Music

Storytelling and reviews about the artists and trends that define the sounds of the Lone Star State
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Music|
May 31, 2008

Frankie Miller

The Victoria-born country star, now 77, had a stellar career in the fifties and sixties that is all but forgotten. His emergence from retirement, along with the newly released deluxe box set Blackland Farmer: The Complete Starday Recordings, and More (Bear Family), may just change that.You landed your first

Music|
April 30, 2008

Ed Jurdi & Gordy Quist

Together with Colin Brooks, they make up the triumvirate of songwriters who front Austin’s Band of Heathens. What began as a loose collaboration of jam buddies has led to two live releases, Best New Band honors at the 2007 Austin Music Awards, and finally, a self-titled debut studio album.How

Music|
April 30, 2008

Say Hey Willie

To the famously short list of things that are certain in life—death and taxes—you can confidently add another: Willie Nelson sells copies of Texas Monthly. The iconic singer, golfer, actor, bus rider, weed smoker, and all-around good guy has been on our cover more times than anyone else (seven, this

Music|
April 30, 2008

Directions to See a Ghost

In case you haven’t been paying much attention, psychedelic rock is once again coming on like an acid flashback. Most new bands mining this bygone era do so with a painful degree of transparency and come off sounding silly. Not Austin’s Black Angels. This coed outfit’s 2006 debut album,

Music|
April 30, 2008

Troubadour

He’s dominated the field for so long that it’s easy to forget there was a time in country music before George Strait. He has more number one singles than George Jones, Hank Williams, or Ray Price—in fact, he has more than any artist in any genre. So on album

Music|
April 30, 2008

One Hell of a Ride

Not bad for 75 years. It would take most artists two lifetimes to catch up to the output of wildly prolific Willie Nelson, and even then it’s inconceivable that anyone would leave a greater legacy. At first glance, the aptly titled box set One Hell of a Ride

Music|
March 31, 2008

Gavin Tabone

He writes their songs, records their music, and gets the fifty-plus kids from Austin’s Palm School Choir onto high-profile stages such as NBC’s Today show and the South by Southwest music festival. Needless to say, this is not your typical school choir. The group has just released its sixth album,

Music|
March 31, 2008

Just Us Kids

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

Music|
March 31, 2008

Live Cactus!

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

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March 1, 2008

Interview with Bun B

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

Music|
March 1, 2008

Robotique Majestique

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,

Music|
March 1, 2008

What Doesn’t Kill Us

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

Music|
March 1, 2008

Moment of Forever

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

Music|
February 1, 2008

Charlie Jones

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

Music|
January 1, 2008

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,

Music|
January 1, 2008

Live From Austin TX

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

Music|
January 1, 2008

Little Grey Sheep

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,

Music|
January 1, 2008

The Struggle Continues

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

Music|
December 1, 2007

Chris Klassen, Deejay

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

Music|
September 30, 2007

Number One With a Bullet

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.

Music|
June 1, 2007

Let There Be Lightnin’

Twenty-five years after his death, Sam Hopkins is still one of the most influential bluesmen in history—that much we know. But we don’t know nearly enough about who he was.

Music|
March 1, 2007

The Songs Remain the Same

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.

Music|
February 1, 2007

Joe Ely

“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.”

Music|
February 1, 2007

The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster

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

Music|
February 1, 2007

West

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

Music|
January 1, 2007

Andrew Shapter & Joel Rasmussen

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

Music|
January 1, 2007

Cold, Cold World

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

Music|
January 1, 2007

Snowbyrd

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

Music|
January 1, 2007

Your Biggest Fan

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

Music|
April 30, 2006

Lyle Lovett

“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.”

Music|
April 1, 2006

75 Things We Love About Texas

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.

Music|
December 1, 2005

Willie Nelson

“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.”

Music|
February 1, 2005

He’s Daniel Johnston, and He Was Gonna Be Famous

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.

Music|
January 1, 2005

We Can’t Make it Here

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

Music|
January 1, 2005

Loteria De La Cumbia Lounge

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

Music|
January 1, 2005

Same Mother

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

Music|
July 31, 2004

Paradise

Musician Ian McLagan survived the British rock explosion of the sixties. Now he lives in Austin, a place he loves to call home.

Music|
April 1, 2004

It’s a Family Affair

For all her talent and poise, Beyoncé didn’t become the biggest star in the world without help. And she got plenty of it from the people who know her best.

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April 1, 2004

The Song Writer

"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."

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April 1, 2004

War Record

"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."

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April 1, 2004

Guitar Man

"I'm the one who introduced guitar boogie-woogie in this country, with a song I called 'Gatemouth Boogie.' It was a big hit."

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April 1, 2004

Smells Like Teen Spirit

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.

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April 1, 2004

City Girl

"I moved to Austin in 1974, and it was this kind of magical place. The whole alternative culture controlled the town."

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