Shiner Rising Star, KHYI, 2011, Rd 1 Wk 4, 8/18, Club Dada

| August 21, 2011

Joshua Jones

Story and pictures by Mary Jane Farmer — pix below each band’s critique.

To view videos from this week, and all weeks, go to The producer also sells DVDs of each night’s performance on scene.


“Muffle ruffle” was the word of the day.

Thursday (Aug.. 18) brought an Austin band together with two bands from Paris, Texas, in the fourth week of 2011’s Shiner Rising Star contest. This week’s music was held in Club Dada in downtown Dallas, the area known as Deep Ellum.

The 4-piece Jeff Whitehead  Band came up from Austin, bringing with them one extra performer, fiddler Naomie Cherie. Stone Rosevelt drove from Paris, followed by an entourage of fans. Pearl Street Riot also arrived from Paris, set up, and then took advantage of their time in Deep Ellum by visiting another club or two before the shows started.

It is Pearl Street Riot who is moving on, as KHYI’s Chuck Taylor announced Friday morning.

The contest is sponsored by Dallas Americana radio station KHYI, Shiner Beer, and Shiner Records. It began with 24 bands competing in Round One of  three rounds, each having 30 minutes in this round to perform their originals plus one cover song.

This week’s judges were John David Kent, singer/songwriter who leads The Dumb Angels band; Joshua Jones, KHYI general manager; and Brett Dillon, KHYI daytime D.J.

One of the songs Jeff Whitehead performed was, he said, currently getting airplay,  and one original song stood out, a song about coming home. Jeff led with guitar and lead vocals; Matt Rhoades played bass, Wade Alford was on drums, and J.P. Cravens stood out with his lead guitar and backup vocals.

Brett Dillon led the critique off by saying he liked the cover song, “Whiskey Time,” and complimented the band on great songwriting, great harmonies, and the lead guitar wok.  He also said to Rhoades, “You were banging you butt off on the drums. I’m a big fan of Jeff Whitehead and hope you come to the Metroplex more often.” His criticism  was that the energy didn’t seem to come until near the end of the set, when they performed “Whiskey Time.”

John David Kent agreed with that, saying, “The energy seemed to come together during the cover tune. The set of songs is really important. It could have been good to open with that song, to get that energy moving right out of the gate.” Kent also stressed that it is really important to connect with the crowd, and the band did that at the end.  “It’s fine to let people know that you are having fun up there. It will inspire everyone else to have a good time. That’s my two cents.”

Joshua Jones, reading from his notes, told the band that, to him, they looked nervous at the stat. “I thought you came to life during the last verse of the second song, and then took a new breath.” He, too, liked “Whiskey Town” as a cover.

Jones gave the guys a formula for their consideration. “Nine percent of music is talent, 1% is luck, and 90% is attitude. Show up with some bad-ass attitude.”

Jeff Whitehead Band pix

Pearl Street Riot kicked off a 30-minute set with their own “The Battle of Butcher Holler” and the set stayed high-fevered throughout, except for the one slower song, their cover of Fred Eaglesmith’s  “All The Way Home.”

After the second song, lead vocalist Wesley Joe Malone stopped for a moment to explain why the other band members (all dressed in vests, string ties, and boots) were wearing ties and he wasn’t. “I thought about wearing a muffle ruffle…” Wesley Joe said, using the word of the day.

Others in the band are Cody Phifer on lead guitar and vocals, Rodney Lee Key on drums, and the newest member, bass player Justin Cashion, aka Cash.

Dillon was the first to comment on their attire. “You arrived looking like a band and you played like a band. I feel like I should pay cover to see Pearl Street Riot, and I don’t pay cover. But this was like a Pearl Street Riot concert.” Dillon said he liked the Fred Eaglesmith cover, “You made it you own.” Dillon commented that the slower song “showed diversity in your set.”

John David’s arms waved while he spoke, enthusiasm flowing from arms and voice. He kept it short, agreeing with Dillon’s words, and ending by saying, “I’m looking forward to playing a show with you sometime.”

Jones started by saying he tried to write down everything I didn’t like about the band. “I didn’t write down a thing,” he said as he picked up his score sheet.  But, to be contrary, he said, “I didn’t like it when you slowed down (with the Eaglesmith song).  There’s no reason to take it from 5th gear to 2nd gear. It would be one thing when you have an hour, it’s OK, but you only have 30 minutes to melt faces off.” That being said, Jones ended by saying, “You guys are 90% attitude, total professionals, and honestly, I freaking love you.”

Pearl Street Riot pix                   

Stone Rosevelt stepped on stage and took it by storm, as well. They as a band are often sharing stages with Pearl Street Riot and it was a mutual respect time for both bands. Plus, speaking of mutual respect, a previous week’s winner, Jeremy Phifer, and friends were there to cheer their friends on, too. The two Phifers are cousins.

Stone Rosevelt is made up of Chad Farris on lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Chris Shoemate, lead guitar and vocals; Ben Alsup on bass; and Nick Burton on percussions.

Chad made use of the word of the day too, when he explained how the band got together to decide on their cover tune. “I wanted to cover “muffle ruffle” but….” Chad said.

At the end, Dillon said that Stone Rosevelt blew him away. “I don’t want to say anything negative, and you guys will be something in about six months.” Dillon also commented on the band’s unusual three-piece harmonies.

John David commented on the fans’ support. “That just goes to show you have fans and people who support you and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.” As Kent talked about the stage banter between band members, and while he was saying how refreshing that is, Alsup walked over to Harris and kissed him on the head. “It’s likeable,” Kent said, “It takes things on a personal level and naturally draws people in.”

Stone Rosevelt, Kent said, couldn’t describe itself as Texas Country music band, but “This is the cool thing about this state: It’s so diverse that you bands can work in this scene like Whiskey Myers (band) works. That’s a very confident thing.”

Joshua commented on a guitar being out of tune, adding, “I know you only had 30 minutes, but slow down for tuning. I liked the energy and the very controversial and ‘ballsy’ cover. I scored you guys well.”

Stone Rosevelt pix

Muffle ruffle became the word of the day, offered with instructions by Jones during his Thursday morning “Twitter” comment for bands. At orientation in July, he explained to the bands that he would be offering a new hint each week by Twitter and those who complied could get extra points. So, he said, this week, he decided to make it a fun way tip. Each band was to use the nonsensical words between the second and third songs.

Next week, Aug. 25, will bring into competition, the Dustin Perkins Band; the Coby McDonald band, and the Jessica Brooks band. The contest will be at Southern Junction in Rockwall, and music begins at 8 pm.

These bands are competing to win a recording contract through Shiner Records, an opening spot on KHYI’s 2012 Texas Music Revolution festival, full-band equipment outfit from Kona Guitars and GP Percussion, and a feature article in Alternate Route, an American music magazine.

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