Archives for March 2020

Texas Standard: March 18, 2020

More than just a health crisis. City mayors and county judges across Texas contemplate how to ease the pain of a severe economic downturn. Coming up, the mayor of Austin and the judge of Dallas county join us with the latest on what they’re learning about the spread of the Coronavirus and steps to counter the ripple effects on the Texas economy. Also, a Coronavirus catch 22? The testing bottleneck and the connection with the number of diagnosed cases. And a mass mobilization that echoes the second world war. Plus a Politifact check and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 17, 2020

Texas school districts learning lessons on how to deal with a statewide emergency. We’ll look at the logistics of teaching in a time of pandemic, and the role of the schools. It’s far from business as usual for the state’s schools. Top education officials say many could be closed through the end of the academic year. What this means for student advancement and support for kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Also what social distancing adds up to on the economic front for families, and how to talk to your kids about this time like no other. All of these stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 16, 2020

We’re checking in with reporters statewide to hear how Texans are coping with efforts to keep our distance from each other per the CDC, also how the state is tweaking certain rules to accommodate closures. Plus a market drying up for oil worldwide sends grim signals across one of the state’s core industries. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Regina Mason and Sean Durant (Ep. 15, 2020)

On this edition of In Black America, producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. begins a conversation with Regina A. Mason, author of The Life of William Grimes, The Runaway Slave, and Sean Durant, producer and director of Gina’s Journey: The Search for William Grimes.

Texas Standard: March 13, 2020

This is not a test. As Texas responds to a pandemic, health officials struggle to find ways to deal with a lag in Coronavirus testing, we’ll have the latest. Plus in major cities across the Lone Star State, city streets, schools and universities and office buildings getting empty. Events from rodeos to concerts and games all cancelled or in the process of. So what comes next? Our conversation with the top official of the most populous county in Texas, judge Lina Hidalgo…Plus the politics of quarantine and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Blackboot Family Band: “Goodbye Whiskey”

Folk and country have both maintained an air of openness, unification, and hospitality since their origins, so it’s not all that farfetched to claim a “family” even when nobody’s sharing surnames. Austin six-piece Blackboot Family Band is no exception, whose internal bonds have only grown stronger since 2016. Aside from the standard rock band instrumentation and full-band vocal duties, Blackboot adds rustic textures with banjo, lap steel, mandolin, melodica, harmonica, and fiddle.

Blackboot Family Band shares their self-produced debut full-length Stupid Habits tomorrow alongside a release show that night at Far Out Lounge. So whether you’re a teetotaler or a firm believer in thirsty Thursday, you can definitely get your heels in motion to “Goodbye Whiskey”!

Texas Standard: March 12, 2020

Fighting fear in the Alamo city, site of a federally mandated quarantine. We’ll have a conversation with Mayor Ron Nirenberg for more information. Also, the latest on spring break extensions, school shutdowns and sports cancellations in Texas and further afield amid Coronavirus concerns. And a Supreme Court win for the Trump administration’s remain in Mexico policy for asylum seekers. But some aren’t even getting to wait in Mexico for their hearings as they’re boarded onto planes and told to seek asylum first in Guatemala. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

You Know She Did

Your Austin Music Minute host put it out there pretty bluntly on today’s AMM, but it’s true: Eve Monsees is a badass.

And talk about one of the busiest artists in the industry. There’s her band, Eve Monsees & The Exiles; she plays crazy awesome bluesy garage rock in The Bluebonnets with Kathy Valentine and Dominique Davalos; and fiery Texas rock ‘n’ roll with the Leroi Brothers – featuring founding members Mike Buck and Steve Doerr.

