musician

An Austin Artist’s Guide to Success: Part 1

The latest episode of Pause/Play is an Austin Artist’s Guide to Success. You’ll hear from many people in the everchanging Austin music scene about their tips and tricks for making here. 

You’ll hear about what people within the industry are looking for in an artist, what role authenticity plays, and how social media can impact a musician’s career.

Featuring advice from:

Texas Eclipse Festival attendees with disabilities describe treacherous conditions

Landowners in southeast Texas say they should be able to sue the state over their flooded property, and the U.S. Supreme Court agrees. People in Winnie, Texas, say their land only started to flood after the state rebuilt part of nearby Interstate 10. Now, they can seek compensation for the damages.
Live music seems more expensive, but are musicians getting paid more? Not really. We’ll talk to someone trying to change that.
And the attorney general crusades against a media outlet on behalf of Elon Musk.

Houston sues state over ‘Death Star’ law that will block local ordinances

Houston has sued the state to try and block the “Death Star” law that will block local regulations from being enacted at the city and county level.

Why several homes and businesses flooded during Hurricane Harvey may be passing up a last chance for compensation.

A new documentary, “Every Body,” turns the spotlight on people in the intersex community.

Plus, with digital streaming services upending the old model for making money in music, tech expert Omar Gallaga explores ways to support one’s favorite artists.

Terrified – Sun June

Episode 5 of the Song Confessional features the Austin-based, ‘regret pop’ group, Sun June and the world premiere of their new song “Terrified”. You’ll hear the confessional that inspired it-a parent grappling with the unabiding fear that shadows deep love-and how Sun June works together to craft their ‘global cooling/Albuquerque prom’ serenades.

 

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Who Did You Call? – Husky Loops

Episode 4 features the London-based, Italian born alt-rockers Husky Loops and the world premiere of their brand new song “Who Did You Call?”. You’ll hear the confession-a tale of friendship, mental illness, and violence-and how lead singer Danio Forni believes Europeans would respond if in a a similar situation. Lastly, Zac and Walker explain how they became friends with a sex worker in Wichita …

If you dig what you hear, please tell a friend & find us on all your socials @songconfessional. Really into what you hear? Subscribe, leave a rating & review on our episode page will be greatly appreciated.

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It Was Always There – Vlad Holiday

Episode 3 of the Song Confessional is here! You’ll hear one woman’s confession about her mom’s clandestine profession and the world premiere of the song it inspired, “It was Always There.” Later, you’ll learn all about the Romanian-born, Brooklyn based, lo-fi pop enthusiast, Vlad Holiday, and his boozy approach to producing. In case that wasn’t enough, Zac and Walker have a lively discussion about marijuana and trauma afterward!

If you enjoyed this episode, please tell a friend and find us on the socials @songconfessional. If the spirit moves you, subscribe, give us a rating, and review.

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Trailer: Song Confessional

On the Song Confessional Podcast, today’s top bands and songwriters turn anonymous stories into new original songs. Each episode features the “confession” that inspires the original song, the song premiere, and an interview with the songwriter.

Premieres Nov. 8th.

Follow us and find us on the socials @songconfessional and after you give us a listen, leave us a review!

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Another World – Holiday Sidewinder

Episode 2 of the Song Confessional Podcast is here! In it, you’ll hear an interview with Australian, synth-pop wunderkind, Holiday Sidewinder, the world premiere of the song “Another World”, and the skydiving horror story that inspired this babushka-approved bop. You’ll also find out how Holiday got that fantastic name of hers and how she and producer, Jim Eno, made the music feel as ‘Soviet’ as the story itself.

Give it a listen, find it on the socials @songconfessional and if you feel like showing us a little more love, leave us a review! Don’t forget to subscribe!

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Don’t Let me Die in Waco – Croy & The Boys

Welcome to the Song Confessional Podcast Episode 1! In our inaugural episode, you’ll hear the world premiere of “Don’t Let Me Die in Waco” from the ‘woke’ outlaw cowboy outfit, Croy and the Boys, and an anonymous ‘confession’ involving a Greyhound bus, binge drinking, Febreze, and death that inspired it. You’ll also hear head songwriter Bad Boy Croy’s thoughts on songwriting, outlaw country, the current state of the Austin music scene, and one of the most optimistic takes on sports fandom in America.

Give it a listen, find us on the socials @songconfessional and if you’re feeling frisky, leave use a review! Don’t forget to subscribe!

