Austin360 On The Record: Pulkingham Layne, Jean Caffeine and more

David Pulkingham, left, and Darin Layne.


Pulkingham Layne, “Stringology.” The follow-up to their 2014 debut “Poison Flower” finds these two world-class acoustic guitarists digging deeper into their creative explorations of instrumental music that draws from a variety of styles. David Pulkingham is most often seen these days as the guitarist in Patty Griffin’s band, after many years with Alejandro Escovedo; Darin Layne has released eight solo albums and teaches at St. Edward’s University. They bonded over Brazilian Choro music while playing together in the band Crying Monkeys, but on “Stringology” they stretch into other exotic international realms. Erasing genre borders between jazz, classical and world music, these 10 original songs (plus a Chico Buarque cover captured live at Strange Brew) never fail to fascinate, enlighten and entertain. Release show Aug. 31 at Cactus Cafe. Here’s the track “Betty Jane”:

Jean Caffeine, “Sadie Saturday Night” (Joe). A mix of mostly minimalist melodic pop music and spoken-word memoir, this record from the former San Francisco and New York punk-rock drummer turned Austin country-folk singer-songwriter is the outgrowth of a musical-theater piece Caffeine has been performing onstage the past couple of years. Release show Sept. 1 at Hole in the Wall, in-store Sept. 3 at Antone’s Record Shop. Here’s a short teaser-video of the live show upon which the album is based:


Brandon Callies & the American Revival, “Sounds of Love and Ghosts” (Hand Drawn). The third full-length album from singer-songwriter Callies and his band features 10 tracks of Americana music. Here’s the video for the track “Leaving California”:

Johnny Dango, “Recluse in Plain Sight.” Dango’s first release in four years features eight tracks of cosmic-country music with guest musicians including Doug Strahan and Travis Garaffa. Release show Sept. 1 at Sam’s Town Point. Here’s the video for the track “Hole in My Heart”:


Sam Pace & the Gilded Grit, “Judgment Eve, Part 1” EP. Four tracks of hard-edged rock from the Austin-via-Chicago guitarist. Release show Sept. 1 at Mohawk indoor. Here’s the leadoff track, “Punch ’Em in the Ear”:


  • SEPT. 8: David Ramirez, “We’re Not Going Anywhere” (Sweetworld), in-store Sept. 8 at Waterloo Records.
  • SEPT. 9: Mystery Achievement, self-titled, release show Sept. 9 at ABGB.
  • SEPT. 10: These Fine Moments, “Break It, Bought It,” release show Sept. 10 at One-2-One Bar.
  • SEPT. 15: Ray Prim, “To Whom It May Concern,” release show Sept. 15 at North Door.
  • READ MORE: Our Austin360 Artist of the Month interview with Ray Prim
  • SEPT. 22: Midland, “On the Rocks” (Big Machine), playing Oct. 15 at ACL Fest.
  • SEPT. 22: Balmorhea, “Clear Language” (Western Vinyl), release shows Sept. 21-22 at Stateside at the Paramount, in-store Sept. 24 at Waterloo Records.
  • SEPT. 22: Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin, “Live at C-Boy’s” (Proper).
  • SEPT. 22: Midnight Stroll, “Western Static.”
  • SEPT. 22: Walker Lukens, “Tell It to the Judge” (Modern Outsider), in-store Sept. 22 at Waterloo Records.
  • SEPT. 29: Jackie Venson, “Transcends” EP, release show Nov. 5 at Antone’s.
  • OCT. 6: Bill Carter, self-titled.
  • OCT. 6: Whitney Rose, “Rule 62” (Six Shooter).
  • OCT. 20: Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, “Don’t Go Baby, It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You” (Cornelius Chapel), release show Oct. 21 at Stay Gold.

