From rock and roll to ragtime, Texas knows a thing or two about live music. Whether donning your cowboy duds and singing along to some country tunes or kicking back in a local blues bar, you’re guaranteed to sample the very best of the Lone Star State. Known for its eclectic mix of musical genres, and of course some good old Americana, you can expect to find pretty much whatever you’re looking for here; whether that’s the latest local talent or international rock royalty. Having produced such superstars as Buddy Holly and Stevie Ray Vaughn it’s safe to assume you’re in for something special in Texas.
With a long-standing reputation for generating some of the hottest talent in Texas, Austin is something of a musical Mecca. Dotted with dive bars and dimly lit saloons, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to live music venues. Head down to Stubb’s on Red River Street for local bands served up alongside delicious BBQ dinners. It’s also worth dragging yourself out of bed on a Sunday morning to sample their legendary Sunday Gospel Brunch. Over on Congress Avenue you’ll find The Continental Club which has played host to a whole roster of musical stars since opening in 1957. And if festivals are more your style make sure to check out Austin’s ACL Festival as well as world famous South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) where hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe travel to Texas to join in the party.
Houston quite simply has it all. From dilapidated Jazz and blues bars to state-of-the-art concert halls, there’s no shortage of musical settings here. Big name stars can be found gracing the stage at House of Blues Music Hall in Houston’s Downtown district, whilst over in Midtown music fans can see players battle it out at piano duelling bar Howl at the Moon. One of the city’s best-loved music spots, you can expect to see some pretty impressive piano skills on show here. But no musical pilgrimage to Houston would be complete without visiting after-hours favourite Fitzgerald’s. Founded over 30 years ago, Fitzgerald’s hosted the likes of The Ramones, R.E.M and even James Brown. Nowadays the tone is a little more low-key and performances are split between the two story building – big acts upstairs and smaller up-and-coming artists downstairs.
Known for its bustling Riverwalk lined with restaurants and bars, San Antonio is a great place to go looking for nightlife. There’s a strong Hispanic influence here and Tex-Mex joints can be found on virtually every corner…along with the soothing sound of a guitar or party-inducing Latino beats. Luna is a great place to sample live Latin music whilst over at The Cove you’ll be treated to an array of musical offerings from Jazz and bluegrass to rock and roll – you can also do your laundry or get your car washed here but we’d suggest saving such exciting activities until the band have gone home. Jazz fans should also check out Jim Cullum’s Landing at the Riverwalk for fantastic playing well into the early hours.
With hundreds of top notch venues spread across the city Dallas does live music incredibly well. Centred on the former warehouse district of Deep Elllum just east of downtown, Dallas is home to a vibrant and diverse live music scene showcasing everything from traditional country tunes to brand new up-and-coming bands. Head down to Adair’s Salon for drinks served up in red plastic cups and some of Dallas’ best honky tonk and country music. A local favourite since opening its doors back in the 1960s, this is the place to see authentic Texan music at its best. Over on Main Street you’ll find City Tavern offering up brilliant bar food alongside live bands, or alternatively head down to Southside on Lamar and settle into Poor David’s Pub – birthplace of Texas superstars The Dixie Chicks.