Billy Law

You may not notice it at first, but Billy Law’s debut album Alone Somewhere is telling you a story. It’s a story that feels familiar. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but then it hits you – you know this story because it feels like your story. This is a story of life, lived. Ups and downs and middle grounds, the good and the bad wrapped up together because that’s precisely how life works. As you work your way song to song, the album plays like a soundtrack, detailing events through the passage of time that you may not have lived directly, but feel deeply. It’s a masterful summation of human experience: the uneven act of growing up, youthful mistakes and adulthood regrets, finding, losing, and earning love, and the daily attempt to understand the person in the mirror.

It quickly becomes clear that while Alone Somewhere may be his debut, Billy Law already has the songwriting chops of a veteran musician as the album has garnered attention from national outlets like Rolling Stone. Perhaps it’s the influence of the decade he’s spent as bassist for the raucous and nationally acclaimed country-rock band Ottoman Turks that has lent such rough-and-tumble life experience. One might certainly be surprised to find that a single band has produced multiple celebrated songwriters, with Billy Law joining his bandmate Joshua Ray Walker in crafting stellar solo albums. As a solo artist, he has toured the EU and even shared the stage with notable acts such as Austin Texas legend Bob Schneider as well as the iconic, trailblazing folk-rock band, America to name a few. But it is just as likely that the normal, non-rock star life has provided fuel for the songwriting fire: there’s plenty of rough-and-tumble to be found in the journey of self-discovery that is graduation, working for a living, chasing your purpose alongside friends and family. Both sides of the singer are fully realized, giving the songs a lived-in feeling like an old friend’s greeting, the touch of worn leather, the taste of a favorite meal.

Much like Ottoman Turks, Billy Law has little regard for sticking to single genres, influenced by classic country masters like Guy Clark, singer-songwriters like Josh Ritter, and indie rockers like Manchester Orchestra and the National. Despite the varied elements from which it draws, there’s a cohesive vibrancy that runs through the album as Law and his band, lovingly known as “The Baby Boys”, wind these colorful threads together. It makes for intriguing listening, appealing to diverse tastes and ages as they incorporate the country-shuffle drinking song of “Voicemail,” indie rock drama and rolling-thunder drums on “It’s Not Right,” and the dreamy Americana of “Wake Me Up Too.” Songs tend to rise and fall with the emotion of the lyrics, and at times Law is almost whispering, only to crescendo with the band in a plaintive moan or impassioned shout. The creation of the album itself mirrored the highs and lows present in Law’s songs, recorded over four years in friends’ home studios, living rooms, and closets. This long, slow, homespun method certainly finds its way into the sound of the album, where you can almost palpably feel the late nights and low lights that produced it.

Billy Law’s songs will speak to you in a way that’s startlingly familiar. Like revered songwriters on classic albums, Law crafts tunes that are at once painfully personal and yet universal. His songs are raw, truthful, real. He has lived these lyrics. And in his sometimes weary but always urgent voice you find kinship. Alone Somewhere simultaneously plays like an epic concept album and a series of intimate case studies that are easy to dig into over and over again. Either way, it’s best paired with a glass whiskey, ready to drown your sorrows and toast your triumphs in equal measure.

Jackson Scribner

Raised in Melissa, TX, Jackson Scribner grew up obsessed with music from an early age. He learned guitar when he was only nine and spent countless hours playing alongside his Dad and brothers at family gatherings. Being that the virtuoso is only twenty one years old, that doesn’t feel all that long ago. Only in the last year and a half has Jackson put lyrics to his skillful instrumentals, making their timeless appeal all the more prodigious.

Jackson Scribner’s debut album came out on March 26th on State Fair Records / We Know Better Records. Since its announcement, the album has garnered enthusiastic attention from the likes of American Songwriter, NPR’s KXT, The Dallas Observer, Folk Alley, The Bluegrass Situation, Glide Magazine, and For The Rabbits among others. Just twenty years old, Scribner’s timeless rasp and melodic intuition makes for folk-informed indie that jingles with emotional immediacy, akin to CAAMP, Hiss Golden Messenger, or Tallest Man On Earth.

By word-of-mouth alone, the young songwriter nabbed fervent support from reputed local musicians like Jeff Ryan (drummed for St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, Daniel Johnston), who came on to produce his first album, as well as  John Dufilho (bass for The Apples in Stereo, The Deathray Davies), and engineer Jerome Brock (Cryptolog), who completed the band. Recorded at Consolvo Studio in Oak Cliff, Texas and mixed by Grammy-winning Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, Phosphorescent, The Walkmen), the upcoming collection showcases Jackson’s precocity in its natural state.