Friends and fellow musicians remember Austin guitarist Joe Eddy Hines

Joe Eddy Hines (foreground) with Buick MacKane at a memorial benefit for the late Ross Shoemaker in August 2015. Rafael Rodriguez/Contributed

News of the death of Austin guitarist Joe Eddy Hines early this morning at age 63 from cancer circulated across social media on Wednesday, with stories from friends as well as photographs and video clips of his performances with Alejandro Escovedo and Buick MacKane. Here’s one YouTube clip from 1996 that prominently features Hines, decked out in a bright red shirt as he kicks off Escovedo’s “Crooked Frame” with a stinging solo:

Hines played for years with Escovedo not only in his main touring band but also with his garage-rock-oriented side project Buick MacKane. More recently, he’d been a part of local groups including Hellapeño and Hardtail.

But perhaps the most illuminating back-story came from drummer Tommy Taylor, known for his work with Christopher Cross, Eric Johnson and many other Austin bands stretching back to the 1970s. Currently he plays most Wednesdays at Antone’s with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bassist Tommy Shannon of Double Trouble.

In a public post on Facebook, Taylor recalled how Hines first moved from Midland to Austin in 1975 to play with Tricks, a band Taylor had started with David Norwood, Rick Gabler and Charles Ford. A few excerpts from Taylor’s account:

“He was very ambitious and confident. … So we arranged for him to come into town for a little test. We had gigs booked so we weren’t really in a position to balk or bargain; if the guy was decent he was pretty much in.

“He came in with a full stack Marshall, a brand new Stratocaster, and a 50’s Les Paul TV special….cool enough gear. He had a great sense of humor and real no bullshit kind of presence. He had one really weird quirk…he was ….. VEGETARIAN….but he joked “he was fool for a cheeseburger.” Joe Hines was the first vegetarian I ever met. What many of you don’t realize probably is that he from childhood…had crippling arthritis of the hands….and he chose to play the guitar….his vegetarianism was based on the more suitable functions of that diet for his condition. He was on constant pain medication for his malady. He was very frank about it and never seeking any sympathy.

“We sat down to work up some tunes…and the guy could play the daylights out of the guitar…he played different and that was really cool. Austin guitar players have a thing…we love that. Joe didn’t play like that. He added something to our group that nobody else really had.”

SXSW adds Austin-raised songwiter Savan Kotecha as a featured speaker

Savan Kotecha will speak at South by Southwest in 2018. Contributed/Kanani Songs

Savan Kotecha, a Grammy-nominated songwriter who was raised in Austin and has co-writing credits on major hit songs for many top-selling artists, will be among the featured speakers at next year’s South by Southwest music conference, SXSW announced today.

The announcement was included in a long list of names added to the event, including author Ta-Nehisi Coates as a convergence keynote. (Some of Coates’ first writings appeared in the Village Voice via then-music editor Chuck Eddy, who wrote about his years at the Voice on Austin360 earlier this week.)

Kotecha grew up in Austin and attended Westwood High School. Now based in Southern California, he was nominated for a 2016 Grammy for his contribution to Elle Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” and has also co-written major hits for top-selling acts such as the Weeknd, Katy Perry, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Usher and Maroon 5. He’s received nine BMI awards and 15 ASCAP awards.

READ MORE: Austin-raised songwriter net Grammy and Golden Globes nominations

DJ Mel ends 21-year run hosting Monday night hip-hop party at Nasty’s

Mel Cavaricci, the artist better known as DJ Mel, is one of the top party rockers in the country. He’s played big stages at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Festival, his long-running Rock the Casbah party is an Austin fave, and from 2012-2016, he essentially served as President Obama’s personal DJ.

DJ Mel at Nasty’s in June of 2016. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

FROM THE ARCHIVES: DJ Mel on rocking Obama headquarters on election night

But through it all, he kept the gig that launched him, the weekly hip-hop party on Monday nights at Nasty’s that he started in 1996. It ran for 21 years, making it the longest running hip-hop party in Austin by a long shot and a local institution for several generations of ATX hip-hop heads. It also outlasted the vast majority of weekly happenings around the country.

In a post on his official DJ Mel Facebook page Tuesday night, Cavaricci attributed the end of the party’s run to a change in management at Nasty’s, the rugby-themed North Campus dive where he held court. “The place has changed hands and will be something else soon,” he wrote.

