Things have changed a bit during the annual Texas-OU weekend here in Dallas. In the '80s, reports of Caligula-levels of debauchery in the West End made the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade look like a Vacation Bible School picnic. These days, the revelry is more spread out and it seems as though the Mardi gras style shenanigans have decreased over the years, but there's still musical fun to be had.
College football and country music just go together. Here are our favorite country shows in Dallas-Fort Worth on Texas-OU weekend.
Black Joe Lewis, Charley Crockett, Whiskey Shivers, The Texas Gentlemen, Rise & Shine: Oct. 7 (Dallas)
Austin's Black Joe Lewis has long been a worthy musician to catch when he and his merry band roll through town. But The Rustic in Uptown has a day full of tunes worthy of coming and staying awhile. Get there early for Austin's best bluegrass act, the Whiskey Shivers. Note: Margo Price was formerly on the bill but has been replaced by Charley Crockett.
Music begins at 2 p.m. The Rustic, 3656 Howell St, Dallas. Free with RSVP, $55 for VIP. Details here.
Jack Ingram: Oct. 8 and 9 (Dallas)
Strangely enough, the list of recent national country chart-toppers with strong connections to Dallas isn't a terribly long one. But what such a list lacks in length, it makes up for in quality, thanks to venerable artists such as Jack Ingram. While attending SMU in the early '90s, Ingram began playing his literate, thoughtful brand of country rock in Adair's Saloon as well as other local hangs. He became one of the respected beacons of the young Texas country movement before hitting it big as a pop-country stud a decade ago. With a stellar new folk-tinged record, Midnight Motel, Ingram is mining the sonic terrain he loves the most. These two nights in town will be the first time he hits his old stomping grounds with new music.
7:30pm. Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St, Dallas. $22. Details here.
The Mavericks: Oct. 7, and Gary Allan: Oct. 8 (Fort Worth)
For those coming into town and staying on the western side of Dallas-Fort Worth, Billy Bob's Texas is your spot. It's that rare tourist attraction that happens to be a legitimate place to drink, shoot pool and dance the night away to A-List country acts. On Friday night, a rejuvenated Raul Malo-led Mavericks bring their signature blend of Bakersfield country, flamenco flavor and heartland rock to town. Since reuniting a couple of years ago, the Grammy-winning group has seemingly been on fire and is receiving the grandest reviews of its enviable career. The following night, multi-platinum artist Gary Allan brings his gritty but accessible collection of rock-driven hits to the legendary Stockyards spot for some post-game good times.
Cody Johnson: Oct. 8 (Dallas)
Most years, the biggest name in Texas country seems to headline the State Fair of Texas' main stage after the big game. And this year, there's not a hotter act around than Cody Johnson. His latest album, the independent Gotta Be Me, debuted on the Billboard Country chart at Number 2, and thousands of country fans are helping him sell out every stop he makes. To be clear, the former rodeo cowboy was already a big deal, but now, he's an even bigger deal. His earnest writing and energetic performances have proven to be a combo few seem to be able to resist these days.
8:30 p.m. Fair Park, Dallas. Free with State Fair of Texas admission. Details here.
John Baumann: Oct. 8 (Plano)
If the wild confines of Fair Park and Dallas proper are too much, and yet you still want throw a few back and hear some killer Texas country, Plano will be the place, believe it or not. There aren't many better converted patios than the spacious, fan-cooled (or heated, if need be) area at Love and War in Texas. John Baumann offers skilled writing, a unique vocal delivery and enough rock to get you rolling. Of the impressive collection of on-the-rise Texas country acts, Baumann is as promising as they come.
8 p.m. Love and War in Texas, 601 E. Plano Parkway, Plano. $10. Details here.
By KELLY DEARMORE, SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR