The Blues Are Back
Austin's own Gary Clark Jr. has plans to bring Antone's back to life
An icon of Austin's live music scene may make a triumphant return thanks to the help of two big names in Austin music.
As first reported by TheAustin Chronicle, Grammy Award-winning blues musician Gary Clark Jr. and Lamberts co-owner Will Bridges have joined forces with the new owners of Antone's, who purchased the business interests of the famed club in November 2013. Their addition to the ownership group aims to revitalize the legendary blues club and, most importantly, find it a new home.
Opened by Clifford Antone in 1975, Antone's was one of the original Sixth Street music destinations that helped shape Austin into the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The club moved to several locations throughout the years. In March 2013, the “Home of the Blues” bid farewell to West Fifth Street and landed on East Riverside Drive in the defunct Beauty Ballroom space. New owners took over in November and the Riverside location ended its short stint on December 31, 2013.
That ownership group, headed by geneticist Dr. Spencer Wells, has long expressed interest in moving the club back to downtown, an idea welcomed by many club owners. With the addition of Clark and Bridges, the hope is that the move can finally be a reality.
Gary Clark Jr., who won the Grammy for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” in January, got his start at Antone's at the age of 15 under the guiding hand of Clifford Antone (who passed away in 2006). Clark, a contemporary blues luminary, helped continue the Antone's blues tradition that has seen the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and others grace its stage.
The co-owner of Arlyn Studios, Lamberts and Deep Eddy Cabaret, Bridges also brings plenty of music experience to the table. As the Austin Business Journal reports, his keen eye for business should help cement Antone’s place in the Austin music scene once again.
No potential locations for have been named, but Wells told The Austin Chronicle that the group is making a serious push to return to the "central business district."
As of press time, CultureMap's calls to Bridges had not been returned.