The title track may lament the fact that even arrested adolescents grow old, but, if anything, James McMurtry sounds more energized than ever. On Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod), he and his longtime rhythm section—Daren Hess, Ronnie Johnson—have solidified their sound into a low, tribal rock growl, with
There’s a short roster of rock and roll performers (Jagger, Springsteen) who can rivet your attention every time they step onstage. If you grew up in Texas, here’s a name on that list: Joe Ely. Those who have seen Ely give his all, particularly with his early Jesse Taylor/Ponty
As part of rap outfit UGK—his partner was the late Pimp C—the Port Arthur rhyme veteran has earned many a peer admirer in the notoriously prideful hip-hop world. He is working on his second solo album, II Trill, and appears this month at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Conference and
Thomas Turner stands at a keyboard flanked by a stack of knobs and buttons resembling a cheesy set from TV’s Lost in Space. Donning a high-collared sequined cape, he produces a numbing series of New Wave drum machine beats and electronics. Aaron Behrens, alongside in tight jeans and long pigtails,
Guitar muscle, ferocious drumming, commanding vocals, and hook-laden tunes: no sophomore slump here. Austin’s What Made Milwaukee Famous took its time with the follow-up to its 2004 debut, and it was a wise move. The hardworking foursome has sculpted its sound on the road. What Doesn’t Kill Us
Though he’d likely prefer a live afternoon session with his Family Band, Willie Nelson, to his credit, occasionally loosens his laissez-faire hegemony enough to let a producer take charge in the studio. The results, a far cry from his more casual recordings, are sometimes real successes (1993’s Across the
Who’s the next Willie? The new Selena?
He didn’t invent the outdoor music festival—perhaps you’ve heard of Woodstock?—but he’s as responsible as anyone for its resurgence as a twenty-first- century form, and he’s just now getting started. As one of three principals at Capital Sports and Entertainment, the College Station native and onetime club booker was the
An extended interview with Jesse Dayton.
The talented Beaumont-born singer has just released Holdin’ Our Own and Other Country Gold Duets (Stag), a joint album with Austin’s Brennen Leigh. Though it recalls a Nashville of yesteryear, it comprises mostly new material. He also recently scored big as the creative force behind a fictional country band,
Now on DVD: Ghostland ObservatoryMaybe you love sequencers and robotic electronic dance beats. Maybe you don’t. Yet how you feel about this Austin electro-rock duo, a budding national phenomenon whose ferocious energy explodes on Live From Austin TX (New West)—originally a July 2007 Austin City Limits taping—really comes down
There’s a quality—an easygoing, lyrical storytelling manner that eschews stridency or pretension—that all folksingers strive for and few attain. But Danny Schmidt has it in abundance: With seductive simplicity, his music demands your attention. Schmidt is a native Austinite who honed his craft amid the music scene in Charlottesville,
The best music has always been made by those who defy easy categorization, as exemplified by not one but two posthumous releases from Texas jazz giants. Fort Worth’s Dewey Redman was a glass-half-empty kind of guy who saw his career accomplishments as merely wins in a long battle—so the
Klassen, who performs under the name Prince Klassen, was born and raised in San Antonio. Following in the footsteps of his brother, Jason, he started deejaying at house parties when he was only fourteen. He now lives in Austin, where he regularly spins at Beauty Bar, Whisky Bar, and Nasty’s.I
Miranda Lambert likes guns, but there’s more to her than that, just as the sultry pouts on her album covers don’t tell the whole story of an East Texas girl who always wanted to be Merle Haggard.
The gospel according to Yolanda Adams.
And for these 8 one-hit wonders, including Balde Silva, of Toby Beau, that’s a good thing: Thanks to wildly successful singles they released many years ago, what might have otherwise been forgettable careers are anything but.
“You feel like you’re passing through time, but you don’t really feel like you’re leaving any time behind. You’re kind of in the moment, because the wind’s in your face and there’s always another highway.”
Those lucky enough to have caught RUTHIE FOSTER live, particularly years back when she sat in with the Austin gospel act the Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers, know something her albums have never fully betrayed: She’s a stone soul singer who’s been masquerading as a folk act. No longer. THE PHENOMENAL
LUCINDA WILLIAMS’s music is evocative in a way others can’t touch. It’s not only the fragility and ache in her voice but also her economy of language, with its declarative simplicity that cuts to the heart. A perfect album is a rarity, yet Williams has made two, her 1988 self-titled
Senior editor Michael Hall on spending time with Dallas musician Erykah Badu.
