Burn Something Beautiful is the newest release from Mr. Escovedo. The man is obviously in a mood.

The great Leonard Cohen has passed at the age of eighty-two. Bon voyage, Mr. Cohen.

The legendary Chip Kinman, who founded the seminal cowpunk band Rank & File with brother Tony and our man Alejandro Escovedo, is back on the music scene with new band Ford Madox Ford, also known as “FDMDXFD”. The band recently played the Continental Club, and will reportedly be performing in town on a frequent basis.

The current issue of Texas Music magazine has a wonderful retrospective on the life of the late B. W. Stevenson, one of the early troubadours of progressive country music.

Amanda Shires adds to her young catalog with the recent release of My Piece of Land. Produced by the great Dave Cobb, this one focuses less on her fiddle and more on her excellent writing and mesmerizing voice.

Beaver Nelson will celebrate the release of his new album, Positive, at Strange Brew Lounge Side tomorrow, November 4th, at 10 p.m. Don’t miss the inevitably inventive return of Austin’s other Mr. Nelson. Austin Songwriter will certainly be there.

Mary Chapin Carpenter will grace the stage of The Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin on November 3rd, at 8:00 p.m. Don’t miss this one!

On November 7th, at the Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland, Steve Earle will perform the songs of Guitar Town. Mr. Earle has taken to staging his monumental album, released in 1986, which some credit with changing the course of country music, in a few lucky cities.



Carrie Rodriguez is commencing a European tour with her partner in music and life, Luke Jacobs. In tow are their son Cruz and her mother Katy. They will traverse the United Kingdom in November, then head south to Italy and Sardinia. Catch them if you can!



Guitar slinger and songwriter Doyle Bramhall II just released Rich Man, his first album of original work in a while. Nice to see Doyle find some time for writing and recording. Most of the time his work time is soaked up with stuff like, say, trading licks with folks like Eric Clapton and Derek Trucks. Attaboy, Junior!

Austin’s Paul Cauthen has just released his first album My Gospel, chock full of hellfire and brimstone!

3 True Things…3 things we have been listening to, pondering or getting a kick out of.

Kris Kristofferson received the Woody Guthrie Prize this week in Tulsa. This award honors those who embody the spirit of Woody Guthrie and is given annually to the artist who best exemplifies the spirit and life work of Guthrie by speaking for the less fortunate through music, film, literature, dance or other art forms and serving as a positive force for social change in America.

The award was presented to Kristofferson during an event in Tulsa, which was the first time it has been held there.

“With over 50 years of social activism as a voice for disenfranchised, Kris was an obvious choice to receive the 2016 Woody Guthrie Prize,” said Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud. “It is an honor to recognize his incredible career and tireless work to make positive improvements in our society.”

Fellow A|S profiled artist Rodney Crowell joined Kristofferson on stage for a special performance during the event.

Proceeds from the event will support the Woody Guthrie Center, a 12,000-square-foot center that features state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits on Guthrie’s life, art and creative legacy.

Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, a new biography of the late icon of Texas music, Guy Clark, will be released this month.

Written by Grammy-winning producer Tamara Saviano interviewed over two hundred people to paint a loving but gritty portrait of the inimitable and uncompromising Clark, who lived life just the way he (and Susanna) wanted. Guy insisted on the truth, and Ms. Saviano certainly delivers. Lots of insight into the man and his many friends and collaborators like Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Rosanne Cash, Merle Haggard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Emmylou Harris, and many more.


Leonard Cohen, the doctor of dark irony, piles it on with You Want It Darker, released October 21st. We might have hoped that a star this bright would have found a little more optimism by the age of eighty-two, but no such luck. More beautiful angst from Mr. Cohen.

Two of our favorite folks, BettySoo and Michael Fracasso, play the Rockwood Music Hall, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, on November 11, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Listen up, Big Apple!

3 True Things…3 things we have been listening to, pondering or getting a kick out of.

Steve Earle joins Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant and Buddy Guy for an 11 date concert tour sponsored by the Jesuit Refugee Service. The proceeds from the tour are used to help promote education in refugee camps around the world. Click here to learn more.

On October 23, 2016, from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m., Justin Trevino will host a benefit for renowned steel player Randy Reinhard at Texas Pride Barbecue in Adkins, Texas, near San Antonio. Randy currently plays with Justin’s band.

Randy has been dealing with a number of health issues, and the benefit is intended to raise funds for his important medical care.

