On Sept. 22, Nanci Griffith, a pivotal figure in the development of Americana music, will be memorialized in an all-star tribute, More Than a Whisper: Celebrating the Music of Nanci Griffith.

On Aug. 11, Griffith’s longtime friend Emmylou Harris released a joyful and buoyant rendition of “Love Wore a Halo (Back Before the War),” which appears on the album.

Harris and producer Buddy Miller enlisted a stellar group of musicians for the recording, including multi-instrumentalists Sam Bush and Michael Webb, bassist Dennis Crouch, drummer Fred Eltringham and guitarist Jedd Hughes.

More Than a Whisper features Griffith’s friends, collaborators and fans interpreting her most beloved songs, including Shawn Colvin, Steve Earle, Sarah Jarosz, Lyle Lovett and Kathy Mattea, John Prine and Kelsey Waldon, and Mary Gauthier, who also shares her admiration for Griffith in heartfelt liner notes.

Recorded over several years in studios across America, More Than a Whisper also includes stirring contributions from Todd Snider, Aaron Lee Tasjan with Patty Griffin, Brandy Clark, Iris DeMent, and Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle, who appear exclusively on the expanded CD, digital and HD versions of the album.

All proceeds from More Than a Whisper will benefit Nashville’s Cumberland Heights, a nonprofit treatment facility for those affected by drug and alcohol addiction.


Eric Burton (l) and Adrian Quesada (Facebook)

The Black Pumas have emerged from the shadows with a not-so-subtle post hinting at the existence of new music. Across the band’s social media, the duo of producer/multi-instrumentalist Adrian Quesada and singer/lyricist Eric Burton shared an image of a portable hard drive labeled “Pumas II.”

If true, this would mark the band’s second-ever album, coming four years after its landmark self-titled debut. Following the release of Black Pumas, the Austin-based outfit went on to conquer the indie rock world with an avalanche of awards (including six Grammys), prominent festival bookings, international headlining tours, a slot performing (digitally) at President Joe Biden‘s 2020 inauguration and more.

Recently, however, the band fueled speculation of a breakup — or at the very least a hiatus — by suddenly clearing its touring calendar back in August 2022. At the time, duo offered few details, writing, “After four incredible years of career milestones and unforgettable live experiences around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to press pause and step away from touring for the rest of the year.”

Meanwhile, Quesada logged two unique releases in 2022 around the time of the sudden cancelations. Boleros Psicodélicos, a celebration of psychedelic ’60s and ’70s Latin love songs dropped in June, followed by Jaguar Sound, an engrossing collection of cinematic instrumentals, in November.

Nearly three years to the day after Black Pumas made their debut on Austin City Limits, Quesada returned to the landmark PBS show for his solo debut on the program, exploring Boleros Psicodélicos with an extensive backing band. Burton, meanwhile, has largely stayed out of the spotlight after flubbing the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the MLB World Series last October.


Promo photo for Velvet Rodeo Residency, Las Vegas (Courtesy Bakkt Theater)

Miranda Lambert has unveiled her personalized guitar that carries with it a powerful message. The 39-year-old has collaborated with Gibson Guitars to introduce her exclusive “signature guitar” — “The Bluebird.”

As an inspiration to emerging talents, the country music icon’s instrument aims to empower young women to embrace music and craft their narratives.

On her Instagram page Aug. 9, the songwriter posed with the blue decorated string instrument wearing a matching jean jacket over a long pink colored dress. She paired the chic bohemian look with classic brown cowboy boots, silver rings, and feathered earrings.


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In another photo, the impressive tool was propped on a pale yellow chair with a brief description written underneath. It read: “A variation of the iconic Gibson Hummingbird, the Miranda Lambert Bluebird is as distinctive as its namesake.”

Comments flooded in — even non-guitar players were drawn, as one shared, “We don’t even play guitar but need this asap!!!!” The Texas connection also resonated deeply, as one follower wrote, “Aw, love that you included our native Texas flower — bluebonnets forever!”


Austin has been named the seventh-best hotspot for music lovers in the world.