 

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Texas Standard: May 7, 2019

Is a cut in property tax worth the hike in sales tax? A would be swap gets more scrutiny as an important vote looms on the horizon, we’ll do the numbers. Also, what would be a major expansion of the Texas medical marijuana program gets a big boost in the Texas House. And over on the Senate side, lawmakers take action on school finance fixes, we’ll have details. Also, the emergence of a video sparks calls to reopen the investigation into the arrest and death of Sandra Bland. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Ten Songs About Lovin’ The Lone Star State

About six months ago, I took a look at songs about Texas towns – “Amarillo by Morning,” “Galveston,” “La Grange,” “Streets of Laredo,” “China Grove,” etc. Now I figure, why not just do Texas? Let’s talk about songs that show their love for Texas in a Texas-sized way – paying homage to the whole state and her irresistible charms.

So this would leave out songs like those already mentioned, and also those that have Texas in the title, but are either primarily instrumental songs or have no specific lyrics of Texas praise or adoration. Much as I love Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Texas Flood,” it doesn’t qualify here. Neither does “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” since it is a song about loving one incredible Texas woman, but not the state.

We must begin, I suppose, with our official state song, “Texas, Our Texas,” written in 1924, by William Marsh, a British immigrant from Liverpool.

Another early classic would have to be “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” written in 1941 and first recorded by Perry Como. But probably the best-known version is this one by Gene Autry.

Just a few years later, Ernest Tubb gave us another classic that could have been used by The Texas Travel Bureau as their theme song; “There’s a Little Bit of Everything in Texas.” Willie Nelson covered it in 1993.

In 1975, The Charlie Daniels Band released its Texas anthem simply titled. “Texas,” on the album “Nightrider.”

Sometimes we show how much we love something by how much we miss it – by how much we long for it. That’s what George Strait did in “Can’t See Texas From Here,” from his 1982 album, “Strait from the Heart.” And I believe it was.

Gary P. Nunn gave us “London Homesick Blues,” which is hard not to put on the list. But from the same 1984 album, “Home With the Armadillo,” we get “What I Like About Texas.” That’s  dead solid perfect. Bet Gary hadn’t had to pay for a Beltbuster or Blizzard since 1984.

I first heard the song “Texas” by the British singer Chris Rea while driving across west Texas in 1989, appropriately under a big yellow moon, on Highway 90 south of Van Horn, a road that goes on forever.

And you certainly know “God Blessed Texas,” which has been ubiquitous since its release more than 25 years ago, believe it or not. It’s by Little Texas.

Vince Gill sang “I’ll Take Texas” in 1998. And his song did indeed take Texas by storm.

We wrap up our list appropriately with Miranda Lambert, with “Texas Pride,” from 2001. And that’s an ideal title, because her first professional singing gig was with the Texas Pride Band.

That’s my list. What’s on yours?

Texas Music

Texas Standard put together a special program on Texas music in collaboration with Texas Monthly. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Top of the Chart Songs about Texas Towns

There are thousands of songs about Texas. For example, all the way over in England, Duran-Duran – the British new wave pop group, dropped a top 20 (#14) song called “Rio” back in ’82.

And you have “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” and “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “The Road Goes on Forever,” as does the list.

Pat Green sang in “Songs about Texas” – “there’s a song in every town,” implying that there is a song FOR every town in Texas. Probably true, but only a rare few made it to the Billboard top 40.

So I thought it would be interesting to look at Pat Green’s idea with one provision: What are the songs about Texas towns that became bonafide hits? Note these are not about Texas in general, but about specific towns in Texas. I looked at songs after 1960 (when the charts were more reliable) that became hits on either the pop or country charts.

First is “El Paso” by Marty Robbins. His most famous song. It was released in ‘59 and hit number one in January of 1960. And some trivia? The cantina beauty Faleena was named after his 5th grade schoolmate, Fidelina Martinez.

I must also mention Robbins’ “Streets of Laredo,” which was an unofficial hit that same year – unofficial because it was never released as a single, though it received a lot of air time.

Next, chronologically, is “Galveston” sung by Glenn Campbell, which made it to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. Jimmy Webb wrote it while sitting on Galveston beach.

“Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone?” made it to number 1 on the country charts in 1970, sung by Charley Pride. The song was also made popular by Texan Doug Sahm, who recorded it twice: once in 1973 and again in ‘91 with the Texas Tornadoes.

“China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers was number 15 in 1973, written by Tom Johnston. Got the name subconsciously when the band passed through China Grove, a town of less than a thousand, while on tour, as the lyrics say, “down around San Antone.”

In the same year – 1973 – “La Grange” by ZZ Top. This song only made it to 41 on the Billboard Hot 100, but in Texas it no doubt ranked much, much higher. From the Album “Tres Hombres,” this song put the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Chicken Ranch, on the national map. Made it “Nationwide” in ZZ Top lingo. It’s also number 74 on Rolling Stone’s all time best guitar songs because of Billy Gibbons’ virtuoso performance on a 1955 Fender Stratocaster.

