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Concert Review: Songwriter Round at All Good Cafe

Songwriters’ Round at All Good Café Jan. 26, 2013 2934 Main St., Dallas 214-742-5362 http://allgoodcafe.com/

Posted 10:52am on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013

Saturday I found myself in Dallas, in Deep Ellum, in the All Good Café to be specific. Normally I don’t like to go to Dallas. I like Dallas just fine, especially Deep Ellum – I just don’t like driving there. And now I really like the All Good Café.

When I got there, we took a small table towards the back (there were only a few empty seats). The place is a cool home cooking kind of joint with a real stage, eclectic décor, and a damn fine chicken fried steak. The service was attentive and friendly, and the swans – there was an unthinkable number of origami swans hanging from the ceiling. What’s not to love about that?

They were having a songwriters round, with Kristy Kruger, Chris Holt, and Salim Nourallah, which unfortunately had already started while I was circling the block looking for parking (when going to Deep Ellum, bring quarters). In a songwriters round, the songwriters take turns performing their works, while all sharing the stage. Often they accompany each other, and if you have good performers, it’s really something worth watching. These were good performers.

On the right we had Kristy Kruger, an experienced performer who has toured extensively. Glad to have her back here. There is a hint of Rickie Lee Jones to her voice, and I could listen Kristy perform all night.

To the left, we had Salim Nourallah, also an accomplished performer who has toured worldwide. He has a good voice and is a good performer, but he was definitely outshone by Chris Holt and Kristy Kruger.

In fact, Chris Holt stole the show. His voice is powerful and emotive, and his guitar work intricate and polished. I often couldn’t see the performers because of the crowd and the brick pillars holding up the swan-laden ceiling, and when I heard a song I really liked, by the time I finally got a clear view, it always seemed to be Chris playing it.

But that’s not saying there was much I didn’t like. And one of the things that I liked about the All Good Café is that they seemed to appreciate the level of talent on stage, and while there wasn’t a cover being charged, they did come around with a tip jar rather aggressively. To my embarrassment, the last bit of cash I had was in the parking meter across the street, but next time I’ll hit an ATM next time on the way. Good music deserves compensation, and this was good music.

On Sunday, I made it out to Lola’s 6th in Fort Worth for the Rock and Roll rummage sale. They have this the last Sunday of every month, where local artists sell their art work. Tim Platt was performing on the back deck, and the School of Rock was on the main stage inside. These are kids who are getting rock band training, and their performances ranged from cute for the little ones, to a little disturbing for the older ones. They were doing Led Zeppelin covers, and when they did Whole Lotta Love, well, it was awkward. We laughed nervously and said “at least they didn’t do The Lemon Song” – a particularly sexual innuendo-laden number. But as if on cue, they did that one, too. There’s some real talent in those kids, and they were really putting some heart into it.

Overall, the kids had fun, the artists had fun, and I can’t think of a better way to end the weekend.

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