Our Austin Sound Debuts with “Women of Antone’s”
The blues never sounded as good as they did the night of March 23 on the stage of the historic Millet Opera House, now the Austin Club. That night, the Women of Antone’s – Marcia Ball, Lou Ann Barton, Ruthie Foster, Sue Foley, Eve Monsees, and Susan Antone – shared music and stories about their lives and links to Antone’s, the storied “home of the blues,” that has been home base for Austin’s blues scene since 1975.
The occasion was the launch of “Our Austin Sound,” the first in a series of fundraising events for the AHCA that celebrate music, which has been a central part of Austin’s culture and history. Putting a spotlight on Antone’s, which has featured performances by blues legends as well as up-and-coming Texas talent since 1975, was a fitting way to kick off the series. The evening of music and conversation was videotaped and each of the featured performers’ stories will become part of the Austin History Center’s developing music-based archive.
“It was really Antone’s that turned me on to Chicago blues,” recalled pianist, songwriter, and vocalist Marcia Ball, who has made a career on the foundation of the Cajun, soul, and rhythm & blues music she heard growing up on the Texas-Louisiana border. “The Chicago blues was what I didn’t know growing up and that was the gift of Antone’s to me.”
Ruthie Foster grew up in the Bryan-College Station area and honed her skills in the Greenwich Village scene in New York City before coming to Austin. “The more I hung out at Antone’s, the more I found out everybody’s like family” Foster remembered. “And I thought, ‘this is such a nurturing town for music. You don’t find this everywhere.”
The AHCA is putting that support of music and musicians front and center in its Our Austin Sound series of fundraising events. Plans are already underway for the next OAS event, which will dig into the history and significance of the Saxon Pub. The event is scheduled for Feb. 29, 2024 at the Austin Club. Look for details on the AHCA website.