Episode 24: How Do we Save the Live Music Capital Of The World? | Clark Nowlin and Nick Shuley

Despite Austin having an amazing and growing music community, there is so much competition and saturation, that over 40% of working local musicians earn less than $15,000 a year, and venues are facing getting priced out, due to rising real estate. Today’s fun chat is which Clark Nowlin and Nick Shuley of All ATX. They share with us how All ATX makes the local music community their priority, and gives tips to us in ways we can lend a helping hand ourselves. They also break down their favorite current bands, live music joints, and of course… tacos!

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Key Takeaways:

[:32] Today our guests are Clark Nowlin and Nick Shuley of All ATX. This is a group that helps keep the Austin music scene intact. Despite the first two months of his life, Nick has lived entirely in Austin. Clark is from Fort Worth and knew from a young age he wanted to live in Austin.

[5:10] Nick frequented Waterloo Records, as it was the only place you could listen to music before you bought it. He would take all the free promo samplers and stickers that record companies sent, and met the college rep of Virgin records as a result. He recommended him for the position, and that got his foot in the music industry door! He also worked at C3 presents, and then met Gary Keller, which led to his role at All ATX.

[7:48] All ATX was started by Gary Keller as a celebration of Austin music. He wanted to throw a concert to help local musicians and celebrate, but the need to help musicians grew very strong and they realized this was needed.

[9:18] It’s about keeping this city great, and also adapting to the new, and integrating it with what is already working.

[10:13] In the 1990’s, touring acts were seen as outsiders and it was all about the local musicians. Now there is so much to choose from on any night that the local musicians can get lost in the shuffle. All ATX is here to make sure they get the support they need.

[11:59] KUTX 98.9 is a great source for local music. Black Fret is also another great resource that uplifts local talent.

[15:15] Elvis played at the venue, possibly the Armadillo, when it was the Austin Sports Center. He was described as a “blonde haired blue eyed sensation.”

[16:20] Their picks for venues for people new to Austin to check out include the Broken Spoke, Mohawk, Stubb’s, White Horse, and Threadgills.

[19:12] Cosmic Cowboy scene erupted with artists like Willie Nelson bringing together traditional southern Texans with hippie culture and led the way for Austin to be accepting of different cultures like metal, indie, and grunge.

[19:54] Thank you to our Sponsor, the Papasan Properties Group.

[21:22] Currently there are 141 nonprofits in Austin to support musicians. Austin Music Census is the most thorough of any music scene in the U.S. It said musicians need help through career support services and business education. This is what All ATX helps focus on. Last year ALL ATX raised over $500,000, which goes to back to Austin musicians through these four organizations: HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians), SIMS Foundation, which does mental health care, AMF (Austin Music Foundation), and Black Fret, where they combine music fans with talent and music industry advisors. The patrons play $1,500 a year to get access to special shows, and they give grants to artists that members voted for. Black Fret picks winners but AMF is a catch all, so everyone has a chance for money and support.

[25:47] All ATX Event is in its fifth year, and all the proceeds go to these organizations. Last year The Doobie Brothers played.

[28:08] The rising cost of Austin real estate is affecting the established venues, and poses a threat to pricing them out.

[30:11] A lot of people play for free or very little, so tipping them really helps. 40% of full-time musicians make less than $15,000 annually. 92% make less than $35,000 a year. Only 5% make $50,000. Less than 5% are at the median income or above.

[36:14] Clark’s favorite taco is Honeyham’s breakfast taco, Nick eats like a six year old so he likes just Torchy’s chicken fajita.

[39:28] Next week we’ll talk to fitness trainer Kim Eagle.

The Taco:

Clark’s: Honeyham | Breakfast Taco Ranchero Style

Nick’s:  Torchy’s Tacos | Chicken Fajita

Mentioned in This Episode:

ALL ATX     

Waterloo Records


93.3 KGSR


Black Fret

Saxon Pub

Continental Club 

Ted Roddy

Broken Spoke



White Horse




The SIMS Foundation


Walker Lukens

Peterson Brothers (play the Continental Club every Monday at 6pm)

Danny Malone

Calliope Musicals

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