An excited crowd dances at DJ Mel’s hip-hop residency at Nasty’s in June 2016. Erika Rich for American-Statesman

He closed this lengthy chapter of his career with no bitterness, saying he “felt okay with it.” Crowds throughout the two decades of the party waxed and waned, and as his career as a world-renowned DJ took off, ironically, the dance floor at Nasty’s thinned.

Instead, he took time to reminisce warmly about the early days.

“When I first walked into that bar, I finally found a place to express myself and cut my teeth as a party DJ,” he said. “Soon, it was packed every week, for many years. What a sight to see – people from all walks of life, crammed into a little room with a mutual love for hip hop. It was amazing.”

He also shouted out the many DJs who shared the stage, the club’s ownership and staff and “all the folks that have walked through the doors since 1996.”

“Your support throughout the years means the world to me,” he said.

Eva Musoke, a longtime fan of DJ Mel’s hip-hop residency at Nasty’s dances at the party in June of 2016.
Erika Rich for American-Statesman

In the post he hinted at the possibility of taking “the spirit of Nasty’s” to another location.

But tonight, the thousands of us who worked our bodies into a sweaty mess on the tight packed dance floor, who lounged on the patio and struck up lifelong friendships with fellow hip-hop heads, who lost countless quarters on video games we were too drunk to play, will pour a pitcher of cheap frozen ‘Ritas on the ground in honor of the passing.

Austin music scene Harvey benefits: Reckless Kelly plays ball for relief

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This is an ongoing list of events planned by folks in the Austin music scene to provide Hurricane Harvey relief. We will be updating this list as events pass and as more events are announced.

Reckless Kelly’s Celebrity Softball Jam has moved to fall and this year’s proceeds will go to Harvey relief. Photo by Cassandra Weyandt

RELATED: Over 165 musicians sign up to play for Harvey evacuees in less than 24 hours

Saturday, Sept. 9: Hurricane Harvey Relief Fundraiser at Threadgill’s. Ex-pat Brit-rocker Nic Armstrong and his band, the Thieves, headline a kid-friendly benefit bash to raise money for Harvey relief with 100% of ticket sales going to the Houston Flood Relief Fund. $8 adv. $10. door. 8 p.m. 301 W. Riverside Dr. More info 

Sunday, Sept. 10: Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam at Dell Diamond. The ninth annual music-and-sports event has moved from spring to fall this year, and in a late change in plans, proceeds will go to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Joining Reckless Kelly on the bill this year for the concert, which follows an early-afternoon softball game featuring local music and media luminaries, are Cody Canada & the Departed, Wade Bowen, Midnight River Choir, Randy Rogers, Jamie Lin Wilson, John Evans, Rosie Flores, Jesse Dayton, Jason Eady, Charlie Robison, Mike & the Moonpies, Shinyribs, Bart Crow, Courtney Patton and more. A late add to the bill is alt-country band American Aquarium. $20-$30. Noon (game), 3 p.m. (concert). 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. More info.

Sunday, Sept. 10: Keep Austin Live Hurricane Harvey benefit at Flamingo Cantina. ATX hip-hop stands up for Houston as some of our city’s top talent including Protextor, Tank and Sertified take the stage at Flamingo. All proceeds benefit the Salvation Army. $5. 10:30 p.m. 515 E. Sixth St. More info. 


Saturday, Sept. 9: The Mystery Achievement will be collecting monetary donation for two organizations: Austin Pets Alive and The Rebuild Texas Fund at their CD release party at the ABGB. They will also be donating $5 from every CD sold.

Sunday, Sept. 10: Peelander-Z at Barracuda. Opening band Otonana Trio from Tokyo is donating all of the proceeds from this show and the rest of their U.S. tour to Hurricane Harvey relief. “This is a cause very close to their hearts, as they have toured the Southern United States several times and have developed many close friendships over the years. They also have great sympathy for these victims, having experienced the Tsunami in their home country of Japan,” a statement from their publicist said.

