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Luck Reunion

Luck Reunion is a one-day, laid back country music festival turned musical family reunion hosted by the Willie Nelson Family and held on their private ranch in Luck, Texas, just outside of Austin. Held on St. Patrick’s day, this was the 10 year anniversary for Luck Reunion, and we thought it was a heck of a good time.

The backdrop for the music is actually an old western movie set — it was built in 1975 and served as the backdrop for the film adaptation of Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger. The biggest names in Texas outlaw music appeared, including Charlie Crockett, Vincent Neil Emerson, a surprise performance from Jason Isbell, and of course a headlining set from Willie Nelson and his sons. 

There was an open bar for all who purchased tickets to the event, along with food trucks and free Melt ice creams and Topo Chico to quench your thirst during the heat of the day. The VIP area had a Gibson guitar pop-up, a tattoo artist, signed guitars, fresh Oysters, and tintype photos. Folks sported country western fashion, with cowboy hats, boots and everything in between. 

One of our personal favorite moments were the stripped down acoustic shows from Tre Burt and Vincent Neil Emerson, held in a small chapel that held less than 50 people, and another in a two-story saloon. 

A popular choice for shopping was the little shop selling “Willie’s Remedy” and various hemp products, along with a “Weed Legal” neon sign. Across the dirt road, a barn held a display of artifacts and photos from previous years at the ranch.

It was a perfect summer day in Texas for live music and a fun day overall, a breath of fresh air and a step outside from the chaotic SXSW events this week. To end the night, Willie got a lively reaction from the crowd by singing this song during his headlining set— “If I die when I’m high, I’ll be halfway to heaven.”

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Matroda at the Church

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Tai Verdes, Chelsea Cutler, and Quinn XCII at Moody Amphitheater

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Concert Photography music festival

Life is Beautiful Recap

Life is Beautiful music festival was this past weekend in Las Vegas, back since 2019 and better than ever. Check out the gallery below for a full recap of all the fun. Images by Megan Dirksen and Gaby Deimeke.

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Artist Interview: Eraste

For our readers that might not know, talk a little bit about how you got started with music.

Yes, hi! My name is Eraste and I’m an alt-pop musician! I didn’t have a huge upbringing in music, and it was mostly me listening to whatever was popular on the radio and (since I’m from texas) country music. I think the great thing about not having a lot of musical influences growing up is that I’ve had the opportunity to create my own tastes, and a lot of them were albums I loved in my teenage years of course lol. I grew up leading worship and connecting with people through music, and I found out I actually really love pop music. From the beginning, I naturally gravitated toward pop hits and so being a pop artist felt really natural. I didn’t really have anyone to teach me how to be a musician or singer, so everything I did was from having a good ear and passion for music and I think that’s what sets my music apart from a lot of other musicians.

Tell us about some of your musical influences and favorite artists you derive inspiration from.

For sure! So like I said it’s a lot of albums I loved in my teenage years, such as Melodrama by Lorde for one, and Badlands by Halsey. One person I have loved longer than anyone else is none other than Taylor Swift! I love her story-telling and the way she can craft an idea, she is easily the best songwriter of our generation. I also grew up watching her bend between genres and make her career match however she was feeling at that time in her life. She won a Grammy in THREE different genres! Like hello? Simply phenomenal. Lorde is someone that really taught me the importance of one-liners and painting a picture with your words, she’s great at using really specific details and weaving them into a broader story to create something meaningful AND relatable. Halsey is the first person that made me completely fall in love with electro-pop music, that album really shaped a generation (shout-out to 2014 Tumblr culture for taking that and RUNNING with it haha) that was the first time I listened to music and thought “WOW I didn’t know music could be THIS GOOD!” I gravitated towards it and their music is still my favorite to this day.

How has your writing and producing style developed over time?

OOoh I love this question, I love talking about songwriting! Yeah, so I think working with more established producers gave me a perspective of approaching my songwriting through a really “professional” lens. It was great to gain those skills of co-writing in a room with other songwriters, and that’s something I definitely want to do in the future! But with the songs I’m writing right now it was really important to me to do it on my own, and prove I could write amazing music without the help (or pressure) of anyone else, and it’s definitely been the best songwriting of my career so far. It’s great to learn from other people and try out their processes, but at the end of the day, it’s best to listen to yourself and what works for you.

