Although measures taken to stop the spread of the Coronavirus have thrown much of everyday American life down a quarantined rabbit hole, musicians of North Texas have quickly begun making the most of the new normal.
It’s worth noting, though, just how quickly things have changed. As recently as one week ago, acts including local Tex-mex cowpunkers the Vandoliers, one of the bands we discussed in last week’s music column, actually still had designs on possibly performing a show or two in Austin during the dates of the first-ever cancelled South by Southwest music conference.
Over the course of this week, as Dallas, Fort Worth and most major cities shut down bars and music venues to keep social crowds to a minimum, even the smallest local concerts have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, joining the big ticket national tours from Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters and more. And speaking of major shows, North Texas was deprived of the chance to break in the gleaming new Globe Life Field in Arlington when the Chris Stapleton and Willie Nelson concert on March 14 was postponed until the fall.
But of course, nothing can keep the Red Headed Stranger down for long. Nelson and many other artists who were slated to perform at the annual SXSW-adjacent Luck Reunion, just outside of Austin this week, still performed live, but online only. Joining Willie was Nathaniel Rateliff, Nikki Lane, Lucinda Williams, Margo Price and more. Dubbed “Til Further Notice,” the Thursday night show began at 6 p.m. The legendary performer and former Nelson duet partner Paul Simon was on hand as well.
Led by popular DJ Black Ward, the Double Wide in Deep Ellum will record a number of performances in its empty venue and soon post them to YouTube.
Another venue, Main at South Side in Fort Worth will host a number of live performances for streaming. Sam Anderson of the Quaker City Night Hawks and the Unlikely Candidates are just a couple of the sessions you can catch from your tablet phone or computer screen from the Cowtown club.
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Also in Fort Worth, influential country and Americana radio station 95.9 FM The Ranch has begun hosting 30-minute live sets from artists the station regularly plays on its Facebook page.
On the heels of releasing his stellar new LP Evergreen, Zac Wilkerson has announced a couple of streaming events, including a session for Defining Audacity on Tuesday March 24.
On Saturday at 5 p.m. Erick Willis performs from the garage of former Billy Bob’s Texas marketing guru Chris Spinks. “The Garage Sessions” is a live-streaming, grassroots effort benefiting the Raising Money For Musicians fund Spinks set up to assist local performers who have seen the coffers dry up following the glut of cancellations.
One of the most gloriously soulful fellows you’ll likely see perform on a stage or screen, Josh Weathers, will host a private online concert on Friday, April 3.
Dallas rockers Motorcade will soon announce a streaming show from Denton’s Consolvo Studio, but until then, the all-star group of Dallas music vets will be posting live videos for you to enjoy.
All this has been arranged in only the past few days, which means there’s much more to come sooner than later. We’ve been told by a number of other North Texas artists who will be announcing all sorts of live streaming events in the coming days. The aforementioned Vandoliers, Ottoman Turks, Jacob Furr, Eleven Hundred Springs, Nate Kipp, Doug Burr and more will be unveiling their respective shows soon.
Throwing a few digital dollars into a virtual tip jar is but one simple way to help your favorite local artist make the best of the current scenario. Rolling Stone interviewed some independent artists to find out how their fans can best help them if they’re so inclined. Unsurprisingly, only streaming the band’s tunes from Spotify doesn’t add up too much, but finally ordering that t-shirt directly from the artist’s website, certainly will.