Results tagged “austin” from Guy's Blog

January 10, 1990

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January 10th, 1990, I put all my belongings in a rented U-Haul trailer and drove south on I-35 from Kansas City, Kansas.  I was alone in the cab, the speed limited by the internal limiter to 55 miles an hour, but I was on my way. In retrospect, that was the start of my adult life. Kansas City was home, filled with friends and family and had been kind enough to me that I could have stayed. Rent was cheap there, my folks were always supportive, but I had something to find.

 

The first night in Austin I slept on a friends floor, found a room to rent the next day and started going out every night, diving into the music scene that was always roaring and spitting up and down 6th street then. I have a picture of me then, playing on the street on a borrowed guitar across from the University of Texas on the main drag. Still in the shoes I came to town in. So much has changed sense that day which I can still recall, but I am still here playing for the passer by, looking for a song which will catch a hook in your heart long enough to coax some change from your pocket. To remember that one song you thought you would never hear again, or reveal that tune you always new had to be there, somewhere...

    

Twenty Years. Love, loss, peace, war, oceans under the bridge, over the bridge but still, I am here. This town has changed so much, the Austin I moved to perfectly remembered for me by Richard Linklater's Slacker.  Now, Austin fights to keep its home grown soul against the corrosive glitz of cash. And music fights to be heard over cars stopped in traffic, work cranes lifting prefab apartments over prefab apartments, the chirp of cell phones, and the sound of deaf progress.

    

What happens next? What shape does our life take now? What will it sound like? What do we want it to sound like? As we go forward what will we take with us this time? I want to know what you think, as I understand that this music is something that only matters if it is of use to your heart, helps you in hard times, keeps you warm in winter and cool on fire. I want to know what makes you rewind that song twenty times in a row, what songs you wake up singing first thing in the morn, what you want to be singing that has yet to be written.

    

I am close to making a tech leap. Some have asked me to Twitter, to keep this conversation on music active, let you know what is under my hands while we try to keep this thing in the air. Further updates as the situation warrants.

 


Summer is here

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Summer is here. After much pussyfooting around, Texas has unleashed her hot breath, the grass and trees grow like sprinters till the water runs out and everything burns to a crisp. Insects sing ballads that recount their short lives as they are eating and screwing and making way for the next, bigger generation of bugs. Austin crowds around familiar swimming holes like Barton Springs while air conditioners whine everywhere. A good time to get out of town and so we are! In just two weeks we hit the road and head north and east to bring the music. Will you meet us there?

Austin Rocks!

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What a wild weekend in Austin, Texas. I am so lucky to get to do this for a living, and I hope not a day goes by without me realizing that. On Friday the 13th I played at the Saxon Pub with my deadly band and the cream of the Asylum Street Spankers as the Hot Nut Riveters! Wammo on washboard and harp, Nevada Neuman on National Steel guitar, Charlie King on mandolin, Rob Hooper on drums and Cajon, Willie Landin on Sousaphone and washtub bass, everyone sings their asses off. What a joyful noise. The theme of the night was "The Sacred and the Profane" so we mixed old time gospel with hard blues and just plain old "blue" songs, so we scratched our itch from both above and below.

Thanks to everyone who came to the show (and all the shows this weekend) because, and this is a secret, musicians feed on you. Not just the food we buy with whatever we make at the door or from the tip jar, but rather the spirit that you bring with you when you walk in the room. that is what makes live music so magic. It is something that is made fresh, out of the ingredients in the room, and I find who is sitting in the front row is just as important as who is on the stage. This is another reason that I love Austin; even though the audiences here have seen it all (hundreds of shows a week, hell, more than that every Saturday night) if you give it up so do they.

This Saturday was Lamberts for our "Love and Lust" review featuring one of my favorite incendiary acoustic duos The Finer Things featuring bandleader and fiddler Sick and burlesque terpsichorean and uke jockey Raina aka Lady Bangs. Love songs, sex songs, heart break songs in mixed order were the order of the day and the room was full of lovers or at least people willing to take a running jump at it.

Sunday morning at Maria's Tacos, Hippy Church! South Austin's finest turn out for tacos and Bloody Marys and it's the Hot Nut Riveters again, this timie with an all gospel set list with folks dancing on the tables. My good friend Christina Marrs brought her brand new son to see his first show, what an honor. Later that same night, Willie, Rob and I played Leeann Atherton's South Austin Barn Dance, a back yard party thrown on a Sunday every month close to the full moon. Hollywood can reach for it but will never have the soul of this truly organic throng. Austin Rocks!

City Hall

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Today in Austin the Austin music community came out in mass to hear the findings of the Live Music Task Force.

Austin has called itself the Live Music Capital of the World since 1991 when they adopted the phrase and used it to take advantage of the glorious music scene that drew me here in '90. Although the city boomed in the '90s, filing to the brim with high tech industry and dot com carpetbaggers, the money that came with them changed the face of Austin, and the sharp rise of the cost of living left most of the music scene in the cold. The music continues, but live music venues and musicians found that they were being pushed to the fringes of the town they once called their own. The city grew, but at the expense of the cloture that drew the young hopefuls that hope to find a life filled with creativity and sound.

The Live Music Task Force hopes to reverse that trend so that the new generation gets to enjoy the music as well. I have heard many stories from couples, now parents, who met at shows I played in the '90s, and they all want to share with their kids the joy and freedom that they enjoyed. But much more is at stake here.

History, even that which predates audio recording technology, tells of music in every culture, and all religion has music at its core. when Austin was built, the second building that went up was a music hall tavern, so that the workers would have a place to celebrate the task at hand.

The reason is simple. Music builds community. Anything that brings people together and raises them up in ecstasy, whether religious or secular, is a spiritual experience. That connects people. And even more, it teaches them that they are made of the same stuff. That drum beat, that melody, that catchy line, when it works it works because we all feel it, we relate. All talk of brotherly love is useless without us feeling that we are one. And when the crowd sings together, at church, at the ball game, at closing time we are at our strongest.

Music, and all art, teaches empathy. Without time spent enjoying the poets work, whether it is in words, paint, architecture or food the world is a lonely place. A simple song can make the loneliest person feel understood.

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