A New ATX6 Ventures to Vietnam

Music scene ambassadors prepare for far-flung adventures

ATX6: (l-r) Nnedi Agbaroji, Jacob Jaeger, Georgia Parker, Michael Booher, Cory Reinisch, Carrie Fussell. (Photo by David Brenden Hall)

Inside one of Austin music’s most enduring proving grounds on Saturday afternoon, multitudes gathered in the front room of the Hole in the Wall to welcome in the new ATX6, a group of local songwriters who will represent our fair city at international events throughout the next year.

This batch of sixers corrals Cory Reinisch, frontman of alt.country balladeers the Harvest Thieves; singer Nnedi Agbaroji, who leads electro-tribalists Trouble in the Streets; multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Jacob Jaeger, whose style could be pegged as Townes Van Zandt with jazz chords; Carrie Fussell, the colorful vocalist for jubilant art-pop act Calliope Musicals; journeyman indie rocker Michael Booher; and Georgia Parker, a young, Western Swing talent who plays upright bass, guitar, and sings.

Thus far, Project ATX6’s itinerary includes performances at the Halifax Pop Explosion in Nova Scotia this October, the Quest Festival in Vietnam in November, and Folk Alliance International in Montreal next February. Prior to Saturday’s unveiling, emceed by KUTX host and ATX6 supporter Laurie Gallardo, most of the project’s new conscripts didn’t know who else had been selected.

“You’ll look back at this moment and say, ‘Wow, that was the beginning,’” noted Chris Brecht, Project ATX6’s founder and ringleader, who’s been combining local musicians in six-packs for five years now.

Indeed, as “Playback” and fellow Chronicle scribe Doug Freeman have witnessed first-hand during international odysseys, these groups often arrive as either acquaintances-through-music or perfect strangers altogether, then emerge as a family after enduring the highs of triumphant performances and lows of demanding international travel. Unsurprisingly, several past ATX members, including Taylor “Otis” Wilkins, Lindsey Verrill, and Tate Mayeux, were at the Hole among the many fans, supporters, and dogs in attendance.

In the new ranks of ATX6, there’s an air of excitement and disbelief about the forthcoming trips.

“It’s kind of unbelievable,” says Agbaroji. “It’s not something I envisioned when I got into music. I just wanted to play my music for people, but I didn’t expect the opportunity to do that internationally – at least not this quickly.

“Growing up the way I did – I’m a full blooded Nigerian – I have a different cultural background than strictly American,” she continues. “So I’ve always had that Eastern sensibility in my music, which I call African folk music, and I’m interested to see how it translates into completely different cultures that are not American or African.”

Reinisch, who’s working on a new Harvest Thieves album at the moment, says the prospect of singing his songs in a faraway place like Vietnam never even crossed his mind.

“I’ve only traveled to Mexico and Central America myself, so it’s an opportunity to see parts of the world we haven’t seen, while doing the thing that makes me the happiest,” he enthused. “And I get to go with like-minded individuals. To envelop all of that into one experience is amazing.”

Project ATX6 was founded in 2014 and has made stops in Germany, France, Japan, and Canada. Alumni from the first four years include Carson McHone, Jai Malano, Corey Baum, Dana Falconberry, Andy Bianculli, Jonathan Terrell, and Grace Park. Brecht and a small production team capture the musicians’ experiences and project’s inner workings for a documentary series.

On Saturday, Mayor Steve Adler, who’s appeared in support of Project ATX6 for the last two years, added to the excitement of the reveal.

“We’re the live music capital of the world and any capital needs ambassadors. That’s what you guys are as you head out to these three other cities,” he smiled. “This program, on which Chris has done an incredible job, is, in part, about finding an opportunity for incredible musicians to increase their reach and audiences.

“But it’s more than that. It’s having the brand of Austin music in other cities around the world.”

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