Tonight, Tonight: Senses Fail at Lola's Saloon, Dylan Sneed at the Kessler Theater and Willis Alan Ramsey at Poor David's Pub

Not a bad selection of shows for a Wednesday night, especially if you're into poppy punk or prime Americana.

Senses Fail, The Ghost Inside, Man Overboard and Transit at Lola's Saloon
New Jersey's Senses Fail have been doing their post-hardcore/screamo/pop-punk thing for nearly a decade, and they've gotten consistently better with each release. The Fire, the band's most recent effort, is a beautifully schizophrenic mess. For every thunderous cut like "New Year's Eve," you also get a slightly annoying, melodic pop ditty like "Saint Anthony." Buddy Nelson and the gang are good at both styles, but it's the bone-crunching numbers that stand out, and those leave the pop songs sounding like unnecessary filler. There's certainly not much filler in this evening's bill, however, as The Ghost Inside, Man Overboard and Transit all have qualities that should appeal to the discriminating emo kid.

Dylan Sneed and David Ramirez at the Kessler Theater
It's always a good thing when one-time Dallas resident Dylan Sneed makes it back to town. Sneed's a great songwriter who is just now getting some of the accolades he so richly deserves. Texodus, Sneed's excellent effort from last year, featured the wordplay of Paul Simon and the cojones of Steve Earle. That's some high praise, I know, but Sneed can even make Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" sound like a Cajun classic from the late '20s. Austin's David Ramirez opens up what should be a great night of rootsy tunes filled with regret. The songs, I mean. Not the night.

Willis Alan Ramsey and Tom Faulkner at Poor David's Pub
Back in 1972, Willis Alan Ramsey released his sole album, a self-titled release that impressed the likes of Lyle Lovett, Waylon Jennings and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Ramsey's songs have been covered by an array of rock and country performers, so it's still shocking to realize that Ramsey never followed up with a sophomore effort. But not only did he  not record another album: The former Dallas resident also high-tailed it to Britain in order to study music. And even after four decades, the songs from his debut still resonate with the country and folk crowd. Ramsey has hinted at finally recording a new record, but that might actually put a dent in the legend surrounding his first one.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers