Saturday, July 09, 2005

Collin County Live! Music Venues Abound

NOTE from Ryan: The following article appeared in the July 2005 Homesteader in North Texas. Many thanks to the Homesteader and the folks that publish it for touting live music in Collin County, Texas. There's even some tidbits from yours truly.

Looking for live music in Collin County? We really do have a music scene, and it’s coming into its own. Like as not, your musical tastes will be satisfied, just about no matter what you like, who you’re with, or what you can afford. Family-friendly or rockin’ bar scene, it’s all here.

We’ll start off with the Down Under Pub and Grub in the Centre at Preston Ridge, 3231 Preston Road, in Frisco. Rock to live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and don't miss Karaoke Wednesdays for a chance to win $300. This is a drinking establishment as well as a restaurant, and in the evening caters to a crowd that likes a loud, rollicking time and wants to have a cigarette with their beer. On last visit, people were on the dance floor, having a great time.

The Irish Rover Pub & Restaurant, 8250 Gaylord Parkway, phone (214) 618-6222, has a similar fun and noisy atmosphere. On Saturdays, see great cover bands like Day Job Refugees, Take 5, Impostals, and Gene Pool. Around St. Patty’s day you’re bound to hear an authentic Irish band.

Randy White’s BBQ & Grill at 720 (Main Street) and Preston Road, in Frisco, has an open mike night on Tuesdays, hosted by KHYI. The music ranges from Texana (Texas-style country music) to classic rock. They’ve been known to have single singers on Saturday nights, and most of the smoke you smell will be from the barbecue, a definite plus because it’s some of the best in town. For a real treat, go see Mr. Zen Bubba himself, Bob Williford, occasionally there on Saturday nights. Bob put the “honky” in honky-tonk, and he’s a real truck driver to boot—cowboy boot that is.

Want to hear live Texana and country music in Plano? Check out Love & War in Texas, 601 E. Plano Parkway in Plano, phone (972) 422-6201. Call to find out what their music event is when you decide to visit. They have everything from bands to a bluegrass jam on the porch (you can bring your own acoustic instrument).

Okay, so you want to hear a variety of music, you can’t find a babysitter for the kids, and you sure could use a latte? Try Coffee Dreams at 1314 W. McDermott in Allen, phone (214)-495-3991 [Note from Ryan: Coffee Dreams just closed]. Every Saturday night there is live music, and it’s always something different. Songwriters to steel drums to hammer dulcimer to jazz. There is no smoking in this coffee house, unless you go out front, so it’s a welcome venue for kids. There are two separate rooms to the side that have huge open windows (no glass), and some cards and board games for the kids to amuse themselves—and they can still hear the music. You can’t always talk over the music here, but it is a comfortable volume.

If you like the coffee house environment, many of the Starbucks Coffee locations also have live entertainment on the weekends, but you’ll have to call ahead to find out for the particular location you’re going to. We recently caught Robert Leahey playing classic rock, and some of his own original Christian rock at the 7135 Preston Road store in Frisco.

A variety of single singers, usually with acoustic guitar, play on Saturday nights at The Sweet Tomato restaurant, 107 S. Church Street, in McKinney, phone (972) 562-8386. Weather permitting, the music is outdoors, and it’s a very relaxing backdrop to your dining experience. The food has a great reputation, too.

If you want a little garlic and Italian spice with your music, try the new Campisi’s at Granite Park, North Dallas Tollway and 121 (next to Blue Mesa) on the Frisco/Plano line. If you’re developing your taste for original music, call them and ask when The Dan Scot Parr band will play there. Dan has two CDs out and can be found on the web at His music is Indie Folk-Rock, and he happens to be an assistant principal at Curtsinger Elementary School in Frisco. Music is usually outdoors on the patio, a smoking area, but most of the smoke blows away with the wind.

And speaking of performing songwriters, veteran Ryan Michael Galloway ( is working hard not-so-behind-the-scenes to form a loose alliance of North Texas songwriters. Teaming with Mr. Parr, and Plano songwriter/composer C. Aaron Moore, the team staged a free concert recently in the Frisco Commons Park amphitheatre, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department. They are enlisting other performing songwriters to participate in future “Rockin’ the Park” events, and are promoting live music in Collin County at large.

“I’m supposed to be the organizer of this thing, but right now it’s not real organized,” jokes Galloway. “To start off, we’re just a rag-tag group of songwriters who want to help get the growing Collin County music scene on the map.” Stay tuned.

Mr. Galloway is also appearing at an exciting new venue in Frisco—Cruisers Restaurant—a beautiful facility in the old Bahama Breeze space across Preston Road from Stonebriar Mall, phone (972) 712-0066. Cruisers will feature bands, singles, and disco music spread throughout the week, as well as car and motorcycle shows. Catch Mr. Galloway on Sunday afternoons from 4-8, when he’ll be playing classic 70s music, mixed with originals and a smattering of 50s – 2000s. The restaurant and club have a classic car and motorcycle theme that is pure fun. The restaurant section caters to families during the day, and the swings at night. The bar has large Key West style windows that will open in the afternoon and evening to allow music to pour onto the patio.

Be on the lookout. Collin County establishments are finding live music to be a great draw for patrons, and you never know when a place will add music to the menu. In the meantime, watch your local listings and the Internet for the happenings at these restaurants and clubs. See you out on the town!


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