Dallas Alice
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Dallas Alice

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Better Live Than in the Drunk Tank"

By Kevin Gibson

I haven't seen Dallas Alice live yet, but I was only about three songs into this CD before I decided I wanted to. If a band that brags about, even seems to exist on, its shit-kicking live show can make a studio album this good - well, that's a band I gotta check out.

But first, for those of you who have not been introduced, Dallas Alice is a band about three years old made up of Sean Hopkins, Justin Hughes, Matt Nofsinger, Nick Reifsteck and Nate Thumas. Hell, I was watching Nate kick it with 100 Acre Wood ten years ago and I sat in awe as Reifsteck fronted One Red Romeo when I was barely old enough to get into Uncle Pleasant's without a fake ID. And here they are playing something I'd have to describe as country-fried roots-rock that's 15 minutes out of the drunk tank.

(If you've never spent the night in the drunk tank, rest assured they kick you to the curb with nothing but your keys, your wallet - empty - plus a miserable hangover, a handful of regret and one hell of a pissed-off attitude.)

What Dallas Alice has done on Social! is put a drunk tank hangover to music. It's got train tracks, coal mines, grandparents, cars, white trash and the Andy Griffith show all in one package.

Yes, here's a band that can rowdy your socks off with a whiskey-soaked rockabilly rant titled "Call Me Whitetrash" one minute - "If you call me white trash/I'll kick your skinny ass" - and deliver a touching story about a small-town mine disaster with "December 21st, 1951" the next ("It was a coal black Friday night/Broken by forgotten Christmas lights").

Dallas Alice can tell you about real life, such as in "200 Cars," or nudge you in the ribs about over-the-top, volatile relationships with gems like "Famous Last Words."

It's also important to note that the band's sincerity rises to the top at all times. When you first lay ears on "Whitetrash," for instance, it's easy to dismiss it as another song celebrating a caricature of a segment of American culture. But in fact, it's about all of us who grew up in the Midwest. It's cleverly ironic - what is the definition of "white trash" anyway? - and it's accessible to, well, pretty much anyone who grew up in and around Louisville, Kentucky. Or any Midwestern town, for that matter.

Hopkins in particular delivers his vocals with all the confidence of a Hank Williams Jr.-Bruce Springsteen hybrid. This guy could sing lead in a commercial country act touring the nation with Tim McGraw (or whoever is popular these days) and he could also stand in with Social Distortion and growl his way to a punk career. Hopkins knows the songs and the emotions behind them well, though, because he wrote them.

When he croons "I need you like I need the bottle that's not in my hand," you believe it. This is a song that would make a man who'd lost a woman to drinking sigh heavily, then sit down and cry. Then a few songs later comes "Boothead Debutante Blues," which takes us back to the shit-kicking and gives Reifsteck a nice stage to show off his blues guitar chops.

This is one hell of a good album and it deserves to be placed next to the best roots rock in the region and beyond. Hopkins and Thumas produced with deft restraint, all the pieces fit, the performances are spot-on - what else can I say? I'm going to hear this act live before they're playing all their gigs out of town.

(Oh and don't turn off the CD player until you listen to the bonus track. You won't be sorry.)

Rock out at www.dallasalicerocks.com.
- Louisville Music News


"Record Release Roundup"

by Erin Keane

Social! by Dallas Alice

After releasing a stunning live debut, Louisville twang-rock favorites Dallas Alice sleazed their way back into our hearts with Social!, a raucous first studio album. This record shoots out of the gate with the pop! of an opening beer and the dirty, knowing laugh of your favorite cousin at Easter-time:

Well, I ain’t red dirt

and I ain’t white trash

I’m Midwest and a little bit left

of the middle class

How to describe a Dallas Allice set? Imagine the longest bourbon-boozy night in the dankest bar in town with your best friend from back home who’s bearing a break-up, the frustration of a dead-end job and the ghosts of his tragic forefathers, all at once. Imagine he can tell the best stories of your youth using nothing but a guitar and a Camel Red, you know the one about Joey’s potato gun and you skinny dipping in the lake? Then picture the rest of your guys leaning over his shoulder giving him a “yeah yeah” chorus every time he makes the point you’ve been trying to make your whole life.

Then you all take a shot!

Well, I might laugh at a dirty joke

Hang out with simple folk

And in my Catholic junior high

Well that’s where I learned to drink and smoke

Dallas Alice hits coal mines and dead granddaddies, creepy preachers and county sluts, pissed-off girlfriends and white trash pride, clocking in Social! at just under an hour. This album spans Doc Martens and Dingos, Chuck Taylors and bare feet, pickup trucks and jacked-up Cadillacs, train tracks and small towns, all tinged with sex and bourbon and death, just as it should be.

