Thirty-five years ago, Joe Ely cleaned up in the Chronicle’s inaugural Austin Music Awards Poll. This year he returns to the show honoring new winners as a special guest celebrating fellow Panhandle rambler Terry Allen, who’s receiving the first ever Townes Van Zandt Award.
That Texas songwriting tradition defines the 35th annual Austin Music Awards. In addition to an Allen hootenanny, the Lone Star state’s premier troubadours wrangle together in celebration of legacy wordsmiths including Guy Clark and Blaze Foley. Expect special guests to join the exceptional roster of Ely, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Gurf Morlix, and Kat Edmonson, including Ben Dickey, who portrays Foley in Ethan Hawke’s upcoming film about the local cult legend.
Guitar maestro and AMA musical director Charlie Sexton also has a role in that film, as Van Zandt. Whether he’ll channel TVZ live at the AMAs remains to be seen, but leading an all-star band of Michael Ramos, Conrad Choucroun, and George Reiff, he anchors the night’s soundtrack.
As always, all AMA proceeds benefit the indispensable SIMS Foundation, and the Femmes for SIMS showcase honors the foundation’s work. Searing Kathy Valentine and Eve Monsees quartet the Bluebonnets lead a set featuring Kelly Willis, Erika Wennerstrom, Jackie Venson, Carolyn Wonderland, and the Trishas, along with new Austinite and Thievery Corporation siren LouLou (Ghelichkhani).
Add to the evening Grammy-winning and Prince-backing groovers Grupo Fantasma jamming out with the charismatic Sweet Spirit of Sabrina Ellis and vocal powerhouse Jai Malano, as well as overlapping Latin funkers Brownout. Also in the mix and not to be missed is a special guest, hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy.
Hosts Laurie Gallardo and Rick McNulty lead the ceremonies, starting at 7:55pm sharp with the New Generation Children’s Choir. The Austin Music Awards at 35: a new night, a new venue, but the same incomparable tradition of Austin’s best music.– Doug Freeman
Night two of the Rodeo’s 14-day run, featuring Kenny Rogers, Fitz & the Tantrums, and Patti Labelle, etc., trucks in RCA Records onetime top seller behind only Elvis Presley, Metroplex dweller Charley Pride. Mississippi-born Texas Rangers investor and only the third African-American member of the Grand Ole Opry, the singer, 82, notched 50 Top 10 country hits.– Raoul Hernandez
Stevie Nicks, queen of dreamy, romantic rock and mysticism both in her own right and as integral part of Fleetwood Mac, named her latest tour after 2014 solo album 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault, an LP culled from work written early on in the singer’s career. For the new show, the earliest work performed is “Crying in the Night,” from 1973’s Buckingham Nicks. Chrissie Hynde reps October’s 10th Pretenders LP Alone with her icon punk crew.– Libby Webster