We’re thrilled to announce that SXSW and Texas Monthly will present “Texas Music: The Untold Stories” this March 17, 2020, at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The evening will be a live storytelling event featuring a wide array of Texas musicians—from rappers to rock and rollers—telling stories interspersed with music, backed by Carrie Rodriguez and her amazing band.
“Texas Music: The Untold Stories” came about because we did a live storytelling show in 2019 called “Texas Monthly Live” in which I told the story of the Gloriathon, where, in 1999, a bunch of us slacker musicians played the song “Gloria” for 24 hours to honor the closing of the venerable Austin nightclub Liberty Lunch. It was a funny story but also a sad one; we didn’t know it then, but we were saying goodbye to an era of Austin in which a bunch of goofballs could get away with a thing like that. I told the story backed by a band, which allowed me to bring out all the memorable facets of that night (and day)—the bizarre power of rock and roll, the glory of a bunch of people singing together, the way a melody can take you back twenty years and put you in the exact same place and time—just like that.
In Texas, music is an essential part of who we are. No state has the variety and depth of music that we do. Part of this is because of geography (we’re big!); part is because of history. Anglos from Tennessee, Mestizos from Mexico, Czechs from the Old Country, Cajuns from Louisiana, African Americans from the South—all came here (or were forcibly brought here) to the frontier of a terrifying new world, where they mixed, married, learned one another’s songs, and changed them up. Hispanics transformed the polka. Anglos studied the blues. African Americans picked up the fiddle. As these new Texans built their new lives in the new west, they sang songs.
Behind every Texas song, there’s a story—and I’m not just talking about the words. As we all know, music has strange powers—it plugs us directly into our emotions, it whisks us back into the past, it makes us dance, it makes us cry. The melody and the beat, the harmonies and the rhythm, the riffs played and the instruments used—all tell us something about who made this music and where it comes from.
And it’s not just the songs that tell us stories. There’s a story behind every band, every singer, every show, every scene. Stories about ambition, finding your voice, learning your craft. Also stories about sex and drugs, crime and mischief. These stories tell us who we truly are, what we like to do, how often we like to do it. In Texas, we like to do it a lot.
For 47 years—since 1973—Texas Monthly has told these stories because we love the music behind them, but also because they tell us so much about ourselves. We’re passionate about our state and we’re passionate about our music. The truth is: We are what we listen to, what we sing to our kids, what we play on our back porches and in our cars.
In “Texas Music: The Untold Stories,” we’re going to hear stories from all over the state—origin stories, coming-of-age stories, mortality stories, evolutionary stories—stories told to a beat, a riff, a chorus. Hip-hop, cumbia, folk, soul, rock and roll, mariachi, electronic dance music, and boogie woogie.
Some of them have never been told. Some have never been told in this particular way, the way they were meant to be told: with music.
General Admission tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.
This showcase is open to SXSW credential holders —Music and Platinum receive primary access, while Interactive and Film and Wristbands receive secondary admission. SXSW badge holders can favorite the event listing; however, there will be no official RSVP to reserve seats.