The data from SeatPick.com analyzed multiple characteristics of cities across the globe renowned for their music scenes to pick the best places for music lovers to visit. Characteristics included the number of music venues, number of music festivals planned, number of live concerts planned, number of record stores, number of musical instrument stores and number of artists/bands from each city. The data looked at 50 of the most musically inclined international cities.

Austin scored an 8.44 out of 10 overall, ranking seventh on the list, just behind Seattle and ahead of Denver and Boston.

Here’s how Austin scored on the characteristics the site indicated:

  • 99 music venues
  • 8 music festivals planned
  • 856 live concerts planned
  • 38 record stores
  • 17 musical instrument stores
  • 393 artists/bands from Austin

By comparison, London, which came in first with a score of 9.30, has 2850 artists originating from the city, 77 music venues, 21 music festivals planned, 1906 live concerts planned, 110 record stores and 19 musical instrument stores.

The runner-up was Los Angeles, with a score of 9.14, while Chicago, New York, Nashville and Atlanta also ranked in the Top 10.


Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard in Bastrop, which ranked No. 40. The venue will be among those hosting the Bastrop Music Festival Sept. 21–24 (Courtesy Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard)

And while Austin may be an international treasure, Texas is also home to five of the 120 live music hidden gems in America. That’s according to a survey published Aug. 7 by the live-event website CheapoTicketing.com, where 3,000 music lovers ranked the best under-the-radar live music destinations across the nation.

Bastrop, about 40 minutes from Austin, ranked at 40. Wichita Falls, Wimberley and Salado ranked at 59, 60 and 61, respectively.

And the top hidden gem in Texas? Marfa, which ranked No. 10. Modesto, California, topped the list.



Did Erykah Badu really accuse Beyoncé of stealing her looks on her current Renaissance world tour?

The Dallas hitmaker, 52, rushed to social media Aug. 1 to highlight striking similarities between her personal style and Beyoncé’s. “Hmmm,” Badu wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of Beyoncé, 41, wearing an oversized metallic hat onstage — similar to the one Badu has been wearing for decades.

“I guess I’m everybody’s stylist,” she wrote to her 6.2 million followers, sharing a picture of herself wearing a near-identical hat. The post came just one day after Badu rushed to the comments section of Beyoncé’s Instagram post showing off her hat.

Throughout her glittering career, Badu has become synonymous with wearing oversized hats during her performances. For her part, Beyoncé’s latest album, Renaissance, featured a snap of her wearing a silver cowboy hat that’s since become a staple item for fans at her shows.


But it seems as though most fans didn’t agree with Badu’s insinuation, as many rushed to Twitter to shut down the singer’s claims. “Reaching way too far,” one fan tweeted at Badu, while another wrote, “Not Erykah Badu shading Beyoncé. Girl.”

“Erykah, of all people, should know artists like Beyoncé have numerous stylists who put this stuff together,” a third added. “Whenever things are similar or look inspired it rarely has anything to do with the artist directly.”



Texas legend George Strait played to a sold-out crowd in Nashville July 29 and kept singing even in the pouring rain.

The “King of Country” took the stage at Nissan Stadium with Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town as part of his limited one-off stadium dates.

In a video posted to Twitter, the “If It’s Gonna Rain” singer is seen alongside Stapleton singing “Amarillo By Morning” as rain pelts down on the stage. The video shows most of the crowd staying in their spots and singing along despite the rain.

Stadium officials first issued a shelter-in-place advisory around 5 p.m., then lifted it about 45 minutes later, according to local station WSMV4. A second shelter-in-place advisory was later made, ending the show early.

According to a report by Music Row, Strait used the last five minutes of show time to sing “Amarillo By Morning.” Gov. Greg Abbott re-shared the video on Twitter, noting, “Even in a downpour, nothing can stop the King.”


Courtesy SNL

Three years after he shot Megan Thee Stallion (real name Megan Pete) in the foot, rapper Tory Lanez has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ahead of the Tuesday sentencing, prosecutors read aloud a statement prepared by Pete, who wasn’t present in court. Her emotional message described the trauma she endured after being shot by Lanez, who was found guilty last December.

