Summer Lane Emerson’s knack for turning phrase is reminiscent of Ani DiFranco.

We are living in a moment when public conversations about gender issues have taken on an urgency that impacts many aspects of our lives and the way we interact and converse with one another.

I’ve been discussing this with associate editor Eric Griffey. Our interactions began in a hostile way: I popped off harshly and publicly, and his response was defensive. Hey, I never claimed to be a diplomat.

However, what resulted from that initial interaction was a genuine, honest conversation that’s taken place over the last several months about how the Weekly can do better in regard to female musicians. With that in mind, I was given the opportunity to highlight the work of women in the local scene. As an occasionally vocal critic of the Weekly, I’m grateful the powers that be took the criticism in the spirit with which it was intended.


Here are some artists to watch in 2020. This list is by no means comprehensive. However, it is my hope that readers find something new to love.

To the locals reading this, you can support these acts by following them on the socials and showing up for gigs. And all the guys in bands who also want to do better? Reach out to these acts and book them.

10. Arlington-based Cherry Mantis (@cherry_mantis) creates high-energy bops that fit nicely on college radio alongside bands like Weezer and Vampire Weekend. Their live shows are fun, and you can catch them at Lola’s Saloon on Saturday, Jan 18.

9. Simone Nicole ( is primarily recognized for folksy compositions. She evolved sonically on 2019’s “Subtle,” on which her acoustic guitar is surrounded by organs, percussion, electric guitar bridges, and layers of ethereal vocals that produce dreamy indie-pop sonics.

8. Mixing is an art, and DJ Asa Ace (@asa.ace) has been throwing down dance hall, reggae, and hip-hop beats while lighting up dance floors across Tarrant County. She’s a one-woman party machine with an ear for mixings tracks. She’ll be releasing an original EP in 2020.

7. Good Latimer (@goodlatimerband) has played more than a dozen gigs this year, including their winning turn at the I <3 BBQ Battle of the Bands in their hometown of Keller. The quartet, composed of multi-instrumentalists who frequently swap gear mid-show, has a sound that runs the gamut from ’60s-inspired jams to poppy indie rock.

6. An artist who is part of the @TRNDMUSICDFW collective, Fort Worth-based songwriter/vocalist/producer AXYL (@axylmusic) has been cranking out EDM jams all year. Her collaboration with BVRNOUT, “Miss You,” has racked up 1.4 million views on YouTube since June.

5. Rocker Claire Hinkle (@clairehinklemusic) plans to release a follow-up to 2017’s Let It Out. She’s writing the new album while studying music in New York City, and the preview she gave at Lola’s Saloon last week featured her snarling lyrics over ambient guitar loops.

4. Amanda Hand found her voice this year as the frontwoman of indie-pop band Big Heaven (@bigheavenmusic). She’s deep into the process of writing an album to follow up 2019’s Olivia EP, anticipating a release in summer of 2020.

3. Summer Emerson (@summeremersonmusic) has a phenomenal voice and a knack for turning a phrase that reminds me of a young Ani DiFranco. 2019’s “Bloodstained Wings” was a gut-wrenching debut single.

2. The Straits (@thestraitstx) are a new alternative rock band that played to packed venues across Tarrant County in 2019. Their dynamic, high-energy style should translate nicely on the debut album they’re finalizing for release in 2020.

1. Finally, as Weekly contributor Steve Steward mentioned in his recent column, Katie Robertson (@ktgrace) and Jen Rux (@dreamysoundz) are now collaborating as genini. (See: this week’s feature story.) I caught their experimental act at Arts Goggle and was captivated. Consider this mention my plea to the duo to get those tracks recorded and released in 2020.


  1. As a coordinator at an open mic in Arlington at Truth Vinyl records, every Thursday night from 5 to 8 p.m, I see firsthand the talent coming through that stage! Drop-in and listen or come perform and be amazed at all the talent that shows up there. So we thank the venues that support the open mics that give a space to budding solo artists!