Friday’s music picks: Urban Music Festival, Honk!TX

Kevin Virobik-Adams for aa-s. Sisqo (cq) looks out over the Frank Erwin Center audience during his performance Monday (5/29/00)
Sisqo plays the Urban Music Festival. American-Statesman file photo by Kevin Virobik-Adams

Urban Music Festival at Auditorium Shores. In its 11th year, the festival programmed to coincide with Texas Relays Weekend continues its mission to provide a family-friendly alternative to the club-centric social scene. Friday night’s main event is a 20th anniversary performance from Dru Hill, who celebrates two decades of soothing shattered romances with syrupy soul. In addition to old faves like “Wild Wild West” and “In My Bed,” the band will probably play “Change,” the anti-police brutality single they wrote last year in response to the death of Freddie Gray in their hometown, Baltimore. It’s less likely that singer Sisqó will play his solo hit “Thong Song.” Doug E. Fresh also performs Friday. The fest continues Saturday with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. $36 daily, $65 for a two-day pass. Gates at 3 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. Saturday. 800 W. Riverside Drive. — D.S.S.

Also: Honk!TX kicks off three days of free musical mayhem on South Congress Avenue. The main party is at Jo’s Coffee with satellite shows at Toms, House of Wax and Cove boutique. A selection of Honk!TX acts including Minor Mishap Marching Band and Wino Vino keep the brassy bash going at Hotel Vegas later. … Fantastic NOLA groove machine the Funky Meters plays the Scoot Inn with Mingo Fishtrap. … Louisiana blues great Lazy Lester begins a four-night stand at Antone’s. … Woot woot! Kansas City emcee (and Juggalo magnet) Tech N9ne plays Emo’s with fellow fast spitter Rittz and more. …Country-folk songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey plays Threadgill’s with Brennen Leigh. … Folk guitar master Geoff Muldaur visits Cactus Cafe. … Sahara Lounge hosts an excellent night of international fusion with Cilantro Boombox, Atash and Macaxeira. … Documentarian and superfan of influential Texas punk band the Dicks, Cindy Marabito, spent 16 years putting together “The Dicks from Texas.” Celebrate the DVD release with 30 minutes of never-before-seen concert footage and performances from Black Irish and more at North Door. … Hip-hop, electro brothers Hippie Sabotage play a sold out show at the Parish. … Late-’60s hitmaking pop vocal group the Association is at One World Theatre. … The Mike Flanigin Trio with guitarist JimmieVaughan begins a weekend stand at C-Boy’s. … More than a dozen local musicians, including Tony Scalzo and Jon Sanchez, play the songs of XTC at Strange Brew to benefit the SIMS Foundation.

Best of Austin Music: March 2016

Our new monthly roundup looks back at highlights from the last month of music in Austin venues, along with new albums and songs by local artists. (And in case you missed them, check out our Best of Austin Music posts for January and February.)


Joey bada$$ performs at The Mohawk during SXSW on Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Erika Rich for American-Statesman
Joey Bada$$ performs at The Mohawk during SXSW. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

South by Southwest. Our attention in March inevitably gets gobbled up by SXSW, which marked its 30th year with a music festival that overall seemed less focused on major names (though unofficial shows brought cameos by George Strait at Ray Benson’s birthday party and Drake at the Fader Fort). Check out our American-Statesman SXSW wrap-up, or go in-depth with dozens of SXSW show reviews on


March 7: Townes Van Zandt birthday tribute at Cactus Cafe. Butch Hancock has been hosting these birthday tributes to the late, great Van Zandt ever since the legendary Texas troubadour’s death in 1997. Peers from Townes’ generation such as Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Mickey White and Richard Dobson teamed with younger artists including Graham Weber, Betty Soo and Jaimee Harris to keep such classic songs as “If I Needed You” and “Tecumseh Valley.” — P.B.

March 25: Greyhounds and Emily Gimble at C-Boy’s. A double bill featuring two of the city’s best singers in the Greyhounds’ Anthony Farrell and former Asleep at the Wheel pianist Emily Gimble, this show even drew in soul star Leon Bridges, who was spotted in the C-Boy’s crowd after his private PGA tournament-related show earlier in the evening. — P.B.

