Think you can’t sing beyond your shower? Always sitting out karaoke nights? KUTX & Rock It Choir‘s Choir at the Cactus is a new monthly event designed to prove you wrong!
Spend an afternoon at the Cactus finding your voice (and some bonus confidence) with a rock sing-along and fun group voice lesson from Rock It Choir’s Julie Blake (who trained with Seth Riggs, vocal coach to Stevie Wonder, the late Prince, Madonna, and more.) Each month, you’ll learn a song in 3-part harmony, from an artist pulled right from KUTX’s playlist. Even cooler – your ticket will help raise some extra funds for an Austin music non-profit.
No rehearsals! No auditions! No singing experience necessary! Just a sense of adventure and a little courage. (And if you’re over 21, the Cactus’ bar will be open to assist with the courage part.)
(Check out footage of August’s event here.)
Choir at the Cactus: Where the audience is the choir!
Tickets are $10, and can be purchased in advance here the 1st each month.
50% of each ticket sold benefits a different Austin music non-profit each month.
|Sat., Nov 16; 3-5 p.m.||Radiohead / “Creep”||Swan Songs|
December date postponed. 2020 dates TBD
Choir at the Cactus FAQ:
What if I don’t know the song well? Will lyrics be available?
Yes! Song lyrics will be displayed on a screen, and we’ll run through the melody at least once before learning harmonies. You can familiarize yourself with the song ahead of time if you’d like, but bear in mind that the arrangement may be a little different from what you’re familiar with.
Is Choir at the Cactus a family-friendly event?
Choir at the Cactus is an all-ages event. However, it’s probably more appropriate for people 12 and up, due to the attention required during vocal instruction, as well as the line-of-sight (though we try our best to make sure everyone can see the lyrics.)
Where can I park?
Metered parking is available around campus, and we recommend using the City of Austin’s Park ATX App. If you don’t want to worry about meters, paid parking is also available in the San Antonio Garage, located at 2420 San Antonio Street. Parking in the garage for the duration of Choir at the Cactus will run you $9 (remember that carpooling makes it feel cheaper!) To reach the Cactus from the garage, head east to Guadalupe, cross to the other side, then head south on Guadalupe to 22nd St. The Cactus is at 22nd and Guadalupe on the first floor of the Texan Union building on campus.
We also recommend taking a taxi or using a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber, particularly if you plan to drink at this event (because, let’s face it – some of us need a few drinks before we can sing in public.)
Why does only half of my ticket benefit that month’s chosen non-profit?
Here at KUTX, it’s important to us that artists are paid for their time and work. Choir at the Cactus involves not only day-of work, but time spent arranging the songs we’ll sing. 50% of ticket sales go to the working artists from Rock It Choir that produce this event, and the remaining 50% go to that month’s selected Austin music non-profit. (Our hope is that by hosting this event monthly, it will grow into something that can benefit our non-profit partners in an even bigger way.)
Will tickets be available at the door?
If any tickets are left by the event date, they’ll be available for purchase at the door. However, we recommend purchasing them ahead of time. The Cactus is a relatively intimate room with a capacity of 140.
Have a question not answered here? Holler.
The KUTX 5th Birthday Concert Series presents Jamila Woods, Sarah Jaffe, and special guest Iron & Wine this Saturday, July 14th at UT’s Hogg Memorial Auditorium.
Doors: 6pm / Show: 7pm
Reserved Seating: $45.00 and $35.00 in the Hogg Auditorium. Tickets are on sale now.
**Use coupon code BOGO at checkout to buy one ticket and get a second for FREE!**
Jamila Woods: Jamila Woods’ cultural lineage – from her love of Lucille Clifton’s poetry to cherished letters from her grandmother to the infectious late 80s post-punk of The Cure – structure the progressive, delicate and minimalist soul of HEAVN, her debut solo album released in the summer of 2016 on Closed Sessions. “It’s like a collage process,” she says. “It’s very enjoyable to me to take something I love and mold it into something new.” A frequent guest vocalist in the hip-hop, jazz and soul world, Jamila has emerged as a once-in-a-generation voice on her soul-stirring debut.
Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Woods grew up in a family of music lovers. It took a surprise poetry class with a high school arts program for Jamila to finally find her metaphorical and literal voice. “Through poetry, I realized you are the expert of your own experience,” she says. Her poetry studies continued in college and in her professional career with Young Chicago Authors.
Sarah Jaffe: Sarah Jaffe was only twenty-two years old when her seasoned debut recording, Even Born Again, was released in 2008. Already a fixture in the fertile Denton, Texas musical landscape, her profile began to soar. Soon she was touring with artists as varied as Lou Barlow and Norah Jones, and was pushing her acoustic music into the electronic pop ether. Since then she’s had raves in Rolling Stone, made the rounds on the talk shows, collaborated with Eminem, placed her songs in a couple of films, and released a handful of absorbing albums and EPs. Her fourth and latest full-length, Bad Baby, like each release that has preceded it, finds Jaffe again moving in creative new directions. There’s a dance-floor propulsion, and Jaffe is quick to credit the newly spacious feel to her layered pop to her many collaborators, including photographers and illustrators.
