Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan tonight at the Eisemann

Country divas live

We’re trying to figure out  if we even deserve a night of such fabulosity. Lorrie Morgan, pictured, comes to town with her sass and glam country that paved the way for the likes of Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Pam Tillis was a pioneer in country music as one of the first female producers of her own work. They bring us the Grits and Glamour tour and we’re thanking the country music gods.

DEETS: Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. 8 p.m. $44–$62. EisemannCenter.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 01.13.12

Saturday 01.14Lorrie-Morgan

Know when to hold ‘em
Poker tourney host Pocket Rockets celebrates one year with its Gala Event and Awards honoring the year’s top players. But don’t think this means no playing time. Right after the awards, they turn around to start a $500 tournament sponsored by AIDS Interfaith Network. Rumor has it that some of the A-List cast will be there.

DEETS:
The Brick
2525 Wycliff Ave.,Ste. 120.

3 p.m.
PocketRockets.com.

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Saturday 01.14

Country divas live
We’re trying to figure out  if we even deserve a night of such fabulosity. Lorrie Morgan comes to town with her sass and glam country that paved the way for the likes of Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Pam Tillis was a pioneer in country music as one of the first female producers of her own work. They bring us the Grits and Glamour tour and we’re thanking the country music gods.

DEETS:
Eisemann Center
2351 Performance Drive, Richardson.
8 p.m. $44–$62.
EisemannCenter.com.

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Sunday 01.15

Loving on Gervais’ Globes
Everyone was in a tizzy last year when Ricky Gervais ripped so many new ones into Hollywood at the Golden Globes. Surprise! He’s back. And with good reason — he’s the best part.

DEETS:
Watch party at Texas Theatre

231 W. Jefferson Blvd. 7 p.m. Free.
TheTexasTheatre.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

GIVEAWAY: Win Kristin Chenoweth’s new CD ‘Some Lessons Learned’

On Tuesday, singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth drops her fourth studio release Some Lessons Learned. She goes a little bit country this time and has said that this album is inspired by music legend Dolly Parton. Which would explain the track, “What Would Dolly Do.” She’s already previewed the album with the single “I Want Somebody (Bitch About),” and you might know the title track from Carrie Underwood’s debut album.

But Chenoweth likely will turn in her own cheerful spin on things in this album produced by Bob Ezrin and exec-produced by Dianne Warren.

Want one? OK. We’ll snail-mail you a copy if you can help us with this question. Chenoweth is up for an Emmy this Sunday. She already has one on her mantle. What show did she win for and what show is she nominated for this weekend?

We’ve got five copies of the album, so good luck. Just email your response here to win.

—  Rich Lopez

Adele-ized: Soulful Brit’s new CD sort of confuses but still wins over

FINALLY OF AGE | Adele’s rich voice is the centerpiece in her second album ‘21,’ but her songwriting also shines.

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Since the wave of the Amy Winehouse-led British soul invasion of 2007 has winded down, we can now focus directly on the work of Adele. She rode that tide with an impressive debut, 19, that garnered her two Grammys. But where 19 showcased her husky soulful voice, her sophomore album, 21, shows us her emotional side. And it’s kinda schizophrenic.

Adele explodes out of the gate with “Rolling in the Deep,” also the first single. A powerful song reflecting shades of Florence and the Machine beats, it’s also a declarative opener that this isn’t the meek 19-year-old we were introduced two years ago. She’s empowered — we think.

Following that with “Rumour Has It,” a similarly strong (and groovy) track, and the ballad “Turning Tables,” Adele clearly wants us to know that she’s not taking shit from her man. Lyrics like Next time I’ll be my own savior / Standing on my own two feet really define her attitude and set the tone for 21.
Until track four.

Adele does a 180 with “Don’t You Remember.” Structurally, the ballad is delicate, but she almost begins apologizing for her feelings, singing words like I know I have a fickle heart and a bitterness. It’s almost a let-down to hear her cave in as if her strong will didn’t work for her; now she’s gonna beg for her man — and do it for the next four songs.

If her emotions change mid-album, her sound changes distinctly for one. “I’ll Be Waiting” may not have the twang, but it’s boisterousness is distinctly pop-country and would be right at home on a Carrie Underwood album. Despite the shift, the album refreshes here. Horns blare and piano keys are abundant, but her voice in this capacity has wonderful effect.

The one real hiccup in the album is her cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong.” The idea behind it sounds curious and with minimal guitar arrangement behind her, it should work. Instead, it seems random. I’m never sure what it adds to the album and it doesn’t improve so much on the original. Perhaps she thought 10 tracks weren’t enough, so “let’s throw in a cover.”

Regardless of her emotional turns, what really keeps 21 afloat is Adele’s voice. The musical arrangements are slightly veiled in their production, giving Adele’s voice center stage. That gravelly sound is so beautifully rich that you just want to bathe in it and never get out. She goes places vocally Winehouse or Duffy can’t.

