Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Here Comes the Chronthlology

In conjunction with the Chron's 30th anniversary this year, UT Press is publishing The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology. This hulking, 314-page ride through Austin music history officially hits the streets a week from today with a big release party at Antone's. Chron music columnist Austin Powell, who co-edited the book with Austin Sound founder Doug Freeman, will reveal the full musical line-up for the party in weekly Off the Record column tomorrow.

UPDATE (3/3/11): The line-up includes Standing Waves, the Skunks, Kathy McCarty, the Gourds, the Crack Pipes, Poi Twang (featuring Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom's David Garza and Poi Dog Pondering's Frank Orrall) and special guest Daniel Johnston. Tickets here.

I'm jazzed about having a smattering of my work in the book. I didn't choose what stuff of mine went in, but I'm glad Austin and Doug used my oral history of Scratch Acid, my 1998 live review of Dale Watson at Ginny's Little Longhorn and my review of the Motards compilation, Stardom, among other things.

Although my opinion is obviously biased, I think Austin and Doug did a remarkably good job with this book. The photography is amazing throughout and the pre-online archive selections from the 80s and early 90s read like opening a window into Austin's past. The late Jeff Whittington's writing is some of the best music writing you'll ever read in Austin or anyplace else. And no one could do hilarious, spot-on snark like Michael Corcoran during his mid-80s run as music columnist.

In pulling together three decades of next week's bird cage liners, Austin and Doug wisely avoided a "definitive history" rubric, instead remaining steadfast to the rambling, tangent-prone vibe that - for better or worse - has traditionally defined the Chron's music coverage. It's a unique way to tell the story - and a very Austin one at that.

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