Sunday, October 1: Band Aid School of Music, Music Moves Mountains Foundation fund and instrument drive. The two music nonprofits are teaming up to raise money for musicians, music educators, music therapists and other music non-profits affected by Hurricane Harvey. They will be collecting financial donations as well as donations of instruments and gear.  Students from the Band Aid School of Music perform and Austin Land and Cattle Company will provide food. 1 p.m.  2309 Thornton Rd.

Fine Southern Gentlemen has created Houston Strong t-shirts with all proceeds benefiting the Greater Houston Community Foundation for pre-order and on-site printing. Available online here:

Planning a Hurricane Harvey benefit that’s not on this list? Drop us a line.

Weekend music picks: A bluegrass version of the Who’s ‘Tommy’, Girl in a Coma, Donald Fagen


Saturday: HillBenders present “The Who’s Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” at One World Theatre. Though they hail from Springfield, Mo., this energetic alt-grass outfit has a vital Austin connection: It was the late South by Southwest co-founder Louis Meyers who persuaded them to record a bluegrass version of the Who’s classic rock-opera album. What might sound like a goofy lark reveals itself to be much more than that when the band reels off classic after classic in sequence, as they did to a delighted audience at Old Settler’s Music Festival in 2016. $20-$60. 7 p.m. — P.B.

Girl in a Coma performs at the Texas Heritage Festival at Stubb’s on Thursday, June 30, 2016. Photo by Peter Blackstock

Saturday: Pennyfest at Empire. Does a single-day event really count as a fest? It might be stretching the definition, but we’ll let it slide for this one with its solid offerings of top-notch regional indie rock. Gigs by San Antonio outfit Girl in a Coma have been rare over the last couple years as lead singer Nina Diaz focused on her solo career, but they kick off a national tour later this fall, and they’ll be in Austin to headline this shindig. Also on the bill, presented by Penny Loafer PR and 101X Homegrown Live, are Emily Wolfe, Ghost Wolves, Darkbird and many more. $12-$17. 6:30 p.m. doors. 606 E. 7th St. — D.S.S.

Saturday: Donald Fagen & the Nightflyers at ACL Live. It’s not Steely Dan, granted, but co-leader Fagen will be playing many of that band’s biggest hits on this tour, as well as choice cuts from his handful of solo records. Backing him is a band of younger musicians he’s recruited from the area around his Woodstock, N.Y., home: guitarist Connor Kennedy, keyboardist Will Bryant, bassist Brandon Morrison and drummer Lee Falco. $69.50-$99.50. 8 p.m. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. — P.B.



Mike Flanigin Trio with Jimmie Vaughan & George Rains at C-Boy’s


Bob Schneider, Jai Malano, Eric Burton at Nutty Brown Amphitheater

South Austin Jug Band reunion at Threadgill’s South

Jon Wolfe, Django Walker, Shotgun Rider at Stubb’s outdoor

MC 900ft Jesus at the North Door

Rob $tone at Vulcan Gas Company

Uncle Lucius, Greyhounds, Elijah Ford at Barracuda

Magna Carda, Trouble in the Streets, BoomBaptist at Hotel Vegas

Body Rock ATX: Kanye vs. Beyoncé at Empire

Whitey Johnson, Denny Freeman at Saxon Pub

Screemin’ Sheelahs at Flamingo Cantina

Rosie Flores, Ruby Jane & the Reckless, Blues Specialists at Continental Club

Jean Caffeine album release, Bitter Heart Society, Butch County at Hole in the Wall

