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The Wild Side of Life: The Rise of the Honky Tonks, 1940-1950

Introduction: The Wild Side of Life

For music audiences in Austin, the 1940s were a key moment of change. The mid-century war years—rather than the student movement and hippy cowboys of the sixties and seventies—were the scene’s first major turning point. College students and orchestras had dominated the city’s dances and pop music performances during much of the the Jazz Age and Depression. Consequently, commercial live music in the 1920s and 1930s was essentially a collegiate activity. By 1950, however, new styles, new publics, and new venues had formed a diverse set of musical spheres in Austin.

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