About Austin Live Music Genres

The Austin live music scene (and by Austin we mean Austin, Texas) is one that is generally held up as a beacon for other musician-heavy cities trying to build industries around people gigging and those going out to gigs. After, Austin has been noted as being “the live music capital of the world”, and there’s a good reason for that. The city has been an embodiment of the utopian spirit that musicians have flocked to for decades. Couple that with a population that is always listening for the next big star, and you have the makings of a combustible music scene that is ready to go off almost any night.

Still, sifting through the number of solo acts and bands that move through the corridors of Texas’ capital city can be a little overwhelming even for the grizzled music “lifer” who feels they have a grasp on what types of music are in Austin.

For starters, you have to take into consideration the geographic location of Austin. Nestled along a string of major interstates that lead into the city (i.e., I-35, I-45, I-10), it’s no surprise that there’d be a veritable mix of music. Probably the most popular genre of music in Austin is rock music. The image of the young, hip guitar-toting kid walking the streets looking to make some serious noise is about as rock and roll as it gets, and Austin has it in spades (you can even look up “music census reports” for the city that tell you as much).

Even with the rock edge in play, Austin also fares well with the presence of folk music and “Americana” that uses a more traditional (old-school?) sound and acoustic instruments. This isn’t surprising given the ability to carry an acoustic instrument around, and by virtue of the instrument’s construction, you are able to play without the aid of amplification or electricity. The genre also offers a generally more intimate experience between the musician and the audience, allowing the song’s message to ring a little deeper.

However, one caveat to the folk genre is that it tends to have a number of music styles get lumped into that could be served as their own genre, such as the label of Mexican music. Texas is a state that is steeped in history with its neighbor to the south, and as with the advent of Tex-Mex cuisine, Mexican music is fervent in the area though to a much lesser degree than other genres.

There is also some relegation of music styles such as R&B, jazz, blues, and hip-hop to cellar dwellers in terms of their popularity in Austin. This could be, in part, due to demographic shifts in city population, as well as general shifts in population movement in and out of the metropolitan Austin area.

Austin, Texas and the Austin live music scene, regardless of its genre breakdown, is an institution in the world of music. Musicians flock to the area to get a taste of audiences that actually want to hear live music, and they cut their teeth working the popular gig thoroughfares hoping to make it big. If you’ve been thinking about visiting the “heart o’ Texas”, now is about a good a time as any.