Sam Pace EP release, Watters at Mohawk indoor

Bad Rituals EP release, Noisechoir, Hunter Sharpe at Sidewinder

Pong, Bamako Airlines at Sahara Lounge

Kanga, Adoration Destroyed, Curse Mackey at Elysium

Gerardo Ortiz at El Coliseo


Tab Benoit, Brandy Zdan at Mohawk outdoor

Carbon Leaf at 3Ten

Lou Ann Barton, Sue Foley, Redd Volkaert at Continental Club

W.C. Clark Blues Revue, Shelley King Band at Antone’s

Annabelle Chairlegs, Shivas, Mean Jolene, DJ Tweedy at Hotel Vegas

A Is Red, Patricia Vonne at One-2-One Bar

For Spite Creative Party with Glass, BLXPLTN at Sidewinder

Albert & Gage at Donn’s Depot

Jason Roberts at Little Longhorn Saloon

Belle Sounds at Saxon Pub

Breakaway Expansion party with Hollow Trees, Fleshlights at Breakaway Records

Against the Archaic at Come and Take It Live

Magnifico at ABGB

Ugly Beats at Carousel Lounge


Everly Brothers tribute with Zmed Brothers at One World Theatre

Al Green tribute with CJ Edwards & the Funk Fellowship at Empire

La India Yuridia at El Coliseo

Mama K & the Shades, Kalu & the Electric Joint, Lindsay Beaver at Antone’s

Hilary York, Aimee Bobruk, Rosie Flores at C-Boy’s

Doug Strahan & the Good Neighbors at ABGB

Jean Caffeine at Antone’s Record Shop

Multicult, Vincas at Beerland

Beyoncé promises to ‘help as many as we can’ in Houston

In a statement released exclusively to her hometown newspaper, the world’s most famous Houstonian, Beyoncé Knowles pledged to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show in 2016. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

RELATED: Drake pledges aid to Houston, the city that launched him

“My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help,”  the pop superstar told the Houston Chronicle.

HOW TO HELP: Emergency groups, nonprofits aid flood-stricken Texans

She went on to say that she is “working closely with my team at BeyGOOD as well as my pastor (Rudy Rasmus at St. John’s in downtown Houston) to implement a plan to help as many as we can.”

RELATED: Houston rappers respond to Hurricane Harvey


UPDATE: Over 165 musicians sign up to play for Harvey evacuees in Austin

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UPDATE 8.30.17: Erica Shamaly, director of the Austin Music Office, characterized Wednesday morning reports that musicians did not show up for their scheduled performance slots at the evacuation shelter at LBJ High School as a miscommunication.

Shamaly said her office was notified Tuesday afternoon that there were performance slots available as soon as 5 p.m. Tuesday or 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, but they were still working to get a process in place to assign musicians to shelters.

“We’re vetting through about 400 names and establishing a safe and regular process to get them placed. It’s just taking a little bit longer than we hoped,” she said. She said they also want to make sure to have the right kind of production volunteers available to be on site to assist the musicians, “just to be sure we’re not taking any resources away from evacuees.”

“We don’t want a situation that makes for any more stress for the volunteer coordinators at the shelters or for the evacuees themselves,” she said.

Shamaly said her office should have their process worked out so they can begin placing people on Wednesday.

UPDATE 8.29.17: On Monday afternoon, Stephanie Bergara of the Austin Music Office received a call from a colleague with a friend at the Red Cross. They were wondering if it would be possible to get some music at the Austin-area shelters for Hurricane Harvey evacuees.

She wanted to help, so Bergara passed the request along to the Austin music community via her office’s social media channels. She asked musicians who were willing to perform to contact her.

“It was such short notice, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the response,” she said Tuesday morning.

On Aug. 27, 2017, Zoey Lynn Rodriguez, 8, entertained herself with balloon while waiting out Tropical Storm Harvey with 140 other evacuees at the Wilhelmina Delco Center in Austin, TX. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

HOW TO HELP: Emergency groups, nonprofits aid storm-stricken Texas

Almost immediately musicians began to answer the call. Dozens of them. Less than 24 hours after she made the first post, over 165 musicians had signed up to play. Bergara said she was “incredibly overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support from the Austin community.

“It’s more than just musicians,” she said. “A lady in Bastrop emailed and said, ‘I’m not a musician, but we have a bakery in Bastrop and we want to send cupcakes to evacuees, can you tell me where to do that?’ There was a woman who wanted to drop off aromatherapy kits. Another person asked if people need visits from therapy dogs.”