Tattooed, lately-mustachioed Sean Hopkins (lead vocals, acoustic guitar) brings a southern-Illinoise existential nowheresville aesthetic to these bar-room stompers, while Justin “The Colonel” Hughes bangs out the rhythm guitar and all the heart, folks, all the fucking heart. Don’t underestimate bassist Nate Thumas’ expertise or unbridled joy - his backing vocals tell the whole story. Nick Reifsteck’s lead guitar proves he owns the most talented fingers in the Midsouth, and drummer Matt Nofsinger keeps them all in line. What more do you want? Go get the damn album already!

- www.sensilla.com


"Five Important Questions With Dallas Alice"

by Anthony Bowman

Five Important Questions With Dallas Alice
By Anthony Bowman
A few years ago, Garth Brooks hosted “Saturday Night Live” and there was a sketch where the country star was sitting around a campfire with a group of real cowboys and describing his live show (wireless headset microphone, being hooked to a cable and flying out over the audience) and then declaring: “I love being a cowboy!” See, Garth got it. His sense of humor is admirable and, unfortunately, entirely absent in any recent country music that you might catch on CMT. The thing is, many of these new artists play up their blue-collar backgrounds, but no new country artist ever lived in conditions similar to those that early country legends did. Many take themselves too seriously and end up becoming self-caricatures unintentionally mocking the working class to whom they hope to appeal. The word “rednexploitation” comes to mind.

Dallas Alice provide a glimmer of hope in this Git-R-Done wasteland. On their new album Social!, they show that it is possible to make exciting, fun, rock-driven country music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and they end up sounding way better than most radio-friendly pop-country because of it. You aren’t going to be accused of being unpatriotic for not liking Dallas Alice, but you might be accused of being boring or having bad taste in music, and for good reason. Dallas Alice is what all country music today would sound like if honky-tonk had been as successful as the country crooners. Basically, this band is what everyone wants his local bar band to sound like.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Sean Hopkins: I'd shut down Fourth Street Live and give it all to Hellfish’s Jimmy Gardner and let him make it over as sort of a Tom-Waits-meets-Disney theme park ... think about it ... “Jimmyland” ... all of the employees of “Jimmyland” would be required to wear wife-beaters and pork-pie hats. I don’t quite know what that would do to promote people like me, but it’d be a hell of a lot of fun. I’d also move the office from City Hall to the corner booth at Air Devil’s Inn.
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
SH: Kelly Wilkinson, she’s in The Rain Chorus with the mighty danny flanigan. Her songs and her voice will break your goddamn heart. She has this song about her grandfather called “Raymond” that just kills me.
LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
SH: Scattered, smothered and covered ...
LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.
SH: I like all of the Larry Brown books, but especially “Fay.” He passed away a few years back, but I don’t think any other recent author has “got” the South like Larry Brown. If you’ve ever taken a vacation to Panama City Beach or Gulf Shores on the cheap, and stopped off to buy beer, beef jerky and fireworks at a gas station that was lit up in neon while nursing a real bad sunburn, you’ve lived a little Larry Brown.
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
SH: The “F” word. I use profanity like others use punctuation.
Contact the writer at leobeat@leoweekly.com
- LEO Weekly


Discography

Dallas Alice - "Live at Air Devils Inn" 2004
Dallas Alice - "Social!" - 2006

Tracks from both albums recieve consistent airplay on Louisville, KY's 91.9 WFPK.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, and sometimes straight up offensive, you owe it to yourself to at least say once, “I saw Dallas Alice.” This ain’t your daddy’s country music, but bring him on down anyway…he’ll probably have a good time. Dallas Alice is a rootsy Rock-n-Roll band from Louisville, KY. Singer/songwriter Sean Hopkins, singer/guitarist Justin "The Colonel" Hughes, singer/lead guitarist Nick Reifsteck, singer/bassist Nate Thumas, and singer/drummer Matt Nofsinger are the principal gang of hoodlums that are Dallas Alice, but friends are welcome to stop by anytime. The Dallas Alice sound has been described as “country rock”, “alt-country”, “folk-a-billy”, and “yeesh!” The band considers itself “Louisville’s WORST insurgent-folk-country-rock band”, and some people would have to agree. What cannot be denied, however, is Dallas Alice’s personality. This band is one of the loudest, drunkest, foul-mouthed, and downright fun bands you are ever going to see. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you may have to defend your girlfriend’s good name, but goddammit, you’re gonna have a good time. With influences ranging from Steve Earle and Uncle Tupelo to the Clash and Social Distortion to Townes Van Zandt and Tom T. Hall, there’s something for everybody. Dallas Alice has shared stages with diverse artists like Unknown Hinson, Tim Krekel, Otis Gibbs, The Red Hot Poker Dots, Pat Haney, Shannon Lawson, Paul K. and The Weathermen and country legends Sawyer Brown. You may be offended, but you won’t be disappointed. Dallas Alice…punching Country Music in the neck since 2003.