Jackson along with his brother Levi Scribner (also a critically acclaimed singer songwriter in his own right) have played consecutive successful shows since the self titled “Jackson Scribner” album was released as well as going to Europe and touring with State Fair Records label mate Billy Law, wowing audiences with their heartfelt and familial harmonies.

Bosque Brown

Mara Lee Miller’s songs have been fiercely protected and quietly celebrated since 2005. Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller found listeners already warm to the plains-hearted music everywhere in the mid-aughts. Bosque Brown’s first release transcended those old-country and freak-folk trends, evoking a greater reason these sounds were popular: Miller’s songs evoked starlit roads and churches of rural Texas where she grew up just as they brushed a desire for healing common among those who associate those places with spiritual injury. This dichotomy was not resolved in Bosque Brown’s music. The bones of each hymn were strong enough to withstand trembling — the kind brought by fear, and the kind brought by wonder. Miller’s inner world was dark. It was only hers, and with the songs she kept the truth.

When the four-tracked demo that prefaced Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller caught the attention of Burnt Toast Vinyl, performance was not Miller’s focus. Neither is it her focus now. It is heartrending and special to hear Bosque Brown live. Those who did at the beginning remember the awe inspired by Miller’s voice and her talent for silence. She is an artist devoted to privacy and process, so a band formed around her in service to the first record in the safest way possible: her husband, her sister, and two friends played. One of them was Jeremy Buller, then an unknown guitarist whose reverence for Miller’s songs could be felt in the room.  He went on to play with Sarah Jaffe, OK Sweetheart, Sophia Duccini and other artists whose work was clarified in his gentle, careful ear as a producer and sought-after multi-instrumentalist.

Bosque Brown had one more release on Burnt Toast Vinyl, Baby, and the self-released Us and Little Sea crystallized a partnership between Buller and Miller that continues to grow. With fall 2021 comes an opportunity to witness the pair live for the first time since 2013. During this hiatus from shows, Miller’s voice has been heard by new audiences via soundtracks to films like David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun. The possibilities of Bosque Brown always begin with the song itself, and with Buller standing alongside Miller as a mirror to the listener’s awe, every song will continue to be treasured.

Jackson Scribner

Jackson Scribner’s debut album came out on March 26th on State Fair Records / We Know Better Records. Since its announcement, the album has garnered enthusiastic attention from the likes of American Songwriter, NPR’s KXT, The Dallas Observer, Folk Alley, The Bluegrass Situation, Glide Magazine, and For The Rabbits among others. Just twenty years old, Scribner’s timeless rasp and melodic intuition makes for folk-informed indie that jingles with emotional immediacy, akin to CAAMP, Hiss Golden Messenger, or Tallest Man On Earth.

By word-of-mouth alone, the young songwriter nabbed fervent support from reputed local musicians like Jeff Ryan (drummed for St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, Daniel Johnston), who came on to produce his first album, as well as  John Dufilho (bass for The Apples in Stereo, The Deathray Davies), and engineer Jerome Brock (Cryptolog), who completed the band. Recorded at Consolvo Studio in Oak Cliff, Texas and mixed by Grammy-winning Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, Phosphorescent, The Walkmen), the upcoming collection showcases Jackson’s precocity in its natural state.

Raised in Melissa, TX, Jackson Scribner grew up obsessed with music from an early age. He learned guitar when he was only nine and spent countless hours playing alongside his Dad and brothers at family gatherings. Being that the virtuoso is only twenty years old, that doesn’t feel all that long ago. Only in the last year and a half has Jackson put lyrics to his skillful instrumentals, making their timeless appeal all the more prodigious.

“Authentic, raw, honest, pure… Scribner is already an A list talent”  – American Songwriter

“Jackson Scribner’s Music Needs To Be Heard” — The Dallas Observer

“so much raw talent, it’s hard to not take notice.” — Amy Miller, Program Director, KXT 

“one of those intriguing voices that make you lean in and listen” — Folk Alley

“a very special talent, just waiting for the world to come along and

discover how great he could become..” — For The Rabbits

“simple yet texturally rich folk twang” — Glide Magazine

“Jackson Scribner is a short set of lo-fi folk tunes grounded in small-town Texas, its people and landscapes. Scribner’s songwriting feels honest and true, to himself and where he comes from, telling stories about coming of age, with all the sweet rebellions and naïve revelations that go along with it.” – No Depression

Join us on The Green at The Kessler (outdoor stage & lawn behind The Kessler Theater)!