Also: Austin City Limits tapings by Robert Plant and Iggy Pop; local band Explosions in the Sky at the Paramount; Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins & Anais Mitchell at Bass Concert Hall; Mavis Staples and Nick Lowe at the Paramount; Paul Ray tribute at Antone’s.


Jeff Plankenhorn, “SoulSlide.” An in-demand sideman with a rich, resonant singing voice, Plankenhorn steps out with a dozen tracks of rootsy material, mostly his own compositions. Guest-vocalist ringers Malford Milligan and Ruthie Foster turn up on a couple of tracks, but the spotlight stays on Plankenhorn’s own intuition for a good soul groove. — P.B.

Here’s the song “Trouble Find Me”:

Holy Wave, “Freaks of Nurture.” Opening track “She Put a Seed in My Ear” begins with a guitar riff that recalls the desert blues of Malian acts like Tinariwen, then opens into a surprisingly buoyant, expansive ramble. The wanderings continue through an album that unwinds like a Texas summer, heavy with hazy vibes to temper the emotional heat. — D.S.S.

CAKE, “CAKE.” Technically, this compilation was part of Austin’s end of February album blitz, but it didn’t hit our desks til the beginning of March. Rapper Anya, the best undersung emcee in the city, organized this collective of female hip-hop, R&B and reggae artists to create a fully realized platter loaded with powerful verses, catchy hooks and a through-line of raw emotional integrity driven by a mission to empower young women. — D.S.S.


Migrant Kids, “Thread.” The video actually debuted in late February, but the EP that it’s on won’t be out till May. Whatever the timeline, we dig this track by the trio that draws ’80s new wave influences into its modern indie rock. — P.B.

Tameca Jones, “Head Over Heels.” Before the city was swept up in festival fury, local soul maven Jones, dropped this smoldering heart breaker. The song captures the universally relatable, desperate sensation of futilely fanning the flames of a dying love. — D.S.S.


Are you an Austin artist with new music we should hear and/or videos we should see? Hit us up at

Thursday’s music picks: Brass Band Blitz, David Lindley

Honk!TX presents 4th Annual Brass Band Blitz at Sidewinder. Fittingly, the scrappy little D.I.Y street band fest with a jester’s court aesthetic kicks off three days of free, family-friendly shows proper on April Fool’s Day, but folks who can’t wait for the lowbrow musical mayhem to begin are in luck. Sidewinder hosts a Thursday night pre-party with Detroit Party Marching Band, Pakava It, The m9, Bucharest Drinking Team, Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band, Environmental Encroachment and School of Honk. 8 p.m. 715 Red River. — DSS

Phil Cook plays Sidewinder. Photo by DL Anderson

Also: Multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, well-known as one of rock’s great accompanists with Jackson Browne and others but also a fascinating performer on his own, visits Cactus Cafe. … The Sidewinder’s other stage hosts two of the North Carolina Triangle’s top indie acts of the past few years, former Megafaun co-leader Phil Cook and the new Ryan Gustafson project Dead Tongues. … If you prefer your lo-fi tunes strummed and sung, the Austin Uke Society presents the Uketania VI Ukelele Showcase with some of the city’s finest four-string slingers at Sahara Lounge. … Quirky alt-rockers They Might Be Giants remade themselves as a kids band, but their Stubb’s show is marked PG-14, for older kids only. … The Mohawk presents a night of sludgy metal and grinding noise with the Melvins, Napalm Death and Melt Banana. … Top roots options include Alvin Crow late and Aaron McDonnell & the Neon Eagles early at Little Longhorn Saloon, and Redd Volkaert at Strange Brew. … Phish tribute band A Live One is at One-2-One Bar.

Watch Willie Nelson talk about The Highwaymen in new documentary trailer

They’ll always be around, and around, and around…

Though only half of its founding members are still alive, The Highwaymen are making a bit of a comeback.

The country supergroup made up of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson will be the subject of a new “American Masters” documentary on PBS in May, and a box set of rare live shows is set to be released a week before the documentary, Rolling Stone Country reports.

