I have to make a confession: As the online arts and entertainment editor here at D Magazine, I try my best to give all art forms their due coverage. But, despite my deep Texas roots, I just don’t like country music that much. I can get into it, but I don’t actually seek it out all that often. That’s not fair to those of y’all who do love to have a boot-scootin’ good time. So, here’s something different: four up-and-coming, Dallas-based country artists who you ought to give a listen.
Wichita Falls-born, Dallas-based singer songwriter Elaina Kay is having her own festival this summer to celebrate her upcoming debut full length album, Issues. The sassy musician hones in on her personal life and past experiences with pop flair on the album’s eight tracks, which was recorded with support from The Texas Gentlemen in Dallas at Modern Electric. Elaina Kay performs regularly in Dallas, but her Cornbread & Country Festival on May 18th is set to be a special occasion. The artist will be joined by Josh Grider, Frankie Leonie, Jenna Clark, Chuck Ligon, and others. The festival is at Tate Farms in Rockwall and will have food catered by Chef Graham Dodds.
Kirk Holloway is a musician with a classic twang that sounds like Texas. The 22-year-old and his band veer toward old school country, giving a gritty edge to their folksy songs. If you’re a country purist, you’ll appreciate the heartfelt “All Over Losing You.” This Friday, Holloway and the band celebrate the release their latest EP, Lonesome in the Lone Star State, at The Freeman in Deep Ellum. He’ll be performing alongside classic rock band The Roomsounds.
Nine To Never is the only country band that’s made it to the final round of KAABOO Discovers–a talent-finding competition organized by KAABOO Texas and The Rustic Dallas. The local musical trio is facing off against two very different opponents–pop singer Luke Nassar and indie duo D and Chi–to claim a spot at the brand new festival. If you’re looking for radio-ready, new age country with a strong female lead, you’ll probably like songs like “Ball of Fire.” See the band perform at KAABOO Discovers on Saturday, April 27 at The Rustic.
Frankie Leonie’s music speaks beyond her seventeen years, telling a story with depth and effortless emotion. The young talent has already graced the cover of the Dallas Observer and taken on stages across the state—all the while completing her high school diploma. Her influences range from classic country icons to little-known indie acts, and not much in between. Her voice speaks for itself; have a listen to songs like “Taking All the Good out of the Bye” and you’ll see what I mean. She’s currently working on a new album, details TBA. See Frankie perform live at Bath House Cultural Center this Saturday, April 27, and at Deep Ellum’s Twilite Lounge on May 31.