So, upon revisiting The Exiles’ You Know She Did your AMM host remembered Monsees’ show tonight at Antone’s, 305 E. 5th St., with Mike Buck. Hello!! It’s the Monsees-Buck Duo owning the room this evening. Doors at 9 p.m., and the music starts at 10 p.m. Do it to it. Recommended.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

Texas Standard: March 11, 2020

How ready is Texas when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus? We’ll talk with the state representative leading a hearing on that question. Also, when it comes to Coronavirus preparedness, how much does the high number of uninsured Texans complicate matters? We’ll explore. And voting delays in Texas last week last week. Was Hillary Clinton right in laying the blame where she did? We’ll have a Politifact Check. Plus the school district shutdown that at the last moment, didn’t happen. We’ll hear why, what happens next plus a lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Jim Bowie: Timeless Influencer

A relatively new phenomenon in modern society is the rise of the influencer, a person on social media who is skilled at persuading followers to buy things. Some are influencers by design and some are accidental influencers, finding without trying that they have attracted an army of imitators. I wondered how many of these now popular influencers, like Kylie Jenner or Selena Gomez, will have any influential prowess in 200 years? How many will have the lasting magic of Jim Bowie?

Many people think that Jim Bowie was made famous by defending the Alamo. He was, in truth, already quite famous nearly ten years before he gave his life for Texas freedom. He was famous as a knife-fighter, knife-designer, frontiersman, and all-round, world-class badass. He was truly a man’s man by any standard.

His world-renowned Bowie knife was probably first made at the direction of his own brother, Rezin. But the classic design came from Jim in subsequent versions that had his modifications.

Jim used his brother’s version in a bloody skirmish called the Sandbar Fight. Jim was nearly killed by two assailants who both shot him. One endeavored to finish him off by stabbing him with a cane sword, but the sword bent when it hit Jim’s sternum, and so it gave Jim a moment to spring upon his attacker with his huge knife. He killed him instantly. He then badly wounded the second assailant who only survived by fleeing as fast as his injuries allowed him to run.

You see, in those days you wanted to take a knife to a gun fight because guns were notoriously unreliable. Bowie miraculously survived and the account of the Sandbar Fight, thanks to a journalist who witnessed it, went viral in national papers – even making it to Europe. Jim Bowie and his knife were thus immediately immortalized.

What made the knife different was its size. The original was almost a foot long. But the next model, Bowie Knife 2.o, was even longer, and razor sharp on the bottom AND the top. About a third of the top of the knife, the clip point,  was honed to a fine edge – so it cut both ways. Its lethality became legendary. The Red River Herald of Natchitoches, Louisiana, would one day write, no doubt hyperbolically, that after the Sandbar Fight, “all the steel in the country, it seemed, was being converted into Bowie knives.” That’s influence!

Some later models had false edges on the clip point, which made them look sharp, though they weren’t. This provided advantages in strength to the blade.

When Bowie arrived at the Alamo, nine years later, with his notoriety on the rise and his famous knife at his side, even Davy Crockett was impressed. He said the sight of it, “makes you queasy… especially before breakfast.”

Bowie’s last stand at the Alamo elevated his fame to the level of a demigod. It was widely claimed, at least what I heard as a kid, that he took out ten Mexican soldiers with his knife in close quarters combat. This is improbable given that Bowie was critically ill from typhoid fever or pneumonia at the time, but a good legend will kill probability any day of the week. Of course, no one can say for certain what happened in those last minutes, and given his reputation for cat-like reflexes mixed with the adrenalin of battle, who can say? I do like what Bowie’s mama said when she learned of his death: “I’ll wager no wounds were found in his back.”

After his death, the Bowie knife, in various versions, began to be made by blacksmiths, from the American Southwest to Sheffield, England, where the finest ones were made and exported to America. Texas Rangers carried them. The U.S. Marines had their own version. In popular films, Rambo never left home without his, and neither did Crocodile Dundee. It’s the one he’s holding when he says, “That’s a knife.” And Brad Pitt does some fancy swastika carving with his Bowie Knife in Inglorious Bastards.

It’s as famous as the Swiss Army Knife or the Buck Knife. Given the ubiquity of his knife in the world today, nearly 184 years after his death, I’d say Jim Bowie is a greater influencer than any social media star you can name.


Horse Lords: “People’s Park”

You’re reading this, which means you’re on our website, so chances are you like to talk music…and who can blame you?! But if you end up in a discussion about the power of music with the members of Horse Lords you may very quickly find yourself in waaay over your head.

