Music

Tameca Jones has become known as the "Queen of Austin Soul." She got her start more than a decade ago, when she decided to forgo her dream of going to law school in order to focus on raising her twins. At that point, music became both her creative outlet and a way to support her family — and since then, her soulful covers of rock songs have made her a beloved fixture of the music scene in Austin, Texas.

Jones says that, while she feels she's been welcomed into the city's musical community, establishing herself as a soul singer hasn't always been easy.

We're well past the halfway point of the music portion of South by Southwest, and things are starting to wind down in Austin. But the indefatigable All Songs Considered team (well, mostly Bob Boilen) is still raring to go. Bob, Robin Hilton, Stephen Thompson and Colorado Public Radio's Jessi Whitten convened on an Austin street corner Friday night to recap what they'd seen that day.

The 1970s was an incredibly diverse decade for recorded music: from hippie folk at the start to disco, punk, the rise of reggae and the very first stirrings of hip-hop. At the beginning of the decade, Frank Sinatra had a song on the charts for 122 weeks. There was soft rock, metal and country. Album sales and progressive radio were huge.

All this is true. That's why it is so fascinating to look at the songs that ended up at the very top of Billboard's pop chart for each year of the decade — they certainly don't always represent all the change that was going on.

The annual South by Southwest conference is in full swing in Austin, Texas, where thousands of musicians go in hopes of making the right connections for their big break. The number of bands from Latin America and from Latino communities has increased so much that organizers have created a mini-conference within the larger festival. It's called SXAmericas and Felix Contreras — the host of Alt-Latino, NPR Music's weekly podcast about Latino arts and culture — spoke with NPR's Audie Cornish about a trend he's spotted there.

This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC music critic Matt Carney.

Today, Matt brings us new tunes by Los Campesinos!, Jay Som, and Benjamin Booker featuring Mavis Staples!

Late yesterday evening, Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Katie Presley and Stephen Thompson wandered the streets of Austin recapping a day of music. For everyone, it was a day of political music that still made space for joy. Katie saw mostly rap yesterday, and she was especially struck by Moor Mother, whose fiery set had also inspired an excellent performance from New York-based rapper SAMMUS.

NPR's Scott Simon spoke to James Cotton in 2013. Hear an encore of their conversation at the audio link.

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