Tell us about “Crashing Every Party” and how you crafted that EP.

Right yes! So speaking a little more on that I got fortunate to work with some experienced producers. I had just lost my job due to coronavirus and everything happened by pure chance. They moved back to Texas because of the pandemic and we just decided to make some music! I didn’t go into the experience with any kind of expectations, and I only wanted to make something honest and explore everything I thought I was capable of doing. I really pushed myself to be uncomfortable with the EP and I think that’s what sets it apart as something honest, scary, and adventurous. We got into a room and wrote a lot about a lot of topics and at the end of the day, I’m so happy with what it became. I wanted to make a little pop music and country music and kind of everything in between, and I think when people hear it they realize how much fun we had in those sessions!!

What’s your favorite song you’ve worked on so far?

That’s a hard one! I love all of my songs and it’s so hard to choose one haha! I think I would have to say my debut song “Break My Own Heart” though! I wrote it with my good friend Good Guy Levi and we honestly have so many similar experiences that it was really easy to write with him. He’s someone I trust so much and we frequently give each other advice on music and life! Some people you meet and it’s like you’ve known them for years and that’s definitely how we are. So when I had this idea for a song it didn’t feel like work to get it out, and it was really raw and I loved it! The songs that tumble out and don’t feel like work are always the best. That song will always have the most special place in my heart (pun intended haha)

Your songs have a chill, easy going vibe to them. Do you feel like that represents your actual personality or is that more of a persona?

I think it represents who I am! I try to be as honest and relatable in my music as possible, and that stays true to how I live my life. I try to be welcoming and easy-going with new people I meet to make them as comfortable as possible, and I pride myself on that! The most important thing we can do is make the people who are important to us feel seen and heard and so that’s what I do with my music. I am like… irritatingly honest haha. And so when you hear experiences or stories it’s definitely from my life and perspective!

What are the current projects you’re working on? What’s the plan for this year (after all the corona craziness?)

I am working on some singles for sure! I don’t really have a plan yet besides write and write and WRITE! I feel like with the pressure gone from my debut ep, I have a ton more freedom to do whatever I want to! So lot’s of fun things in store. Hopefully I can play some shows on my EP soon too! I am VERY VERY excited for what the future has in store!

Where can people find you?

I am on ALL social media and streaming platforms under the name Eraste! I am active the most on tiktok and twitter @eraste ! I can’t wait to interact with ya’ll! And special thanks to Gaby for doing the shoot for my upcoming single “favorite secret” !

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Evan Giia, K. Flay, and Louis the Child at Stubbs

A fully impressive lineup of young artists came to Stubbs in Austin this past week, with up-and-coming pop artist Evan Giia opening the show, badass rocker K. Flay getting the crowd hyped, and Louis the Child delivering with their classic beats, vibes and remixes. Check out the photos below, taken by Gaby Deimeke.

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Music News

Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain Music Fest

If you’re looking for a music festival to go to this fall, look no further than Backwoods at Mulberry Mountain, a magical 4-night camping music festival experience with music, art, visuals and lights, hosted in Ozark, AK.

Besides this stellar lineup consisting of festival favorites The String Cheese Incident, Ganja White Night and Clozee, there’s lots of fun activities to try out, like sliding down a huge water slide, riding the ferris wheel, or even just exploring the visuals, art, and sounds in the woods.

You can check out their website here, and Instagram here.

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Jxckson

Jxckson, an up-and-coming independent pop artist in the Austin music scene, sat down to talk with Crowdsurfer about his music and what’s in store this year. Take a look at the interview below.

Photos by Gaby Deimeke

Crowdsurfer: For our readers that might not know, give us a background on how you got started with music and why it’s so important to you.

Jxckson: Hey everyone, my name is Jxckson and I’m a pop artist based out of Austin, Texas. I’ve been singing and dancing since the age of 2, maybe even before that. From choir competitions to dance classes, music has been essential to my identity from the start. Now I’ve reached this point in my life, where I don’t want music to take a backseat anymore. I’ve learned that writing and recording music through the lens of being Jxckson now has fed my creative appetite… and now I’m hungry for more. 

