That special tone produced by vibrations racing across oak floors, encouraging toe-tapping and two-stepping. The social intimacy of seats pulled up around a stage like an electrically warmed campfire. The taste of cool refreshments and the low murmur of conversation that complement topnotch musical artists performing in an intimate room. Famously, Austin and environs are home to more than 150 choices for live music. Not all are packed along Sixth Street or in the nearby Warehouse or Red River districts. In fact, many of the finest are far away from the party din of downtown streets.
The phrase “Texas music” evokes myriad images: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Holly, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Bob Wills and Willie Nelson, Freddie Fender and Selena—but Leopold Stokowski, best known to Americans as the conductor in Walt Disney’s Fantasia?
Texans of every age still belt out “Beautiful Texas,” the ’30s-vintage song written by the Light Crust Doughboys’ colorful sponsor, former Governor W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel. And “San Antonio Rose,” penned by the first Doughboy, the renowned Bob Wills, remains in many a shower tenor’s repertoire. But, to the longest playing Western Swing band anywhere, these two classics are simply two brushstrokes on the Doughboys’ seven-decade mural of Texas music.