New music venue Tellers set to open downtown

2013 photo of the building at 607 Trinity St., soon to open as the live music venue Tellers. Photo by Alberto Martínez / American-Statesman
2013 photo of the building at 607 Trinity St., soon to open as the live music venue Tellers. Photo by Alberto Martínez / American-Statesman

Pure Gold Realty founder Chad Goldwasser will open a new music venue to be called Tellers next month at 607 Trinity St., formerly the site of Chicago House restaurant and bar.

“I couldn’t be more excited and energized by this awesome opportunity to serve Austin’s live music scene,” Goldwasser stated in a public announcement on his Facebook page today. He added that although a grand opening event is scheduled for Oct. 24, the venue will be open starting Oct. 2.

No word yet on what sort of music Tellers will feature: “Our schedule will be revealed soon,” Goldwasser noted in his post. Though the most recent incarnation of Chicago House was not a live music spot, in the late 1980s and early ’90s it was a cornerstone of Austin’s acoustic music community, giving rise to singer-songwriters such as Jimmy LaFave and Slaid Cleaves.


Listen: Patty Griffin, Shakey Graves and more from Americana Fest

Austin native Alejandro Rose-Garcia performs as Shakey Graves during a super secret show with Wild Child at Holy Mountain Sept. 21 as part of the venue's last week in operation. 092115 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Shakey Graves at Holy Mountain, Sept. 21, 2015. Photo by Tom McCarthy Jr. for American-Statesman
Patty Griffin performs at The Paramount Theatre on Wednesday September 23, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Patty Griffin at the Paramount, Sept. 23, 2015. Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman







Now up on the NPR website is audio from a songwriting panel at last week’s Americana Fest in Nashville that featured a heavy Austin slant. Austinites Patty Griffin, promoting her new album “Servant of Love,” and Shakey Graves, named Emerging Artist of the Year at the fest’s award show, joined fellow artist Rhiannon Giddens and NPR moderator Ann Powers in a 90-minute discussion that included several solo acoustic performances.

It’s a long listen, but it’s worthwhile for the gems the artists unearthed. A further Austin connection comes from Giddens, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who surprised with a cover of former Austin guit-steel ace Junior Brown’s “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead” (at the 1:17:30 mark). And Shakey Graves reached back to the 1970s Austin heyday of Townes Van Zandt to close the panel with an exquisite rendition of “No Place to Fall” (1:21:30).

Powers wrote about the panel on NPR’s site. Here’s the full audio:

Report: Red 7 site gets new lease as future venue

Riverboat Gamblers play during Red 7's final night on Aug. 29, 2015. Photo by Daniel Cavazos/Courtesy of Transmission Entertainment
Riverboat Gamblers play during Red 7’s final night on Aug. 29, 2015. Photo by Daniel Cavazos/Courtesy of Transmission Entertainment

A former partner in Red 7, a Red River district music venue that closed last month, is teaming up with new partners to lease the location again for a future live music spot, according to an Austin Chronicle report.

Red 7 operated for nearly 10 years as an indoor/outdoor club for local and touring bands playing indie, rock, metal and more. A recent rent increase prompted a move around the corner to the new club Sidewinder, in the former Red Eyed Fly location. Red 7’s final show was Aug. 29 with Riverboat Gamblers and other bands.

The report cited former Red 7 partner Johnny Sarkis as confirming a five-year lease for the spot, with no name or date yet set for a new venue. Among the other four named partners were Jason McNeely and Brian Tweedy of East Sixth Street club Hotel Vegas. Neither had responded to requests for confirmation or details as of midafternoon Wednesday.

Shakey Graves wins Americana Emerging Artist award

Shakey Graves taping "Austin City Limits," Wednesday, May 6, 2015. / Photo by Scott Newton, courtesy of KLRU-TV
Shakey Graves taping “Austin City Limits,” Wednesday, May 6, 2015. / Photo by Scott Newton, courtesy of KLRU-TV

[Updated at 10:21 p.m. to include Artist of the Year and Album of the Year awards, plus additional Lifetime Achievement awards.]

Austin singer-songwriter Shakey Graves was named Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2015 Americana Honors & Awards show on Wednesday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

“This is just a continuous massive semi-religious experience for me,” said Graves, aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia, in accepting the award. The other nominees in the category were Doug Seegers, Nikki Lane, Houndmouth and First Aid Kit.

Graves was among the performers in the program’s first hour, joined by singer Esme Patterson for “Dearly Departed” from his 2014 album “And the War Came.” Both the song and the album also were nominated for awards. Sturgill Simpson won Song of the Year for “Turtles All the Way Down”; Album of the Year went to Lucinda Williams for “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone.”

