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Athens on the Colorado: The Dominance of the Universities, 1929-1946

Introduction: Athens on the Colorado

Although not typically given much attention, Austin's music scene during the 1930s and early 1940s was unexpectedly vibrant for the modest size of the city at the time. It was a pop music world whose character largely reflected an emphasis on modern sophistication, dance orchestras, universities, and segregation. As a place with a consistent, large student audience, Austin had numerous local orchestras during these decades and also attracted major national “star” talent. Beyond sweet and swing bands, Depression-era Central Texas supported a wide and varied environment of informal and vernacular performers and music as well, including jubilee quartets, cowboy songs, and street corner blues singers.

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Austin, 1900-1940: Urban Planning, the Hill Country Environment, and Jim Crow Segregation

Listen to Andrew Busch, author of City in a Garden, speak extensively about Austin’s urban history, its investment in its arid but beautiful environment, and its history of segregation.

Music at the Universities

Popular Music in Austin

Vernacular Music in Austin

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