Performers will include Johnny Bush, Darrell and Mona McCall, Tony Booth, Brian Black, Arkey Blue, Landon Dodd, The Rocky King Band, Kathy Bauer and Mike Broussard, Kelly Kenning, Dottsy, Myra Rolen, and of course Justin himself.

Come on out for a great cause and some wonderful music and barbecue, and feel better, Randy!

3 True Things…3 things we have been listening to, pondering or getting a kick out of.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of Steve Earle‘s disruptive debut album, Guitar Town. The now iconic album ushered Earle to the forefront of the “outlaw” movement, giving hope and courage to a generation of songwriters…pushing back against the Nashville establishment.

To celebration this landmark album, MCA Nashville/UMe will release a deluxe edition of the album on CD and digital on October 14. The two-disc set will feature the classic album remastered from the original tapes by Robert Vosgien along with a previously unreleased 19-song live show recorded on the Guitar Town tour at Chicago’s Park West in 1986.

The concert will also be available on its own as a double LP on 180-gram vinyl exclusively at UDiscover: http://flyt.it/SteveEarle. A remastered vinyl edition of Guitar Town, cut for vinyl by Ron McMaster at Capitol Mastering and also remastered by Vosgien, was released in May along with Earle’s other MCA studio releases: Exit 0Copperhead Road and The Hard Way.

Watch for Earle’s special 30th anniversary tour in select US and Canadian cities this fall.

Check out our most recent 3 True Things blog.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival is right around the corner, September 30th through October 2nd, continuing October 7th through October 9th, out in Zilker Park. Our main man Jeff Plankenhorn will be putting on an after-ACL event on Saturday (10/1) at the Saxon Pub at 10:00 p.m., with Yoggie Musgrove on bass and Brannen Temple on drums. Finish up your full day of ACL music with a big old dose of Plank and the boys!



Mr. Keen will release a sequel to his legendary live record of a couple decades back, No. 2 Live Dinner. Recorded at another legend, John T. Floore’s Country Store in Helotes, Texas, just like the first one. This time he is accompanied by Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Bruce Robison and others.

Austin Songwriter is proud to announce that Jeff Plankenhorn is joining our Board of Advisors. Plank is a renowned songwriter, singer, guitarist and most recently, producer, as well as an esteemed citizen of Austin. He is active in advocating for his fellow artists, in supporting wonderful charitable institutions like the Austin Food Bank, and helping Austin Songwriter remain true to its primary mission of helping singer-songwriters. Plank’s musical repertoire is both broad and deep, moving effortlessly through folk, country, blues, bluegrass, gospel, rock and soul. Be sure to check out his profile.

Amanda Shires was recently featured in NPR’s “Heavy Rotation” for her new song, “The Way it Dimmed”.

The folks of Angers, France, our sister city, recently celebrated all things Austin in “Austin Week“. The festival, held September 14th through 20th, featured the musique, gastronomie, arts, cinema, lifestyle, media and business of Austin. Lots of our musicians, luminaries and citizens crossed the big pond for the event, and a lovely and sophisticated time was had by all!

October 14th through 16th, 2016, in Dripping Springs, Texas, one of our favorite Hill Country towns just outside of Austin, don’t miss a really interesting and unique event. The “Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival” showcases carefully selected new songwriters, mostly from Texas’ fertile ground.

This year, the great Rodney Crowell will headline the event.

Dripping Springs is home to Hill Country Guitars, as well as Mercer Street Dance Hall, where many of the performances will take place.

A place to discover talent that is fresh, sincere and a little nervous. Truly rewarding, truly satisfying. Come on out and support these wonderful folks.

The Man turns seventy on November 13, 2016, and a number of celebratory performances are planned at The Kessler Theater in Dallas on November 10th and 11th, The Paramount Theater in Austin on November 12th, and The Heights Theater in Houston on November 13th.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Hubbard!

Austin has been experiencing a summer blizzard of sorts. The mighty Whitey Johnson has been storming various stages around town, including the Saxon Pub, Antone’s and other fine establishments, swathed in white and laying down the happy blues.

“Whitey” is the alter ego of the great Gary Nicholson. Born a while back in Garland, Texas, Nicholson has been living the life of a Nashville songwriter, performer and producer for over thirty years. His work in the blues has been recorded by the likes of B.B. King, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Keb Mo, Delbert McClinton, Gatemouth Brown, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Shemeka Copeland, John Mayall and others.

