Arlington native Chase Gassaway can’t argue that his first solo record (after stints in Canaries in the Coal Mine and the MatchMaker Band) in a decade wasn’t asked for: Certain Circles was fully funded via the social fund-raising site Kickstarter.
But even if fans hadn’t chipped in donations to help the 28-year-old singer-songwriter realize this 10-song collection, it would’ve been a crime for Gassaway to keep his voice stilled. Self-produced at Britton Beisenherz’s Ramble Creek studios in Austin (Beisenherz engineered and mixed Circles), the record flirts with country, pop and rock ( Feeling Good evokes a ray of springtime sunshine), all anchored by Gassaway’s appealing, raspy-hinge voice.
Gus Samuelson, ‘American Soul’
Dallas troubadour Gus Samuelson bills his sound as “swampy tonk,” a succinct way to describe the humid pleasures of his largely acoustic material. Gifted with a voice that, at times, conjures visions of Leon Redbone and backed by little more than a vigorously plucked acoustic and spacious percussion, Samuelson grabs hold from the opening moments of American Soul and refuses to let go.
First Rush, ‘The Road Less Traveled’
A veteran rock act hailing from Arlington — First Rush formed in 1972, and actually cut an album for Polydor Records in 1978 — this quintet (guitarist/vocalist Mike Sauce, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Steven Holbrook, keyboardist/vocalist Mark Hicks, drummer Rick Johansen and bassist Skip Johnson) packs plenty of meaty guitar riffs, soaring vocals and hard-won wisdom into the nine tracks making up its new LP, The Road Less Traveled. First Rush will celebrate the new album’s release Friday with a show at Dallas’ Poor David’s Pub.