Dallas institution Top Ten Records invites you to listen up to “Sounds of Oak Cliff” concert series

Muriel, wearing yellow, holds a microphone and Sam Cormier plays a piano, head thrown back

(L to R) Muriel and Sam Cormier
Photo (L to R): Xochitl/Sam Cormier

Record stores are often held up as a place to discover your next favorite band, but Dallas institution Top Ten Records is taking things one step further.

In 2019, the trio of Ernesto Montiel, Lily Taylor and Alicia EV Borman launched the “Sounds of Oak Cliff” concert series, which has persisted through the turmoil of the pandemic. The fourth iteration of the series, still overseen by co-founder Borman, kicked off last month, and continues this weekend with a performance from Sam Cormier and Muriel.

While musicians performing at Top Ten Records are typically supported via donations solicited at the door, the store also receives funding from the City of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs Arts Activate Program, which helps bolster the attendees’ financial contributions.

“The first six-show series in 2019 was a big success, and an unexpected and important side effect was the performers’ excitement and feelings of artistic validation that, in addition to performing a show inside the oldest record shop in Dallas, they were also being sponsored by the City of Dallas,” said Borman via email.

The “Sounds of Oak Cliff” series continues through the summer, and each show is open to all ages. Info-Red and Madame X will perform on June 17; Kate Fisher and Ryan Taylor will perform on July 23; Only Ever and Uxra will perform on Aug. 19 and Monte Espina and Firelife Trio will close out the series on Sept. 9.

“The concept for the series is to showcase the incredible talent and diversity of artists that live in, work in or otherwise contribute to the creative culture of Oak Cliff, and to provide a fair payment for the musical artists on the line-ups,” Borman said via email. “All six shows are put together with an eye toward diversity of ethnicity, age, race, gender and an exploration of the many musical and artistic styles abounding in Oak Cliff.”

It’s also worth noting this concert series is far from the only performances taking place at Top Ten Records. On May 27, the store will play host to “The Jefferson Jam Sessions, Vol. 1,” presented by RPM Music, which will feature live music and DJ sets from 5-11 p.m. (Borman advises that those interested in the full slate of what Top Ten Records offers should follow the store on Instagram.)

As for a fifth installment of the “Sounds of Oak Cliff” concert series, Borman said Top Ten Records will “certainly try for another Arts Activate grant” in 2024, but also hopes this year’s cycle proves to be entertaining and illuminating in equal measure.

“Beyond sponsoring a dialogue about how wonderful and vibrant the music scene is (and always was) in Dallas, [we] hope the audience has a great time and finds some new artists to love,” Borman said via email.

“Sounds of Oak Cliff” 2023: Muriel and Sam Cormier at Top Ten Records, Oak Cliff. 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $1.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.