Tuesday, November 14th Shannon McNally @ 8:00pm [$15]
Black Irish is McNally’s most personal project yet, which is saying a lot, given the Americana singer-songwriter’s deep catalog. But it speaks to the power of connection, and the power of music to create it and to reflect it. The kick off track “You Made Me Feel For You”, was written by her producer, Americana icon, Rodney Crowell, and serves as a metaphor for their collaboration – how his particular understanding of her unique gifts pulled out the career-defining album many have been waiting for since she came on the scene.
Wednesday, November 15th Austin Classical Guitar: Staff Show @ 7:30pm [$10]
An Austin tradition, join Matt Hinsley and the ACG staff as we entertain you with guitars and other instruments, quiz you with arcane and sometimes embarrassing trivia about each other, laugh together, and celebrate the joy the season. Staff Cactus comes but once a year, let’s be together!
Thursday, November 16th Brian Pounds w/ Grace Pettis @ 8:00pm [$12]
Self-produced and tracked to tape in Nashville, the album is titled “Southern Writer” in honor of Brian’s Texas upbringing. Acoustic guitars and vocals are at the forefront on songs like “Odessa,” which tells of a complicated love affair with a West Texas town and “Death of Me,” a stark and unsuspecting gem, wrestling with coming of age and the loss of a close friend. The production of “Southern Writer” marks a musical as well as a geographic return to roots. Like a classic Ryan Adams or James Taylor record, the spotlight never veers away from the singer and the song. Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, fueled by scores of devout fans from Brian’s near decade of touring, and hard on the heels of this summer’s Kerrville New Folk graduating class, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
Friday, November 17th Peter Case w/ Beaver Nelson @ 8:00pm [$20-$24]
He was in the Nerves, Plimsouls and has made a mark on his own for over 30 years!
Come join us for an amazing night of songs and stories with this legend!
Saturday, November 18th Billy Crockett & Friends @ 8:00pm [$20-22]
Billy Crockett is enjoying critical acclaim for his new release of RABBIT HOLE on Blue Rock Artists. Crockett is also a music producer and the creative director of Blue Rock Studio in the Texas hill country. He has recorded twelve solo albums and toured internationally. He has been featured on the BMI songwriter panel at SXSW, in the television series Troubadour, TX, and as guitar clinician for Yamaha. Rolling Stone calls his warm sound “coffeehouse folk without pretension.” American Songwriter writes, “He achieves that delicate fusion of refinement and soul…, delivering the essence of the thing with crystalline purity.” www.billycrockett.com
Roscoe Beck has had a long association with Leonard Cohen as musical director and bassist since 1979. In 1986 Roscoe and Jennifer Warnes produced her highly acclaimed collection of Leonard Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat. Roscoe has produced and toured with artists as diverse as Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Oz Noy, and The Dixie Chicks.
Sam Swank is a life-long Dallasite and guitarist who has recorded and performed with Johnny Reno, Olivia Newton-John, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Andy Timmons, and Sara Hickman. Sam was recently featured in the acclaimed touring musical biography Blind Lemon Blues in which he performed 60 songs of the great Blind Lemmon Jefferson.
Wednesday, November 8th Iris Dement w/ Peita Brown @ 8:00pm [SOLD OUT]
It was by pure chance that Iris DeMent opened the book of Russian poetry sitting on her piano bench to Anna Akhmatova’s “Like A White Stone.” She’d never heard of the poet before, and didn’t even consider herself much of a poetry buff, but a friend had leant her the anthology and it only seemed polite that she skim it enough to have something interesting to say when she returned it. As she read, though, a curious sensation swept over her. “I didn’t feel like I was alone anymore,” remembers DeMent. “I felt as if somebody walked in the room and said to me, ‘Set that to music.’” So she did. The melody just poured out of her almost instantly. She turned the page and it happened again, and again after that, and before she even fully understood it, she was already deep into writing what would become ‘The Trackless Woods,’ an album which sets Akhmatova’s poetry to music for the first time ever.
‘The Trackless Woods,’ DeMent’s sixth studio album, is unlike anything else in her illustrious career. Beginning with her 1992 debut, ‘Infamous Angel,’ which was hailed as “an essential album of the 1990’s” by Rolling Stone, DeMent released a series of stellar records that established her as “one of the finest singer-songwriters in America” according to The Guardian.
The music earned her multiple Grammy nominations, as well as the respect of peers like John Prine, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris, who all invited her to collaborate. Merle Haggard dubbed her “the best singer I’ve ever heard” and asked her to join his touring band, and David Byrne and Natalie Merchant famously covered her “Let The Mystery Be” as a duet on MTVUnplugged. DeMent returned in 2012 with her most recent album, ‘Sing The Delta,’ which prompted NPR to call her “one of the great voices in contemporary popular music” and The Boston Globe to hail the collection as “a work of rare, unvarnished grace and power.”