The Green is open every Friday and Saturday starting at 5:30pm, music starts at 7:00pm.

These events are currently free, but space is limited and is first come-first served (as seated by our hosts). 

Want to reserve a picnic table? You can select and pay for a table of your choice here! Each table seats up to 6 guests and will be reserved for you from opening to close on your selected evening.

Food will be available on-site each night from our neighbors at PhD, with beverage service from The Kessler Bar crew.

Please remember to wear a mask when not seated and stick to your party, maintaining a social distance from others.

Events are "rain or shine" – in case of inclement weather, the performance will be moved indoors.

*Note: On dates with indoor concerts at The Kessler, The Green will be open, but there will not be a live artist performing outside.

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It

ONCE THE BEST-KEPT SECRET OF DALLAS’ MUSIC SCENE, JOSHUA RAY WALKER CATAPULTED HIMSELF INTO THE INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT WITH HIS 2019 DEBUT, WISH YOU WERE HERE. AN ALBUM OF CHARACTER-DRIVEN SONGWRITING AND GOLDEN-ERA TEXAS TWANG, WISH YOU WERE HERE DIDN’T JUST NOD TO THE LARGER-THAN-LIFE TROUBADOURS WHO’D INSPIRED WALKER’S CRAFT — IT BROUGHT HIM INTO THEIR RANKS, TOO, ADDING WALKER’S NAME TO THE SHORTLIST OF SONGWRITERS WORTHY OF CARRYING THE TORCHES OF GUY CLARK, JOHN PRINE, AND BLAZE FOLEY.

WHAT MAY HAVE LOOKED LIKE OVERNIGHT SUCCESS TO AN OUTSIDER WAS, IN REALITY, THE PRODUCT OF A DECADE-LONG CLIMB UP THE INDUSTRY’S RANKS. A WORKING MUSICIAN SINCE THE AGE OF 13, WALKER SPENT YEARS BALANCING HIS GIGS AS A SIDEMAN WITH A DIZZYINGLY BUSY SCHEDULE OF SOLO SHOWS, REGULARLY RACKING UP MORE THAN 250 GIGS ANNUALLY. HE SHARPENED HIS SONGWRITING, TOO, DEVELOPING A BLEND OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND FICTION THAT OFTEN REVEALED AS MUCH ABOUT THE SONG’S CREATOR AS ITS CHARACTERS. THAT PROLIFIC APPROACH NOW LEADS WALKER TO 2020’S GLAD YOU MADE IT, A SOPHOMORE RECORD THAT BOTH MATCHES AND MAGNIFIES THE VITAL, VULNERABLE LURE OF HIS DEBUT.

FROM “VOICES” — A SHOWCASE FOR WALKER’S VOICE, WITH A HIGH-LONESOME YODEL WORTHY OF DWIGHT YOAKAM — TO THE ALBUM’S HAUNTING, HARD-ROCKING CLOSER, “D.B. COOPER,” GLAD YOU MADE IT PRESENTS AN INTERPRETATION OF COUNTRY MUSIC THAT’S GREASY ONE MOMENT AND GUT-PUNCHING THE NEXT. A TRUE TEXAS STORYTELLER, WALKER WRITES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF DOWN-AND-OUT CHARACTERS WHO HAUNT THE DARKER CORNERS OF THE LONE STAR STATE. THERE’S THE FAKE-TANNED BEAUTY WHO SELLS BASS BOATS IN THE BITTERSWEET, ACCORDION-FILLED “BOAT SHOW GIRL.” THE ADDICT WHO’S READY TO GIVE INTO TEMPTATION DURING THE HONKY-TONK RAGER “USER.” THE PROCRASTINATOR LOSING TRACK OF TIME IN “CUPBOARD,” A SONG WHOSE FIRST-RATE GUITAR WORK EVOKES DIRE STRAITS PLAYING COWBOY MUSIC IN A TEXAS DANCEHALL.

“EVEN IF I’M WRITING ABOUT A BOAT SHOW GIRL — A WOMAN STANDING IN A BIKINI, TRYING TO SELL BUD LIGHT — I’M EXAMINING SOMETHING ABOUT MYSELF THROUGH THESE CHARACTERS,” SAYS WALKER, WHO BEGAN PICKING HIS FIRST SONGS IN HIS GRANDFATHER’S WORKSHOP IN EAST DALLAS. “THEY’RE PART FICTIONAL AND PART AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO’RE RUNNING OUT OF LUCK, BUT THAT’S NOT GOING TO STOP THEM. EVERYONE’S DOING WHAT THEY’VE GOTTA DO TO GET BY, AND I LOVE MEETING CHARACTERS LIKE THAT. I TAKE BITS OF THOSE REAL-LIFE PEOPLE AND COMBINE THEM TOGETHER TO CREATE THE SUBJECTS OF MY SONGS.”

