Merry music, locally made

Comments () A Text Size
Courtesy photo
The lineup at Dan’s Silverleaf on Friday includes BIographies
2 of 5 Previous Image Next Image

Spune Christmas show serves smorgasbord of North Texas songcraft

As Denton’s university students finish their last final exams, Spune has a show to celebrate. (Non-students whose circadian clock is synched with the university calendar might feel like a brew and a show, too, for that matter.)

Spune, a Dallas-Fort Worth production company and record label, has a goodly number of Denton acts on its roster, and it is the official booking agency for Dan’s Silverleaf.

That has conspired to make Friday’s show — “A Spune Christmas” at Dan’s — a mix of Dallas and Denton bands. Some of the acts are in their formative years (or months) — Strange Towers, Mary Walker, Biographies — and the others — Robert Gomez and Air Review — are established.

Chambers, a Denton trio in the process of expanding, did its first gig at Index Fest in Dallas just a few months ago. Guitarist Judson Valdez said the indie-folk band grew out of a friendship and collaboration between himself, drummer Chase Johnson and singer and keyboardist Sam Robertson.

“Our manager [and Spune booking agent] Glen Farris approached us and asked if we wanted to be on this show,” Valdez said. “It was cool because we actually got to book a couple of bands on the bill.”

Valdez and Robertson knew of each other from seeing each other’s solo acts. Johnson has long backed Robertson on drums for a while now as she’s built her solo performance. Valdez was a member of Denton’s Baruch the Scribe, which disbanded over the summer. Chance Maggard, also a Baruch alumnus, is now playing with Biographies.

Friday’s show will be a mix of each act’s music and Christmas songs.

“We’re going to do a Rich Mullins song,” Chambers’ Valdez said. “I kind of grew up with my parents playing his music in the car, listening to it. He’s always been in my head and my heart because he reminds me of my dad.”

The song, “You Gotta Get Up,” is a simple song about a child’s anticipation on Christmas morning.

Valdez said mutual admiration brought the musicians together to form Chambers.

“I like to work with people who have something I don’t,” he said. “I like to think I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I like to work with people who complement what I do musically. I feel like I’ve got that with Sam and Chase.”

When nudged to put Chambers on the spectrum of Denton’s music scene, Valdez borrowed a term from Johnson.

“Chase calls it sludge pot, because it’s slow and moody,” Valdez said.

It also seems to fit Chambers’ blend of sound, from Robertson’s folk to Valdez’s experimental “noisy” solo work and Johnson’s pop and worship background.

Mary Walker will release her first album, <ITAL>Heavy Hearts, at the show. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter is unabashed about her stylings.

“My music is pop,” she said. “I think pop makes the world go around. I love a beautiful melody that gets stuck in your head, and that’s what I want my music to do.”

Pop is an apt brand for the record, though it’s easy to hear the jazz influences she picked up during her freshman year at the University of North Texas, where she devoted a year to getting into the vocal jazz program. She didn’t make the program, but instead of giving up, Walker went to shows and made music with jazz students.

Walker said she contacted Farris when she wanted to book a choice date to debut the album she’s been working on for the last year and a half. He suggested Spune’s holiday concert, and she didn’t hesitate.

She’ll add some Christmas songs into her set — and patrons should expect roasting chestnuts to get a vocal loop treatment.

Walker said she put a lot of her resources into <ITAL>Heavy Hearts. She recorded most of the record with Sean P. Jones, a drummer and alumnus of UNT’s One O’clock Lab Band. She also worked with McKenzie Smith, of Denton’s Midlake, in his studio.

“I wanted the album to be the best it could possibly be,” Walker said.

Walker plans to donate half of the proceeds of all CDs she sells at the Spune show to the Starkey Foundation, which provides hearing aids to children in developing countries.

Walker and Valdez said they look forward to the show because it means a chance to see Dallas folk darling Air Review, as well as Gomez.

Gomez has just released his latest album, <ITAL>Severance Songs, and backed Sarah Jaffe on Tuesday on <ITAL>Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Strange Towers is made up of Denton music scene alumni Scott Porter, Lars Larsen, Tony Wann and Cory Ward.

Biographies includes Maggard, Katie Slusarski, Michael Slusarski, Kollin Weaver, J.D. Perry and Ethan McClure.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877. Her e-mail address is .


•  Who: Air Review, Biographies, Chambers, Mary Walker, Robert Gomez and Strange Towers

•  When: 8 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m.

•  Where: Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St.

•  Details: Tickets cost $7 in advance, $10 at the door. For tickets, visit .



Comments is now using Facebook Comments. To post a comment, log into Facebook and then add your comment below. Your comment is subject to Facebook's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service on data use. If you don't want your comment to appear on Facebook, uncheck the 'Post to Facebook' box. To find out more, read the FAQ .
Copyright 2011 Denton Record-Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.