AUSTIN, TEX. — Austin, Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and that reputation is enhanced each year during the South by Southwest Festival. The event, which started in 1987, has grown larger each year and this year offered more than 2,000 showcase performances at venues all over the city.
Most musicians come here looking for exposure. If they cannot get it inside a venue, they will go out on the street.
There is always music being played on Austin's Sixth Street, with all of its clubs and bars, but during South by Southwest there is even more of it and it comes from all over the world.
There are bands here from all over America and from as far away as Japan, South Korea and Azerbaijan.
Thousands of fans have poured into Austin to hear them play.
Joy Wave, an Indie Rock band from Rochester, New York, played at a venue sponsored by Spotify, an online streaming music service favored by young music fans.
Bass player John Donnally and singer Daniel Armbruster are confident that their band will stand out.
“There is none like ours,” said Donnally.
“It is also not a competition. I think Spotify, like all music, is instantly accessible forever, so everyone can listen to as much music as they want to,” added Armbruster.
But many musicians are clearly here hoping for a big break, an idea summed up in a song by New York-based comedic songwriter Jessica Delfino.
“I do not know what to do with my life, but I really, really, really want to be famous,” said Delfino.
Among the local singer/songwriters who already has a well-established fan base is Eliza Gilkyson.
Her new CD, released during the South by Southwest Festival, displays a style of self-expression that has become a model for many younger female singers.
“When you strip something down to you and a guitar, there is going to be something timeless about that that is the same through the ages,” said Gilkyson.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Gilkyson's first musical impressions came from her songwriting father, Terry Gilkyson, who penned many hits and also sang in a folk group.
“His music was around me all the time and he loved sort of dark melodies and he really was a master song constructor,” she said.
On her new CD, she included one of his songs - Fast Freight.
Eliza Gilkyson keeps playing concerts and selling CDs with her masterful performance of songs that appeal to both the heart and the intellect.