The Austin filmmakers traveled the country to explore the state of today’s popular music for their documentary Before the Music Dies, which features interviews with Doyle Bramhall, Elvis Costello, Branford Marsalis, and Eric Clapton, among others.How is today’s hand-wringing different from just another generation’s complaining that music is no good
Much has been written about BLAZE FOLEY over the yearsmaybe too much. His outsized reputation has overshadowed his recordings, which by comparison seem enigmatic, unfocused, and devoid of ambition. But this could actually describe Foley, who in his short lifetime (he was murdered in 1989 at age 39) never made
Looking to feed your indie-rock jones? San Antonio’s SNOWBYRD may be just what you’re seeking. Hard-driving, chugging guitar rhythms, melodic songs with off-kilter Phish/Meat Puppets/Grateful Dead (pick your generation) harmonies, a flair for weird turns, and, of course, a proud lo-fi aesthetic are all combined on the band’s self-titled debut
There may be a wait for Austin’s next big thing. In what has to be one of the longest teases in rock history, VOXTROT has released its third consecutive EP. As in, just a measly three more songs. The group’s previous two EPs met with the kind of acclaim that
“It’s immensely gratifying to work with people who are trying to do their best at what they do toward a common end. And whether it’s an arrangement or the performance of a single song, I just love the feeling of watching three or four or sixteen people all working together.”
Including: the sopa azteca at El Mirador, in San Antonio; the spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park; the humidity; elbow room; free advice at White Rock Lake, in Dallas; county courthouses; boots-and- jeans-clad Academy Award–winner Larry McMurtry; and—seriously— quail hunting.
“I always thought that if I was having fun doing what I was doing and making a living doing it, then I was already successful.”
Senior editor Michael Hall on musician Daniel Johnston and writing about mental illness.
He was, for a while, and look what happened: Today one of the great songwriters in the alternative-rock universe is a 44-year-old manic-depressive living with his parents in Waller. And the worst thing about it is that he’s about to be famous again.
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES MCMURTRY, whose tales put a human face on the downtrodden. The only thing surprising about his entry into protest music is that it took him so long. WE CAN’T MAKE IT HERE is a seven-minute state-of-the-union mantra that looks at the Bush
Michael Ramos used to be a coveted player in the Austin scene; now he’s sought out by the likes of Paul Simon and John Mellencamp. Ramos spent years as a member of the BoDeans, but it’s his current employer, Patty Griffin, who encouraged him to explore his own unique fusion
Like the blues, jazz is steeped in such tradition that players can spend decades finding their own voice. Many never do. Which makes what JASON MORAN has accomplished in just over five years of recording even more remarkable. Same Mother (Blue Note) is simply the latest in a series of—there’s
Musician Ian McLagan survived the British rock explosion of the sixties. Now he lives in Austin, a place he loves to call home.
Read twenty more letters about executive editor Paul Burka's article, "The Man Who Isn't There."
"My next assignment was supposed to be teaching English at the Academy at West Point, but I didn't go. I got out of the Army and went to Nashville instead, and I think Johnny Cash was probably the biggest reason."
Senior editor Michael Hall talks about Beyoncé and this month's cover story, "It's a Family Affair."
"The Dixie Chicks recorded 'Travelin' Soldier,' one of the first songs I wrote, and it did great until the girls got embroiled in that crazy media-frenzy."
"I'm the one who introduced guitar boogie-woogie in this country, with a song I called 'Gatemouth Boogie.' It was a big hit."
Before they had even cut a record, the five kids from Tyler who call themselves Eisley were the talk of the music business. Why? Let me draw you a picture.
"I moved to Austin in 1974, and it was this kind of magical place. The whole alternative culture controlled the town."
"I don't believe anything in this world could ever disturb or upset me enough to make me start drinking again."
You may never have heard of Ramón Ayala, but to his four generations of fans in South Texas and Mexico, he’s music royalty. He revolutionized norteño, a genre that reigns along the border, and—after more than one hundred albums—is still going strong.
According to Time, the Austin rock-pop trio Spoon "just might be your next favorite band." But Britt Daniel and the boys have been burned by such pronouncements before, so this time they’re carefully considering their options—and, as always, putting their music first.
Is Clear Channel, the San Antonio-based radio behemoth, as patently evil as everyone says? Don't touch that dial.
My Jerry Jeff Walker.
Secret Santas, take note: Here are my picks for the state's most underrated or underrecognized CDs of the year.
With the record business in the doldrums, what's a talented, ambitious band to do? If you're Austin's Grupo Fantasma, you make it on your own.
After years of ignoring Woody Guthrie's time in Pampa, residents of the tiny Panhandle community are finally singing "This Land Is His Land."
She was a country music sensation at age 13. Now, Tanya Tucker, a native of Seminole, talks about her life and her love of music 30 years later.