Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On The Scene: Austin Music Awards

I have been in Austin for 8 years. I lived in New York City for 8
years. I have been a professional musician all of my adult life. So
take these comments with this in mind.

I think the music scene here is very overrated. The same writers cover
the same musicians every year. The lack of music diversity is really
incredible. It is blues, alt country, singer songwriter, alt country,
blues, singer songwriter, waterdown jazz and country. There is what I
call the Austin Music Mafia. The winners and top ten finishers are all
the same every year. The only change is really the best new artist and
best indie band. The music of those winners tend to play the same
music as above.

The problem tends to be generational. Like in other media, the old
rules and old way of thinking still rule. Long forged relationships
tend to rule over innovation. My big hope us that the condos going up
downtown will bring new people with new tastes. Perhaps the music
scene will become as vibrant as the restaurant scene.

Tonights show is being hosted by local music empresario Andy Langer.
The Austin Music Hall has undergone a big renovation, but the sound is
still cavernous and midrangey. Why don't clubs understand basic sound
physics? Concert floors, high ceilings and bare walls create terrible

I came in during the tale end of the opening act of Carolyn Wonderland
with Suzanne Choffell and Ruthie Foster. They were good. Andy Langer
us doing a good job. The winners are grateful and yet the great Austin
fans talk all over the speakers. Bob Schneider performed and I still
don't understand his appeal. He has talent but his musical aura puts
me to sleep. The most annoying winners are the radio personalities-
the morning x crew.

I am cutting out now, so I'm going to miss the Doug Sahm tribute. I
bet that will be good. I do think the Austin Music Scene has the
ability to be more innovative and open. The question is, will it?