Black Fret Announces 2018 Grant Nominees

Last week, Austin nonprofit Black Fret announced its 2018 Nominees. The Nominees include A Giant Dog, Billy King and the Bad Bad Bad, Dave Scher, Donovan Keith, Greyhounds, Israel Nash, Jaimee Harris, Jane Ellen Bryant, Jeff Plankenhorn, Kalu and the Electric Joint, Los Coast, Megafauna, Otis the Destroyer, Palo Duro, Rebecca Loebe, Shy Beast, The Texas KGB, Tomar and the FCs, Trouble in The Streets and Wood & Wire.

“Naming our fifth group of Black Fret Nominees after awarding over $1 million in grants and performance payments in just over four years is a great milestone,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “Incredible musicians continue to call Austin, Texas home and the citizens of our fine city continue to step up by becoming members of Black Fret to support our amazing music scene.”

Black Fret 2018 Nominee Los Coast

“It’s amazing what happens when you ask for help and seek professional advice in this city. Austin’s music community is so supportive, and as a band, we have greatly benefited from it,” said Mariclaire Glaser of 2018 Black Fret Nominee Shy Beast. “What an honor it is to be nominated as a Black Fret Artist this year! We are ecstatic and have a newfound wind in our sails.”

Taylor Wilkins of 2018 Black Fret Nominee Otis the Destroyer added, “I’ve been watching the organization grow and help many artists throughout the years and it’s a privilege to be included among them. I’m looking forward to pushing this project even further with all the great resources Black Fret provides and feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen.”

“Black Fret’s upcoming Listening Season is going to be excellent,” said Erin Ivey, Black Fret’s Director of Member Experience and 2014 Black Fret Artist. “With such a great class of Nominees, each event will be a one-of-a-kind experience Black Fret is known for.”

Black Fret 2018 Nominee A Giant Dog

Black Fret announced the 2018 Nominees on March 14 to over 1,000 music supporters at an event at GSD&M Headquarters in Austin, Texas, while enjoying performances from past Black Fret Artists Brownout (2016 Black Fret Artist), Migrant Kids (2015 Black Fret Artist), Nakia (2015, 2016 Black Fret Artist), Ruby and the Reckless (2015 Black Fret Artist) and Swimming With Bears (2016 Black Fret Artist). Austin-based act The Band of Heathens kicked off the festivities.

“We have been overjoyed to see our community grow year after year,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Co-founder. “We have an amazing season planned for everyone involved; more events for our members, more support for our Artists and more grants to be awarded at this year’s Black Fret Ball in December. We invite all Austinites who love their city and its music to join us and become a Member of Black Fret.”

The 2018 “Listening Season” will be filled with private listening events for Members, featuring performances by 2018 Nominees, leading to the awarding of major or minor grants to all twenty Nominees at the Black Fret Ball in December.

For inquiries, please email and for more info see

Black Fret 2018 Season Kickoff at The Mohawk

Austin nonprofit Black Fret has come a long way in just four short years, with $730,000 in grants 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.

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Ready to grant more money into the Austin music scene, Black Fret kicked off the 2018 season last Saturday at The Mohawk featuring a crazy eclectic lineup of 6 one-of-a-kind local acts. The musical journey, presented by Cirrus Logic, began on the outside stage with old school soul and R&B singer Donovan Keith singing to the guys with bad instincts and the lowdown ladies. Indie rockers Booher were first up on the inside stage delivering an emotion-filled display of authentic rock n’ roll.

Following Donovan Keith, 2017 major grant recipient Sarah Sharp introduced face-melting indie rockers Megafauna and announced her brand new EP due out February 19. The lovely jazz singer plans to put those Black Fret dollars to work and release a new EP every three months for the entirety of 2018.

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Neo-soul outfit Palo Duro was up next on the inside stage before si-fi synth-pop duo Night Drive made their long awaited Black Fret debut outside. The evening’s finale took place inside as patrons crammed into the sardine-packed venue to witness a synthory…I mean, ‘sensory overload from our favorite electro tribe, Trouble in the Streets.

Black Fret has granted some pretty amazing Austin artists over the past four years. However, I must agree with co-founder Matt Ott. 2018 is gearing up to feature the most amazing group of musicians yet.

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

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


On the heels of awarding a total $500,000 in grants in just three years, local nonprofit takes 2017 by storm with fantastic lineup of Austin musicians

Austin nonprofit Black Fret is proud to announce the first 18 of its 20 Black Fret Grant Nominees for 2017. They include Akina Adderley, Black Pistol Fire, Bright Light Social Hour, Carolyn Wonderland, Croy and the Boys, Daniel Eyes, David Ramirez, Eric Tessmer, Greyhounds, Jackie Venson, Kinky Machine, Leopold and his Fiction, Los Coast, Mobley, Sarah Sharp, The Deer, Warren Hood and Whiskey Shivers. The top two “Best New Bands” from the Austin Music Awards will be named Black Fret’s final two 2017 nominees on Sunday, March 12.

“Naming our fourth group of Black Fret Nominees after awarding $500,000 in grants in just our first three years feels great,” said Colin Kendrick, Black Fret Founder. “There is such an amazing depth of talent in this town and we are excited to see such great artists year after year supported by our members in such a meaningful way.”

“I am so excited to be a nominee. Black Fret has helped out so many incredible artists and I am so honored to be one of them,” said 2017 Black Fret Nominee Jackie Venson. “I’m ready to put the work in and am pumped about continuing the journey.”

Black Fret sponsors Oskar Blues Brewery Austin and Ben E. Keith Distributors hosted the 2017 Nomination Celebration at their North Austin brewery and tap room where Black Fret members, guests and 2017 nominees enjoyed performances by 2017 nominees The Deer and Warren Hood and a special appearance by 2016 Black Fret Artist Wendy Colonna.

“The community we have seen come together around Black Fret embodies the love and passion Austin has always had for its music,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Co-founder. “Together, our members, sponsors, Advisory Board, volunteers and musicians are making a real impact on our city and its music. We are honored that so many of our citizens have joined Black Fret to support Austin’s local musicians. And this is just the beginning.”

Black Fret is a public charity headquartered in Austin whose mission is to empower musicians to create and perform great new music. The organization is an innovative evolution of the age-old symphony patronage model that is focused on supporting popular local music. Together, Black Fret’s limited membership will build an endowed institution capable of sustaining more than a million dollars a year in grants to Austin’s artists. The 2017 “Listening Period” will kick off on April 8 and will lead to the awarding of grants to all 20 of the 2017 Black Fret Nominees by Black Fret members at the 2017 Black Fret Ball on Dec. 9, 2017 at the Paramount Theater.

Over the last three years, Black Fret has awarded $500,000 to local Austin artists. Black Fret grant recipients must create new music, perform outside Austin or perform for other Austin nonprofits to “unlock” their grant funds. To date, Black Fret Artists have unlocked their grant funds through the creation of 190 new songs, 156 studio recordings and the release of 61 finished songs. They have performed 240 U.S. and 31 international tour dates and have held 84 community service performances for other local charities.

This year alone, Black Fret has been covered in national media outlets such as Pitchfork and Forbes and is gaining momentum for what will be growth into other great music cites.

Black Fret will hold two festival events in March which will be open to the public to attend: the Black Fret SXSW Austin Music Showcase on Friday, March 17 and Saturday March 18 from noon to 6p.m. each day at the North Door in Austin, Texas. That will be followed by the Art City Austin festival at Palmer Auditorium on March 31 through April 2 for which Black Fret will curate the Black Fret Music Stage. The lineups for both events will include past Black Fret Artists, 2017 Black Fret nominees and other special guests. The private, members-only Black Fret Listening Season will kick off on April 8. Those who wish to attend private Black Fret events may become a member of Black Fret by signing up at All memberships provide entry for the member and a guest to all upcoming 2017 Black Fret events, including the annual Black Fret Ball. For inquiries, please email and for more info see

In addition to their grants, all Black Fret Nominees have continued access to mentoring from Black Fret’s Advisory Board, which consists of 37 of Austin’s top music industry leaders. Newly added advisors include Codey Allen, Evan Blanc, Jen Dalton, Danny Gillespie, Layne Lauritzen, Michael Ramos, Dick Reeves, Chris “Frenchi” Smith and Graham Williams. Existing advisors are Mark Addison, Heather Alden, Roggie Baer, Pat Cassidy, Reenie Collins, Mike Crowley, Wofford Denius, CJ Eiriksson, Jim Eno, Nigel Finley, Will Hoffman, Jennifer Houlihan, Terrany Johnson, Terry Lickona, Weston McGowen, Davis McLarty, Marsha Milam, Matt Noveskey, Tim Palmer, George Reiff, Peter Schwarz, Carlos Sosa, Joe Stallone, Stuart Sullivan, Heather Wagner Reed, Kevin Wommack, Tom Vale and Rusty Zagst. For more information, please see

Black Fret receives ongoing support from generous sponsors such as ALL ATX, Dell Inc., Deloitte Consulting, Ben Milam Whiskey, SunPower Inc., GSD&M, Ben E. Keith Distributors, Whole Foods, Personify, Gibson Brands, The City of Austin Economic Development Department – Music & Entertainment Division, KUTX, The Austin Chronicle, DeMaris Entertainment, Juice Consulting, Nomad Sound, Miscellaneous Rentals, the Paramount Theatre, Enterprising People, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, County Line BBQ, Shady Grove, Verts, Frank, Biggs Electric, Social Flash Media and many more.