Simpson also won Artist of the Year. Other winners included the Mavericks for Duo/Group of the Year and John Leventhal for Instrumentalist of the Year. Lifetime Achievement awards went to Gillian Welch & David Rawlings (songwriting), Los Lobos (performance) and Ricky Skaggs (instrumentalist).

Other career-recognition honorees included Don Henley (Trailblazer Award) and Buffy Sainte-Marie (Free Speech Award). Blues musician Keb’ Mo’ posthumously honored B.B. King with a brief recitation and a performance of one of his songs.

NPR streamed the awards live on their website. An edited version of the show will air later this year on “Austin City Limits.”

Hole in the Wall may be the next Austin music venue to disappear

Last night at Hole in the Wall. 6/30/02 Sunday night. Kelly West/American-Statesman. A line waits to get in.
Hole in the Wall. 2002 photo by Kelly West / American-Statesman

UPDATE: Scott Freid of Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services responded via email Friday afternoon to questions regarding Hole in the Wall’s lease. An excerpt:

“We have always told Will that it is a priority for us to have this business stay. We have told him this multiple times over the last year and sat down with him as recently as last week.

Since the beginning, Will has continued to maintain that the business is a labor of love and it makes no money.   This is further proven by the sales he reports to the TABC.

Will is obligated in his lease to maintain the building. He has obviously done a poor job, and this obligation has been a major sticking point of the renewal along with several other violations.”

Check out our full story online at and in Saturday’s American-Statesman.


Another long-running Austin music venue may be forced to close soon, faced with rising rents and a landlord’s shift in future plans. This time the club is Hole in the Wall, a University of Texas campus-area fixture on Guadalupe Street for more than four decades.

“I don’t want to overly dramatize it, but it looks like it’s a different version of the same story: The landlord wants more rent,” Hole in the Wall owner Will Tanner said Thursday. “It’s going to end up shutting down a 41-year-old music venue.”

Tanner says he spoke last week about the venue’s future with Scott Freid, city partner and head of the Austin office of the Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services, from whom Hole in the Wall leases the building. The venue’s current 10-year lease runs through Dec. 30.

“The bottom line is, they want more money,” Tanner said. A call to Freid Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned.

There’s no firm plan to close Hole in the Wall yet, but “I emailed my staff and said it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to go forward,” Tanner said.

While he’d like to find a way to cover additional costs, Tanner says that Cencor “wouldn’t even tell me how much” the rent would be raised. “They wouldn’t really even talk to me for a whole year about it.”

Tanner said he became further concerned when a real estate acquaintance informed him three days after his meeting with Cencor that the building was being shopped to chain establishments. “It was really bad news to hear they’re pitching it to national tenants,” he said. “They’re actively looking to replace me and never even told me.”

Hole in the Wall opened in 1974 at 2538 Guadalupe Street, originally as a bar and restaurant. It gradually became one of the city’s most vital music venues, nurturing the early careers of well-known acts such as Nanci Griffith and Timbuk3. It continues today as one of Austin’s prime spots for developing bands to get started.

The bar has changed hands several times, most recently when Tanner bought it eight years ago after moving to Austin from El Paso, where he owns several businesses. He’s also a co-owner of the new east Austin bar and music venue Stay Gold.

Tanner says that while he wouldn’t rule out moving Hole in the Wall elsewhere if no plan is worked out for the venue to stay on Guadalupe Street, he’d be wary of relocation. “If it was a perfect spot, I would consider it,” he said. “I’d want to make sure that what I do honors its legacy.”

The situation appears similar to recent developments on Red River Street that resulted in last month’s shuttering of Red 7 (with its partners relocating to the new venue Sidewinder) and the impending closure of Holy Mountain at the end of this month.

“The only way a place like this works is if you own the dirt or you have a landlord who really gets it,” Tanner said. “And I have neither.”

[Note: The date of the venue’s lease expiration was corrected to Dec. 30 from Tanner’s initial statement of Jan. 30, 2016.]

Online petition to create a Selena wax figure has garnered thousands of signatures


She’s been honored with a tribute concerts, a hologram and a festival in her name, but the next homage to Selena Quintanilla could be a wax figure.

Fans of the Tejano singer and Texas native have started a petition on to convince Madame Tussauds to create a wax figure in Selena’s honor.

The petition boasts about the many records that Selena broke in her life and states, “Selena is making history to date, and it would be an honor for Selena to receive a wax figure at the beautiful Madame Tussauds Hollywood.”

So far, almost 6,000 individuals have signed the online petition in the week since it was created.

Could the Queen of Tejano music actually get a wax look-alike? Anything is possible – after all, it was an online petition that led to MAC Cosmetics’ creation of Selena-inspired makeup earlier this summer.

