Curation can be the best way out of a rut. And recently, we’ve been breaking out of a lot of ruts. Instead of queuing up yet another themed virtual experience, this one comes with a call to action. Texans, it’s time to hit the road.
In the Mix: Roadrunners, a collaboration between wild-harvested sotol distillers Desert Door and creative agency The Wild Honey Pie, choreographs a jaunt through three major Texas cities on a road trip led by local bands.
Start off in Austin on Sunday, November 7 by catching a live performance from Walker Lukens and Buffalo Hunt. Head to Dallas on the Wednesday, November 10 to see Sir Woman and Cowboy Diplomacy. And finish things off on Sunday, November 14 in Houston with Wild Child and Marley Moon. If you make the long trip, there’s a 10-hour playlist featuring all those artists and other trailblazers to tie it all together.
Along the way, check out these touring pros’ tips, which they submitted about their favorite places to stop when creating the Roadrunners guide. The recommendations are mostly food-focused (what else is there to prioritize on a road trip besides food and tunes?), but the online guide branches out to include a songwriting confessional booth in Austin and an entire district to explore in Dallas.
“It’s just fascinating how different personalities [exist] for each region of the state, from the Hill Country to Austin to Dallas to even outside of Houston and more, into the Marfa area,” says creative director and Wild Honey Pie founder Eric Weiner. “There’s just so many different states within Texas.”
The live shows were curated in a way to reflect that personality of each city. The Houston event offers a more “country vibe,” says Weiner, with a bonfire in the wide yard of Elm and Magnolia. The Dallas show, right in the center of the city at the Jaxson Beer Garden, melds the sensibilities of the jazzier Sir Woman with the roots rock of the aptly named Cowboy Diplomacy. In Austin, the bands are quirkier, befitting the hole-in-the-wall interior and outdoor stage of Sam’s Town Point. The free shows also feature special food and drink offerings.
More than anything, syncing up a road trip with the three shows is an excuse to get out. The organizers expect most attendees to stop by the shows in their hometowns or nearby, but the guide will remain available should music lovers want to replicate the trip in their own time. It’s also a useful prod to listen to musicians in the neighborhood and visit that one place you totally meant to go to when you walked past, like, two years ago, right after devouring Torchy’s for the 87th time.
The Roadrunners guide is part of a bigger partnership between the two organizers that started at a hybrid concert and dinner party featuring The Bright Light Social Hour. The Wild Honey Pie, a music blog that branched out into events, hosted the dinner and Desert Door brought the drinks. Those involved stayed in touch, and in 2020, looking for a way to engage both brands and activate local creatives, they launched In the Mix. The project connected local restaurants in Nashville, Boulder, and Atlanta with artists to inspire special dishes, while the artists worked on creating cocktails with Desert Door. Roadrunners is the 2021 iteration that sticks to Texas for a more macro-local flair.
“It’s all about supporting musicians,” Weiner says of combining resources and audiences with Desert Door. “We come into this as music lovers; we come into this wanting to get the word out about artists that we love. Even Wild Child — very big name — there are still people that don’t know who they are. It’s all about circulating what they do and the magic that they create. And I feel like music, now more than ever, is the lifeline of society.”
All three shows are free and do not require an RSVP. The full guide, including information about each recommended location and quotes from artists, can be found at thewildhoneypie.com. The 10-hour playlist, including the performing artists, other recent breakouts, and greats like Dolly Parton and Nick Drake, is available on Spotify.