Black Fret Nears $1 Million in Financial Support to Local Musicians; Announces 2018 Season Kick Off

Austin nonprofit Black Fret has come a long way in just four short years, with $730,000 in grant giving to the local music scene. When combined with direct payments to artists for performances and a new, secondary grant program, the total financial impact reaches over $1 million. At the recent Black Fret Ball on Dec. 9, the nonprofit awarded a total of $230,000 to grant nominees. The show featured live performances by many nominees to a completely packed and enthusiastic house at The Paramount Theatre. Major grant recipients who each received $18,000 include The Bright Light Social Hour, Carolyn Wonderland, Eric Tessmer, Jackie Venson, Leopold and his Fiction, Mobley, Sarah Sharp, The Deer, Warren Hood and the Whiskey Shivers. Minor grant recipients who each received $5,555 include Akina Adderley, Cowboy Diplomacy, Croy and the Boys, Daniel Eyes, David Ramirez, Greyhounds, Jane Ellen Bryant, Kinky Machine and Los Coast. Black Pistol Fire, who was also nominated for a grant, chose to remove themselves from consideration and asked that Black Fret allocate funds they would have received to the minor grant recipients. The Black Fret Ball was presented by DELL. Additional sponsors included Deloitte, GSD&M, Ben E. Keith, New York Life, SunPower, Zoho, Whole Foods, Personify and Burkhart Dentistry. Media sponsors for the evening included KUT/KUTX, Austin Way, CultureMap, Austin Chronicle, Austin Monthly, Tribeza and For more info on Black Fret, please see

“We’re beyond thankful for this grant and beyond ecstatic for what Black Fret is doing for the future of Austin music and the music community at large,” said major grant winner Jack O’Brien of The Bright Light Social Hour. “Black Fret is not only a beacon of hope and help but of innovation and imagination. The Ball was a magical and unforgettable display of unity and support, and this grant will be going directly to the fulfillment of our dream of independently recording our flagship record.”

“As a musician you do a lot to organize your life around maintaining hope,” said major grant winner Mobley (aka Anthony Watkins). “When I initially heard about Black Fret, it sounded too good to be true and I refused to get my hopes up. But as I got to know the organizers and members better, it became clear that they really are all about helping musicians and I allowed myself to hope. I’m immensely grateful for the grant and especially for my hope being rewarded.”

“It’s clear that it is the people who love their city and its music that are really making the difference,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret co-founder. “Seeing our amazing artists, music industry mentors and Black Fret members come together to build this community of support, love and great music is a testament to the concept that by coming together we can support and nurture the music and musicians we love that helps make Austin such a great place to live. Every member that joins us helps us fulfill this dream and has a great time doing it, immersed in incredible music at amazing events while lending their voice by nominating their favorite Austin bands.”

“For Black Fret to have put over a million dollars into the pockets of Austin musicians in just four years is a huge accomplishment that is making a demonstrable difference not only in the lives of our city’s amazing musicians, but also the lives of our members,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “We see albums and songs being created and released that never would have been if not for our Black Fret grants. And we see hundreds of Black Fret members’ lives enhanced by being plugged into the music scene in really cool and intimate ways. This act of connecting and the community that has come of it is the promise and power of Black Fret made real.”

Black Fret has also announced details for its next major event, the Black Fret 2018 Season Kickoff, taking place on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at the Mohawk located at 912 Red River St., Austin, Texas 78701. Doors are at 7 p.m. The event will feature some of Austin’s most exceptional musicians performing for Austin’s Patrons of Local Music – the Black Fret Members and their guests. To attend the event, you can join Black Fret by signing up to become a member here:


Featured Image: Nicola Gell

Sofar Sounds Makes For Cozy Entertainment in Austin

Since 2009, Sofar Sounds has been re-imaging the live event experience by transforming everyday spaces, such as living rooms and retail shops, into captivating music venues with secret, live performances. Sofar Sounds is a community of thousands of artists, hosts, fans, travelers and more, putting on hundreds of secret, intimate events per month, across more than 350 cities around the world to bring guests and artists closer together. Luckily for us, Austin is one of those special cities where locals can host some of the city’s most talented artists  along with a few very special friends to experience the magic of Sofar.

Last Saturday, the cold and rainy weather that swept through central Texas made for an even more cozy experience as Sofar hosted a special show in East Austin with spectacular performances by instrumental guitarist David Kelly, surf-rock 3-piece Hand-Me-Down Adventure and local indie rockers Belcurve. Thankfully, Track Rambler photographer Anie Walsh was able to get in on the secret. Enjoy some of the set photos below.

For additional information about Sofar Sounds or to get involved visit


David Kelly


Hand-Me-Down Adventure




A few of the adorable fans at Sofar Austin.


Photos by: Anie Walsh

Dozen Street Christmas Cookie Party

The wonderful folks at East Austin’s Dozen Street Bar celebrated their 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Party on Friday with the funnest arts and crafts and booze-in-the-ol’-boozehole tradition ever! Hardworking venue owner, Maydee Distefano, pre-baked approximately a thousand holiday themed cookies for cheery patrons to decorate in the Austin Christmas spirit.

In conjunction with the Cookie Party, Pat Buchta’s ragtag holiday band, The Misfit Toys, came out of hibernation to host an evening of incredible music benefiting the Dell Children’s Hospital and help bring the entertainment of Shakespeare to children with terminal illnesses. The Misfit Toys debuted six new holiday jams and several of their rocking Christmas classics. The benefit also featured live performances by folk/blues rhythm guitarist and vocalist Haydon HooDoo, gritty Delta-blues rockers and serpent enthusiasts Red On Yellow and a ‘Drunk Piano’ jazz finale from Datura.

Check out some of the evening’s festivities below captured by Valerie Riels.

The Misfit Toys


Red On Yellow




Haydon Hoodoo


Photos by: Valerie Riels of @photo.atx

Finding Neverland Coming to Bass Concert Hall Jan. 16-21



Lexus Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts is pleased to announce that individual tickets for FINDING NEVERLAND on sale now. FINDING NEVERLAND will play Bass Concert Hall January 16 – 21, 2018

Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee, and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up – one of the most beloved stories of all time. Directed by Tony®-winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) with book by Olivier Award®-nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow (Take That) and Grammy Award®- winner Eliot Kennedy, and choreography by Emmy Award®-winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium), this new musical, packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.

The production features scenic design by Tony Award®-winner Scott Pask (PippinBook of Mormon), lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Kenneth Posner (The Coast of UtopiaPippin), costume design by Suttirat Larlarb (Of Mice and Men), sound design by Tony Award®-nominee Jonathan Deans (PippinLa Cage aux Folles), hair and make-up design by Richard Mawbey, projection design by Jon Driscoll, music supervision by Fred Lassen, musical direction by Ryan Cantwell and casting by Stewart/Whitley 

Networks Presentations is the producer of Broadway’s Finding Neverland national tour.  The touring show is solely produced and managed by Networks.

Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in Finding Neverland Credit Jeremy Daniel IMG_3851

WHO: Lexus Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts
WHEN: January 16 – 21, 2018
Tuesday – Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.
WHERE: Bass Concert Hall | 2350 Robert Dedman Drive | Austin, TX 78712
TICKETS: Start at $30.Tickets are available at,, the Bass Concert Hall ticket office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060. For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email

For more tour and casting information:
Twitter: @NeverlandBway
Instagram: @FNLmusical


The Cast of Finding Neverland Credit Jeremy Daniel_IMG_2953

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel



KickAction Collective From Shadows EP Release Party at Rattle Inn

I was in no way prepared for the rhythm and blues ass whoopin’ KickAction Collective threw down at Rattle Inn last Friday. The boundary bending, four-piece made up of rockers from all shapes, shades and sexes was in the house celebrating the release of their debut EP, From Shadows.

According to their social, the band ‘aims to cross genres, mixing and mashing sounds to create a unique musical experience.’ But, in all fairness, that mission statement doesn’t even begin to describe just how exhilarating KickAction Collective (KAC) is live. ‘Each performance is a journey of raw emotion that must be witnessed to immerse yourself in the wave of music.’ Now that’s more like it. So let’s get into it.

Friday night began with an opening set from Austin’s DIY alternative-pop duo, SHEiLAVA. The band consists of songwriters Sheila V.A. and Jason Garcia, but on Friday, had grown into a full-blown five-piece with the addition of strings and brass. Think of your favorite electo-pop acts from the 80’s…throw in some heartfelt singer-songwriter folk…top it off with classical jazz and precise, silky smooth vocals and voila…SHEiLAVA.

The band released their debut full-length, Nonsense, earlier this summer and covered several album favorites Friday night…such as the whimsical ballad ‘Where is the Ghost’, the downbeat and sensual ‘Less Than Fair’ and the bouncy, infectiously catchy lead single, ‘Bomb Shelter’. SHEiLAVA displayed some courageous ethereal pop grounded by singer-songwriter sophistication. No lie, I’ve been repeating ‘don’t touch the lava’ since Friday.

KickAction Collective took the stage next bringing all the beautiful creatures to the front of the room to witness a performance that was intimate, but at the same time, live AF. As mentioned earlier, KAC is comprised of an array of artists from various backgrounds that all comes together for damn good, party rock entertainment. The band consists of Jaden Jostrand (lead vocals & bass), Gary Still (guitar & vocals), Geoff Trujillo (drums) and Julia Canales (violin and rhythm guitar).

From Shadows starts with an enticing game of cat and mouse in ‘The Chase Is On’ that’s highlighted by Jostrand’s cascading vocals and Canales’ seductive background sonnet. ‘Pen Pals’, the EP’s bluesy lead single, ignites with anticipatory Spanish chords and fiery duel vocals from Jostrand and Still layered over a blistering rock melody and flashy bow throwing from Canales. Watching Still and Canales trade-off in a strings solo tug-of-war on ‘Pen Pals’ was absolutely jaw-dropping. Trujillo shines with a sporadic barrage of percussion during the speedy ‘Shadows in the Dark, Pt. 1’. However, this track belongs to Still and his skirting guitar licks and blistering, bottom string solo that immediately took me Back to The Future like Marvin Berry watching Marty McFly at The Enchantment Under The Sea dance. This is how rock was meant to be played. Still took over lead duties on the jazzy EP closer ‘Shadows in the Dark, Pt. 2’ while Jostrand painted the background with crooning vocals and a howling, celebratory crescendo.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I entered Rattle Inn on Friday night. But, I guarantee you I wasn’t planning to be floored by the inspirational rock intensity of KickAction Collective. This is classic party rock for a brand new generation. The band is currently working on their full-length follow up to From Shadows. For more information check them out here. In the meantime, enjoy the images below captured at the From Shadows Release Party at Rattle Inn.

KickAction Collective

kick action-0452kick action-0456kick action-0461kick action-0479



Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun

Black Fret Hosts 4th Annual Black Ball

Austin music patron organization Black Fret hosted their 4th Annual Black Ball on Saturday at the Paramount Theatre where the non-profit announced this year’s $18,000 major grant and $5,000 minor grant recipients. Black Fret awarded a total of $230,000 in grants on Saturday pushing the grand total towards $750,000 granted in its four year existence.

Major Grant Winners:
Jackie Venson
Warren Hood
Sarah Sharp
Carolyn Wonderland
Bright Light Social Hour
Whiskey Shivers
Eric Tessmer
The Deer
Leopold & His Fiction.

Minor Grant Winners:
Akina Adderley
Cowboy Diplomacy
Croy & the Boys
Daniel Eyes
David Ramirez
Jane Ellen Bryant
Kinky Machine
Los Coast.



Photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun

Trail of Lights Cap City Music Night Dec.14

Come out to Zilker Park on Thursday, Dec. 14 for the Trail of Lights Cap City Music Night from 7-10 p.m. Austin’s Trail of Lights has been one of the city’s most prominent and attractive features since it began in 1965. However, Thursday’s Cap City Music Night will be the first time ever the Trail of Lights has hosted a night solely dedicated to Austin’s music nonprofit organizations. Participating organizations include HAAM, SIMS, Black Fret, ALL ATX and Swan Songs. The Cap City Music Night, with support from KUTX and Austin Chronicle, will feature music by Interrobang Brass Band (7 p.m.), Ephraim Owens Trio (7:45 p.m.) and Mother Falcon (9 p.m.) and a special Storytime led by Andy Langer. Cap City Music Night’s general admission is free and open to the public.

For additional information on the Trail of Lights and Cap City Music Night visit

Cold War Kids and Mobley Play 101X Indie Xmas at Emo’s

‘Austin’s New Rock Alternative’ 101X hosted their annual “Indie Xmas” bash at Emo’s Thursday night featuring Long Beach’s Cold War Kids and local post-genre pop act Mobley.

The night kicked off with opener Mobley whose one-man band includes him rotating through keys, drums, guitar, and sampling. Starting his set on the drum kit then quickly moving over to the keyboard, each song felt as if an entire quintet was on stage.

The most impressive moment from Mobley’s energetic set was when he came to the crowd and used their hands as a drum pad. The type of sorcery being performed on people’s hands created a melody that bled into his track.

If you get the opportunity to catch a headlining set from Mobley around town, I highly recommend it. His sound and visuals go hand-in-hand for a truly unique experience.

Cold War Kids took the stage next in support of their new record, LA Divine, which came out earlier this year. Quickly getting through hits “Hang Me Out To Dry” and “All This Could Be Yours” the hosts of the evening made you realize why they’ve been relevant for nearly a decade.

Everyone seemed to be in good spirits due to the holiday atmosphere with the ultimate gift being a near perfect set from the headliner. Having jammed to nearly every hit in their catalogue, the kids from Long Beach left you with a sense of holiday cheer.

You can catch Cold War Kids in a city near you and pick up their new record, LA Divine, at your local record store for a great seasonal gift.

Cold War Kids




Text and images by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

X Ambassadors and Grouplove at ACL Live Photo Recap

Thursday evening, KGSR celebrated 27 years of bringing the best in alternative music to central Texas with a night of performances by X Ambassadors and Grouplove at ACL Live.

“X Ambassadors’ debut album VHS reflects on the events that shaped lead vocalist and lyricist Sam Harris and his older brother, keyboardist Casey Harris’ life growing up in Ithaca, NY. “It was us looking back on everything that made us who we are,” says Sam. The gold-certified album, which Rolling Stone called “bombastic rock that’s as stomping as it is diaristic, leavened by big-tent pop hooks and a hint of hip-hop swagger,” debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and spawned the platinum-selling “Renegades,” which spent 12 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Alternative chart, and the double-platinum “Unsteady,” which went Top 10 at Alternative, Hot AC, and Top 40 radio.

The success of VHS sent X Ambassadors on a nearly two-year touring odyssey that found them winning over fans around the world and performing at the Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Life is Beautiful, and Shaky Knees festivals, among others, and establishing themselves as a world-class rock band.”

In 2017, X Ambassadors released four singles in “Hoping” in March, “Torches” in April, “The Devil You Know” in June, and “Ahead of Myself” in July, from their second studio album.

Grouplove released their third studio album, Big Mess, on September 9, 2016. On July 15, 2016, the band released the lead single from the album, “Welcome to Your Life” and announced the follow-up world tour.

Grouplove donated $1 from every ticket sale of their ‘Big Mess’ world tour and raised $40,387 for charity: water. On April 22, 2017, Grouplove released an EP titled Little Mess. The EP was an extension of their full-length album Big Mess and it came with songs “Tell Me a Story“, “Torso“, “MRI“, “Enlighten Me (Live)“, and “Adios Amigos“.

X Ambassadors





Photos by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt

Written content via ACL Live