“I struggle with being present,” Pete wrote in her statement, which was read by Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Kathy Ta. “After everything that occurred, I cannot bring myself back to being in the same room with Tory. I’ve been tormented and terrorized.”

“He paid bloggers to disseminate false information, he treated my trauma like a joke when I could have been dead,” she continued. “He blamed the system, he blamed the press, and as of late he is using his childhood trauma to justify his actions.”

Pete concluded the statement: “Slowly but surely, I’m healing. But I’ll never be the same. His crime warrants the full weight of the law.”

Since his conviction, Lanez has been serving time in jail. He faced up to 22 years in prison.


Promo photo by Michael Wilson

“I don’t think of myself as a photographer,” Lyle Lovett says. “But I like photographers. And I like taking pictures.”

For over a decade now, the Klein native has been snapping images of each and every stage he’s played. Initially, he viewed it as a way to maintain a presence on social media without seeming self-indulgent or self-congratulatory. But, nowadays, he finds the act of photography a sort of full-circle thing.

“My parents had this little Argus camera when I was a boy, and they were always fine with me playing with it,” Lovett says. “In 1978, I bought a Nikon, which I still have. It was my last film camera. I’ve been shooting with a Sony lately. I keep a camera with me all the time — I love taking pictures.”


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Whether it’s still photographs or poignant melodies, Lovett is a conduit of people and place, emotions and sentiments. It’s a timeless task for Lovett, where detailed images of daily life or eternal musings are captured and offered up to the world at large.

“With anything I present, you could draw a straight line to another medium, whether it’s a song or a picture,” Lovett says. “It’s important to me to be consistent. The reason it’s important is I’m just getting to be myself.”


If there was ever any doubt, Kelly Clarkson laid to rest any thoughts she’s not build Ford proud.

During a show at Kelly Clarkson’s Las Vegas residency Aug. 11, the pop star — and the newly appointed 2024 Texas State Musician — proved her versatility by covering a contemporary country song.

The Fort Worth native has offered a different cover for every show during her residency, and this time she chose “Heart Like a Truck” by Lainey Wilson. The Voice coach is a massive fan of Wilson’s, even having her as a guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show in March.

According to Clarkson, she would listen to the song repeatedly over the summer while on her Montana ranch.

“I’ve never sang this until soundcheck today,” Clarkson told the audience. However, given her well-known performance chops, it’s impossible to tell she barely rehearsed the song. “I did change one line — Lainey says Chevy, and I’m a Ford girl,” the singer quipped before singing with a perfect country twang.


Courtesy Q Productions

Almost two years after resolving a years-long legal dispute with Selena Quintanilla’s father, her husband, Chris Perez, has reunited with him and another of the late star’s family members.

Chris Perez, who was married to the Tejano singer for three years before her murder, revealed that he recently spent time with Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., and her sister, Suzette Quintanilla.

“Made a drive to Corpus today. Guess where I ended up?” Perez, 53, wrote on Instagram during a visit to Abraham’s office. “It was so good to see everyone and see the amazing operations of Q Productions but, more importantly, catching up with Suzette and Abraham. Can’t wait to come back and visit with the fam! Good times!”

Suzette also shared a pic of herself with Chris on her Instagram, writing, “Great time catching up @chrispereznow.”

Selena and Chris, a former guitarist in her band, eloped in 1992 after dating in secret. In 1995, Yolanda Saldivar, the president of the singer’s fan club, shot and killed her. Selena was 23.



From one Selena to another, Selena Gomez may be releasing new music Aug. 25. Fans noticed that a cryptic web site is teasing a new single, which appears to be from Interscope Records.

Plus, there are posters popping up with a tear-off number, which — if you call — leads to what sounds like a video snippet of Gomez’s little sister telling her to “never worry about boyfriends at all.”

Oh, and fans have also discovered that a “Single Soon: Selena Gomez Night” is happening in Los Angeles and tickets are already available.

Meanwhile, Gomez herself recently made it clear new music is, in fact, coming.



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