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Celebrating 25 Years Of North Texas Music With Lots And Lots Of Awards


Five stories that have North Texas talking: the Music Awards are coming, an appeals court overturns this week's Texas abortion ruling, the Old 97's make a new album, and more:

KXT’s very own Paul Slavens penned the cover story of the latest Dallas Observer! He takes a look back at 25 years of North Texas music as the Observer celebrates its 25th Music Awards. The musician, music lover and radio host reflects on the city’s evolving music scene. Slavens writes about playing in Dallas for the first time: “I was half scared of being mugged and half delirious with amazement that I was playing music on a real stage in a big city.” He also writes about the DOMA awards: “When the Observer decided to hold their first DOMAs, it was a pretty big deal to those of us who were vying for attention in the Deep Ellum music scene. There are some pretty heavy hitters on the list of nominees for the first DOMAs: Brave Combo, New Bohemians, Reverend Horton Heat, Sara Hickman, Bugs Henderson, Rhett Miller, The Legendary Revelations. They all went on to great success. Most are still making music, 25 years later. There is a laundry list of long-gone bands that reads like a history of early Deep Ellum: The Trees, Shallow Reign, DDT, Three on a Hill, Café Noir, Loco Gringos, the Daylights, Rigor Mortis.” (Oh, by the way, part 1 -- check out Paul’s Track By Track podcast.) (Oh, by the way, part 2 -- KERA’s very own Jeff Whittington is a contender in the Observer’s Best New Release category. Click here to vote! Whittington will perform Saturday night at the Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase. Winners are announced Tuesday. Until then, watch Jeff sing to a dog:

  • A federal appeals court has granted a Texas request to reinstate restrictions on abortion providers after a lower court blocked the state from fully implementing the new law. The stay follows a ruling by District Judge Lee Yeakel on Monday — a day before the law was to have gone into effect. It requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinics they practice in. Yeakel said the provision was unconstitutional and presented an undue burden on women seeking abortions. But Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott quickly appealed for a stay to allow the law to go forward. On Thursday, a panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted his request. The appeals court said Yeakel's ruling focused on emergency room treatment of women experiencing complications following an abortion, which it said "overlooks substantial interests of the State in regulating the medical profession and the State's interest in 'protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession.' "

  • Racers, start your Learjet engines: Alliance Airport gets pretty busy before and after NASCAR races. That’s because it’s just five miles south of Texas Motor Speedway. This weekend, expect many fancy planes – the AAA Texas 500 is happening Sunday. “This is a time to roll out the red carpet for drivers, their families and crew and major race sponsors,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s jet is easy to spot because it features his racing team’s logo. During busy race weeks, arrivals and departures are about double the traffic of a normal week, officials told the Star-Telegram. The drivers are arriving not only for the Sunday race, but also Friday’s Winstar World Casino 350 and Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, the paper reports.

  • Dallas Museum of Art and Italy work together to return artworks: Last year, the Dallas Museum of Art agreedto return six antiquities that were looted illegally from Italy years ago. Italy's culture ministry announced the agreement Thursday, saying the DMA was far more cooperative than other museums. Unlike past negotiations with U.S. museums, which involved threatened or real legal action to recover looted antiquities, Dallas museum director Maxwell Anderson spontaneously offered to return the items after the museum couldn't determine their provenance, The Associated Press reported. On Friday, the DMA will display a set of 5th century B.C. objects from the ancient Etruscan city of Spina — on a long-term loan from Italy. The transfer marks the “official signing of a memorandum of understanding” about continued collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture, a DMA news release said. KERA's Art&Seek has more details.

  • Some adult songs, some pretty songs for Old 97’s: Rolling Stone catches up with Dallas’ own Old 97’s and frontman Rhett Miller to talk about their new album: Rolling Stone asked: So you haven't mellowed after 20 years? “There's that thing that happens, especially in the Americana world, where as you age you get quieter and more contemplative. That is not happening with us. We are not going gentle into that good night.” Rolling Stone asked: What's the new material like? Well, I write a ton of songs and the band tells me which ones they like. I give them which ones they like and the rest I keep for my solo record. In this case, I probably went in with about 25 songs. It was funny, because there were two distinct sets of songs. One was sort of adult-themed. … Then there was a pile of prettier songs.”
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.