“Luckenbach, Texas” was released in 1977 by Waylon Jennings and made it to #25 on the pop charts and #1 on country charts where it stayed for over a month. Guess the idea of simpler country living was appealing. It made Luckenbach so popular the state had to stop making Luckenbach signs because the theft rate was breaking the budget.

George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning” hit number 4 on the country charts in 1983. Written by Terry Stafford a decade earlier, after going to a rodeo in San Antonio and driving home to Amarillo.

I have to give a tip of the hat to “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy from Dumas.” Though it was released before there were charts, it was a quite a phenomenon in the 1930s and 40s. Written by a moderately successful bandleader and native Texan named Phil Baxter, who spent a few weeks in Dumas. The song was performed by everyone – including Bob Wills and Louis Armstrong. Even the town radio station is named KDDD – for Ding Dong Daddy.

The One Musician To Get A Ticker Tape Parade Was A Texan

New York City has held over 200 ticker-tape parades since the first one in 1886, which honored the Statue of Liberty. Lindbergh got a ticker-tape parade for his solo transatlantic flight. Jesse Owens was celebrated for his 4 gold medals with a parade in 1936. Churchill had a blizzard of ticker tape float down on him in 1946. The Apollo 11 moon landing team received a hero’s welcome in ticker-tape in 1969. Of all the people and professions honored in this way over 130 years, only one has been a musician.

You might be thinking: Elvis Presley – “Suspicious Minds” but no, Elvis never got a parade. Or maybe you are thinking Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean”, but no, Michael Jackson never received that honor either. You need to think in a more classical way.

The only musician ever to return to America as a kind of conquering hero was Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn, Jr., a tall, lanky Texan from Kilgore. In 1958, he managed to pull back the iron curtain and thaw the cold war for a few magical weeks. And he didn’t do with a Springfield Rifle or a Sherman tank: he did with a Steinway.

Nigel Cliff, Van Cliburn’s biographer, says that his genius revealed itself early. His mom, Rildia Bee, quite an accomplished pianist herself, taught piano at home. She had just finished with her last pupil of the day and left young Van sitting with him while he practiced his Chopin before going home. She went to fix supper. After fifteen minutes she heard the young student still playing and went back to hurry him home. She was surprised to find 3-year-old Van there playing Chopin by ear. So his mom immediately made him one of her students.

At ten, Van told his mom and dad that his dream was to become a classical pianist. His father said, “Well if you are going to be a pianist, you’re going to be the best.” He built a music room onto their ranch-style home’s garage and furnished it with a Steinway. There, Van Cliburn practiced three to four hours a day and by the time he was 16, he had amassed the ten thousand hours they say is required to turn aptitude into artistry.

Van did have distractions along the way. As he grew well over six feet before high school, the basketball coach came to recruit him. His mom told the coach that Van’s hands were insured for a million dollars. No way he was going to risk them playing basketball.

Van Cliburn was accepted to Juilliard when he was 17. Would have loved to have seen him arrive there and lean his lanky Texas frame against his professor’s door and say, “Howdy, I’m here to study music with y’all.”

He excelled there, too, and was accepted a few years later to compete at the Moscow International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. This event was Russia’s way of showing the world that they not only led technologically, having put Sputnik, mankind’s first satellite, in space six months before, but that they were also culturally superior to the decadent West.

Here is where the Texan entered. He strolled confidently across the stage and shocked the Russians with his mastery of Tchaikovsky. Olga Kern, one of the finest Russian classical pianists alive today, said, “Van Cliburn won because he played in a grand way. Soaring. It was beautiful; the piano was singing. It sounded so new and fresh. It was incredible.” And when she visited his boyhood home in Kilgore years later, she said that she understood where he got that style because East Texas had enormous trees, vast fields, and a natural sublimity that perhaps shaped him.

Van Cliburn had a reception in Moscow that would have been the envy of any rock star. Women swooned. They cried over his powerful and fresh interpretation of Tchaikovsky. They brought flowers to the stage and laid them before the piano. And when the judges believed he had won, they were afraid to award him the victory. So they went to Khrushchev himself and asked if they could declare Van Cliburn the winner. Khrushchev asked, “Did he win? Well, give it to him.”

And so Van Cliburn returned to New York a victorious cultural warrior. He was given a ticker-tape parade like none other – the only one, ever, for a musician. He made the cover of Time Magazine. The headline read: “The Texan Who Conquered Russia.”

Nat King Cole (3.16.14)

Singer Nat King Cole is well known for his smooth baritone voice, but he started his career as a jazz pianist. His popularity grew through radio and eventually television as he sang a broad range of tunes, including pop music.