One of a musicphile's best local resources for a glimpse into Texas's diverse music culture is KUT's Texas Music Matters. When I tune in for a Friday lunchtime respite, I'm never disappointed by the stories of Texas that give little known insight into the scene's most influential players.
While the greater state of Texas has plenty of fodder for stories, KUT (along with help from Localore and Zeega) is currently embarking on a new journey into the underbelly of Austin's music subcultures, specifically the haunts and trailblazers who have made Austin such a renowned, and sustained, hub of music creativity.
Spearheaded by KUT producer Delaney Hall, Austin Music Map is one of 10 national projects funded by a grant from the Association for Independence in Radio (AIR). The overall goal is to explore new avenues for creative storytelling, and, according to Hall, "change the relationship with listeners, where we're not just sending stories out to them." The project topics are varied — from uncovering the South Dakota oil boom to Boston's Chinese take-out food culture — but in Austin, it's all about music.
Austin Music Map will become an ambassador of sorts, opening doors — at least virtually — to the inner-workings of lesser known communities, that while hidden, have had a lasting impression on Austin's larger musical identity.
Austin Music Map will put a new spin on the cartography of Austin's underground scenes, both online and on the radio, and to do so, the project is going directly to the best sources for the city's music heritage: the public. As part of its research, Austin Music Map encourages local music lovers and subculture members to leave their mark. Sharing photos and recordings from the depths of the music scene are highly encouraged; stories are, too.
There's even a hotline where you can call in and tell your Austin music story, whether it's about a front porch hootenanny or an ever-popular icon sighting. On a recent Marfa Public Radio interview, Hall recalled a message left by David Peterson about iconic punk club, The Bates Motel:
I think he was there actually on the last night that The Bates Motel was in operation. And basically the entire crowd destroyed the club following the show... there were sledgehammers, they beat apart a washing machine, there were flame-throwers. It just sounded like the craziest show.
The Austin Music Map is already taking shape in the form of segments on Texas Music Matters, which airs each Friday at 12 p.m. on 90.5 FM, but soon, it will assume a new online identity. An interactive online map should launch by mid-September, incorporating user-submitted photos and stories. And while you can expect to find some above-the-radar spaces on the map, plan to uncover some hidden Austin gems, as well.
The project aims to cover elements that aren't the first things that come to mind when you think about Austin music. Austin Music Map will become an ambassador of sorts, opening doors — at least virtually — to the inner-workings of lesser known communities, that while hidden, have had a lasting impression on Austin's larger musical identity.