Sonic pleasures from Austin, Texas, USA: Loping Buzzard and Libby Kirkpatrick

I’ve gotten comments and/or blog subscriptions from South Africa, Australia, England, and elsewhere overseas, and what overseas readers (and perhaps some in the U.S.) may not know is that my hometown of Austin, Texas, is well-known for music.

A national television show, Austin City Limits, is filmed here, and the city plays host to the Austin City Limits Music Festival each fall and the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in the spring. Austin’s official slogan is “Live Music Capital of the World.”

It’s a musicians’ town, and the music here is eclectic. I’m using this blog post to recommend a couple of CDs by local musicians. They are very different, but each one wakes you up in its own way and keeps on giving by offering enough variety and depth to keep it fresh on repeated listenings.


When I first heard The Buzzard Has Landed by Loping Buzzard, the Biblical quote “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” came to mind, and I wanted to laugh with joy. Loping Buzzard’s business card has two descriptors: didjeridu and noisician.

 This is a collection of audio projects completed from 2005 to 2010 with a vast number of didjeridus along with gopichand, berimbau, danmo, cajon, cuica, bilma, a variety of flutes, drums, homemake noise makers, and electronics. The styles range form impromptu drum circles to pure musique concrete to Dada pop to horror to comedy to surreal.

I don’t even know what some of those instruments are, but they must be fun, judging by the sound. It’s not traditional music, but it is artful sound, interesting to the ear (to my ear, anyway).

I think of this as “wake up” music, not something you would listen to when you need soothing, but fantastic for times when you need some sonic inspiration. (Okay, I mostly listen to music in my car. It’s fantastic during traffic gridlock!)

When I listen to this CD, I imagine the joy Loping Buzzard must have experienced when he was creating this music, and I feel it too.

I notice more each time I listen.

You can get The Buzzard Has Landed as a digital download or a CD from CD Baby ($9.99, and they make it fun, too), and as mp3 files from ($8.99). It’s available on iTunes too.


My other recommendation, a different kind of wake-up music, is Heroine by singer-songwriter Libby Kirkpatrick, who’s lived in Austin for 10 years and has recently relocated to Boston.

Every song but one is an original, and that exception is her cover of Alice by Tom Waits. I certainly understood her homage to TW as recognition by one original, unique, lyrical songwriter of another, a master, and Libby is well on her way to mastery. She’s someone to follow.

I feel the joy here too. With lyrics connecting the Big Bang to the sound of a woman yelling (Heroine), warning her girlfriend away from some appealing but no-good Lothario (Devil Inside), singing about the black hole inside us all (Neverland), mentioning her personal star (you have one too, I know you do), and so much more, Libby has a way with words and tunes that is just plain heart and soul satisfying. Full of lyrical delight, Heroine goes into your ears, gets under your skin, enters your heart, and wakes you up.

The transition to motherhood is a journey of heroism for every woman ~ necessity being the mother of invention! These songs are the slow release of the ‘maiden self’ and the build up to the realization of ‘mother’ in layers; song by song there is a story told of the subsequent degrees of letting go.

Yes. It’s about self-realization and letting go. Repeatedly I detected a mature Buddhist philosophy about life underlying Libby’s lyrics — Big Mind, Big Heart, topped with loads of fun.

If you enjoy well-written, fresh lyrics, soulful depth, and artful arrangements (it’s rare to hear the level of creativity in the arrangements on a CD by a local/regional artist), you’ll enjoy this. I notice more each time I listen.

You can buy Heroine at CD Baby, iTunes, and, as well as from Heart Music.


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