For additional information please visit

Black Fret SXSW Austin Music Showcase:

Friday, March 17: Black Fret SXSW Austin Music Showcase / 12 p.m – 6 p.m. @ North Door
Saturday, March 18: Black Fret SXSW Austin Music Showcase / 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. @ North Door


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Article courtesy of Amber LaFrance (

Photos courtesy of Amber LaFrance and Black Fret (

Black Fret: The Peterson Bros., Eric Tessmer, Jane Ellen Bryant

Black Fret flooded the banks of Onion Creek Saturday evening pouring muddy, rock-filled blues from the historic home of Austin’s Music and Entertainment Manager, Don Pitts. Iconic Shady Grove was on hand serving partygoers Tex-Mex pork and chicken tacos while Ben E. Keith kept the Alaskan Whites, Moscow Mules and Merlots flowing from the bar.

Teenage blues phenoms and 2016 Black Fret nominees, The Peterson Brothers, set the party off and got the crowd rocking early with ‘Don’t You Lie to Me.’ The Bastrop boys, Glenn (Guitar & Lead Vocals) and Alex (Bass) Peterson, have an infectious on-stage chemistry and infuse the blues with a lively, outgoing energy that shoots through the crowd. “They deliver more smiles per measure than any band in Austin” as they sway back-and-forth in unison, play to the crowd and even hop off stage to play through the crowd. The brothers paused a 30 second freeze-frame before soloing right into crowd favorite, ‘I Gotta Go’ then delivered a bluesy, central Texas version of The Spinners’ classic, ‘I’ll Be Around’. Alex Peterson cooled the crowd of the late July heat with a chilling, fiddled rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’ The Peterson Brothers’ set was so captivating even the residents of Onion Creek took to the skies with a couple of ‘V’ flyovers to capture a birds-eye of these funky blues brothers.


Black Fret founders, Matt Ott and Colin Kendrick filled the break between sets with interesting news and updates regarding the organization and its artists. In Ott’s words, “I’m really good at killing time up here” However, when it comes to Black Fret, that statement couldn’t be any further from the truth. Over the past two years the organization has raised more than $280,000 and helped local musicians schedule 198 national tour dates. Black Fret artists have also contributed to 44 fundraisers for other local organizations and charities. Oddly enough, the next musician that took the stage was not a grant nominee…not yet at least.

A breeze finally blew through the blanketing humidity when Austin’s own guitar prodigy, Eric Tessmer, unleashed a cyclone of lightning fast riffs from his personalized “Tessmer” Fender. The vibrant blues-rocker electrified the crowd with an intense, solo-filled performance packed with several new tracks from his upcoming EP; check out the release party, Friday 7/29 at Antone’s. Tessmer opened his set with howling vocals on ‘See You Tonight’ and nearly caused the amps to short-circuit with a wicked solo midway through blues-groovy ‘Ms. Fortune Teller’. He plucked flute-like squeals from his Stratocaster and laid down powerful, string yanking licks reminiscent of…dare I say…Stevie. Tessmer paid homage to another guitar legend with a sweet cover of Jimi’s ‘Are You Experienced’ and closed the set with a brand new track and a rapid-fire drum solo.
“The depth of talent in this town is amazing,” proclaimed Ott. And after witnessing Tessmer’s high-octane performance, this assertion, I believe, is an understatement made even more evident when talented newcomer Jane Ellen Bryant closed the evening with a 3-song set that included hot new single ‘Twenties.’ Bryant is a rare singer whose singing capacity, somehow, someway, stretches further during her live performance. However, that’s an opinion I dare not voice with Bryant’s super-producer, Frenchie Smith, standing a mere few feet away. There’s no denying her vocal range is utterly mesmerizing on the assumed harmoniously tame ‘Want it With You.’ The Austin songstress took the crowd home on a “high-note” with a vocal rich cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’.

Black Fret continues to host listening sessions showcasing the best of local talent. The depth of that local talent, in my opinion, is fan-friggin-tabulous.


Written by: Douglas Leach (

Photos courtesy of: Becca Kadison and Black Fret