Music in Austin isn’t just a group of musicians or a marketing slogan. It’s a community. A clan of creatives pulling for and supporting one another in a city of limited stages and listener attention. For the 37th year, The Austin Chronicle honors our rich and diverse music scene with Austin Music Awards. A celebration of recognition, good vibes, and jaw-dropping music, Austin Music Awards is a crash course in Austin’s musical past, with an eye towards a glorious future.
The history of Austin Music Awards dates back to the birth of The Austin Chronicle. When the magazine’s first issue ran in 1981, it included the Austin Music Poll. Two years later, an awards show was added to publicly recognize the winners, and the event became an annual institution.
Since then, hundreds of artists from Stevie Ray Vaughan, to the Fabulous Thunderbirds, to Joe Ely have graced the Austin Music Awards stage. Rather than rely on pundits, music critics, and media for the votes, winners are 100 perfect selected by the everyday fan. This isn’t a self-congratulatory industry event. It’s a celebration of everything good, true, and authentic about the Austin music scene.
And the Nominees Are…
This year, dozens of artists, bands, and musicians will be taking home honors across 52 categories. From big ticket awards like Best New Austin Band and Album of the Year to off-center categories like Best Cover/Tribute Band and the wonderful None-of-the-Above, fans of every genre have something to root for.
Unlike other award shows, Austin Music Awards also takes time to honor the industry professionals who help promote the music, house the shows, and support the scene. On Feb. 16, 2019, 20 venues, media personalities, and music advocates received awards for their hard work and dedication. For a full list of those winners, click here.
And as the icing on the cake, two prestigious awards will be awarded to a pair of Austin legends. The first, the Townes Van Zandt Songwriting Award, will be handed out to legendary singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo. A veteran of over 30 years of music playing and creating, his influence can be felt in bars and clubs throughout the city, and far beyond.
The second, the Margaret Moser Women in Music Award, will be handed to the infamous Dianne Scott, back door woman for The Continental Club. As gatekeeper for the venue’s artist entrance for over 30 years, Scott is a historian of Austin music simply through the interactions and chance encounters inherent in her post. That a little known yet hugely influential figure like Scott can receive one of the ceremony’s most prestigious awards is a testament to this unique event.
Performances to Remember
But it’s not all speeches and trophies. This year’s performance lineup features a who’s-who of Austin’s finest musicians. While artists like Jacob Dylan of The Wallflowers and John Doe of the punk band X get top billing, Austin will be well-represented.
Highlights will include psych soul act Black Puma, up-and-coming hip hop MC Abhi the Nomad, and Tomar Williams of Austinot favorite Tomar & the FCs. Tango expert Glover Gil, three-time Austin Music Hall of Fame recipient Jon Dee Graham, and jazz duo The Peterson Brothers will all be taking the stage. Local hip-hop pioneer, the late MC Overlord, will be honored with a special tribute by some of Austin’s finest MCs and producers.
But don’t think it’ll be a series of solo performances. Part of the Austin Music Awards experience is the mashups, collaborations, and surprise performances that happen throughout the evening. Last year, Fiona Apple appeared out of nowhere to perform a pair of tunes, and previous shockers include Bruce Springsteen, Robert Plant, and Chrissie Hynde.
To those who claim the Austin music scene is dying, I say malarkey. Need proof? Purchase a ticket to this year’s Austin Music Awards, check out some incredible performances, and get a taste for the sense of community unique to this great city. Attending these events feels like crashing a family get-together, and all the members of your family are incredibly talented.
Experience the love first hand on Feb. 27, 2019.
Austin Music Awards 2019 is taking place on at The Moody Theater (310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd.). As of this writing, tickets can still be purchased at austinmusicawards.org.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Did you vote in the 2019 Austin Music Awards? If so, who are you rooting for?