Thursday, November 9th Ramblin’ Jack Elliott @ 7:30pm [$30 Advance, $35 Door]
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is considered one of the country’s legendary foundations of folk music.
Long before every kid in America wanted to play guitar — before Elvis, Dylan, the Beatles or Led Zeppelin — Ramblin’ Jack had picked it up and was passing it along. From Johnny Cash to Tom Waits, Beck to Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder to Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead to The Rolling Stones, they all pay homage to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next. They are timeless songs that outlast whatever current musical fashion strikes today’s fancy.
Friday, November 10th Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen w/ John Jorgenson @ 7:00pm [$40 Advance, $45 Door]
THIS SHOW IS IN THE TEXAS UNION THEATER. Located in the North Part of the Texas Union just north of the Cactus Cafe (at the 24th & Guadalupe entrance of the building).
Chris Hillman and two former members of the Desert Rose Band will appear in an intimate acoustic concert. Joining Chris Hillman in this acoustic appearance are Herb Pedersen on guitar and John Jorgenson on guitar and mandolin.
Chris Hillman was one of the original members of The Byrds, which also included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Michael Clarke. The Byrds and were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. After his departure from the Byrds, Hillman, along with collaborator Gram Parsons, was the key figure in the development of country-rock. Hillman virtually defined the genre through his seminal work with the Byrds and later bands, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Manassas with Steven Stills. In addition to his work as a musician, Hillman is also a successful songwriter and has written songs performed by musicians as diverse as Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Tom Petty and Dwight Yoakam.
Hillman formed the Desert Rose Band which became one of country music’s most successful acts throughout the 1980s and 1990s, earning numerous Top 10 and Number 1 hits. The band’s success lead to three Country Music Association Awards, and two Grammys. Although the Desert Rose Band disbanded in the early 1990s, they performed a reunion concert in 2008 and have since played a few shows together in select venues.
Herb Pedersen began his career in Berkeley, California in the early 1960?s playing 5 string banjo and acoustic guitar with people like Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and David Nelson. His recording discography is diverse and reflects the singer/songwriter era, of the 1970s and 1980s. Pedersen is highly respected among musicians and music aficionados, as demonstrated by his work with artists as varied as Earl Scruggs, Old and in the Way, Peter Rowan, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Jackson Browne and John Denver.
John Jorgenson is known as a pioneer of the American gypsy jazz movement. Jorgenson first came to national prominence with The Desert Rose Band, when he was honored as the ACM’s “Guitarist of the Year” award three consecutive times. Following the Desert Rose Band, John formed another award-winning group, the virtuosic guitar trio The Hellecasters. Originally conceived as a “one off” gig for fun, the group went on to produce three acclaimed CDs and a live video, winning both “Album of the Year” and “Country Album of the Year” from the readers of Guitar Player Magazine for the stunning debut effort “Return of the Hellecasters”. The Washington Post recently wrote: “If there were a Summer Olympics for guitarists, Jorgenson would be a sure-fire gold medalist.”
Saturday, November 11th Seth Glier @ 8:00pm [$12 Advance, $15 Door]
Like Jenny Lewis, Neko Case & Nicole Atkins, Ariel’s got a thang; mostly it’s that voice and with her wide-eyed (just look at those eyes!) confidence. There’s no pretention in these songs; just emotionally felt, straight forward songs from the heart not a research chart! She’s bound for some glory. BRUCE WARREN (Some Velvet Blog)
Seth Glier (pronounced “Gleer”) recorded his new album,Birds, in an airy loft in western Massachusetts outfitted with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. Birds roost just outside those windows, on the roof of the converted mill building where he lives, and they became his sympathetic audience while Glier madethe album. “I felt a tremendous amount of comfort talking to the birds,” he says “I’d check in with them regularly to see how they thought things were going so far.”Birdsis steeped in conflict and contradiction; there’s grief and loss, but also strength and resilience; doubt and dismay, but also a sense of optimism as Glier confronts heavy topics and wrestles them into the daylight. The album began taking shape after Glier lost his brother, Jamie, who died in October 2015, and inspired a TED Talk performance that Glier gave in 2016.The songs range from personal to political, and are bound together by the awareness that our world is a fragile place.Birdsis Glier’s latest album in a burgeoning career that has included a Grammy nomination and touring with artists such as Ani DiFranco and Ryan Adams.
Sunday, November 12th Colter Wall @ 7:00pm [SOLD OUT]
Colter Wall is a prairie-born songwriter from Saskatchewan, Canada. Wall’s inaugural EP, Imaginary Appalachia, continues to keep him a non-stop, buzzed-about young artist and has evoked visceral reactions from industry veterans, his musical heroes and peers, as well as a loyal and quickly-growing grassroots fan base. His signature baritone vocal is paired with sparse, beautiful old-soul songwriting inspired by artists like Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley, Emmylou Harris & Waylon Jennings.