Blues Man Group
This past New Year’s Eve, forty years after the legendary Austin blues club Antone’s opened for the first time, in 1975, it opened again, for the sixth time, at its sixth location, 305 East Fifth Street. A lot of time has passed but the song remains the same: on opening night in 1975, the late Clifford Antone presented “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier, and on opening night in 2015, the new owners—a group that includes Gary Clark Jr., the guitar phenom who Antone groomed—presented C.J. Chenier, son of Clifton.
This Friday, the stars will align again when Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt-a-Whirl Band play the new Antone’s for the first time. Vaughan’s Fabulous Thunderbirds was one of a couple of the original house bands—the guitarist Bill Campbell helmed another—who backed up some of the acts Antone booked, like Albert Collins, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed. “A lot of them wouldn’t have bands and so we had to be the band,” Vaughan said. “And if it was sort of out of our league, if it was more Bobby Bland-ish or something like that, and they didn’t have a group, then they would get Bill Campbell and his bunch to do it. But if it was lowdown, and it was Chicago-style blues, or Louisiana, or Mississippi, or something, we got the job because that’s what we did and that’s what we were into.”
Antone’s longevity is testament to its namesake, who died ten years ago. Antone put Austin’s Sixth Street on the map with his original location at Sixth and Brazos, paving the way for the city’s “Live Music Capital of the World” designation . He is also noted for his deep influence on Vaughan and his little brother, Stevie Ray. “I mean, he didn’t teach me the blues or any of this kind of stuff, like some people say,” Vaughan said. “It was just great to have a champion who was really into that music and always wanted that and wanted to showcase that. That was the deal.”
Once Vaughan plays the new Antone’s, an intimate space with a capacity of around 350 people, he will have jammed at all six Antone’s venues. And he’ll continue adding to his well of memories. “I remember opening for Muddy Waters,” he said. “We’re playing along—I was playing slide guitar and all of a sudden I see the curtain open and it’s Muddy Waters looking at us and approving. And then he came on stage and came up behind me and, you know, let me know that he approved.”
Antone’s, February 12, 10 p.m., antonesnightclub.com
The Chinese calendar operates a little differently than the one most of the Western Hemisphere subscribes to. The Chinese calendar is divided into twelve one-year increments (instead of twelve one-month spans), and each is appointed a different animal based on a set of zodiac signs.
February 8, 2016, marked the start of the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the sequence. Each animal cycles through a set of five elements (gold, water, wood, fire, earth), and this is the Year of the Fire Monkey. The monkey is believed to symbolize luck, honor, and wealth, according to some, but to figure out what’s in store for you in the year ahead requires deeper astrological mining, part of which can be done at the Crow Collection of Asian Art’s Chinese New Year Festival.
The Crow Collection, established in 1998 with the artwork and funds of the real estate developer Trammell Crow, hosts arguably the grandest New Year celebration of its kind in Texas, and it’s free. See lion and dragon dancers, tai chi masters, yo-yo experts, kung fu maestros, and fireworks. Make a red envelope for gifting coins to others, a lantern to light the way, and a dragon puppet using a traditional style of papercutting called jianzhi. Seek out the Wishing Tree, where you can literally hang your hope on something.
Crow Collection of Asian Art, February 13, 11 a.m., crowcollection.org
Double-albums don’t have a deep history so when best-of lists in the field are tabulated, there are the usual suspects: the Beatles’ White Album, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The Clash’s London Calling, the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. Very rarely does one see mention of Terry Allen’s Lubbock (On Everything), a work that approached the country genre from an alternative direction and laid the foundation for the trendy Americana genre.
The Panhandle singer-songwriter, visual artist, and Guggenheim Fellow released the 21-song two-for-one in 1979, on the crest of the success of fellow Lubbockite Joe Ely, who had broken off from the first incarnation of the Flatlanders, the trio consisting also of Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, to forge a solo career. Allen will revisit his masterpiece live on Thursday as part of Texas Tech’s annual Lubbock Lights Festival, which showcases music native to the South Plains. It will be a family affair: Jo Harvey Allen, Terry’s wife and collaborator, will join him, along with their sons, Bukka and Bale Allen, plus Lloyd Maines, who played on the album with Allen, and two of Maines’ brothers, Donnie and Kenny Maines, and a nephew, Casey.
Texas Tech University, February 18, 7 p.m., ttu.edu/administration/president/lubbocklights/
Mariachi equals serenades, which makes it perfect music for Valentine’s Day. Start buttering up your significant other two days early with Friday’s performance “Viva el Amor, Viva Mariachi MECA.” This is one part letting boleros like “Volver, Volver” get you tingly, one part a celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the mariachi program at the Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts. In 1991, the late Alfonso Guerra, a mariachi who had played with ranchera singers José Alfredo Jiménez and Antonio Aguilar, started recruiting and teaching youth to learn this popular style of Mexican folk music, which is buoyed by strings, brass, and harmonies. His students would go on to tour Europe and play for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and performers new and old will come together to spread amor.
Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, February 12, 8 p.m., meca-houston.org
“Ameripolitan” started pretty much as a marketing gimmick for the Austin crooner Dale Watson, who was looking to separate his music from what is deemed country by today’s standards (read: pop). The term has evolved, though, into its own legitimate genre, backed by the Ameripolitan Awards, which on Tuesday will be hosted by Asleep at the Wheel frontman Ray Benson, who will dole out awards to lifetime achievement winners Charley Pride, Wanda Jackson, Red Simpson, and many others.
The Paramount Theatre, February 16, 8 p.m., ameripolitan.com
Even if you’re lucky enough to ask one of the remaining presidential candidates a question on the campaign trail, her or his answers on foreign policy would probably come up short. Stay informed on the issue at the luncheon lecture “Global Challenges in 2016: A Conversation with General David Petraeus,” wherein the retired four-star general and former director of the CIA will delve into international security issues, macroeconomic trends, and energy policy—and then take questions.
Hyatt Regency, February 12, 12 p.m., wachouston.org