Word has it that Whitey is gracing the River City for the summer, amazing audiences and sleeping on Ernie Durawa‘s couch.

Some call it performance art, we call it mighty fine.

Kelley Mickwee and her band recently played the listening room tucked to the side of the gorgeous bar in the recently opened Hotel Van Zandt in downtown Austin. The Memphis native and veteran of The Trishas has recently launched her solo career, and doled out a beautiful evening of compelling songs punctuated by that incredible voice. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Kelley.

The Band of Heathens are a bit of an Austin supergroup, watched for and whispered about by many of the city’s musical cognoscenti. Last weekend at the Saxon Pub, the crowds showed up edgy and expecting and the boys did not disappoint.

The Heathens hit the Austin scene hard in 2007, named “Best New Band” at the Austin Music Awards. By 2008 they released they first studio album, The Band of Heathens, produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard and featuring guest performances by Patty Griffin, the late Stephen Bruton, and Gurf Morlix. By 2009 they were near the top of the heap, appearing on Austin City Limits with Elvis Costello. In the interim they have endured significant personnel changes and released several albums of original material, including their most recent release, 2016’s Green Grass EP.

Saturday night belonged to Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, the two lead singers and songwriters. Jurdi, in particular, was on fire with a spectacular voice that echoed Motown greats from the past. All in all, an incredible, high-energy night at one of our favorite watering holes.




Recently attended an absolutely gorgeous and intimate show at Threadgill’s north location. Friends BettySoo and Kevin Welch traded acoustic gems and enjoyed one another’s company. Michael Fracasso was called up from the audience to play, as was Jamie Harris. A listening room full of big old smiles and a few small tears.

Some say that this building, known as “Old No. 1”, birthed the Austin music scene when Kenneth Threadgill asked Janis Joplin to come up and help him with his yodeling.

One of the great residencies in Austin is the Resentments at the Saxon on Sunday nights. We were fortunate to catch them last week. Bruce Hughes, Miles Zuniga and Jeff Plankenhorn put on a great show in a song swap format with their usual wit and humor…always entertaining…a wonderful blend of incredible talent. A pillar in the live music capital of the world!

Dale Watson starts the “Chicken Shit Bingo Tour” tonight, at Fitzgerald’s in Houston, promoting his new album “Live at the Big T Roadhouse”. Follow up dates will occur in various other cities through September. Dale will, of course, be accompanied by his Lone Stars, but the hens are apparently staying home.


Jimmy LaFave will play at the series “Unplugged at the Grove”, September 15th at the Shady Grove in Austin. Great outdoor venue with a legendary local songwriter. Should be a little cooler by then.

The AmericanaFest will hold forth in Nashville, September 20th through the 25th, with lots of great folks playing live. Austin Songwriter favorites include Michael Fracasso, James McMurtry, Amanda Shires, Jimmy LaFave, David Ramirez and BettySoo, appearing with Charlie Faye and the Fayettes. Others from Texas include Rodney Crowell, Sarah Jarosz, Jack Ingram, Carson McHone and Bonnie Bishop. Road trip!!!

President Obama’s “Summer Playlist” includes songs by three prominent Texans, “Espera” by Austin’s Esperanza Spalding, “Don’t Owe You A Thang” by Austin’s Gary Clark, Jr., and “Smooth Sailin'” by Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges. Way to go, Barack!

On September 9th, Giulia Millanta will release Moonbeam Parade, her fifth solo album of original work. She is helped out by Austin friends David Pulkingham,  Michael Fracasso, Charlie Sexton, Howie Gelb, and Kimmie and Gabriel Rhodes.

This talented native of Florence, Italy moved to Austin in 2012, and her work is steady and real. We recently caught her performing with Fracasso and the great Noelle Hampton at the Saxon Pub.

Eliza Gilkyson, Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters will team up for a tour this fall as “Three Women and the Truth”. Current dates include Milwaukee (November 16th), Minneapolis (November 17th), Iowa City, Iowa (November 18th), and Chicago (November 19th). Expect harsh truth, beautifully delivered.