4/27/93 Staff Photo by Sung Park/American-Statesman Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings at KLRU studio during the taping of the Willie Nelson 60th birthday special.
4/27/93 Staff Photo by Sung Park/American-Statesman:Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings at KLRU studio during the taping of the Willie Nelson 60th birthday special.

“The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End” airs on PBS May 27, and will feature new interviews from Kristofferson and Nelson as well as archived interviews from Cash and Jennings, who died in 2003 and 2002, respectively.

“Well I had three of my favorite people out there— it was some of the best times of my life,” Nelson says in the trailer, which can be viewed here. Other country artists are interviewed, too, such as Jessi Colter and Marty Stuart.

The documentary showcases a rare 1990 concert in New York where the band played for nearly three hours, with each member playing their own solo hits.

“The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws” is a box set that will be released May 20. The four-disc CD/DVD package includes a DVD of the full New York show featured in “Friends Till the End” and CDs of two Farm Aid concerts from 1992 and 1993.

Nelson fans can expect to see some of his biggest hits in the box set, including “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” “Always On My Mind” and “On the Road Again.” The third disc closes with a new version of “One Too Many Mornings,” which Cash and Jennings previously recorded. Kristofferson and Nelson provide the vocals for the new version.

And if you can’t get enough of Willie, you can always drive by East Seventh Street and Neches Street



Wednesday’s music picks: Greg Dulli, Maggie Belle

Afghan Whigs Greg Dulli Photo by Ha Lam
Greg Dulli plays Central Presbyterian Church. Photo by Ha Lam

Greg Dulli, Derrick Brown at Central Presbyterian Church. The Afghan Whigs started churning out R&B-tinged alt-rock in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1986 and their 40th anniversary is shaping up as a big year for the band and their fans. The Whigs have a new album due out on Sub Pop later this year and frontman Dulli is doing a limited run of intimate evenings in churches and synagogues across the country. Dulli will perform stripped down versions of his solo material and Afghan Whigs songs. $28. Doors at 7 p.m. 200 E. Eighth Street. — D.S.S.

Also: Sahara Lounge hosts an excellent, horn-heavy night of soul and funk with New Orleans’ Maggie Belle and Austin360 March Artist of the Month Mama K & the Shades. … The first non-SXSW public show at the new 3Ten club below ACL Live is a free event featuring the 1o-piece Macaxeira Funk ensemble. … Beerland celebrates owner Randall Stockton’s birthday with Jonly Bonly and more. … The second installment of the new Microsessions “speed dating for new music” series at the Vortext features 15- minute sets by Grace Park & Jesse Dalton, Lagoons, Chazz Bessette, More Eaze and Michael Garfield. … Sun Radio’s Texas Radio Live at Guero’s Oak Garden features singers Sarah Sharp and Sarah Arenella from 6 to 8 p.m. … Austin rock scene lifer Thor Harris and his friends headline an indoor show at the Mohawk. … Will Taylor & Strings Attached wrap up a run of Wednesday happy-hour shows at Tellers downtown. They’ll move the gig to El Mercado Backstage next week. … Thee Unseen Eye, another project of guitar-drums couple Eve Monsees and Mike Buck, plays late at Antone’s, after happy hour with the Tommy Shannon Blues Band. … Top roots options include Bill Kirchen at the Broken Spoke, Warren Hood at ABGB and Joe King Carrasco with Danny B. Harvey at Evangeline Cafe.

Tyler, the Creator announces Austin tour stop

Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN - Tyler The Creator surfs the crowd during a performance at the Scoot Inn SXSW on Friday March 18, 2011.
Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN – Tyler The Creator surfs the crowd during a performance at the Scoot Inn SXSW in 2011.

Now that the smoke has cleared, it appears that Tyler, the Creator is once again welcome in Austin.

The former Odd Future frontman comes to Stubb’s on May 29, two years and two months after he was accused of inciting a riot at Scoot Inn during the 2014 South by Southwest Music Festival. The charges against him were dropped in February, and he announced his triumphant return to our city this week.

