What happens to the live music capital of the world, when there’s no live music? Hosts Elizabeth McQueen and Miles Bloxson explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted live music in Austin, Texas, and beyond. In each episode, listeners will hear from people across the spectrum of the live music ecosystem about their personal experiences, survival strategies, adaptations, and what they think is possible on the other side of this pandemic.
EPISODE 10: Music and Activism with Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone
Jonathan “Chaka” Mahone from the Austin hip-hop duo Riders Against the Storm talks about how his experience as a Black musician in the Austin music community led him to create the DAWA Fund and the Black Live Music Fund. He also explains why his music is the reason he is able to continue to serve the community he loves.
EPISODE 9: Why Margin Walker Closed
Graham Williams, the founder of Margin Walker, discusses his journey in the Austin music scene and explains why nine months into the pandemic he decided to close Texas’s largest independent concert promoter for good.
EPISODE 8: Mental Health During the Pandemic
Hear from mental healthcare providers and people in the Austin Music Ecosystem about mental health during the pandemic.
EPISODE 7: The Urban Music Fest and Homer Hill
In the latest episode of Pause/Play Homer Hill tells the story of the Urban Music Fest and how it’s been hit hard by the pandemic. You’ll also learn the history of the festival, and hear the challenges Homer has faced in his thirty plus years as a Black Business owner in Austin, Texas.
EPISODE 6: The Return of Live Music Part 2
Hear from people across the spectrum of the Austin music scene talk about their live music experiences during the pandemic.
EPISODE 5: The Return of Live Music Part 1
Live Music has returned to Austin, even as COVID cases continue to surge in Texas. Hear about three live music experiences from the perspective of a fan, three musicians and a promoter.
EPISODE 4: Jackie Venson and Austin City Limits
Follow Austin musician Jackie Venson as she makes her debut on the iconic Austin City Limit’s TV show. You’ll hear how Jackie has been pivoting during the pandemic, and find out how Austin City Limits has been adapting to taping shows without a live audience.
EPISODE 3: The Venues
In this episode, you’ll hear from the owners two Austin venues. Brodie Elkins tells the story of Scratchouse which closed due to the pandemic. Then Maggie Lea and Tamara Hoover talk about how they’ve kept their venue, Cheer Up Charlies, afloat and explain what it’s been like to get ready to reopen.
EPISODE 2: The Musicians
In this episode, you’ll hear tell the pandemic stories of two Austin Musicians — Mobley and Teddythelegacy. You’ll find out how their ability to access financial help has impacted their lives, explore what creative projects the artists have been working on, and hear their perspectives on the uprisings for racial justice.
Check out Mobley’s curated reading list for the Austin Public Library — James Crow, a Songwriters Reader
EPISODE 1: The Pause
On March 6th, 2020 the Austin City government canceled SXSW. That decision had an economic ripple effect throughout the city. It also marked the true beginning of the COVID-19 crisis for Austin. In this episode, hosts Miles Bloxson and Elizabeth McQueen explore why Austin calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World. They’ll look at the effect that the cancellation of SXSW and the subsequent shut down of the bars had on Austin through the experiences of some of the musicians, venue owners, venue staff, and music non-profits who make up this live music ecosystem.
Pause/Play Host Bios:
Elizabeth McQueen is an audio producer and podcast host at KUTX 98.9, Austin’s NPR music station. McQueen is also the host of the podcast “This Song,” as well as the producer for “The Breaks,” a hip-hop podcast. Prior to a career in public radio and podcasting, McQueen was a professional musician who started and played for the band,“Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands,” and a member of the legendary Western Swing band, “Asleep at the Wheel.”
Miles Bloxson is an on-air talent and podcast producer/host for KUT 90.5 & KUTX 98.9. The Austin,Texas native and University of Texas graduate has a passion for technology, music and pop culture. She has interviewed such Hollywood stars as Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson, Kristin Chenoweth, Morgan Freeman, Cee-Lo Green, Forest Whitaker, Robert Townsend and many more. She is the host and creator of her very own podcast and lifestyle brand Miles To Mogul.
This week on The Breaks, Fresh and Confucius:
- Discuss Kanye’s West’s announcement that he is running for president.
- Touch on the impact of COVID-19 on Austin’s live music venues.
- Talk about ACL Radio’s Blues on the Screen curated by Jackie Venson.
- In his Unpopular Opinion, Fresh urges the biggest Black artists in Austin to speak out about their experiences of racism in the Austin music scene.
- In his Confucius Says, Confucius explains that loyalty is a two-way street.
Listen to this week’s episode of The Breaks
This week on The Breaks:
- Fresh talks about the City of Austin’s decision to cancel SXSW due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns and the longterm negative impacts it will have on the Austin economy, especially for the individuals and businesses that rely on the festival for a significant portion of their income. Plus, he tells us why he’s got no time for people who dismiss the impact it will have on the city
- Fresh dives into the drama surrounding the release of Megan Thee Stallion’s new EP, “Suga.”
- Austin artist Drint joins Confucius and Fresh in Studio 1A to play his song”Don’t Save Me,” and to talk about the making of his new EP of the same name.
- In this week’s Unpopular Opinion, Fresh tells us how hardworking Austin musicians will continue to hustle regardless of whether SXSW happens or not
- The Local Song of the Week is “Dismissed” by Shiela.
Listen to this episode of The Breaks
This week on The Breaks:
- Confucius and Fresh explain what they love about the latest wave of female rappers like Megan Thee Stallion and City Girls
- Both hosts talk about their frustration with Snoop Dogg’s episode of Red Table Talk, and express their disappointment with the negative energy people direct towards black women.
- They explain why they don’t think the Coronavirus outbreak will cause South by Southwest to be cancelled.
- They express their support for Waka Flocka Flame’s assertion that hip-hop is not dangerous.
- In his “Confucius Says” segment, Confucius cautions against entitlement and encourages artists to put the work in if they want to get played in the Breaks.
- This week’s Local Song of the Week is “Amplifiers” by Deezie Brown.
Listen to this weeks episode of The Breaks
Hear the music from The Breaks played on their Saturday Night Hip-hop show
Patty Griffin’s latest record “Patty Griffin” is a gorgeous acoustic exercise in vulnerability. The album was borne out of a period in her life where she stepped back from music to undergo treatment for breast cancer.
Listen as she explores all the ways that Peter Gabriel’s “Secret World,” from his epic breakup record up US, impacted her life and her songwriting. Griffin also explores how her friendship with George Reif inspired the song “Luminous Places,” and how important it is for her to allow herself to be vulnerable in her work.
“That’s what I would always like to try to arrive at. Something that’s deeply true and that I learn from. Then I’ve really got something to give”
Listen to this episode of This Song
Listen to Songs from this episode of This Song