Many of us discovered Arlo Parks at exactly the right time. The singles that would be on her debut LP, Collapsed in Sunbeams, were released in 2020’s anxious spring when uncertainty and isolation catalyzed months of psychological cannibalization. Whether you’re naturally a recluse or were sick of yourself by week one, we were all oscillating between doom-scrolling news and binging anything that could distract us from doom-scrolling the news. We needed to hear lyrics like “You’re not alone like you think you are.” Nearly every track on the 21-year-old Parks’ debut features similar words of acknowledgment and affirmation.
Considering her startling positivity in the face of our everyday emotional pangs, it strikes me odd that Arlo Parks enjoys many of the same artists that previous generations have looked towards to wallow in their existential ennui. Parks chose one of Beth Gibbon’s bleakest moments in Portishead’s “Roads” during her My KUTX episode and last year and covered Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” with Phoebe Bridgers (I didn’t know this song could sound more tragic before I heard their version). Musically you can hear these somber 90’s sounds on her debut, but it gives her comforting words a feeling of authentic empathy rather than well-meaning, but insensitive platitudes.
Consider yourself blessed if you saw Arlo Parks at Empire Control Room earlier this week–the next time she comes to the states, I guarantee you it’ll be at a less intimate space. Presently, Arlo Park’s soon-to-be meteoric rise remains terrestrial enough for her to talk with us and perform a few songs in Studio 1A this week (we’re back, baby). Check out her performance below.
NPR Live Session/KUTX – Arlo Parks live in KUTX Studio 1A
Arlo Parks: vocals; Dani Diodato: guitar
Engineer: Jake Perlman; Producer: Deidre Gott; Cameras: Gabriel C. Pérez; Edit: Patricia Lim
Originally published on September 29, 2014
86-year-old Mexican-American singer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer Manuel “Cowboy” Donley has often been referred to as the “Godfather of Tejano music.” Based in Austin but recognized nationally, Donley led a big band Latin orchestra in the 1950s and assumed the nickname after stepping out from behind the podium and carrying his guitar to the front of the stage “like a cowboy”. Despite only releasing one print recording from his long career, Adios Chiquita, Donley has popularized the trío romántico and orquestra musical styles, which blend Latin rhythms with mainstream American musical genres such as rock and jazz.
Earlier this year Donley received the 2014 National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts by the National Endowment for the Arts. You can hear some of Donley’s recordings from our own Studio 1A and catch live performances some Tuesday evenings at El Gallo restaurant on South Congress Avenue.
Manuel “Cowboy” Donley passed away on June 28, 2020 of natural causes.
– Jack Anderson
Texas country musician and local legend James Hand has been making music for over forty years.
Writing songs since the early age of 11 and performing almost continuously for years, James Hand started releasing music in 1999. However, having released his first nationally distributed album only in 2006, the Waco-native has just recently started garnering widespread attention for his unique and direct style. His last album, Stormclouds in Heaven, a collection of country gospel songs, was released in October 2014 and demonstrates a command of the breadth of the genre. Interestingly, Hand also had a leading role in the film Thank You A Lot about a struggling music-manager and his estranged father, which premiered at SXSW this past year.
photo by Jorge Sanhueza-lyon/KUTX
While some of us are becoming one with our couch and Netflix accounts (and that’s OK!) some musicians are working up all kinds of ways to keep their skills sharp. Walker Lukens has stayed busy creating for his new “ADULTs Only” record subscription club where fans can sign up and get exclusive content created during this downtime. This month’s creation is an instrumental video album with loops and beats by Walker and visuals by friend and photographer Derek Beck. Aptly named Corona Don’t Touch My Baby, Walker will host a live stream event and benefit for Red River venue Cheer Up Charlies Sunday, May 24 to premiere the video album.
KUTX host Jody Denberg goes in depth for KUTX at Home with Adrian Quesada on the GRAMMY’S, his many collaborations, and what it was like to work with Prince. Watch the full interview below.