On September 2nd, preeminent Austin bluesman Johnny Nicholas will release Fresh Air, a collection of new work and covers, recorded with fellow Saxon Pub regulars and Austin Songwriter favorites Scrappy Jud Newcomb and Bruce Hughes. Old pal Cindy Cashdollar helps out on dobro. For a taste, check out https://1drv.ms/f/s!AoewFKtAiPczkXLbIAKhc0z8uGaW. Great stuff from an Austin original!



Kevin Welch has a number of his legendary songwriting workshops coming up: August 27th in Ardmore, Oklahoma, with son Dustin helping out; an advanced class in Wimberly, September 16th through the 18th; and a beginner’s class in Wimberly, November 4th through the 5th. If you’ve got the itch to write songs, Kevin will help you scratch it. To register or find out more, check out kwsongworkshops.com.


Ukulele ace Jake Shimabukuro just released Nashville Sessions, described by some as a fusion rock jazz trio jam, and a step forward for the young Hawaiian. A different approach and sound that Austin’s own ukulele virtuoso, ShinyRibs, but interesting and serious fun.




As expected (this is our fifth year in a row), the Viva Big Bend Festival was a feast of good people, great music and desert beauty, punctuated by an afternoon monsoonal deluge of Biblical proportions.

A couple of highlights, among many. The South Austin Moonlighters doing their South Austin thing tucked into a corner of the Lost Horse Saloon in Marfa. Harmonies to kill. Also, at Padre’s, a band comprised mostly of Irish brothers from El Paso, Dusty Low, a really interesting and original mix of folk and harmonica blues, with more killer harmonies.

Finally, a late night dinner on the terrace of The Capri, looking out into a gorgeous Trans-Pecos garden by Christy Ten Eyck.

Can’t wait till next year!

It’s like you finally started listening to your old drunk uncle from Shreveport and realized he was channeling an enlightened hillbilly cocktail of Tom Waits, Ernest Hemingway and Lenny Bruce. Kevin Russell, aka “Shinyribs”, begins as an assault on your senses and becomes a journey that cannot be described but must be experienced.

Russell found his way to Austin in 1993 and founded a band called The Gourds, which held his artistic attention until 2007, when he yielded to his creative side and began to also perform as Shinyribs. Over the years, Russell has grown his instrumental repertoire to include mandolin, banjo, and most recently the ukulele. Few sights can rival big ol’ Kevin wailing on a tiny wooden uke, or busting out a hillbilly acapella on a moment’s notice. Listening to this creative giant might evoke Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Wonder and Woody Guthrie, and he has shared the stage with the likes of Jon Dee GrahamRay Wylie HubbardMark RubinScrappy Jud Newcomb and Michael Fracasso. Enter this psyche. You’re tough enough.

Michael had the pleasure of spending some time with the unique and one of a kind Shinyribs at the condo recently…

Kris Kristofferson has just released The Cedar Creek Sessions, a double album recorded in Austin, which provides a new look back at much of his timeless catalog. Gorgeous stuff from a real legend.

Bonnie Raitt with “Love Has No Pride”, written by her compadre Eric Kaz. Accompanied by Freebo. A serious and wonderful blast from the past.

The great Tracy Nelson with one of her most famous songs from the Austin days. There will never be another voice like this.


Don Leady & His Rockin’ Revue has just released Poppy Toppy Gone, another rocking and bopping journey from a member of the Tailgators and one of the original LeRoi Brothers. Check it out!

Delbert does “Shaky Ground” in 1989. Honking horn section, Stephen Bruton and Dave Millsap on dueling guitars, Delbert in fully period regalia. This one will blow back your big hair!






One of our favorite minds belongs to Beaver Nelson, and we’ve been missing the places he used to take us. Beaver is back with a new record, Positive, out in August. Produced by renaissance man Scrappy Jud Newcomb, it will feature both new and old stuff. We can’t wait!

This Saturday, July 23rd, the magnificent NYC soul-pop outfit Lawrence will be playing 3Ten Austin City Limits. Appearing with Los Coast and Daphne. Definitely one to check out for a high-energy, good time Saturday night!

Jack Ingram will release Midnight Motel in late August. By all accounts, this may be his best work in years.

This year’s Telluride Americana Music Festival in wondrous Telluride, Colorado, is a feast of artists profiled by Austin Songwriter (Sam Baker, Mary Gauthier and Jimmy LaFave) and other great folks from Austin and elsewhere (John Fulbright, Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines, Jess Klein, The Black Lilies and others). Coming up quick, July 20th through the 23rd, so gas up the car and get yourself to the cool high country!