Much of the big news this month took place just outside of Austin rather than in the city limits. In McDade, east of Elgin, the first-ever Sound on Sound Fest got off to a strong start before torrential rains doused the final day with snafus. In New Braunfels, George Strait came out of retirement for a live-streamed concert at Gruene Hall. And in San Antonio, Black Sabbath played its last U.S. concert ever.
Heading inside the city limits, here’s our monthly look at Austin shows, records, songs and more that stood out for us in November:
ONE NIGHT IN NOVEMBER
In the eighth installment of our monthly series, we visited half-dozen local music hot spots on a single evening. For our first Saturday-night outing, we stayed entirely on the south side of town, below Ben White Boulevard, and came up with ample evidence that you need not go anywhere near downtown to sample a broad range of musical genres and interesting venues. — P.B.
BEST LIVE SHOWS
Nov. 4-5: Adele at the Erwin Center. Beyond her powerful pipes, the British soul singer’s greatest gift is her ability to create a true connection with her audience even in a massive arena. She might be the most down to earth superstar on the planet and she somehow made Austin’s least intimate music venue feel like a living room concert with a few close friends. — D.S.S.
Nov. 16: Dan Penn at Stateside at the Paramount. The legendary Southern singer-songwriter celebrated his 75th birthday by giving Austinites a tour-de-force run through his best-known songs and many other hidden gems from his storied life as a master of American roots music. — P.B.
Also: Sia at the Erwin Center, Nov. 6: Guy Clark Tribute at the Paramount, Nov. 6; Parker Millsap “Austin City Limits” taping, Nov. 9; Ray Wylie Hubbard’s 70th birthday at the Paramount, Nov. 12.
BEST NEW RECORDS
Mélat, “MeVen.” The new release from the young Ethiopian-American R&B singer is a gorgeous collection of silky love songs, laced with lush atmospherics, discordant electronics and a persistent melancholy ache. Over the past couple years, she’s been rising through the alt-R&B underground in Texas and beyond. The album, which dropped earlier this week, debuted at number 24 on the iTunes R&B chart. We’re predicting 2017 will be a very big year for Mélat. — D.S.S.
The Wind & the Wave, “Happiness Is Not a Place” (Island). The pop duo of Patricia Lynn and Dwight Baker have gone far in a short time, releasing a debut album on RCA in 2014 just a year after forming. They moved to another major label, Island, for this highly accessible record that sets Lynn’s melodic vocals to sophisticated but not overly slick arrangements. — P.B.
- More November local releases: Our weekly “Austin360 On The Record” roundups
BEST NEW SONGS
Tomar and the FCs, “You’re Not Alone”. Tomar Williams cut his musical teeth playing and singing with his family band as a child. In the late nineties, alongside brother Salih, he formed Carnival Beats, a hip-hop production powerhouse that helped define the Texas rap sound. “Heart Attack,” the debut full-length from his scorching soul project, is chock full of mean licks and head-whipping, hip-twitching grooves. But November 2016 was a very tough month, and the heavy helping of earnest heart he pours into this slow-burning soul stirrer helped ease the ache. — D.S.S.
Jonathan Terrell, “Faye.” Elements of both Terrell’s rock pursuits with Not in the Face and his more country-leaning solo material influence the material on his new EP, but this song and the others divine a balance that emphasizes the emotional pull of his vocals atop acoustic and pedal steel accents that are more about atmosphere than twang. — P.B.
AUSTIN360 ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Croy & the Boys. Frontman Corey Baum and his bandmates made their debut record with Adrian Quesada, one of Austin’s hottest producers. “Hey Come Back,” which the band released independently last week, is one of Austin’s best country records of the year, though it aims outside the center of the country target. — P.B.
ATX TOUR DIARY
Latin folk-pop artist Gina Chavez took us along for the ride as her band toured Jordan as cultural ambassadors as part of the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program.
Texas artists Old 97’s, Jackie Venson, Folk Uke and Jeff Lofton stopped by our studio to play holiday songs for us.