Faster Than Sound: Black Fret Ball Returns On Stage With $ 250,000 For Austin Artists: Latest Of Two Local Music Nonprofits Seeking To Grow – Music


Deezie Brown at the Black Fret Ball (Photo by Jana Birchum)

After inventive efforts to digitize throughout 2020 – like connecting artists with paid virtual happy hour concerts and participating in South by Sud-Ouest online – the return Black fret ball let the musicians do what they do best.

Many making their first appearances on the Moody Theater stage, the grant recipients bet everything on sets of two songs. After a great year of acclaim for the debut VINTAGE BLACK, ODYSSEY BLACK offered beautifully mellowed interpretations backed by two string players. Accompaniement James robinson, Dancer Chandra Washington donned a glittering masked costume and tossed $ 100 real money into the air. Zach Person daringly pitched not one but two picks to the seated donors, ending with “Can’t Stop Running”.

Forced to cut its grants last year due to the pandemic, the association came back in force for its eighth annual party. The evening awarded $ 252,000 to 20 Austin artists, meaning that each received at least $ 12,000. Under the Black fret model, after releasing funds through registration, representation and charitable engagement, residents can use the dollars as they see fit.

The organization hopes to help artists beyond Austin, starting with the Seattle and Colorado chapters.

“Just like we spoke to hundreds of musicians before we launched in Austin, we wanted to hear from a lot of people before we really took this nationally and internationally,” said the accommodation co-founder. . Matt Ott, referring to a working group formed with UT-Austin MBA students. “It is my goal that this is an organization that distributes millions of dollars a year in grants, not just a few hundred thousand.”

Locally, Black Fret is largely supported by annual membership dues, starting at $ 750, and sponsorships. As Ott said, the grant dollars recognize “the breadth, depth, diversity and badassery, and the fact that each of these groups deserves a gas tank.” In particular, the association awarded more black artists than in previous years, representing almost half of the recipients.

Class 2021 reads as follows: American dreamer, Clarence james, black bird, Deezie Brown, Eimaral Sol, Guy and Jeska Forsyth, Harry Edohoukwa, Jake lloyd, James robinson, Jon muq, Jonathan terrell, Lisa Morales, Motenko, Nane, Pat Byrne, RP Newman, Primo the alien, ODYSSEY BLACK, some reverends, and Zach Person.

Harry Edohoukwa at the Black Fret Ball (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Darkbird garnered the biggest response from audiences with the splashing 80s synth single “Heartbeat,” joining Light fixtures-y songwriter Pat Byrne and theater rockers Nane as recipients of the jumbo grants of $ 16,000 voted by the members.

On either side of the split scene, the winners dressed the room. Harry edohoukwa donned heeled boots and a sleek suit to match her epic hip-hop and rock waves, ending in “Zombies.” The youngest winner of the evening, Clarence james‘bucket matched deliciously soft and oozing psychedelic indie sounds. Electrically comfortable interpreter Deezie Brown walked around in sunglasses and a jumpsuit featuring his 5th Wheel Fairytale logo, and gave the only acceptance speech of the evening:

“You have been a huge blessing to me and my family throughout this year. COVID has almost broken us.”

Put on some pop superpowers, Primo the alien said, “For this song, I’m going to shoot lasers out of my vagina,” ahead of “KWIW” (an exclusive on a sold-out vinyl release earlier this year). The singer’s rich tone played an excellent Expensive in a triumphant finale of “Believe”, alongside the leading group Nané and Paige De Chausse of a few reverends. A huge dance group showed off the far-reaching impact of the night, as Brown’s keyboardist quietly passed a joint to the traveling camera operator.

Look for these images on Youtube, in preview this Saturday at 7 p.m., and support or become a member on

Travis County District Attorney José Garza speaks on December 2 at the Green Jay (formerly Beerland). (Photo by Rachel Rascoe)

The SIMS Foundation fights overdose deaths during free training on December 16

More than 240 residents of Travis County lost their lives due to drug overdoses in 2020, a 30% increase from 2019. According to the annual report of the Travis County Medical Examiner, this made overdose the second leading cause of accidental death last year.

Last Saturday, the “Safer Together” concert series raised awareness of the recent increase in overdose deaths in Austin. On the other side Mohawk, Empire, and the Green jay, Blackillac brought a fog machine and Lord Friday the 13th singer Felix prototypically strung knee pads and cape. Free shows funded by donations raised money for Austin’s SIMS Foundation, which provides mental health and addiction rehabilitation services to members of the music industry and their families.

The collaborative event supports Travis County District Attorney José Garzarecent efforts to reduce overdose deaths. At last week’s press conference, Garza said preliminary overdose data for 2021 showed “this crisis is getting worse by the month.”

“We are going to have to re-evaluate our own policies, and potentially our laws,” he said. “We cannot stop and continue to get out of this crisis. If we are serious about reducing overdose deaths in our community, we have to start treating substance abuse disorders like the public health crisis that it is. “

As part of this effort, the district attorney’s office has pledged more than $ 15,000 from its discretionary fund to SIMS. Since 2018, SIMS has offered free education to the music community, including training on how to administer naloxone (a.k.a Narcan). The non-profit association offers “Substance Use Recovery 101 With Naloxone Training” on December 16th from 2pm to 4pm at that of Anton.

To register, send an email to the general manager Patsy Dolan Bouressa to before December 13. Trainings are open to all members of the music community and their families, and will be offered on the third Wednesday of each month.

“We have been very lucky at SIMS not to lose a single client to an overdose,” Bouressa said of the past few years. “But we have seen a huge increase in the number of relapses that are occurring among our current clients and an increase in the number of clients seeking help with substance use issues.”

SIMS also plans to expand beyond Austin. In July, the nonprofit launched the Founder’s Fundraising Challenge to gain support for expansion into other cities – tentatively Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, then Detroit, Denver, Boulder and Raleigh. The effort pays homage to the co-founder Don Ellison, who died in April and father of the Austin musician Sims ellison, whose suicide in 1995 inspired the creation of the organization. Contribute to


Californian trio Chaim gave a surprise concert last Saturday after a preview screening of the director Paul Thomas andersonis new Licorice Pizza. Alana Chaim stars in the comedy-drama, also starring her sisters group mates, which is scheduled for release on December 25. Tease a post-movie Q&A at Alamo Drawer South Lamar, the band opted for a three-song set in-house Highball salon. After a funny false start for “Summer Girl”, Danielle Haim joked, “It’s a lot of pressure, okay? We haven’t played for a long time.”


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