Since getting started in the early 2010s, this Baltimore four-piece has stayed faithful to the mission of avant-garde experimentation, incorporating echoes of traditional African and Appalachian music, layered polyrhythms, carefully constructed synth tones, and unconventional tuning methods on heavily-modified instruments. On the upcoming LP The Common Task, Horse Lords pushes the boundaries of experimental rock even further than on their widely-lauded 2016 record Interventions, inviting in more electronic elements and discarding overused songwriting formulas to push their radical ideology. The Common Task is out on Friday, and you can enter the headspace early with the reggae-dub-drenched “People’s Park”!

I’m So Free

Raves aplenty for this Austin-based badass powerhouse trio. Hong Kong Wigs is led by a very familiar presence, Sweet Spirit bassist Jon Fitcher, only this time he’s at the mic and on guitar. Anastasia Wright works the wicked bass, Adam Galvan rules on drums.

The band has a new full length release on the way this year, but you can see them play tonight at Hotel Vegas, 1501 E. 6th St. They’re joined by Strange Lot and Trace of Lime on the line-up. And word from the Wigs is that there will be “some new songs, some old songs, some new covers, some old covers…”

You’re getting ALL the things. Music starts just after 10 p.m. Very recommended.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

Texas Standard: March 10, 2020

Ted Cruz has done it. Others in Texas are being urged to do it too. What does it mean to self-quarantine? And what are best practices? We’ll have answers. Also, a big time downturn in Texas oil country: how low could prices go, and at what point might widespread layoffs ripple across the Lone Star State? And Fort worth schools trying to bounce back from a hack, we’ll explain. Plus, is the use of CBD products protected by federal law? A case out of San Antonio raising questions about CBD, drug tests, and reasonable accommodation by employers. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Dama Nilz: “All I” (feat. Azurah Vibez) (prod. DatBoyCraig)

Be it on the mic, on the tables, or in the studio, former Brooklynite Anelia Lomsky has cemented a reputation for overshadowing her Austinite peers under the name Dama Nilz.

Her extended tenure in the birthplace of hip-hop had given the already-competitive Lomsky a considerable leg up in the rap game by the time she moved to the Live Music Capital, where she’s since been in a state of near non-stop hustle. And while you can’t overlook her take-no-guff code of conduct, Dama’s relentless flow, articulation, and depth are all decidedly buoyant over bombastic. After winning the 2019 “Rap for a Stack” contest, Dama Nilz was set to make yet another official return to SXSW, but…well…you know.

Festival news aside, Dama Nilz shared her seven-song full-length, Damanation, just a couple weeks back. So show Dama the love she deserves and work your way through Damanation starting with the album’s killer caboose, featuring fellow pop-R&B singer Azurah Vibez and produced by her Spy Coastal confederate DatBoyCraig, “All I”!

Waiting On You Tonight

Four years had passed since Beth Lee and The Break Ups released their last LP Keep Your Mouth Shut. It was a lot of gigging and touring for the Austin-based roots rockers during that time, but it was also time to get the new heartpourings out. Time for the release. It was all simply a matter of how.

So, songwriter and front woman Beth Lee took a leap of faith, removed herself from any comfort zones, and set out to make a new record in California. The forthcoming Waiting on You Tonight shows a more vulnerable side to Lee’s heartworn tales without sacrificing the fire or grit fueling the band’s sound.

Beth Lee and The Break Ups are celebrating the release of the album’s title track at their single release show tonight at One-To-One Bar on S. Lamar. Cari Hutson & Good Company start out the evening at 8 p.m. Recommended.

-Photo courtesy of the artist.

Cancelled! SXSW vs COVID-19

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Texas Standard: March 9, 2020

SXSW’s cancellation may be just the tip of the iceberg. The warning from economists: the world’s 10th largest economy should brace for impact, we’ll have the latest. Also, a discovery in Dallas county brings demands for a Super Tuesday recount. And a new state law designates all common spaces on public universities as public forums for free speech. Critics blame the new law for campus violence, we’ll have details. Plus acts of dissent south of the border over the weekend as millions of women declare a feminist spring. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard: