girling and Their Tragically Hip ‘Side 1’

Austin’s alt-pop-rock girling has unveiled their most recent effort, “Side 1”, which is set to release Friday, May 19. The official girling “Side 1” release show will take place the same date at The Sidewinder in Austin with support from the rock group A. Sinclair & alt-rock artist Ben Millburn. Acting as a continuation of the band’s signature nerdy, garage-rock sound, the follow-up to girling’s 2016 self-titled album is riddled with warm familiarities: the lullaby-like keys, the howling vocals, and distorted guitars. Tragic lyrics reside behind these sweet-sounding melodies, giving special insight into guitarist/vocalist Andy Sharp’s life. The five-track EP is filled with poetic stories of regret and sincerity that are all disguised by the aromatic musicality.

“It’s a dark sensibility wrapped in a pop kind of candy wrapper,” says drummer Rusty Zagst of girling’s sound. The opening track, “Shattered,” is syncopated, smooth, and full of soul. It’s a track of distress, describing how easily love can shatter you and leave you in a million pieces. “Fiction” is the perfect embodiment of girling’s dark, sugar-coated rock sensibilities. A joyous beginning quickly turns awry with Sharp’s caterwauling “I had a brother who drowned in the lake / He swallowed water until he sank / His girlfriend told me to stay in the boat / Said it’s just another one of his jokes.” A bright mix of keys and guitars shroud the melancholic lyrics, leaving them waiting to be discovered. Eventually, emotions swell together and push back against the buoyant track, but instead of a displacing interruption there remains a beautiful mix of dark, light, and Patrick Swayze dancing in the moonlight. In a complete turn, a sense of pure grit and toughness resides in “You’re Not Right” thanks to the distorted guitars, heavy drums, and the accusing lyrics that proclaim “you’re not right.” Sharp describes the song as being “weird, raw, and full of swagger.” Melodies are a primary focus of this album, whether it be in the keys, guitar or vocals. These cheery and well-crafted melodies help throw the calamities behind a guise. The tracks all come together to create an encyclopedic album that archives emotions that often get lost in most modern music.

girling is more than just music for this group of guys. It’s a family affair when it comes to the five of them. Zagst speaks about the family chemistry of the group, saying that the allure isn’t “lost on us that when the five of us come together in a room that we’ve got something pretty special.” It’s about creating magic and telling the stories that you can’t get out all on your own. It’s music for a more thoughtful audience, those that look beyond the surface and try to find a deeper connection. When asked about the themes and stories that follow the EP, Sharp says that “A lot of the stories and a lot of the darkness comes from saying things in a song that you can’t actually say to people in real life.” Music is an outlet for more than just the musicians. It’s a living art that has a varying effect depending on who is listening. girling’s tragically hip customs have transcended past the ‘who’ and ventured into the ‘why’. It’s a bitter taste of the real world, but it comes with the sweet aftertaste of knowing there’s an entire community out there that feels the same way.


Written by: Sawyer Click


Mood Live Series With Gina Chavez Photo Review

Austin Music Foundation and Mood Media kicked off their Mood Live Series on Tuesday at the Mean Eyed Cat with an incredible performance by Latin soul artist Gina Chavez. The collaborative monthly music showcase will continue to feature artists participating in AMF’s Artist Development Program with upcoming performances by Charlie Faye, Jackie Venson, Jane Ellen Bryant, James Junius, Magna Carda and Migrant Kids.

Designed by the Austin Music Foundation along with leading music industry professionals, the Artist Development Program is an intensive seven-month program that will prepare a select group of emerging artists for the next step in their careers by providing advanced-level business education, expert mentoring, and high-visibility opportunities. The program will involve monthly classroom-focused group sessions along with tailored breakout sessions between artists and mentors.

“The Austin Music Foundation has been a catalyst for incredible growth for artists in the local music scene,” said Jackie Venson, participating artist. “This targeted program is a collaboration of talent and resources, and I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

“AMF is meeting the needs identified within the Austin Music Census,” said Danny Gillespie, Austin Music Foundation Board of Directors President. “By applying our industry expertise and building on the organization’s existing artist support services, which include free educational panels and ongoing consultations, the Artist Development Program will prepare seven local artists at pivotal stages in their music careers for an optimal future.”

Track Rambler photographer Demetrius Judkins Jr. was on hand at the Mood Live Series with Gina Chavez and captured these fantastic photos below.

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Photos by: Demetrius Judkins Jr.


Emily Bell & The Talkbacks Release The Goddess of Destruction With ‘Kali’ EP

Emily Bell & The Talkbacks recently released their EP Kali, three years after their 2014 ‘In Technicolor’ debut. Once, Austin’s secret, Bell’s music is making its way across the country and into the hearts of everybody who hears this five-track album.

“Can’t Talk Back” opens the EP, with an edgy mixture of rhythmic speaking and tones that ring in your ears afterward. This one’s a power ballad with attitude – it’s definitely no Bryan Adams. The Talkbacks hold all the energy of that garage-rock band that’s always ‘waking up the neighbors’, but with all the skill of well-honed professionals. There’s no doubt who’s in charge here and it’s definitely Bell, in this easy to listen to tune, vamped up with synthesizers.

Bell has a message she wants the world to know; empowerment is not something to be afraid of. She is, and she wants every female to be, with all proceeds of her April 29th Official Release Party being donated to The Girls Empowerment Network. Bell believes in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself and her voice will pick you back up from the cold floor after a hard week.

This message is reverberated throughout the EP, with the first song released “Goddess of Destruction” taking a much softer approach. Her accent is prominent as she calls out for ‘Kali’, sweet and honest. But the song turns choppy and turbulent; like gritty coffee beans not quite stirred into your morning coffee, bitter and interesting enough to glue you to it, as the sweetness warms your stomach. “We’ll all be bigger than the dream,” she promises. She’s leading a crowd and we can’t help but follow. This is a protest and I hear what she’s saying; nothing can stop you now.

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Known for blazing stages and rock ‘n’ roll style, she’s the epitome of women in contemporary rock. A modern day female Nikki Sixx, but with much more tension and vulnerability. She refuses to lose her femininity and as you make your way through the EP, she shows this with pride, stronger with the stain of her pain.

The final song on this album will leave you craving more. “Crashing Hearts” is vulnerable and soulful, a side to Emily that shows you that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, it makes you feel like you know her. She sings softly “one day together, and the next day alone”, captioning a feeling of heartbreak in this song. She speaks metaphorically, depicting it as a car crash; brutal, violent and fatal, yet oddly so beautiful. She shows that you can be strong and still have fears too.

She captions every doubt and every painful step, exposing her weaknesses, but she doesn’t care and nor will you. Vulnerable or not, she’s empowered and she is in charge.

Emily Bell and The Talkbacks Official Kali Release Party will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 3TEN Austin City Limits Live. All proceeds will be donated to The Girls Empowerment Network. Tickets available here:

Can’t Talk Back
Girls That Never Die
Goddess of Destruction
Crashing Hearts
Twitter @EmilyBellMusic
Insta @EmilyBellMusic

Author: Megan Matthews

Conflicting Desires of Suzanna Choffel and ‘Hello Goodbye’

At some point in life we all face that inevitable question of “who do I want to be?” It usually occurs at major junctions in our lives when we must decide where we want to go. But, for many of us, this question lingers constantly in the back of our conscience resonating within the multitude of decisions we face each day. For singer-songwriter Suzanna Choffel, the question manifested itself into the seemingly conflicted struggle of balancing her pursuit of a stable family life and her craving for musical adventures. The juxtaposition of these forces married wonderfully to form the driving theme in her latest album Hello Goodbye.

Several of Hello Goodbye’s songs could be associated with major events in Choffel’s life. In the seven years since she recorded her previous album, Steady Eye, Shaky Bow, she has competed in front of millions on The Voice, chased her rockstar dreams in the Big Apple, and, most notably, delivered her greatest treasure: a beautiful daughter.

“I wrote a few of these songs before Lulu [daughter] was ever a twinkle in my eye. But, they still dealt with that push and pull of opposing desires,” claims Choffel. Nowhere in Hello Goodbye is that battle more evident than in the introspective opening track, ‘Continental Drift.’ “I wrote that song before moving to New York,” states the Austin native. “I began questioning my desires of staying grounded and connected to my roots in Austin versus setting out and trying something completely different. On ‘Continental Drift’ Choffel melodically illustrates her conflicting desires through a lucid inner-monologue that floats across the ambient waves of Charlie Sexton’s mandolin-cello: “And so you have to decide…on which plane will you reside/One will rise an empire and the other one will fall.”

Hello Goodbye was not intended to be a concept album. But, it does tell a story. And had Choffel not journeyed to New York, that story would sound much differently. “I think it took me moving away to embrace some of the rootsier, funkier sounds that found their way on here,” she admits. “Especially in ‘Sinkin’ Down,’ ‘Lately For You’ and ‘Keep on Movin’ — some of the grittier, bluesier ones.”

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A versatile and crafty urban folktress, Choffel excels within the various genres that span across Hello Goodbye which fuses together blues, jazz, funk, and rock; each track showcasing a different element of her ‘honey husked’ vocals. The upbeat, guitar-driven ‘Follow’ shimmies with infectious pop while the soft and jazzy, Bob Marley-inspired ‘I Could Be Loved’ leisurely plucks at the heart strings. The sultry vocalist plays hard-to-get while exploring new territory on the Madonna-influenced, club-pop of ‘New Word’ and basks in the sun-soaked, beachy-pop of ‘Inspire Me’ strummed sweetly through her ukulele.

Choffel’s maternal spirit radiates through ‘Go Forth’, a heartfelt inspirational ballad with an origin that transcends the everyday into the supernatural. “When I sat down to write that song, the words just flowed through me,” she claims. “It was so bazaar, finding out a week later that I was pregnant. The more I reflect on it, it’s almost like Lulu helped me write it.”

Hello Goodbye, bids farewell with the soothing acoustic lullaby of ‘Wish You Well’…“Oh we are the hearty and we are the weak…We are only as good as the words that we speak. If my heart is the temple, my tongue will be the bell…And I wish you well.”

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The reoccurring themes of love, passion, creation and renewal provide continuity to Hello Goodbye, while each track presents a unique opposition between sweet and soft and folk and funk. The album features David Boyle on keys, production and engineering, JJ Johnson on drums, Charlie Sexton and Andrew Trube on guitar, Brad Houser and Cat Popper on bass, Davìd Garza on vocals and guitars, and Jazz Mills and Michael Kingcaid on vocals.

Choffel may spend the rest of her life debating between which plane in life she wishes to reside. However, her passion is plentiful for both her family and her music and as long as mamma and Lulu are happy, her fans will be too.

Hello Goodbye” will be release on Friday, May 12. There will be an official album release party the evening of May 12 at 3Ten at Austin City Limits Live located at 310 W Willie Nelson Blvd. #1a, Austin, Texas 78701. Doors will be at 8 p.m. with the show starting at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

Choffel will be joined by Dan Dyer and Jonathan Terrell at the official album release party on May 12.

The official album release party in Houston will take place on Saturday, May 13 at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck located at 2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098.
The show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

In addition to the album release party, Choffel has also been selected to participate in the Americana Music Series presented by Sun Radio. The music series highlights Americana artists playing 3TEN ACL Live, the new intimate venue downstairs from ACL Live in the heart of downtown Austin, in partnership with solar-powered local station Sun Radio.

For additional information, please see

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Written by: Douglas Leach

Austin Music Foundation Launches ‘1645 Live’, MIC Program Winners & More

Austin Music Foundation is proud to announce the launch of a new music series, “1645 Live,” in partnership with C3 Presents. The sessions will take place at C3’s home office and feature performances by AMF Artist Development Program (ADP) participants and other local bands. “We are excited to work with AMF on this series and showcase some of the biggest talent coming out of Austin right now,” said Kristyn Ciani, C3 Presents Talent Buyer. “This is a fun way for us to remain at the forefront of what’s happening right here in our hometown and also allows us to connect to the artists in a more personal way.”

“1645 Live” will give emerging local artists the unique opportunity to perform in front of staff and friends of C3 Presents in a casual setting. “The idea for this series came from discussions with C3 about how we can work together to bring tangible opportunities to Austin’s most promising acts, and in a way that’s really special,” said Jennifer Dugas, Austin Music Foundation Programs Director. “We’re connecting local emerging artists to industry, but taking it a step further by creating an intimate space for them to showcase their talent in front of a captive audience of influencers.”

The series kicks off on April 19 with performances by Mayeux & Broussard and AMF ADP participant Gina Chavez and is sponsored in part by Austin Eastciders and Guns & Oil Brewing.

AMF is thrilled to announce the winners of its Music Industry Collaborative (MIC) Program awards. Destinee Ware (owner of One-2-One Bar), Chaka Mpeanaji (founder of Divine & Conjure Enterprises, Riders Against the Storm and RAS Day) and Dave Blue (founder of Spotcaller) each received $4,330 for a combined $13,000 in grants. MIC is a six-month program that provides strategies to grow and improve music businesses through a structured small group setting that also encourages peer-to-peer assistance. The program provides opportunities for participants to meet with business leaders and entrepreneurs who will share their expertise and experience.

“Through six months of intensive mentoring, instruction and soul-searching during the MIC program, Austin music business entrepreneurs are able to improve their businesses and themselves while making real connections with others,” said Brad Stein, Austin Music Foundation Board of Directors Vice President.

“MIC will put you in the room with the smartest minds of Austin Music, giving you fresh ideas on how your business can connect with the community,” said Dave Blue, founder of Spotcaller.

“Having been in business for over 13 years, the one thing I strive for is to continue learning and growing as a business owner and [the MIC Program] provided just that,” said Destinee Ware, owner of One-2-One Bar. “The mentors that donated their time to come and talk with us and just getting to know my fellow classmates was such a rewarding experience, I can’t thank AMF enough!”

“Conversations at the MIC program with AMF mentors and attendees led me to a much greater understanding of my strongest assets as a brand and business,” said Chaka Mpeanaji, owner of Divine and Conjure Enterprises. “From the beginning, I felt that AMF honored my contributions to the Austin music community with a sincere interest to help me be even more productive and successful. In 2016, my company paid more than 300 artists, musicians, designers, editors, videographers and engineers. Investment in people that create this type of opportunity in Austin is exactly where it’s at.”

Over the past two years of MIC, AMF and its program partners have awarded a total of $26,000 to five small music business owners. “AMF could not be more thankful to the MIC program sponsors, DTB Partners, who have provided their expertise as well as support of this program and individual grants to now five music business owners,” added Brad Stein.

The Music Industry Collaborative is an applicant-based mentoring program designed for active entrepreneurs with existing music-related businesses. For more information, visit

The Wine Down, presented by The Dreaming Tree, is back at 3TEN ACL Live for 2017 in partnership with the 2ND Street District, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau and KUTX with proceeds once again going to the Austin Music Foundation. Taking place on the last Wednesday of the month from April through September, The Wine Down will feature a different restaurant, band, local shopping and happy hour priced glasses of wine featuring The Dreaming Tree. The first event in the series will be kicking off on Wednesday, April 26 from 5-8 p.m. with music by Jonathan Terrell, bites by Alimentari 28 and a pop-up shop by Sikara & Co. For more info and to see the rest of the dates in the series, visit

Austin Music Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with Independence Brewing for the brewery’s popular “First Saturday” events. Each month, AMF will work with Independence to curate a music showcase lineup featuring two opening acts followed by a headliner playing from 6-7 p.m., during which time a portion of sales from the tap room will directly benefit the Austin Music Foundation. The collaboration was a natural fit for AMF and Independence, a brewery that over the past 13 years has maintained a close connection with and support of musicians, artists and important local organizations that promote the arts. The next event will take place on Saturday, May 6 and will feature Austin Music Foundation’s May Artist of the Month, Skye Strickler. Brewery doors open at 1 p.m. and music will start at 4 p.m. with Skye performing from 6-7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome but must be 21 and up to drink.

The Front Porch Easter Vigil Photo Review

Austin’s pub church, The Front Porch, held its 2017 Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 15 at Scholz Garten. The spiritual evening featured live performances by Kevin Russell of Shinyribs, Sam Baker, Body Rock ATX, Rabbi Neil Blumofe, Jimi Calhoun, The Djembabes, Gregory Eaton, Chucky Black and more.

“The Front Porch is a nonprofit Public House Church that brings together the diverse conviviality of a village pub and the meaningful discourse of a good church community,” said Stephen Kinney, Executive Director of the Front Porch. “We strive to create opportunities for people of all faiths and perspectives to connect through dialogue, art and music in a world often divided by religion, politics and culture.”

Track Rambler photographer J. Alan Love was on hand to capture highlights from the magical evening.


Photos by: J. Alan Love

Flyjack and the Underground Funk of New Day

Austin’s groovalicious, 7-piece soul ensemble Flyjack hits the motherlode with their latest album, New Day. This love letter to late 60’s and early 70’s rare groove soul and deep funk was painstakingly crafted over a 17 month span and features seven carefully curated underground classics and five Flyjack originals. If nostalgic, funky soul of ‘The Feel Good Decade’ is what you crave, Flyjack’s got you covered. Utilizing an assortment of vintage microphones, preamps, Moog synths, Wurlitzer electric pianos and other 70’s gear combined with modern recording techniques and sonics, Flyjack pays homage to underground funk while embracing new possibilities for the genre.

New Day kicks in with the jazzy title track…a racial protest cover originally recorded and released in 1973 by the Skull Snaps that fits firmly within the tension of America’s current political environment. ‘Motherlode’ is a psychedelic freak show with snarling vocals and boisterous brass from Hellfire Horns. The track also features Grupo Fantasma alum Rudy Canales on congas and a wicked solo from Golden Dawn Arkestra’s sax-a-ma-phone magician, Topaz McGarrigle. Lead singer, Buck McKinney gets superbad with ‘Soulful Proclamation’ and spreads the gospel with ‘Gossip’. ‘The Jungle’ is an infectious bluesy track guaranteed to get you swaying all the way through ‘Funky Fast Bump’. Flyjack disperses a variety of instrumentals throughout New Day and vocals take a back seat to the vibrant keys, burly harmonics and swift electronic slides of ‘Flame Thrower’ and the interstellar synths of ‘The Worm’. Flyjack keeps the party vibes rollin’ throughout the entirety of New Day and shuts it down with the celebratory instrumental ‘The Master’.

As ‘Austin’s premier purveyors of righteous rhythms,’ Flyjack adds new-age flash to the underground funk and psychedelic soul of the 70’s. New Day should appeal to fans of James Brown, King Curtis and Stevie (both Wonder and Ray Vaughan) as well as just about anyone with a little groove in their blood. New Day is one bad mutha-.


Catch Flyjack at The New Day Release Party on March 31 at The Blackheart located at 86 Rainey St., Austin, TX 78701 at 9:00PM.

For more info please visit:

Grounded In Music Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Each year, art and music programs across the country are eliminated from public education in order to prioritize “academic essential” subjects such as math, reading and science. As school districts face budget shortfalls, funding for art and music often shoots to the top of the ‘cuts’ list. Slashing these programs can be detrimental to students’ self-confidence as brilliant, artistic children can fall behind when subjects that stimulate their creativity are taken away. Fortunately, Austin-based nonprofit, Grounded in Music has worked tirelessly over the past ten years to provide music-based, instructional programs to local underprivileged youths.

Launched in 2007, Grounded in Music’s (GIM) sole mission is to leverage the power of music to transform young lives by creating self-confidence, opportunity and hope through Austin’s Boys and Girls Club system. The organization works with underprivileged youth to expose kids to music starting in grade four providing music instruction, exposure to nationally known musicians, concerts, backstage passes and scholarships.

Grounded in Music is not technically a music school. Their goal is not to turn out the next ‘best’ guitarist but instead use music as a tool to create opportunity and self-confidence to transform the lives of the kids in the program.

“In 2007, we made a promise to ourselves,” states GIM Founder, Joe Stallone. “We would do whatever we needed to make the program work for three years…and we felt lucky just to make it three.”

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Now, in its tenth year, Grounded in Music shows no signs of slowing down. “It has really been an incredible journey,” admits Stallone. “We literally started with nothing. We even wrote personal checks to pay the instructors in the first year. Within a few years, we had an amazing group of instructors, we brought kids to Stubbs, Bass Concert Hall and the Erwin Center. Amazingly enough – with the support of some really great people like Patty Griffin, Jack Ingram and Gina Fant-Sanez – we built a music studio for our kids.”

Grounded in Music has grown significantly since 2007 and now currently serves three Boys and Girls Club locations (and hopefully five by this Fall) throughout Austin including Bertha Saddler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy, San Juan Diego and Chalmers Courts Housing Authority. The nonprofit provides services to 30 – 40 students per session and offers Fall, Spring and Summer sessions. The organization serves many more students through concerts, soundcheck programs, meet-and-greets and other strategic partnerships. GIM also provides services to other locations such as BCG-East-Booker T. Washington Housing Authority and the Meadowbrook Housing Authority, who with GIM’s partnership were able to acquire a $10,000 grant to purchase gear for their recording studio. Grounded in Music is also excited to expand its outreach in Summer 2017 with a new Studio Technology Program located in the Henry Flores Learning Center at the HACA Meadowbrook apartments.

“Grounded is offering seven teaching sessions per week where students have time individually to connect with some of Austin’s working professional musicians,” said Michael Longoria, Grounded in Music’s Program Director. “In these individual lessons kids receive positive mentorship and role models to also help anchor the children’s weekly routines. We have seen kids grow from having no previous relation to music to making it to All-Star Band students. We are serving as a feeder to middle school and high school band programs where kids will enter with previous skills acquired through time with GIM instructors.”

Stallone has witnessed the transformation in many of the program’s youths. “Kids that start with no music background literally end up cornering me and demanding that I shop them a record deal. If the kids in our program can use music to develop self-confidence and a positive outlook on life then we feel they can direct that towards anything they do in life,” states Stallone.

Grounded in Music will celebrate its 10 Year Anniversary Benefit on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 featuring The Peterson Brothers and Suzanna Choffel at the Gibson Brands Showroom located at 3601 S. Congress Ave. Suite G400, Austin, Texas 78704.

The evening will be hosted by musician/songwriter Kathy Valentine, an Austin Music Hall of Fame inductee and member of the iconic band the Go-Go’s. There will be a VIP pre-show reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. for sponsors, press and VIPs. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and music will kick off at 7:15 p.m. with a performance by the Grounded in Music students. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $45 per person and include bites and beverages, as well as a silent auction. Sponsors for the event will be announced shortly.

The benefit will help raise needed funds for the organization and event proceeds will be used to purchase musical instruments for underprivileged youth, provide education in musicianship and recording arts, teach music theory and offer music- related opportunities outside of performance.

To purchase tickets, please go to:

For more information about Grounded in Music, please visit:




Producers Paul Blake and Sony/ATV Music Publishing announce that the Tony & Grammy Award-winning Broadway hit Beautiful—The Carole King Musical, about the early life and career of the legendary and groundbreaking singer/songwriter, will make its Austin premiere at Bass Concert Hall on March 21 – 26, 2017.

“Carole King might be a native New Yorker, but her story of struggle and triumph is as universal as they come – and her music is loved the world over,” producer Paul Blake said. “We know that audiences throughout the country will embrace this show just as Broadway and London audiences have.”

With a book by Tony® and Academy® Award-nominee Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni and choreography by Josh Prince, Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil. The show opened on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre (125 West 43 Street) in January 2014, where it has since broken all box office records and recently became the highest grossing production in the Theatre’s history.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Ghostlight Records), won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and is available on CD, digitally, and on vinyl. Beautiful opened in London at the Aldwych Theatre in February 2015 and launched its First National Tour in September 2015.

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice. Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Beautiful features a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song.

Check out the recent interview below with Beautiful – The Carole King Musical cast member, Alaina Mills who is cast as Swing; Understudy for the role of Carole King, Cynthia and Genie as well as the Dance Captain in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. This is one busy lady!

1. Tell me about your role in Carole King.

As Dance Captain with Beautiful, I maintain the choreography and the choreographer’s intentions! Doing a show eight times a week is fascinating on the human body and mind. The performers, completely subconsciously, can shift their choreography ever-so-slightly and develop new habits, and they don’t have any idea! It becomes second nature to them, and new movements will pop up- an added flick of the wrist, or getting rid of a detail because maybe there is a small injury they don’t even feel. I have to figure out why that’s happening and try to get it back to its original form, or maybe find a solution if someone is feeling a tweak in their knee, for example. Also, spacing can easily shift and performers are so good at adapting to their surroundings that if one person shifts, before you know it, the whole production number could have shifted. I just tweak here and there. It requires patience and kindness toward everyone’s individual performance since everyone out there is always doing their absolute best. They’re an awesome and receptive company, even when they don’t always know right away what I may be talking about since their subtle changes are so subconscious. As a swing, I perform when someone is ill or on vacation and such. Sometimes it can happen in the middle of the show, unfortunately, but that’s what us swings are there for so that the show can go on and so that our cast mates can go take care of themselves! I understudy Carole, Cynthia, Carole’s mother, and two of the ensemble ladies. I enjoy not knowing what can come next and exploring the different psychologies that make up the lives of the the world of Carole King, including Carole King herself! It keeps my brain constantly working and my body and voice have to be ready at a moment’s notice. It keeps me healthy and keeps me grounded and my parents get to travel around when I’m on for someone they haven’t seen me do yet! I

2. Why do you think the story of Carole King is so popular?

I think the story of Carole King is so very popular because she was one of the voices that helped shape the lives of every person who listened to music at the time. Everyone who grew up with this music has a nostalgia attached when they hear the songs- they remember where they were when they heard one of these songs for the first time. Maybe they got their first kiss, maybe they danced to it in high school, maybe they have a tie to their childhood home listening to the records. The attachments are endless. And all the while, maybe they didn’t know the lives of the songwriters writing tirelessly and endlessly in the Brill Building and/or 1650 Broadway. That was a whole world many didn’t know about. I love hearing the reactions from audience members when they see our show tell the creation of a song they hold dear. Being able to see the genius in these writers’ minds is part of what makes this story so fascinating to watch every night. They were real people who reached a generation, and Carole King kept on reaching when she developed Tapestry. It was a new generation of writing that spoke to and reflected on a changing generation. They were going through Vietnam, they were beginning to experience new and free love without boundaries, and they were free to express both the highs and lows of that love and Carole King invoked that in Tapestry. And this story delves into what inspired her to write that music. I think it inspires all humans who see this story to know that Carole personally went through what a lot of people went and still go through and that through the power of art and the natural human condition, we can all rise up out of difficult times and see how “beautiful” the world is, even when life hands you what you don’t always expect nor always desire. Goodness and beauty can come from anything. And people are reminded of that when they leave the theatre.

3. What is your favorite scene and please describe without giving to much away?

Hmmmm, my favorite scene…that’s difficult! I think it may be the final scene with Gerry Goffin and Carole. It occurs before she makes her big solo debut after Tapestry is released and she’s won Grammy after Grammy for it and she’s prevailed after some extremely tough personal times. This little scene (without giving too much away!), is one of strength, forgiveness, and deep human understanding and connection. That after all Gerry and Carole went through together, after time has passed, and Carole has embarked on a new journey, it was all meant to be and all meant to take pride in. That everything they went through, even in the darkness, ended up providing light and love. It’s so beautiful to watch and it’s so deliciously intimate and a perfectly written cherry on top of our story.

4. What is your favorite song?

My favorite song is also so difficult to pick! I think it may be Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s number one hit “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” I LOVE the setup of how they wrote it, the unsureness in writing it, and the AWESOMENESS of what it became. And our two Righteous Brothers are pretty darn stellar at it. They fill every theatre and audience member with glorious sound. It’s pretty magical.

5. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Everyone who sees this show feels incredible afterward. I remember seeing it on Broadway the first time and I was astounded at the knowledge I gained about the time period and who these people were. Not to mention hearing and seeing these outstanding performances. And I realize how lucky I am to be a part of it and sometimes when I forget that, hearing and seeing the show every day reminds me that no matter what life hands me, and all of us, that it is a beautiful life to be apart of if we let it. That’s what Beautiful-The Carole King Musical leaves you remembering. And that’s an amazing thing to feel walking away from a show. That, and of course, THE SONGS! They’ll be stuck in your head! Come on out and enjoy and feel beautiful!

d 1650 Broadway


TICKETS:       Start at $35. Tickets are available at, the Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060.  For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email


Interview by: S. Leigh for Macaroni Kid

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus


Still filling out your SXSW itinerary? Head on over to The Palm Door and check out the French vibe of SXSW with the French Waves showcase presented by Zorba. French House (a collaboration between French Tech and French Waves) makes its return to SXSW with a showcase spanning over two days, Tuesday, March 14 and Wednesday, March 15, and will feature the latest French electronic music, cutting-edge French tech startups, and innovative French virtual reality projects and films.

The official French Waves music showcase will be held on Tuesday, March 14 from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and will feature France’s hottest, up-and-coming producers, Molécule and Jacques. The music showcase will also be live streamed online.

Wednesday, March 15, French House will host the French Waves brunch from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. where special speakers, Molécule, Jacques and Julian Starke, director of French Waves, will guide audiences through a unique musical and visual trip into French electronic music. They will discuss their viewpoints, experiences and anecdotes to share their vision of what French electronic music is today.

Lastly, showcase hosts Zorba and Miala will unveil the first images of Molécule’s upcoming album “Musique Polaire” on Wednesday, March 15 at the Musique Polaire meet-up drink. Molécule spent 34 non-stop days, traveling over 4,986 nautical miles, lugging 200 kilos of music equipment and enduring 13-hour recording sessions isolating himself in one of the most inhospitable regions of Greenland to create an unprecedented sound experience with “Musique Polaire.”

The Musique Polaire meet-up drink will be open to the public and will be introduced by Molécule, Arnaud Meersseman (Miala) and Olivier Mardi (ZORBA).

All events will be held at the Palm Door on Sabine, (located at 401 Sabine St., Austin, Texas 78701) and are open to SXSW badge holders, media and those listed on the VIP guest list.