Can’t get enough of Texas…part 1

Oh Texas how I miss you so – the easy breezy drawl of your people, the down-home food, and the Blues done right. I’ve got so much to say about Texas and its music – they got it going on down on the third coast. This posting will mainly deal with the illustrious city of Austin, but the entirety of Texas is just overflowing with music history, scenes and styles. Dallas gave us Erykah Badu, San Antonio and South Texas gave us Tejano, and then there’s Texas Swing out of West Texas. This post will mainly sample a spattering of the Austin scene including Jazz, Fusion, Americana, and Blues. In a few days, I will post Part 2 of my ode to Texas that will focus on the blues history of Texas – ’cause rootnotemusic LOVES THE BLUES!

Tree at ACL Festival 2006. Photo by Melanie Martinez.
Tree at ACL Festival 2006. Photo by Melanie Martinez.

If you read my very first post, then you know my sister plays bass guitar with The Tiny Tin Hearts, an Austin folk-pop symphonic band getting a lot of attention. They recently had their album release party at The Parish. Check out Last Flight of the Martyr Aviator via Waterloo Records or I-Tunes. Steven Collins and Deadman played with TTTH that night. I really like their vibe and sound – they keep it rootsy! I immediately thought of The Band when I heard them, and I’m not the only one, but with their accordion and sprinklings of Spanglish, they could only be from Texas! Here’s Deadman at the Parish:

I lived in Austin for a short while and I loved it. Austin reminds me of New Orleans in the sense that it bleeds music from every pore. Arriving at the Austin airport, you’re greeted with a live band doing anything from Americana or Texas Swing to Soul or Indie Rock. South by Southwest (SXSW) has become one of the hugest music industry events of the year where the entire city is turned into one large venue. In fact, Austin City Limits Festival has become one of the biggest music festivals around.

Austin is not just about Blues, Country and Americana. The last thing I thought I’d be doing in Austin was dancing my butt off to funky jazz in a too-cool-for-school basement jazz club, but within a couple of weeks of landing in town, that’s exactly what I was doing! The Elephant Room on Congress is this awesome intimate jazz spot where the tables run into each other and the music literally takes over every corner of the club. I saw funk jazz band, Just Released, for the first time there and was hooked. I saw them a few more times at clubs around town and they always came through!

Brannen Temple sits in with Michael Stevens & Just Released at The Elephant Room, 2007. Photo by Melanie Martinez.
Brannen Temple sits in with Michael Stevens & Just Released at The Elephant Room, 2007. Photo by Melanie Martinez.

Just Released guitarist, Glenn Rexach, has his own jazz-rock fusion band, The Glenn Rexach Group. Here’s a video of him doing his thing at the Elephant Room:

Since I’m a sucker for a horn player, here’s Ephraim Owens during SXSW at the Elephant Room.

There are some really amazing women on the Austin music scene as well. Blues guitarist Carolyn Wonderland is simply BAD-ASS. Check her blues guitar playing out!

Suzanna Choffel is another notable artist as well as Betty Soo . Here’s a video of Suzanna doing her song Raincloud on local Austin station, ME-TV.

I will end this post with a shot out to Trace Ready, a Dallas based documentary filmmaker. He just released this trailer on his blog about his new documentary on “South Texas Soul: The San Antonio Sound”, which is after my own music-history-loving heart. Here he looks at Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm, and German, Polish and Irish Immigrants in South Texas and how their culture and music influenced popular styles including Country, Tejano, Blues, and Rock and Roll.

More food for thought…Tejano, Conjunto, Flaco and the Texas Tornados…Dang there is so much music and only so much time to blog! Anyhow, see you tomorrow with a Texas Flood!

Rootnotemusic is on Twitter! Follow me @rootnotemusic

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  1. Great blog! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for all types of music with such a broad definition of “roots.”


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