Still going strong as fall draws near, the local music scene keeps offering up one interesting release after another.
Whether it’s a church-trained R&B vocalist, a public radio producer turned affable folk-rocker or a precociously talented country singer, DFW has a little something for everyone to enjoy. Here are three recent releases well worth a spin.
Quentin Moore, ‘You Forgot Your Heart’
It’s repeated again and again, like a mantra — or a mission statement: “I’m gonna funk you up,” sings soul man Quentin Moore on I Wish I Was Crazy, the opening track of his debut LP, You Forgot Your Heart. Born in Austin, a graduate of the University of North Texas and now based in Dallas, Moore has spent years in the trenches as a member of Soulbol, which opened for the likes of Chaka Khan and Dwele. His is a throwback style, reminiscent of R&B’s ’70s socially conscious yet still sexy heyday, but one that feels relevant, thanks in part to Moore’s astonishing voice, which glides effortlessly from a smooth tenor to a gorgeous falsetto. “If I can’t do it my way/I don’t want to do it at all,” croons Moore during My Way. Anyone who tries to mess with what Moore’s got is just asking for trouble.
Jeff Whittington, ‘Whittington’
He’s best known to dedicated listeners of KERA 90.1 FM as the executive producer of Think and the host of Anything You Ever Wanted to Know. But when he’s not manning the boards for Dallas’ public radio station, Jeff Whittington is making music. Having drafted Grammy-winning (and now Austin-based) producer Stuart Sikes, Whittington is a pleasing, altogether mellow collection of carefully considered pop songs tinged with folk, rock and country elements. Whittington’s voice is a high, occasionally pinched instrument, but it works in the melodic context of tracks like Death’s Gaping Maw and the sublime Oblivion. If Whittington ever grows tired of being on one side of the microphone, the other suits him just fine.
Skylar Elise, self-titled
Although she’s only 15, Fort Worth’s Skylar Elise has a voice that is, frankly, astonishing in its maturity — understandable, given that her bio says she began warbling Shania Twain tunes at 18 months. She makes her recorded debut with this polished six-track EP, leading off with Gypsy Soul, the single being shopped to radio. Elise does suffer a bit from anodyne vocal syndrome — the aggravatingly common condition exacerbated by reality competitions wherein singers perform but fail to connect with the material — but there’s enough promise here (particularly on You Wish) to merit keeping an eye on Elise’s career.