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Austin's Top Musicians and Bands

Some of the City's Best Performers

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Austin, Texas is the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World," and boy do we live up to the title. Regardless of which genres you enjoy, the city offers countless music venues, bands, and festivals. Read on to learn about some of the best musicians from Austin and in Austin. Click "compare prices" if you are interested in purchasing their music.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan statue in Austin
Bill Bradford
Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the most legendary musicians from Texas. While he was born in Dallas, the singer/songwriter made a name for himself in Austin. The Rolling Stones' drummer saw a video of Vaughan's band performing at a music festival in Manor, Texas, and they were invited to play at a party for the Stones. Vaughan then recorded guitar with David Bowie and went on to have an acclaimed music career, hitting Billboard charts, performing at Carnegie Hall, and winning "Entertainer of the Year" and "Instrumentalist of the Year" at the National Blues Awards. Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash in 1990 at the age of 35, but he is remembered with a statue of him on the shores of Lady Bird Lake and his music graces radio waves often.
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Ghostland Observatory

Austin band Ghostland Observatory
Emily Starbuck Gerson
This wild duo from Austin creates music that has been described as a mix of electro, rock, and funk. Their music has loud and thumping beats, making it fun to dance to or crank up during a party. Their concerts feature laser light shows and tons of energy. In 2007, the Statesman named them the Band of the Year, and they performed at Austin City Limits in 2009.
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Joe Ely

Ely, a country, bluegrass, and rock 'n roll artist, grew up in Lubbock. He later relocated to Austin to pursue his music career, where he performed at the One Knight Tavern and alternated nights with Stevie Ray Vaughan (the Tavern is now Stubb's BBQ). Over his career, Ely has been in numerous bands in a variety of genres. Has performed and toured with Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Merle Haggard, Bruce Springsteen, and The Clash. Ely was also asked to write music for the soundtrack of the movie "The Horse Whisperer." He performs in Austin often.
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Spoon

Lead singer Britt Daniel of Spoon
Kris Krüg
Spoon is a nationally-famous indie rock band originally from Austin known for its catchy beats. The band formed in 1993 first signed to a major label Elektra, in 1999. They then signed with Merge records, and when they released their third LP in 2001, Girls Can Tell, they hit success. Their subsequently albums grew more and more successful, and their 2007 album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga hit number 10 on the Billboard 200. They have performed on Saturday Night Live, numerous talk shows, and on the Austin City Limits television show. Their music has been featured in dozens of major films and television shows, though the band still takes time to come back to Austin and play shows for the locals.
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Monte Montgomery

Monte Montgomery performing at Antone's
Emily Starbuck Gerson
Monte Montgomery is Austin's resident guitar god. While he is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he lives and performs in Austin. Montgomery is a phenomenal performer who uses unusual fretting, fingering, and rhythmic techniques on the acoustic guitar. He was named one of the Top 50 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by "Guitar Magazine" in 2004. He is the only winner of the "Best Acoustic Guitar Player" award for 7 years in a row at the Austin Music Award. I have seen him live several times and am always amazed at his talent and how fast he can move those fingers.
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Reckless Kelly

Reckless Kelly is originally from Bend, Oregon, but they relocated to Austin in 1997. The popular alternative country-rock band (sometimes labeled with the genre Red Dirt) became a success when it signed with the Sugar Hill record label (it didn't hurt that Joe Ely was a fan of them). While they now tour the country, they still take the time to come back to Austin and perform in venues such as the Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre.
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Guy Forsyth

Guy Forsyth is a talented Americana singer/songwriter who calls Austin his home. He is quite the Renaissance man; he sings and plays guitar (acoustic, electric, and slide), harmonica, ukelele, and singing saw. Forsyth puts on a fun live show, making him a popular staple in the Austin music scene. He has won several Austin Music Awards, including Best Male Vocalist and Best Miscellaneous Instrument Player (singing saw). He has opened for and performed with musical greats such as Ray Charles, Lucinda Williams, and BB King. While he does do some national and international touring, you can often catch Forsyth performing in Austin at a variety of venues.
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Vallejo

This band originated in El Campo, Texas when the three Vallejo brothers began creating music together. They focused on rock with an emphasis on their Latin heritage. When the brothers graduated from high school, they decided to move to Austin and make music for a living. They quickly found success and toured across the United States and Mexico with bands such as Stone Temple Pilots, 3 Doors Down, Juanes, Molotov, The Foo Fighters, Matchbox 20, Blues Traveler, Jimmie Vaughan, and Los Lobos. They have been named Best Rock Band twice by the Austin Music Awards and was awarded "Vallejo Day" by Austin's mayor. They don't tour as much as they used to, but you can still catch them live in Austin sometimes.
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Bob Schneider

Bob Schneider performing live
Eric Schmuttenmaer
Bob Schneider is a folk rock singer/songwriter based in Austin. He began playing piano and guitar at a very young age, and was in and out of several bands in his 20s. He played with a group called the Ugly Americans, which opened for Dave Matthews. In 1997, he cofounded The Scabs, which was very popular in Austin. In 1999, Schneider went solo and found success at a more national level. Some of his songs have been played in major films and television shows, he toured with the Dixie Chicks, and he dated actress Sandra Bullock. Schneider still performs in Austin often.
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