Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

If you’ve been to Austin City Limits Music Fest, you’ve seen them. And while they’re not the band, they are on stage and they are very talented, in their own way.

They've worked with everyone from Wu-Tang Clan to Green Day, from Black Sabbath to Jack White. They even braved the harsh cold of President Obama’s 2012 inauguration this past January.

They’re the sign language interpreters of LotuSIGN, and you can find them emphatically interpreting bands' lyrics and sounds at performances across the country. And while there’s plenty of air guitar and air piano, LotuSIGN means business.

Ben Johnson

Many people the world over are inspired by the 'Austin sound.' But Dallas native and composer Ben Johnson found his inspiration in the sounds of Austin. Literally.

In fact, "The Sounds of Austin, Texas" is the title of his new album – a collection of impressionistic pieces inspired by his adopted hometown, where he studied music in college. Johnson considers his latest album a collection of love songs to Austin. 

Johnson mixes field audio recordings from sites all over the Austin area with his own custom piano compositions, each dedicated to a particular place.  

Jenna Macaroni

When you were in high school, wouldn’t you have loved to have a cool band play in your gym? I remember trying to get the band Karp to play my high school in the 1990s, but the teacher who sponsored the student council balked once he heard what they sound like. Instead, they spent the money on a Top 40 video dance party with fog machines. 

But last night, Anderson High School in Austin ISD did what my high school could never do: They hosted a secret show for the French dance-rockers Phoenix. (While considerably more accessible than any post-hardcore band, it's a remarkable achievement nonetheless.)

“Seriously how the hell does Anderson book Phoenix to play a gig at their school and Pflugerville gets Granger Smith #injustice,” tweeted one envious teen.

“Phoenix at Anderson? Lucky bastards,” said another.

Indeed. So, how did it happen?

Learning an instrument, especially as adults, provides us with a type of "brain food" that can help to protect our brains against damage. Experiencing music together is also an important part of being human.

We like to be in sync. Experiencing live music with others, whether you're playing an instrument or not, provides a certain synchronized relationship that boosts our feelings of togetherness and enjoyment.

Chrislyn Lawrence

Almost 30 years ago, Sam Baker was traveling on a train in Peru when a terrorist bomb exploded, nearly killing him. After countless surgeries and years of therapy, Baker worked out not only what it means to survive, but to thrive.

He describes his new album, “Say Grace,” as part of an ongoing healing process.

Antone's Nightclub Put Up for Sale

Sep 17, 2013

Antone's Nightclub proprietor Frank Hendrix announced today he is offering his club for sale. Named for departed blues booster Clifford Antone, the club’s long been synonymous with Austin music, despite changing locations over the years. Its current location on East Riverside is near a relocated Emo’s Austin, another longtime club Hendrix helped run before selling earlier this year. “I’m like the guy who runs a doughnut shop,” Hendrix tells the Chronicle. “After a while he doesn’t like doughnuts anymore. After all these years, music has changed from being my love to a laborious job.”

“My life is music, and in some vague, mysterious and subconscious way, I have always been driven by a taut inner spring which has propelled me to almost compulsively reach for perfection in music, often – in fact, mostly – at the expense of everything else in my life. – Stan Getz

Stan Getz brought a lush, carefree future into the collective imagination of post-World War II America with tunes like “The Girl From Ipanema“. But in his own life he struggled with addiction and lived recklessly in juxtaposition to the possibility and light he offered through his music.

Update: Shortly after Ian Dille’s Slate article appeared online, he received a handwritten apology from Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.

The band's PR company “forwarded me a handwritten note from Win Butler apologizing for the graffiti and explaining that it was supposed to be put up in chalk or water-soluble paint,” Dille tells KUT News. “And somewhere along the line, someone started using spraypaint. He said it was hard to control all the small details of such a large project.” (Read the letter below.)

I grew up in a town of about 6,000 people in rural Kansas back in the '70s and '80s. I've never romanticized it much, though it was certainly a simpler time and, for better or worse, it's where I learned to make some sense of my life. The world you inhabit when you come of age in your teen years has a way of digging its claws in you. As the years pass, no matter how far you try to get away from it, it stays with you. The people, the places, the sounds and even the smells become a part of your DNA.

Sam Baker has a backstory that must be told. In 1986, at age 31, he was traveling by train in Peru when a bomb from the terrorist group Shining Path exploded right next to him. The little girl he'd been talking to was killed along with half a dozen others, and his own injuries required 18 operations. His mangled left hand was rebuilt; work on his ears left him with a loud ringing that never stops, though Baker says he's made his peace with it.

Hequals2henry/48 Hour Film Project, Inc/Tyler Pratt

In what is being called the first-of-its-kind alliance worldwide, Austin and Toronto, Canada have established what they are calling the Music City Alliance.

While Toronto is roughly four times the size of Austin, the city has been publicly looking at Austin’s model of success to promote Toronto’s music scene. Officials from both cities met during this year’s South By Southwest to begin talks about forming a partnership to promote economic growth.

Minza Khan for KUT News

While some high school students idle over summer break, the 55 teens at the Longhorn Music Camp are learning the art of mariachi music. 

Ezekiel Robert Castro, a lecturer at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music and director of UT’s Mariachi Ensemble, created the first ever mariachi camp at UT for students entering grades 10 through 12.

Hank Mobley was a self-taught hard bop and soul jazz tenor saxophone player whose sound was situated between that of John Coltrane and Stan Getz. As a bandleader he worked to encourage musicians to develop their concepts and skills past what they may have thought possible, as he created a space for performers to work out their own vision within his compositions.

In this short feature, Rabbi Neil Blumofe illuminates the importance of those who will not settle for a glory in mediocrity – but who urge others to reach further and extend their concept of what is possible.  

Jazz singer, actress, dancer and activist Lena Horne began performing at the Cotton Club in her teens before moving to Hollywood where she worked as an actress - and was blacklisted during the Red Scare. Over a long career spanning the mid-1930s to 2000, she enchanted audiences yet never budged from her principles and beliefs.

In this short feature, Rabbi Neil Blumofe talks about the revolutionary life and work of Lena Horne.  

Milt Hinton, known as “The Judge”, was the most recorded jazz musician in history.

Over his extensive career he played on more than 1,100 sessions as a bassist. He was also a very accomplished photographer whose images captured intimate moments shared between some of the greatest jazz legends in history.

In this short feature Rabbi Neil Blumofe discusses the significance of Hinton’s life, his work and his perspective, and offers a view of what his legacy can teach us today.  

Horace Silver’s powerful and transcendent music pushed him beyond the label of jazz pianist. The composing and instrumentation of his quintet created a unique sound that combined rhythm-and blues and gospel music with the jazz known as “Hard Bop.”

It’s this style of composing that helped him respond to the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960′s and 70′s with records like “United States of Mind” and “The Music of the Spheres.” 

Listen for a moment as Rabbi Neil discusses what lies behind the meaningful simplicity of Silver’s music.

This past week, the No. 1 album in America was by a polo-shirted New York band that has never had a hit single. Even alt-rock radio doesn't play them much.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

He's already a Houston physician, Republican campaign donor, radio talk show host and litigant in a federal lawsuit against the roll-out of "Obamacare." Now Dr. Steve Hotze may be adding aspiring pop star to that list. 

Singer, dancer, and bandleader Cab Calloway is often referred to as the “hi-di-hi-di-ho” man. His nonsensical sounds and improvised melodies made him one of the fathers of scat. He was also a commercial success as a performer on stage and in film. In the 1979 movie “The Blues Brothers, ”he donned his trademark white tie and tails to perform “Minnie the Moocher.”