Famous Musicians From Austin, Texas

Austin is certainly one of those cities that has a major influence in the music industry for decades. From iconic artists to rock pioneers and classical singers; you will find a lot of talent here. 

Scroll through the page to read on about top 10 famous musicians from Austin to create a new playlist. 

1. Roky Erikson

Roky Erikson

Roky Erikson was born in Dallas and moved to Austin in childhood. In 1965, he was dropped out of the high school, and then started a musical band named Spades. He is known as a unique musician in psychedelic rock. However, Erickson couldn’t get the appreciation he deserved for his talent.

He struggled through mental illness for many years of his life. However, in the mid-2000s; Erikson managed to make a musical comeback and earned a huge fan following. 

2. Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr.

Born on 15 February 1984, Gary Lee Clark Jr. is an Austin-based musician who is known widely for his live performances and amazing compositions. Clark is also famous for his fusion of rock, blues and soul music with the touch of hip hop. He signed with WB Records in 2011 and launched The Bright Lights EP. Then in 2012, he released Blak and Blu and The Story of Sonny Boy Slim in 2015. Clark has been quite an active live performer and was documented twice: 

  • In 2014, Gary Clark Jr. Live
  • In 2017, Gary Clark Jr. Live/North America 

In his career, Gary shared the stage with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and B.B. King. Moreover, he won Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B performance in 2014 for the song Please Come Home. In addition, he won another Grammy Award in 2020 for ‘Best Rock Performance’ and ‘Best Rock Song’.

3. Ghostland Observatory

Ghostland Observatory

A musical duo is next on the list! The compositions of Ghostland Observatory are basically a combination of rock, funk, electro and ‘electro-dance soul rock’. 

In 2005, the dance-friendly duo launched their debut full-length album. Ghostland Observatory earned their fame after their iconic performances on Austin City Limits and at music festival South by Southwest.

4. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

Born in 1933 on April 19; Willie Hugh Nelson is an American actor, activist and musician. After the critical success of three albums; Nelson was recognized as one of the famous artists in Austin. 

  • Shotgun Willie in 1973
  • Red Headed Stranger in 1975 and
  • Stardust in 1978.

In fact, Nelson was known as one of the key figures of outlaw country, which is basically country music’s subgenre from late 1960s in response to the Nashville sound. Moreover, the multi-talented star co-authored a number of books and acted in more than 30 films. 

5. Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was born in 1943, January 19. She was an American songwriter and singer who passed away on 4 October 1970. Although she sang soul, blues and rock music during her career, but she was widely known as one of the best rock stars of those times. Moreover, Janis was famous for her energetic stage presence and mezzo-soprano vocals.

In 1967, the superstar appeared at Monterey Pop Festival as a lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company – a psychedelic rock band. Janis presented two albums with the collaboration of this band, and later she left the group to perform as a solo artist. 

6. James McMurtry

James McMurtry

The next on the list is James McMurtry, who came into being on 18 March 1962. He is an American folk/rock singer, songwriter, bandleader, guitarist and an actor too. His band mates included: Cornbread, Daren Hess and Tim Holt. 

James father was a known novelist named Larry McMurtry, who gifted him a guitar at the age of 7 and his mother helped him in playing it. That was his first interaction with music, and the love grew overtime.

7. Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves

Born as Alejandro Rose-Garcia in 1987, and rose fame as Shakey Graves. He is a one-man band who played rock, blues and folk during his career. His last album was released in 2020, Look Alive EP.

Rose-Garcia got his stage name in 2007 at Old Settler’s Music Festival where a stranger rambled ‘spooky wagons’ and he chose to keep the name. 

8. Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman

Born on November 1, 1994; Richard Samet ‘Kinky’ Friedman is an American singer, novelist, songwriter, politician, humorist and a columnist for Texas Monthly.

Kinky is known as one of the most prominent storytellers in the city. In 1966, he graduated from The University of Texas and in 1973, he was able to form a band which made him famous in the mid-1970s. Apart from this, Kinky’s political career was going side-by-side, and he ran as a governor for a few times.

9. Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff Walker is next on the list. When he was born on March 16, 1942, Jerry was named Ronald Clyde Crosby. He was an American folk singer, country music and songwriter. In the outlaw country music movement, he was a prominent figure. 

In 1968, Jerry wrote a song Mr. Bojangles, which made him a superstar across the country. He met an unfortunate death in 2020 at the age of 78 after fighting with throat cancer.

10. Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams

The last one who made it to the chart is another famous name when we talk about musicians in Austin. Lucinda Gayle Williams, who was born on 26 January, is an American folk, country and rock music singer, musician and songwriter. 

In the 1970s, Luci started her music career in Austin. Later, she moved to Los Angeles where she met a mainstream success. Besides, Williams won a lot of awards throughout her musical career.

Pick your favorite Austin Musician From the list!

Austin is a city of music. From street singers to background music in cafes; you will hear melodious tones and wonderful compositions everywhere from the moment you enter the city. There is no shortage of competent Austin musicians either, and we have proved it already.

Here, we could just compile 10 out of many, but there is a lot more talent in the city.

So, which one is your favorite musician?