Six Under 17
With more than an hour's worth of original material, MacKenzie Alex is ripe to play anywhere she can plug in. Favoring her solo performances on electric guitar as well as acoustic, her unusually well-honed compositions come partly as a result of writing with her mother, Chey. Alex, 16, attends the Austin School of Rock and Roll and studies under Alvin Crow, as did Ariel Abshire.
Super Pal Universe: www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6AqkwW62p0&feature=related
What do you do when you're 14 and your band disintegrates? Keep going with your other band, of course! Olivia Bennett, who's studied with James Mays and Mady Kaye, performed in Sara Hickman's ultraconcept multimedia act, Super Pal Universe, but now focuses on playing bass with Aftermath, which is in the running for the SchoolJam Texas competition. Her fourpiece, mixed-gender pop-rock band recently released Live at Roadhouse Rags.
A 16-year-old at McCallum Fine Arts Academy, Carson McHone's direction is clear. With her acoustic guitar and a variety of influences from Dolly Parton and Ryan Bingham to Ana Egge, she's a folkie studying with Darcie Deaville and shaping her songwriting in the tradition of Eliza Gilkyson and Lucinda Williams. McHone also teaches horseback riding, recently causing a stir by riding her horse through a Schlotzsky's drive-through.
Anarchy on Mars: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAI2C5kCbw4
Singer Hilary Whitworth wasn't surprised to find her emo-indie rock band Anarchy on Mars as one of four Austin bands in the SchoolJam Texas semifinals currently under way. A voice student at the Austin School of Music Rock Camp USA, she exudes an 1980s punky pop presence with her quartet onstage, singing, songwriting, and playing keyboards, synthesizer, and bass. Whitworth also played violin for three years at the Armstrong Community Music School.
Jenny Wolfe with Freddie Steady 5: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM39zJXPR7s
By the time 16-year-old Jenny Wolfe won last year's Best Teen Band at the Austin Music Awards, her band the Pack had dissolved on the heels of its first CD, and she'd formed a new one. Wolfe's soaring vocals have been guided by Freddie Krc, her teacher at Natural Ear Music School, where she started at age 10. Wolfe often sings backup with Krc's Freddie Steady 5 and occasionally with pop-rock darlings Avenging Poor Yorick. Her new CD, After School, is due Feb. 17.
Performing since she was 9, Taylor Yanez has no problem playing solo, but it's by no means her only platform. Like younger brother Tristan, who sings for Natural Ear Music School's teen cover band, the Aviators, the 16-year-old also sings part-time with the Loose Cannons when she's not performing with her band, the Modern Day Hippies. Yanez, who favors blues-rock, isn't modest about her ambitions as a singer: "I plan on taking the Austin music scene by storm."