Axios Dallas

Picture of the Dallas skyline.

Happy Monday! Check in with all five senses today.

🌧️ Today's weather: Chilly with a decent chance of rain.

🎡 Sounds like: "Dallas Lights"

πŸ’‰ Situational awareness: A federal appeals court reinstated President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large companies. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he'll fight it.

Today's newsletter is a poetic 871 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 musical thing: πŸŽ™οΈ Joshua Ray Walker is on the cusp of stardom

Joshua Ray Walker, with a green mullet and glasses

His baby face belies his poet's soul. Photo courtesy of Philip Poulsen/REK Room Media

Joshua Ray Walker is on the cusp of international stardom, but his accolades haven't translated into financial success yet.

Why it matters: The 30-year-old singer-songwriter has had three critically acclaimed albums in the last three years and his shows are often packed. But if he doesn't break through to a larger audience soon, he might have to find a new career.

  • His story exposes the financial conundrum many up-and-coming musicians face.

The intrigue: The music scene in North Texas has produced recent national phenoms like Leon Bridges, whose songs feature regularly in movies and commercials. But for every Leon Bridges, dozens of talented musicians toil in obscurity.

What they're saying: "You either jump the gap or you don't," Walker told Axios. "I'm right at that tipping point where if you don't make it past where I'm at in a few years, a lot of people give up. I'm either going to jump the gap in two to three years, or I don't jump the gap and I'm in crippling debt."

Context: Walker writes novelesque country songs, populated by the type of beautifully flawed characters he saw growing up in East Dallas.

Between the lines: As his star has risen, his off-stage life has been chaotic and painful. Over the last year, his father died, a pipe burst in his house and when he opened the storage unit where he kept his belongings while contractors worked on his home, everything he owned was covered in mold.

  • "So I have no furniture," he says. "I have no clothes. I have no books, no records. All my important documents are ruined."

Our thought bubble: If you care about our region's ability to produce big name stars, check out Joshua Ray Walker. Buy his albums and merchandise and go to see him when you can. You won't regret it.

Read the full story.

2. πŸ₯ƒ Joshua Ray Walker's perfect East Dallas day

A horse, some cowboys, and many plastic cups in a bar

Quite the promo shot for Walker's newest album, "See You Next Time." Photo courtesy of Chad Windham/REK Room Media

Joshua Ray Walker is on the road more than 200 nights a year, but he told Axios that no matter how popular he gets, he doesn't want to move away from the neighborhood where he grew up in East Dallas.

  • "I think I'll always live in East Dallas," he told Axios. "Not to say if I get extremely rich I won't also buy a house in Greece, but whatever. I really do love that neighborhood."

We asked Walker to tell us his favorite East Dallas go-tos. Here's what he told us:

β˜• His favorite coffee shop: Cultivar Coffee Roasting Co., 1155 Peavy Rd.

🌯 His favorite Tex Mex: El Vecino, 718 N Buckner Blvd.

πŸ₯‚ His favorite date spot: Lounge Here, 9028 Garland Rd.

🎧 His favorite record store: Good Records, 9026 Garland Rd.

🍺 His favorite dive bar: The Lakewood Landing, 5818 Live Oak St. #4334.

3. 🏈 Cowboys crush the Giants

Zeke bursting into the endzone

The Cowboys got off to a fast start with an interception and touchdown in the first few minutes. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

For a moment, it looked like the Cowboys were going to repeat what happened last week, when they built up a quick, dominating lead in a divisional road game β€” only to let their opponent back in the game near the end.

  • But this week a fourth-quarter Giants drive was interrupted by yet another Trevon Diggs interception.
  • The pick gives Diggs 10 this season, the most a Cowboys player has had in a year since Everson Walls in 1981.
  • It also sealed the game. The Cowboys won 21-6.

By the numbers: Dak Prescott is now 9-2 all-time against the Giants.

  • Giants running back Saquon Barkley is 0-6 against the Cowboys.

In the end: The Cowboys are now 10-4 and well-positioned as the third seed in the NFC.

  • The Jan. 2 game against Arizona Cardinals might determine who gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Our thought bubble: It feels so good to beat the Giants, no matter how terrible they are.

4. πŸ—žοΈ Burnt Ends: Bite-sized news bits

Illustration of the Deep Ellum neon sign, which says "Burnt Ends" and "Axios" instead of "Deep Ellum" and "Texas."

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ›©οΈ Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly tested positive for COVID-19 one day after telling a Senate committee that "masks don't add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment." (USA Today)

πŸͺ§ A Dallas police officer is charged with assault after an incident that occurred during last year's social justice protests. (CBS DFW)

πŸ† South Oak Cliff High School became the first DISD school to win a state football title since 1958. (WFAA)

⛰️ A man accused of a murder in DeSoto was arrested in Utah. (FOX4)

🀠 Former Gov. Rick Perry sent texts to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election, pushing a strategy to undermine the results. (CNN)

🀷 Former President Donald Trump told the audience at First Baptist Dallas that the U.S. is "in great trouble" before his live event with Bill O'Reilly at the AAC. (DMN)

5. πŸ“· We asked, you answered

The "Wave" sculpture

The Wave sculpture at SMU. Photo: Tasha "Clue Dropper" Tsiaperas/Axios

Last week we had a closeup of this sculpture and asked if you knew where in North Texas the photo was taken.

We had some amazing guesses, but the correct answer: It's the Wave sculpture by Santiago Calatrava, and it lives outside the Meadows Museum at SMU.

The first person to reply with the correct answer was Tom L., who will receive a very cool Axios ball cap.

πŸ€” Know of an awesome hidden local treasure other readers would struggle to identify? Hit reply and tell us about it.

🧱 Mike is still watching Christmas movies. Tonight it's the true-crime suspense film: "Home Alone 2."

πŸ˜‡ Tasha is trying to find "Angels With Filthy Souls" on her streaming services, ya filthy animals.

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