Tickets for the show go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at  Members of the E-List will have access to the pre-sale at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Memorial for Austin musician John Winsor planned for Wednesday afternoon

Photo by Stewart Mann
Photo by Stewart Mann

Austin musician John Winsor, who played in the bands Sounds del Mar and Carry Illinois died over the weekend. He was 33.

In a Facebook post, Winsor’s bandmates in Sounds del Mar said, “He had the sharpest wit, mind boggling licks, and the biggest heart we have ever had the pleasure of being loved by.”

Winsor also did a stint working as production manager at the Mohawk. A moving tribute to him posted to the club’s Facebook page on Saturday, praised his “cool, calm and collected approach to running our team.”

The post says Winsor “stepped aside from management later on, to commit himself fully to creating” but continued to work at the Mohawk and that the club’s staff are “devastated by his loss, but also privileged to have known him and to have worked alongside him.”

The memorial on Wednesday takes place at 2 p.m. at the Mohawk. His bandmates in Sounds del Mar invite friends to “please come and join us in remembrance.”

Winsor’s other band Carry Illinois will play a show at the Sidewinder at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. “With extremely heavy broken hearts, all we can do is be with those we love and make more music,” the band’s singer Lizzy Lehman wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.

Carry Illinois will be donating all proceeds from their Sunday show to the SIMS Foundation which supports mental health services for musicians in the Austin area.



Reports: SXSW standout Kehlani hospitalized following suicide attempt

Kehlani performs at the Jansport SXSW showcase at Cheer Up Charlies on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Erika Rich for American-Statesman
Kehlani performs at the Jansport SXSW showcase at Cheer Up Charlies on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

Last night 20-year-old R&B singer Kehlani posted a photo to Instagram, suggesting she was hospitalized following a suicide attempt, multiple sources report.

With an energetic stage show loaded with fun and fresh choreographed dance routines that thrilled her largely female fan base, the Oakland native was a clear standout at the South by Southwest Music Festival earlier this month.

The now-deleted Instagram post, presumably taken from a hospital bed, showed the singer’s arm with an IV tube. “Today I wanted to leave this Earth. Being completely selfish for once. Never thought I’d get to such a low point,” the caption read.

Kehlani also addressed Internet rumors that she cheated on her boyfriend NBA player Kyrie Irving, with R&B singer PartyNextDoor, saying ““No one was cheated on and I’m not a bad person.”

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255

Watch: Austin360 Artist of the Month Mama K and the Shades plays ‘Good Things’

Wait, is it really the end of March? As it always does in Austin, the month went by in a blur of free booze, musical mayhem and tossed-away promotional swag. Before the South by Southwest madness set in, our March Artist of the Month, ten-piece funk band Mama K and the Shades, crammed into the Statesman Studio to record this live performance of the song “Good Things” from their excellent debut album.

Mama K & the Shades perform at Red 7 on Friday, August 14, 2015 during a benefit show for the family of David McKnight, the band's saxophone player who died in July of 2015. Kelly West/American-Statesman
Mama K & the Shades perform at Red 7 on Friday, August 14, 2015 during a benefit show for the family of David McKnight, the band’s saxophone player who died in July of 2015. Kelly West/American-Statesman

Tuesday’s music picks: The Necks, Noisefest

The Necks play North Door. Photo by Holimage
The Necks play North Door. Photo by Holimage

The Necks at North Door. Austin’s adventurous music collective Epistrophy Arts presents an Australian cult fave. The experimental jazz trio (piano, drums and bass) creates hypnotic long form improvisational works that have earned critical raves. $15-$30. 8 p.m. 501 Brushy St. — D.S.S.

Also: Austin Noisefest 2016 features the first U.S. performances from six Japanese noise acts including Hijokaidan, Optron and Yusuke Fuyama, plus over 30 more very loud local and national acts. … It’s also a very loud night at Sidewinder, where metal bands Absu and Vex play early followed by a late show with Expander and Total Abuse. … Antone’s hosts a California-Texas guitar crossover with Mark Hummel’s Golden State-Lone Star Revue featuring Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty. … The weekly Durawa show at 6 p.m. at Strange Brew features conjunto greats Los Texmaniacs.