“The people who are willing to support evacuees in this town,” she said, her voice catching slightly, “man, people are just coming out of the woodwork with resources.”

At this time, Bergara said, the office doesn’t have enough space or time to provide performance opportunities at the shelters for all of the musicians who responded to the call, but she said they are exploring other ideas, including the possibility of a benefit performance to plug in as many musicians as possible.

EARLIER: Monday afternoon, the City of Austin music office put out a call for musicians willing to perform at Austin-area evacuation shelters. The local shelters are at Delco Center, LBJ High School and the Burger Center. Representatives from the office said they received the request for musicians from the Red Cross.

The music office is requesting artists with serious interest in performing to email They also request simple performance setups.

TexPop in San Antonio to host Margaret Moser life celebration

In the midst of the Hurricane Harvey madness over the weekend, the Austin music scene lost one of its greatest boosters, when former Austin Chronicle writer and Austin Music Awards director, Margaret Moser died late Friday night.

Margaret Moser smiles after receiving a proclamation signed by governor Greg Abbott thanking her for her server to Texas Music for more than 3 decades and while severing as Producer for the Austin music awards and being a Journalist for 30 plus years. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

RELATED: Margaret Moser was the Austin music scene’s greatest champion

In 2014, facing what she brushed off as a “stage 4 death sentence,”colon cancer, Moser moved from Austin to San Antonio with her husband, Steve Chaney and set up shop in the city where she came of age. There she helped found the South Texas Popular Culture Center, or Tex Pop, collecting artifacts and memorabilia to celebrate the city’s musical heritage.

RELATED: Sex, music writing and the Margaret Moser interview that never happened

“TexPop wouldn’t exist if Margaret Moser and MK didn’t have the vision to make it happen,” a recent post on the museum’s Facebook page, celebrating the successful end to a “Summer of Love” event said.

The event at the museum is set for Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m.  It is being described as a casual memorial and also a potluck. “Bring a dish to pass/share, your favorite beverage, your memories of Margaret, and your guitar, if you choose to use the open mic for the evening, because we’re celebrating her life and legacy,” the event listing says.

RELATED: A Margaret Moser primer: Essential reads

There’s no word yet on whether an Austin memorial event for Moser is in the works.

Thoughts on the fading Village Voice, from a former music editor

By Chuck Eddy
Special to the American-Statesman

A 1979 issue of the Village Voice. Contributed/Chuck Eddy

The first issue of The Village Voice I ever saw was the one dated January 22, 1979. The cover headlines were “The Case Against Jimmy Liar” (by Jack Newfield, with President Carter headshot), “Donald Trump Cuts the Cards” (by Wayne Barrett), and, most relevant for the next going-on-40 years of my life, “Triumph of the New Wave: Results of the Fifth (or Sixth) Annual Pazz and Jop Critics’ Poll” (by Robert Christgau, duh). I was in my freshman year at the University of Detroit, in the tower office of the Varsity News. Back in my safe suburban home, I’d never seen an alternative weekly, much less this all-time archetypal one, which basically invented the genre but last week announced after more than half a century that it’s about to stop publishing paper editions. I’d just started buying a handful of new wave records, especially ones by Elvis Costello, whom the cover pictured in his anxious early nerd-glasses mode. The 1978 album poll inside, which Costello won, fascinated me — not only because I’d never heard of Wire, Pere Ubu or Ian Dury, but because I’d never heard of rock criticism.

I know about the cover because I still have it, on actual tattered newsprint. For years, it’s been stored in a dilapidated 15×13-inch red plastic binder, along with every subsequent Pazz & Jop section through Nirvana’s 1991, plus a few mid-’70s ones printed out from an ancient college microfilm machine. Before long, I was reviewing albums myself, and becoming increasingly obsessed with the Voice music section and Pazz & Jop in particular. By early 1982, I was voting in the poll. Two years later, by which time I was a Signal Corps lieutenant in West Germany, Robert Christgau printed a big chunk of an 11-page letter I’d affixed to my 1983 top-tens ballot, quoted me in his essay, and asked me to start writing for him. By the end of the 1980s, I was racking up bylines almost every other week.

