There is a sustained stretch of Bobby Sessions’ debut LP, LOA (Law of Attraction), that is as intense, inventive and compelling as anything I’ve heard this year.
It begins with Black Neighborhood, which relies upon Sessions’ strident recitation to create a vivid document of life. It’s an arresting, bold track, like almost every cut of the 13 found on LOA, and one illustrating Sessions’ intuitive understanding that having something to say means very little if no one cares enough — or, more plainly, enjoys — the manner in which it’s being said.
It’s a tactic the Dallas-based rapper employs frequently, continuing through Peyton Manning, one of the sharpest singles released by a local musician in 2015. LOA heralds the arrival of yet another ace hip-hop talent in a region teeming with them, marking Sessions as an artist of consequence. Sessions celebrates LOA’s release Friday at Deep Ellum’s Trees with a veritable galaxy of local rap stars sharing the bill: Justus, A.Dd+, Blue. The Misfit, Topic, Sam Lao and Xes.
Doug Burr, ‘Pale White Dove Deluxe’
Yes, Denton-based singer-songwriter Doug Burr has already released one album this year, but when it’s as good as Pale White Dove, it’s tough to mind revisiting the songs on this “deluxe” reissue. Instead of craven reasons, Burr’s intentions are instead to illuminate. The core of the record remains the same — tough, startling and intoxicating — but the inclusion of a demo track for each of the finished songs gives listeners an understanding how Burr arrived at Dove’s roughed-up style. The evolution can be striking: Never Gonna Be Young Again has the same loose-limbed energy in demo form, but benefits from the addition of percussion and electric guitar, while The Last Confederate Widow retains its lacerating beauty. Burr will perform a solo set Saturday at Dallas’ venerable AllGood Cafe.
Gus Samuelson and Sinner Man, self-titled
Dallas troubadour Gus Samuelson — who also logs time as a DJ on 95.3 KHYI “The Range” — is a local music fixture, often performing with Swampadelic, churning out his brand of self-described “swampy tonk.” Earlier this year, Samuelson teamed with bassist Bobby Chitwood and drummer Thad Moore to create Sinner Man. The trio has released a self-titled debut, which is no less sweaty and passionate than Samuelson’s previous output, but here, the exertions are as likely to take place in a church pew as they are the humid swamp. Whether it’s the gutbucket gospel of Train of Souls, or the brisk revelations of Changes, these Sinners aim squarely at the listener’s soul.