Leah Scarpelli

Texas Standard Associate Producer-Director

Leah Scarpelli joined Texas Standard in September 2015 from NPR’s Morning Edition, where she spent seven years as a producer, director and occasional reporter of music and arts pieces. As Texas Standard director, Leah is responsible for the overall practical and creative interpretation of each day’s program: choosing segue music, managing the prep of show content, and providing explicit directions for the host and technical director during the live broadcast. She graduated from Ithaca College in New York with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio. She enjoys riding her Triumph motorcycle and getting out for hikes in the Texas countryside. Her late grandfather was from Yoakum.

Tracy Anne Hart, www.heightsgallery

From Texas Standard:

He is one of the most recognizable names in Texas music, known for kickstarting a revival of interest in the blues and for his performances with influential artists like David Bowie. He was headed into a new chapter of his personal and professional life when he died in a helicopter crash in 1990, at the age of 35.

Of course, we're talking about Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Lyza Renee

From Texas Standard:

Charley Crockett is no cookie-cutter cowboy. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley as the son of a single mother, and he lived on the streets as a wandering musician, drifting from the Valley to New Orleans and New York before winding his way back to Texas.  

But no matter where he is, he has an unmistakable sound and style that is garnering sensational reviews from Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines, where his latest collection of songs landed in the top 10 on the blues album chart.

But calling his music “blues” can be misleading because it seems to weave some thread that ties together the Big Apple, the Big Easy and that big valley in South Texas that he once called home.

Photo courtesy of The Wittliff Collections.

From Texas Standard:

Ramón Hernández says Tejano music – which he describes as Texans performing Mexican music – has always been a part of his life. He grew up with it on the radio and then spent 35 years working with Tejano musicians as a publicist and journalist. Over the years, he began a collection of photos, sheet music, rare recordings, and other memorabilia and documents. Today, some of the most striking items in his huge archive are the costumes.

Jeffrey Pratt Gordon

From Texas Standard:

There’s Ronnie, Charlie, Bill, Mick, Keith and – Bobby?

The man who many consider the sixth member of the Rolling Stones is a Texan named Bobby Keys. He grew up in Slaton, just outside Lubbock, and played saxophone with just about everyone, it seems –from Chuck Berry and Carly Simon, to John Lennon and Sheryl Crow. Plus the Stones, of course.

A documentary about Bobby Keys is screening Wednesday in Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

On September 26, in the stately Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress, a Texan from Beaumont will receive one of the highest honors awarded to folk and traditional artists, a national heritage fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

But "folk and traditional artist" does not come to mind when you see Barbara Lynn doing her thing on stage.  She slings a Fender Stratocaster, left-handed, playing blues-infused Gulf Coast soul with the presence of a pop star. She's had hit records, been invited to perform on American Bandstand, and her songs have been covered and sampled by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lil Wayne and Moby. But she never cultivated the whole celebrity thing.  Indeed, Barbara Lynn has never been much for playing by the rules.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUTX

From Texas Standard.

Actor and musician Kevin Bacon is busy touring the Lone Star State with his brother Michael. The two are promoting their self-titled album “The Bacon Brothers,” their seventh studio record. Many Hollywood stars juggle various side projects with their careers, but Kevin Bacon insists his fraternal musical endeavor is serious business. He says it’s typically a challenge for actors to be taken seriously as musicians.

Photo by Leonard Kamsler, courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

From Texas Standard:

When Willie Nelson's landmark album Phases and Stages was recorded in 1973, it was unlike anything being done in Nashville – a concept album, about a relationship coming apart. Metaphorically speaking, Nelson was separating from Nashville, too, a place where he'd long written songs for others. But where the Nashville machine kept him from doing what he loved to do, his return to Texas was a symbolic break with the conservative conventions of the country music industry.

Brianmcmillen/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 4.0

From Texas Standard.

For many Texans of a certain age, learning civics and math and grammar began as we sat cross-legged on the floor in front of a big cathode ray tube on Saturday mornings. In between  The Archies, Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp, Josie and the Pussycats and Super Friends, we learned lessons that have stuck with us all our lives.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Just as thousands of musicians are descending upon Austin in hopes of getting that big break at South by Southwest, one of the city’s most beloved performers has packed his bags for Tennessee. Texas honky-tonk legend Dale Watson is putting down new roots in Memphis, in a house just a mile from Graceland.

KUT News

From Texas Standard.

As the weather warms up, many Texans tune up their motorcycles and get them out of the garage. Texas ranks third in the nation for the number of registered hogs and choppers, but the industry is in trouble. As baby boomers age out, sales for many manufacturers are either flattening out or falling.

Rose Robin/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

It might sound a little different than you remember, but there’s a new version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” going around online. With 2 million views online, it was finally taken down for copyright reasons.

LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Austin for the opening of a new exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library called Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.

Albright stopped by the Texas Standard studio to talk about the collection. 

Jacob Croft Botte

From Texas Standard:

The Blanco River is only 87 miles long, winding its way from the tiny Central Texas community of Lindendale to the city and river of San Marcos.

KUTX Austin

From Texas Standard:

Ten years ago, Joe Lewis – a 20-something from the Austin suburbs –  first tried to storm the stage. By day, he was delivering fish for a local seafood restaurant; by night, he was putting his unique spin on the blues that Austin was best known for. With a sound that evokes Stax and Muscle Shoals more than the cosmic cowboys, Lewis stands out in Austin.

 

Josh Wool

From Texas Standard:

Buddy Holly. Joe Ely. Butch Hancock. Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. Terry Allen. And the list of musicians from Lubbock goes on. Over the years, music journalists have wondered what it is about this city that makes it produce so many musicians.

Amanda Shires, the current queen of Americana music, says that the answer is actually quite simple: there’s nothing else to do there except make music.

KUTX

From Texas StandardTerry Allen is a mixed-media southwestern storyteller. David Byrne is a fan of his and a former collaborator. Ryan Bingham and Lucinda Williams are among the dozens of famous musicians who've covered his songs. His artwork is in the collections of the Met, MoMA, the Hirschorn, and various art museums around Texas. He’s written award-winning plays and cemented a reputation as a creative renaissance man.

Screenshot Sound Collectiv #DallsUp

From Texas Standard:

New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Nashville – all pride themselves as cities with rich musical scenes. And in Texas, those bragging rights tend to go to Houston and Austin. But a new documentary turns the spotlight on another side of the business, staking a claim for another Texas city: the beat makers of the Big D.

Leah Scarpelli/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Growing up in San Antonio, Nina Diaz was one of those kids who spent a lot of time in her bedroom, singing along to the Smiths and imagining the world beyond. Then she got swept up into the music when her sister and a long-time friend asked her to form a rock band, Girl in a Coma.