboy. 41 Gorgeous Blocks will continue as a three-piece and will release an album this spring.

Hey, we read it for the nominations: In the 2004 music poll, currently available on its Web site, Playboy has nominated the Polyphonic Spree for Best Live Band, along with The Hives, Prince, Chris Whitley and the Beastie Boys. That's stiff competition, but hey! It's the sun--and it makes us shine.

Speaking of sex and the Spree, we can't miss a chance to give Tim DeLaughter a gentle ribbing for his inclusion as one of People's Sexiest Men Alive alongside Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal and Usher. We admit that on a few occasions, we've secretly swooned over a certain piercing quality in DeLaughter's blue eyes, but sexy? Wow. Maybe it's a Catholic thing.

The Polyphonic Spree, of course, hosts its annual Christmas show on Saturday, December 18, at Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie. I went last year and enjoyed one of the finest renditions of "Little Drummer Boy" I've ever heard. Also, they had monkeys. I'd go again, but I'll be on vacation. The much-loved and much-missed Zac Crain will be taking over my column next week. Happy holidays, and buckle up. It might be a bumpy one.

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Sarah Hepola