The music section that Christgau meticulously, perspiration-inducingly line-edited opened up a whole new world of hip-hop, house music, freestyle, soundtracks, Southern soul and beyond, by the smartest critics anywhere. I have piles of clips stuffed in folders somewhere. In another red plastic binder, I have a ridiculously thick pile of monthly Consumer Guides from the early ’80s through mid-’90s — mostly by Christgau, but also including lots of jazz and a few new music, classical and country ones by occasional pinch-hitters.

Which is to say: Even though I admittedly haven’t held a copy in my hands for at least a couple of years (who in Austin even carries the thing?), the now-endangered tactile as opposed to evaporating digital version of the Voice has meant a whole lot to me, for most of my life. In the late ’80s in Michigan and early-mid-’90s in Philadelphia, the day the Pazz & Jop issue came out, I would drive clear across town to scarf up a copy the minute it finally hit a local train station or wherever, just to breathlessly find out whether they’d published my comments or best-of lists, As often as not, they did, saving me from being crestfallen, partly because I’d been neurotically obsessing on both for months. And this all happened despite the fact that my whole persona and/or shtick as a writer revolved around my provincial skepticism about New York pretension in the general — all those bogus multisyllabic words about deconstruction and structuralism that I made a point of being unable to decipher.

Through the ’90s, the Voice and I had a notably volatile on-off relationship. I fared better with some editors than others, and those others had a point. I published two books and wrote for competing magazines. But before the millennium turned, the music editor’s job opened up. I’d only been to New York a couple of times in my life, and the outgoing editor warned me he doubted I had the disposition for the job — being, I don’t know, a royal crank or whatever. (Or, as one letter to the editor dubbed me, The Mayor of Asshole City.) But I applied anyway, and for whatever reason, they hired me. Maybe the traditionally lefty paper was looking to diversify by recruiting a white male hetero Army veteran from the Midwest who’d grown up on Ted Nugent records, a demographic that’s only grown more deplorable ever since. After the interview, I was told that if I wanted the gig, I best head back to Philly and start packing bags.

I hung on to the position for seven years — longer than any Village Voice music editor ever, save Dean of Critics Christgau himself. (By my count, 11 people officially held the position while it lasted.) For a few years I was able to see pretty much any show in town, from Madison Square Garden on down to the most humble Lower East Side dive, for free, then expense the taxi ride home. Even crazier, I got to work with world-historic writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates (who I must have been one of the first editors ever to professionally publish), Luc Sante (who helped me move into my first New York apartment!) and Mary Gaitskill — not to mention a gaggle of interns who went on to be editors and/or authors themselves, and by now probably report more 1040 income than I do.

I was there to shape commentary after Columbine, to put together a benefit CD after 9-11, to crank out a cover story about Eminem’s fatherhood skills. I oversaw the Voice’s Best of New York issue (about a city I’d always resented!) for four years, and ran that venerable Pazz & Jop poll for seven. And I was aboard, even to the extent of recording a monthly radio show, when the Voice started the website that would ultimately supersede everything else. In other words, the beginning of the end: It’s when bosses really started reining in my section, which smartly or stupidly I tended to conceive at as a creative project in its own right. That, along with a 2005 merger with an alternative weekly chain out of Phoenix, were ultimately my undoing.

And here’s the thing: As proud as I am of being there when it mattered, I’ve never been an ambitious person. The Voice was not meant to be my stepping stone to somewhere else; it was my dream job, period, and I was naive enough to imagine I’d be its music editor forever. That changed in 2006. In 2009, I moved to Austin. I’m fine, but it’s not the same. And never will be.

Chuck Eddy, a former editor at The Village Voice and Billboard, is the author of the books Stairway To Hell, The Accidental Evolution of Rock ’n’ Roll, Rock and Roll Always Forgets and Terminated for Reasons of Taste. The decades-long contributor to Rolling Stone, Spin, Creem and other publications lives in Deep South Almost-Not-Austin.