Great reasons to live in Austin. Number nineteen. Antones.

Antone’s was named after Clifford Antone who was the founder of a well-known Austin blues club and record label, as well as a mentor to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmie Vaughn and numerous other musicians. There have been many wonderful live recordings made at Antone’s over the years–my favorite was by Austin’s own rock icon Joe Ely.


Ponty Bone and Fabrizio Poggi Live at Antone's_ Austin _Texas

Clifford Antone was the nephew of Jalal Antone, the founder of the Houston based Antone’s Import Company–which was known for its po-boy sandwiches!


Antone’s recently moved from it’s historic location on 6th Street and has established a larger club (and cool record store) on the other side of the river. The location has changed but not the quality of music! Find out who is appearing at



Great reasons to live in Austin. Number eighteen. Waterloo Records.

There are an ever decreasing number of real honest to God record/music shops left in America and Waterloo has been consistently among the very top since it opened in 1982 right up until this very day. It has also featured in store performances by a host of hugely successful and highly eclectic performers such as Willie Nelson, The Stooges, Cheap Trick and My Morning Jacket just to name a few. 


The Waterloo logo is taken from the sign of the English underground tube station!


In case you wondered Waterloo was also the original name of Austin back in 1839 after being designated as the new capital of the Republic of Texas.


If you want to browse this wonderful one stop music spot it is located at 600A North Lamar Boulevard at the intersection of West 6th Street and North Lamar. 


Great reasons to live in Austin. Number seventeen. Willie Nelson.

One of the last of the truly great country singers (Along with Merle Haggard) in my humble opinion is the great red headed stranger himself Willie Nelson. Born in 1933 he is one of America’s greatest natural treasures along with Bob Dylan and ‘The Hag.’ While Willie spends a great deal of his time living in his home in Maui, he also maintains his home in Spicewood, Texas, just 22 miles outside of Austin. Mighty fine places to live–even if he does probably spend most of his year on the road!


If you haven’t seen Willie perform live then it is time to do so! He is a marvel and at 80 years old may only have another 40 years performing in him!IMG_1359

Hmmmm. I can’t help feeling that the volcanic soil and amazing growth potential for herbs may have something to do with Willie having a home in the beautiful island of Maui!willie-nelson-high-times-medical-marijuana-fair-ganja-reefer-hemp-beach-tv-hbtv

Nelson is a major liberal activist and the co-chair of the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is in favor of marijuana legalization. On the environmental front, Nelson owns the bio-diesel brand Willie Nelson Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil. Nelson is also the honorary chairman of the Advisory Board of the Texas Music Project, the official music charity of the state of Texas.


Great reasons to live in Austin. Number sixteen. 6th Street.

Sixth Street is a historic street and entertainment district in Austin. It is located within the city’s urban core in the heart of Downtown Austin. Sixth Street was formerly named Pecan Street under Austin’s older naming convention, which had east-west streets named after trees and north-south streets named after Texas rivers.  It is now listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. It is also listed on my personal list of FUN places!


That is the classic sign that lets you know you are in the right place. There is plenty of other great music to be found on 5th Street though as well as scattered around the city of Austin.


More live musicians and live music venues than any other city in America. You can listen to the best of every kind of music while wandering the length of 6th Street.


Look like fun? You bet your life it is, grab a beer and a slice of pizza and live the good life on 6th Street.


Great reasons to live in Austin. Number fifteen. Doug Sahm

Doug Sahm was the Sir Douglas of the Sir Douglas Quintet. Born in San Antonio Doug was a proud export to Austin, where he made his home. He was also the mastermind behind many other bands, and released a series of albums under slightly fictitious titles. He was Country, Rock, Blues and almost every other kind of music rolled into one package, He was also one of the key architects of Tex-Mex–one of my favorite forms of music. A brilliant musician Sahm influenced many, many performers without ever quite achieving the commercial success he so richly deserved. Try sampling his Mendocino album–it is a classic. Doug Sahm ACL16-TT3-11a

A child prodigy Doug got to perform onstage with Hank Williams just before Hank’s death. He also wrote the classic lyrics, “You just can’t live in Texas if you don’t have lots of soul” in his song At The Crossroads.


Doug was offered a spot in the Grand Old Opry, but was a little too rock and roll to accept it!


Bob Dylan was one of Doug’s biggest fans and played guitar and sang back-up on his first Atlantic album.


Legendary keyboard player Augie Meyers was a life long band member of almost every band Sahm founded, including country supergroup ‘The Texas Tornadoes.’

Great Reasons to live in Austin. Number fourteen. Round Rock.

Round Rock, a suburb of Austin, is one of the fastest growing communities in America! It has great homes at great prices but……….  to movie buffs it will always be famous as the location where ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ was filmed. This was originally marketed falsely as a true story, but was actually loosely based on the life and crimes of Ed Gein. Gein was also the inspiration for many other movie monsters as well as Leatherface and NOT a nice man!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed in Round Rock for a tiny sum of money and went on to become one of the most profitable movies in the history of American film. A sequel  to the movie helped launch the careers of fledgling Austin actors Mathew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. The Original movie is still one of the nastiest pieces of movie making ever presented to the public, in spite of a relative lack of physical gore. Not for the squeamish–however horror movie buffs still visit Round Rock on slightly deranged pilgrimages…..

Historic Round Rock

Richard Linklater also filmed his slacker manifesto ‘Dazed and Confused in Austin in 1993. He launched a few careers there, and a whole new style of movie making. Sloppy as a semi-art form!Round Rock

On a related note, The Coen Brothers first movie ‘Blood Simple’ was also shot in Austin. If you haven’t seen this movie it is a little gem/masterpiece and WELL worth finding. When the Brothers decided to make a ‘Directors Cut’ of the film they did something unique– instead of making it longer and addend scenes and director’s precious bloat, They actually cut it down and made it a few minutes shorter. Now Those are true directors!

TheTexasChainSawMassacre-poster   On a lesser note, let’s not forget that the Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie reality show ‘The Simple Life’ was also shot in Austin. Well you can’t win ’em all! 

Great reasons to live in Austin. Number thirteen. Austin River Walk.

One of the simple pleasures and joys of life in Austin is strolling along the River Walk. Just watching the paddle boarders and boaters is such fun. The glorious views of the city are another whole reason to enjoy this simple pleasures. I think my photos might show you why!


The water is clear, cool and a refreshing joy on a hot Summer day in Texas. Take your dogs for a walk along the river walk and watch them enjoy splashing in the water retrieving sticks. Not our Chinese Crested Powder Puffs of course–they would just look at sticks in stolid amazement….





When the sun goes down, you can take a boat ride out on the river and get a ‘smack in the middle’ view of those 1.5 million bats flying out from the crevices underneath Congress Bridge.


Just behind the spot where this photo was taken is the iconic statue of the great blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn. He looks out over the river with a watchful eye towards 6th Street.IMG_6910

Great reasons to live in Austin. Number twelve. Asleep At The Wheel.

Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys were the undisputed kings of Western Swing. If you are not familiar with Texas Swing it is a glorious countrified blend of swing music with a touch of jump rhythm. Texan legends, Bob, his brothers and the band travelled by bus from town to town spreading musical joy from city to city.

 The legacy was continued in recent years by the magnificent band ‘Asleep at the wheel.’ As the saying goes Texas Swing isn’t dead it is asleep at the wheel……. Formed in 1969 by vocalist/guitarist extraordinaire Ray Benson, this is one of the finest and rockin’est bands in the country. For a special treat download their two tribute albums to Mr Wills. Filled with a plethora of guest stars including Merle, Willie, Reba, Lyle, Dolly, DwightDixie Chicks they are an encyclopedic tour of who’s who in Country. Just a personal favorite but I would start with ‘Ride with Bob.’ 

 Back in the 70s Van Morrison surprised a lot of folk by quoting them as being one of his favorite bands, and the Belfast Cowboy sure knows his music. Check them out at




Great reasons to live in Austin. Number eleven. Austin City Limits.

Probably the most familiar ‘face’ of Austin is the venerable PBS television series ‘Austin City Limits’ since the series began in1976. It owes some of its appearance on the scene to musical icon Willie Nelson, who has remained a good friend to the how ever since. It was in fact this show that many feel was responsible for Austin’s status as ’The Live Music Capital of the World.’

 The show has also spawned the gloriously eclectic Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park, Austin. Between the show and the festival there has been a wonderful series of live albums and videos released. Some are just left field dreams such as David Byrne (Talking Heads founder) performing his songs live with a funk band and string quartet backing him! 

 Stop by the Austin City Limits store at Austin airport to check out the amazing variety of releases inspired by this legendary show! You can also check out their website which contains many of their shows at 



Austin City Limits Music Festival Stage

Great reasons to live in Austin. Number ten. The Broken Spoke.

If you are looking for an evening’d boot scooting entertainment that head over to 3201 S. Lamar, to the ‘Broken Spoke’ (no it’s not a bicycle repair shop!) and enjoy the best little honky tonk on the Third Coast. The parking is a nightmare and the interior is a dream! Enjoy one of their signature chicken fried  steaks washed down with a whisky iced tea served in a jam jar. I’m not the only Brit to enjoy ‘The Spoke’ and on a recent trip to Texas by Queen Elizabeth (The monarch not the ship!) Her majesty’s entourage visited the joint to see what Honky Tonkin’ was all about. Check it out at

 The music and dancing is great and the ambiance is a treat, and leave a little time to enjoy the mini Country Western museum after you enter. The list of performers who have played here is something very special. Check them out at  Asleep at the Wheel still play some sets here and that is a perfect night in my book. Oh. I keep mentioning ‘The Wheel’ so perhaps I had better make them another upcoming great reason to live in Austin—‘cos after all they do!



Dance lessons at the Broken Spoke on July 26, 2013