One Direction might be in Texas and everyone is freaking out about it

One Direction members, from left, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson perform on ABC's "Good Morning America" at Rumsey Playfield/SummerStage on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
One Direction members, from left, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson perform on ABC’s “Good Morning America” at Rumsey Playfield/SummerStage on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

One Direction surprised everyone July 31 with the release of their latest single, “Drag Me Down,” the first song the band has released without former member Zayn Malik.

The track broke the Spotify record for greatest number of streams in one day, racking up 4.75 million plays, according to Forbes.

But the band almost broke the internet on Thursday when rumors began flying on Twitter that One Direction was in Houston, supposedly in order to film the music video for “Drag Me Down.”

Fan-run Twitter accounts tweeted that the band had allegedly touched down in Houston late Wednesday night.

The band has not visited Houston since August 22, 2014, when they performed at NRG Stadium, according to the Houston Press. Die-hard “Directioners,” or fans of One Direction, were quick to get the hashtag #WelcomeBackToTexas1D trending on Twitter.

Even Texas-based fast food chain Whataburger joined in on the fun.

The excitement is very real, as evidenced by the impressive amount of One Direction-related tweets that have been flooding Twitter, but as the Houston Chronicle reported, “there is no proof that any of this is true.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Houstonians have gotten a little too hyped over nothing – in January, rumors began circulating on Twitter that Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj were in town to shoot parts of their music video for “Feelin’ Myself.” As the Chronicle also reported, this story turned out to be untrue.

The only thing we really know for sure is that, whether One Direction shoots in Houston, Hollywood or the Himalayas, Malik will not be a part of the video. The former band member officially announced that he signed a solo deal with RCA records earlier this month.

Texas-based musicians aren’t just popular in Texas, according to Spotify

Kacey Musgraves and her band performs at Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday July 4th, 2015. Photo by Erika Rich.
Kacey Musgraves and her band performs at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday July 4th, 2015. Photo by Erika Rich.

Thanks to Spotify, we learned recently what sorts of tunes make up the distinctive musical flavor of Austin, but what we didn’t figure out is where else in the world Texas-bred artists have found pockets of loyal listeners.

That is about to change. Using Spotify once again, Texas Monthly mapped the popularity of Texas musicians outside of Texas and revealed some rather eye-opening information.

Neighboring states such as New Mexico and Oklahoma show Texan musicians plenty of love, with half-Texan duo Brooks & Dunn holding the top spot in Albuquerque. George Straight and Selena are also favorites there.

Dallas native Leon Bridges is a hit in big cities like Boston, Mass; Seattle, Wash. and Manhattan, N.Y. Houston-based alt-rockers Blue October have high approval ratings in Salt Lake City, Utah and Boise, Idaho.

Kacey Musgraves, who was rather popular in the Austin music scene, was held a little more dear in Nashville, “whose fast-budding hipster cache makes it seem more and more like Austin every year,” according to Texas Monthly.

For a full breakdown of where Texas artists are being jammed across the 50 states, click here.

Fun Fun Fun Fest artist Joey Bada$$ defends Bill Cosby on Twitter

Rapper and 2015 Fun Fun Fun Fest artist Joey Bada$$ has some choice words for those denouncing Bill Cosby on Twitter, and he shared a lot of them on Twitter on Monday.

Joey Bada$$ performs at the Dreamville Takeover  Showcase at ACL Live on March 21, 2015. (Erika Rich for American-Statesman)
Joey Bada$$ performs at the Dreamville Takeover Showcase at ACL Live on March 21, 2015. (Erika Rich for American-Statesman)

The rising New York star tweeted “I don’t (expletive) with Bill Cosby slander” before launching a long string of posts decrying “propaganda and distractions” from the media. While Bada$$ expressed that he is not defending rape or rapists, he called into question reports of the numerous sexual assault allegations against the comedian, suggesting that the recent revelations about Cosby’s past activities are part of a “cover story.” He also singled out those who believe the reports as “gullible” and denounced Internet memes making light of the story.

Bada$$ later tweeted that he would be sharing further thoughts on the matter on his Snapchat:

Read more of the rapper’s thoughts at Complex, which has posted screenshots of the string of tweets and provided a transcript of Bada$$’s Snapchat remarks.

The impassioned social media posts come after a report over the weekend about a decade-old deposition obtained by the New York Times. The Times reports that that Cosby “presented himself in the deposition as an unapologetic, cavalier playboy, someone who used a combination of fame, apparent concern and powerful sedatives in a calculated pursuit of young women,” yet denied he was a sexual predator.

Bada$$’s debut album, “B4.DA.$$,” dropped this year to critical acclaim and was included on Austin360’s mid-year music report of the best albums of the year so far. The young emcee made a splash at this year’s SXSW Music Festival and is slotted for the Blue Stage at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.