CS: What is your songwriting process like? Where do you come up with inspiration?

J: I’m actually a pretty visual thinker. I always start with what I want the overall mood of the song to be and visualize what a music video or a high-production performance would look like. It sort of fuels my creative energy so I’m able to start writing. From there, that usually sparks lyrics to tell the story that I see visually playing out in my head. I always thought it was an odd way to write, but recently I saw a tweet from singer/songwriter KAMILLE that she writes songs in a similar fashion. Makes me feel like I just might be on the right path.

CS: What’s your recording process like?

J: I record all my music at Orb Recording Studio here in Austin with my sound engineer Victor Gaspar. We connected through a mutual friend and thank god for that. He’s crucial to the recording process because he knows how to get the best vocal performance out of me. He knows when I’m just singing without actually thinking or connecting to the lyrics. For me it’s not about getting the vocals perfect, it’s about the character behind it. Does it feel like I’m having a conversation with the listener? He understands that’s what I want in my recordings and makes sure I deliver. I always leave the studio feeling creatively re-energized.

CS: Who are your favorite musical influences and who would you love to collab with?

J: Favorite musical influences would have to be Tinashe, Lily Allen, The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, Billie Eilish and a lot of KPop artists – Sunmi to be more specific. Lately, I’ve also been inspired by Doja Cat and Bree Runway. I’m just so fascinated by artists who have an alluring presence about them. It transcends the music and becomes an experience. I want to learn how to capture that experience for myself and anyone who listens to my music. If I had to pick an artist to collab with, I’d have to go with Tinashe. Her vibe is just so effortlessly cool and I would just lose my mind if I had a chance to even do a single 8-count with her. I can barely handle it in my own imagination. 

CS: What has the response been to your new music?

J: I released my debut EP, Paradox recently and the initial response has been simply incredible! Having people, other artists especially, reach out to let me know how they connected with the lyrics has been a highlight for me. It’s almost overwhelming, because I very much am still the new kid. I still feel like I’m in my infancy of my career and just about to take my first actual steps. So the fact people take the time to listen to my music and share it, has me feel really lucky and honored. Not everyone gets the luxury to do what they love. 

CS: What’s your 2021 look like–what are your plans for this year and what are you looking to work on?

J: Considering I officially kicked things off late 2019, most of my time spent as an artist has been in quarantine. Which gave me an opportunity to write more and connect with artists all across the world. I’ve done virtual performances, so a huge item on my ‘to do’ list is a real live performance. I have a few collaborations coming out in June, which is exciting to provide even more music following my debut EP. I’ve started writing music for my 2nd EP, and would say I’m about a quarter of a ways done with the writing process. I have plans to focus on more songwriting this summer – so a lot more to come! 

CS: Anything else you’d like to mention?

J: Please check out my cover of t.A.T.u.’s “Malchik Gay” for the “Power to the Queer Kids, VOL 3” charity album out June 4th. For the past 3 years artist Zach Benson and his friends Tori Leche and Maggie Fraser have created a compilation album of music from LGBTQ artists called “Power to the Queer Kids”. The compilation consists of cover songs and raise money for the Trevor Project with all proceeds going towards suicide prevention resources for LGBTQ+ youth.

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Sunsquabi at Empire Garage in ATX

Sunsquabi performed last night at Empire Garage in Austin, and we took some photos of the show. Check them out below! Images by Gaby Deimeke.

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Concert Photography

Shakey Graves at Nutty Brown Amphitheater in Austin, TX

Live music is back! We were so excited to see Shakey Graves perform in Austin this weekend, and he did not disappoint. Check out all the photos below, and a video recap on TikTok. Photographs and video by Gaby Deimeke.

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Shakey Graves performed a socially distanced concert in Austin last night and ROCKED 🎸🤘🏼 #shakeygraves #livemusic #concert #folk #FreeFreeDance

♬ original sound – Crowdsurfer Magazine