As if that’s not enough, Adele wrote or co-wrote all of the original songs. The tracks are mature but don’t sound too big for her to handle. The album shines on her strong writing as well and the potential of what it could be down the road for her. Which could be greatness.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Dallas’ vocal adrenaline

VOP runners-up raised the bar for everyone this year

Voice of Pride winner Mel Arizpe knew this was a great year to win the contest, with the new groups category and the trip to England, but she also knew it was the toughest yet. She and the other finalists all agree the competition was stronger than ever: Third through fifth place took home prize money, but also released a collective sigh just to make it on the proverbial podium this time around.

Runners-up Juliana Jeffrey, Angie Landers and Robert Olivas give some insight to their experience at this year’s competition and how firsts always seem to happen, no matter how long they’ve been competing.

— Rich Lopez

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The Bridesmaid: Juliana Jeffrey, 2d  runner-up
Competition songs: “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts and “So Small” by Carrie Underwood.

Why these songs? I love the Underwood song, no question. I pick songs I really love or feel like I’m going through. I was just like Eek! But I don’t think my first song was a good choice.

What changed from last year? The talent was a lot better. Everybody was good and I think more people are finding out about it. It felt different this year — there wasn’t a lot of bonding like before. Every year I’ve made a friend. There was a lot more pressure.

TROIKA | Jeffrey, left, Landers, center, and Olivas gave the also-ran list star power. (Dallas Voice/ Arnold Wayne Jones)

Did the trip to England affect your performance? Who doesn’t wanna go to England? But personally, I try not to think about the prizes. It’s added stress. I like amazing singers and that makes me wanna be better.

You’re a VOP veteran. Would you rather win or keep placing and racking up change? Hey, all I can say is my rent is paid! The reason I do it every year is because I have so much fun with people I meet. We hang out.

Any immediate musical plans? I’m 29 but I don’t really have anything to show for my singing. So, I need to get more serious about that. But I gotta work these 40 hours a week. It’s tough, but I gotta make a demo.

Any thoughts on next year’s Voice of Pride? I know what to expect and I know what motions to go through so that’s relaxing. I think next year I will broaden my song choices. I just don’t wanna put myself in a box. I tell myself I’m gonna step out of this country box, but I never really know what judges are looking for. I just go with what feels good and pray for the best. I just try to do me.
The Breakthrough: Angie Landers, 3d runner-up
Competition songs: “I Drove All Night” and “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.

Any second thoughts? No, though I tend to think that I should have shown my country side as well as my pop side. There’s always next year.

How was it when your name was called? Oh my gosh, it was such a surreal moment.

Do you pick songs you like or that will sound good? I only perform songs that touch me or I enjoy, but for competition I try to choose songs that show off who I am and what I can do.

How do you prepare? Practice — in my living room!


The Dude: Robert Olivas, 4th runner-up

Competition songs: “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train and “Remember When It Rained” by Josh Groban.

Why these two? I love those songs and I wanted to show my range. I’ve been paying attention to the judges’ comments and I wanted to win the crowd. But dang, the gays love their women singers.

Yeah, you were the highest placed male this year. The competition was gonna be so strong and it was all about the women this year.

How’d you strategize? I made it my business to go to the preliminaries and see the competition. I’ve grown to see what judges are looking for.

When did you start singing? I started singing about four but didn’t have training until my girlfriend at the time talked me into taking a vocal class at UTEP.

What did you learn about yourself this time? I’ve only made finals three times so I’m proving that I can be consistent.

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It takes two

Mel Arizpe, far right, and Laura Carrizales had quite  summer. The real-life couple took the No. 1 and 2 spots in the solo competition at Voice of Pride and scored the inaugural group competition victory. As Mi Diva Loca, the duo won over the crowd with their second performance, a medley of pop hits which might have been risky. “Because it wasn’t a whole song, we wondered if the judges would see past that into our harmonies,” Carrizales says. “These were just songs we liked.” They also got to perform at Pride in Manchester, England.

If you missed ’em before, though, you can catch them (plus third place Juliana Jeffrey) riding in the parade Sunday, followed by a performance at the festival in Lee Park afterward.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Concert notice: Carrie Underwood comes to AAC Oct. 9

After winning  her second entertainer of the year award last night at the Academy of Country Music Awards, Carrie Underwood follows up with Friday’s announcement of her 2010 tour dates. On top of that, she’s even planning a wedding. Now that’s a busy lady.

Underwood will also use the tour as a fundraiser for Save the Children’s United States Program. This is from the release:

Ever the charitable soul, Underwood will be donating 36 cents of every ticket sold for the fall tour dates to Save the Children’s United States Programs.  This initiative was inspired by the “36 cents” written in the lyrics of her album track “Change” which addresses how even the smallest bit of spare change that one might have can add up to make a difference and help “change” the world.  Fans can see Underwood perform this song, “Change,” on Idol Gives Back this Wednesday, April 21 on Fox.

The Play On Tour stops in Dallas at the American Airlines Center on Oct. 9. Billy Currington and Sons of Sylvia will open.

—  Rich Lopez