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My interest in the Dallas music scene began in–of all places–Austin

So, I was flying back from visiting my parents in Raleigh, NC. Pretty sure it was just after Christmas 2004. I’d flown Southwest Airlines, so of course there was the obligatory stop Somewhere Else (thanks to the soon-to-be-dead-but-not-soon-enough Wright Amendment) to get back to Love Field.

This trip, Somewhere Else was Austin. My layover was somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple hours, so I wandered over to find a beer. Turned out they played live music in the terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International, so I took my bottle over to a table by the stage and sat down to hear the young lady who was playing.

Well, I caught about the last song and a half of her set. Certainly long enough to tell she had a pretty voice, and sang about subjects I could identify with. So, as she packed up her guitar, I walked over and told her so. She said she was actually from Dallas (but spent about half her time in Italy) and played around Dallas when she was home. I put my email addy on her mailing list and bought one of her CDs.

Her name was Vanessa Peters and I started getting her email announcements pretty quickly, telling me of shows in Dallas and all of Texas. And Europe. (Yeah, I was confused by that, but seemed to recall her mentioning spending some of her time overseas, when we talked.)

And I kept reading the emails, but not going to the Dallas-area shows. The timing either didn’t work for me, or it did and I planned to go and then just wimped out, at the last minute.

Finally, a little more than a year later, I made it to a show. It was at this really cool coffee house in the basement of what used to be the old Sears Catalog Merchandise Center, south of Downtown. Now the building was lofts and shops (called South Side on Lamar). The coffee house in the basement is now called Opening Bell (at the time it was Standard and Pours), and was neither your typical music venue, nor your typical coffee shop.

Anyway, I was hooked. Since then, I have caught nearly every show Vanessa has played within 50 miles of Dallas–many but not all at Opening Bell–and even one in Raleigh. I just flat out love her music.

More than just Vanessa’s music, however–the other acts she has played with have opened me up to a world of other artists, including (but not nearly limited to) Dallas’ Salim Nourallah and Camille Cortinas, MC Hansen from Denmark, Austin’s Aimee Bobruk, San Antonio’s Joe Reyes, and Swedish/Canadian gem Sarah MacDougall.

I keep going back. As long as Vanessa Peters keeps singing, I’ll keep listening.

…And even I will admit: One Good Thing came out of the Wright Amendment.

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