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Written by Matt Joyce

San Antonio accordionist Juanito Castillo, center, jams with C.J. Chenier, right, and the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

Randall Jackson planted himself in the center of the dance floor and focused on the stage. The 21-year-old watched closely as zydeco stalwart C.J. Chenier pumped his squeezebox through a searing set of bluesy zydeco classics. The melodies surged naturally from C.J., who honed his craft at the side of his late father Clifton Chenier, “The King of Zydeco.” Amid the churning swirl of dancers, there stood Jackson, taking it all in.


While South by Southwest is known as a petri dish of global alternative culture and innovative thought, some of the conference’s best moments spring from local creativity that grabs the spotlight when the world comes to Austin. One example is the documentary movie about Texas musician Doug Sahm that premiered at this year’s festival.

Exploring the South by Southwest Music Conference under way at the Austin Convention Center, I’m struck by the diverse and wide-ranging elements of the music industry represented at the annual festival. 

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I recently discovered a little-known natural escape near Bastrop that’s easily accessible from Central Texas, 90 minutes from San Antonio, and about two hours from Houston. Along with the fun of kayaking on a picturesque stretch of the Colorado River, the highlight of this adventure was the opportunity to observe a bald eagle in the wild. 


The Gem Theatre in Claude kicks off its centennial celebration this Saturday, February 7, with a concert by Coby Carter & Five Miles West. The theater opened as “the Claudia” in 1915, presenting silent films and vaudeville stage shows for the Panhandle ranching community.  


Luminaries of Latin and Tejano music will take the stage in Corpus Christi this April in tribute to the late, great Selena. 

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No need to go to the grocery store for rainbow trout at this time of year. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is supplying Texas ponds, lakes, and rivers with plenty of the fish as part of its annual winter rainbow trout stocking program. 


Xavier de Richemont's video art installation at San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio is a great example of San Antonio's distinctive appeal—its blend of history, contemporary culture, and the arts. That's why we chose an image of the installation, which is titled San Antonio | The Saga, for the cover of the December issue of Texas Highways, the issue in which we celebrated the Alamo City as the state's No. 1 travel destination, as chosen by TH readers.

Check out our Q&A with de Richemont, a world-renowned artist from France, about his impressions of San Antonio:



Boggy Slough is a patch of undeveloped land in deep East Texas encompassing nearly 20,000 acres of forest and wetlands, as well as 18 miles of Neches River frontage, just west of Lufkin. Backers of a recent conservation effort aim to keep Boggy Slough intact and counter a growing trend of forest fragmentation in the Piney Woods. 


Looking up into the thick pine canopy of deep East Texas, it’s hard to believe that the pristine forests the pioneers encountered here are long gone.

shinyAustin musician Kevin Russell likes to recount a conversation he had with the late Doug Sahm, a sort of musical godfather to Russell, in which Sir Doug postulated about the great singers of Texas. “He was like, ‘You’ve either gotta have that West Texas dust or that East Texas rust,’” recalls Russell, frontman of the band Shinyribs. “And he said, ‘You’ve got both of those.’”


When it comes to Texas fiddle music, many people think first of Western Swing. But the fiddle features prominently in a range of Lone Star musical styles, and the inaugural Festival of Texas Fiddling aims to showcase that diversity. 

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