37 Lone Stars Rising At SXSW 2013
By Andrew Belonsky
Austin's music scene knows no limits.
Though city has been keeping the beat since the late-19th century, when beer gardens dominated the scene, things really picked up mid-century, when venues like Dessau Hall and Big Gil's attracted stars like Elvis Presley and Hank Williams. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, BB King, Ray Charles and Duke Ellington were headlining on what was known in those largely segregated days as Chitlin Circuit.
The late 1960s were all about the psychedelic venue Vulcan Gas Company, where John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton brought down the house. Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Genesis and hundreds of others played at Armadillo World Headquarters, the venue that replaced Vulcan, from 1970-1980. It was around the same time that the music show from which this introduction's lede is derived, Austin City Limits, began broadcasting local and notable acts alike. And through all these changes, 6th Street, once called Pecan Street, has been the city's aural epicenter, and today its Pecan Street Festival brings in millions of dollars in revenue while shining the spotlight on the city's up-and-coming talent.
No Austin music event, however, is as large as SXSW, an event that very much defines this Texas town and helps Austin live up to its silvery moniker, Live Music Capital of the World. Though big names do ride into town for the annual conference — Green Day, Dave Grohl and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all appearing this year — the scene's definitely more indie and for many bands provides the best chance for national exposure. You'll remember that it was at SXSW that Amy Winehouse, Franz Ferdinand and Bon Iver all broke through to the next level.
It would be impossible to review all of the acts appearing at SXSW 2013, so here, in 37 tracks and one hour, are Austin-based performers taking the stage over the next few days. There's a whole range of sound here, from the hip-hop of Kydd and Dubb Sicks to the thoughtful lyricism of Dana Falconberry to the Western twee of the Wealthy West and moody instrumentals of My Education. Yes, there's a dash of country rock from Guy Forsyth, and even jazz from Jeff Lofton, too. It's all here and it's all for you!
But only if you have Spotify, which you should: it's free and there's a sea of music to sample, like these very lovingly selected tracks.