THE LYRICS MAY BE DOWNCAST, BUT GLAD YOU MADE IT REMAINS DYNAMIC AND DEFIANTLY UPBEAT, A RESULT OF LESSONS LEARNED DURING WALKER’S TOUR IN SUPPORT OF WISH YOU WERE HERE. AS THAT ALBUM EARNED WORLDWIDE ACCLAIM FROM OUTLETS LIKE ROLLING STONE, NPR MUSIC AND THE BOOT, AND SPENT TWELVE STRAIGHT WEEKS ON THE AMERICANA RADIO ALBUMS CHART, WALKER BOUNCED BETWEEN HEADLINING PERFORMANCES OF HIS OWN AND OPENING SLOTS FOR COLTER WALL, CHARLEY CROCKETT, AND AMERICAN AQUARIUM. WALKER EVEN FLEW ON A PLANE FOR THE FIRST TIME SO HE COULD HEAD TO EUROPE FOR A FALL 2019 HEADLINING TOUR. THOSE HIGH-PROFILE SHOWS — OFTEN PLAYED TO FULL ROOMS, WITH AUDIENCES EAGER TO TWO-STEP — INSPIRED HIM TO FOCUS ON DANCEABLE MUSIC THAT SHONE A LIGHT NOT ONLY ON HIS SONGWRITING, BUT ALSO HIS STRENGTH AS AN INSTRUMENTALIST, DRAWING ON THE CHOPS HE’D BUILT UP DURING HIS SIDE HUSTLE AS LEAD GUITARIST FOR THE COUNTRY-PUNK CULT FAVORITES OTTOMAN TURKS.

THE TOE-TAPPING TEMPOS OF GLAD YOU MADE IT ALSO ALLOWED WALKER AND PRODUCER JOHN PEDIGO TO MAKE USE OF AN EXPANDED STUDIO BAND. THEY KICKED OFF THE TRACKING SESSIONS AT AUDIO DALLAS, CAPTURING EVERYTHING ON TWO-INCH REEL-TO-REEL TAPE AND WORKING WITH THE SAME MUSICIANS WHO APPEARED ON WISH YOU WERE HERE. FROM THERE, THEY HEADED EAST TO NASHVILLE, WHERE THEY SET UP A MAKESHIFT STUDIO IN AN AIRBNB AND FINISHED THE ALBUM WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM NUMEROUS ROOTS-ROCK ROAD WARRIORS, INCLUDING PEDAL STEEL PLAYER ADAM “DITCH” KURTZ, SINGER/SONGWRITER MALLORY EAGLE, SLIDE GUITARIST WADE COFER, AND BLUEGRASS STAPLE GAVEN LARGENT.

“WE TOLD PEOPLE TO JUST COME OVER AND HANG OUT,” WALKER REMEMBERS. “THERE WAS BEER AND FOOD IN THE FRIDGE. I WANTED IT TO FEEL LIKE A PARTY AND HAVE THIS LOOSE, FUN ENERGY. EVEN IF THE LYRICS WERE DARK, WE DIDN’T WANT THE SONGS TO SOUND DEPRESSING. WE ALMOST WANTED TO TRICK PEOPLE INTO DANCING TO THEM.”

IT’S THAT INTERSECTION — THE PUSH-AND-PULL BETWEEN EMOTIONALLY-CHARGED, SOUL-BARING STORYTELLING AND BRIGHT, BUOYANT ARRANGEMENTS — THAT MAKES GLAD YOU MADE IT A MODERN CLASSIC. LIKE THE TEXAS TITANS BEFORE HIM, JOSHUA RAY WALKER CONFIDENTLY BLURS THE LINES BETWEEN THE PERSONAL AND THE UNIVERSAL, BETWEEN FACT AND FICTION, BETWEEN COUNTRY MUSIC AND THE SUNDRY SOUNDS THAT ORBIT THE GENRE. WITH GLAD YOU MADE IT, HE LAYS ANOTHER BRICK IN THE PATHWAY HE’S BEEN CONSTRUCTING FOR YEARS, POINTING HIS WAY TOWARD A DESTINATION THAT’S UNIQUE AND UTTERLY COMPELLING.