Austinites are proud to call their town the live music capitol of the world. It's simply a great place for almost any kind of music. However, around the world, Austin is perhaps best known for a very specific type of music -- a straight-ahead, aggressive, bluesy, rock-influenced style of country music, known by names such as outlaw country and redneck rock, which rose to prominence in the early 1970s.
"I think the Austin music scene is really important because there's a good diversity of music here, and I like it, and it's very rootsy," says Jimmy LaFave. "Everyone here seems to have a little bit more music history in their background, or something. It's funny. You'll go to L.A. and get kind of these poseur musicians, or Nashville, but in Austin, everyone seems to know who Hank Williams or B.B. King is. There's just a good core of people that want to hear real music come here, and people around the world appreciate that, because the name Austin's magic."
One of the first to document this movement in the Austin music scene was writer Jan Reid in his book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. Now, 30 years after the book's original publication, Reid has released a new edition of the book, fully updated, with four additional chapters, an epilogue, and 80 photographs from Austin City Limits photographer Scott Newton.
In honor of the new edition, fans gathered at Stubb's on May 26, 2004 for a book signing, panel discussion and musical performance. The discussion featured Reid and Scott Newton, as well as several Austin music legends, including Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, Steve Fromholz, Jimmy LaFave, Bruce Robison, Kevin Russell of The Gourds, Shawn Sahm, and Jesse "Guitar" Taylor. There were also performances by some of the panelists and other local musicians, including Billy Joe Shaver, Colin Gimore (son of Jimmie Dale Gilmore), and Bob Livingston.
Proceeds from the night's events benefitted the SIMS Foundation, which provides access to low-cost mental health services for Austin musicians.
Produced by Kristen Schmitt. Schmitt is a 12 + year video
and film veteran with experience ranging from post-producing the Telly
Award winning documentary China Now, which aired on over 100
PBS/APS stations to her year abroad producing/working for National Geographic
Asia in Hong Kong where she oversaw all the production operations. Ms.
Schmitt recently relocated back to Los Angeles and is working for clients
such as Smuggler and Darkart Entertainment.
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