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The music scene in Austin is known the world over, but it can place a considerable portion of its roots in a little-known but prolific indie label: Sonobeat Records. A small, independent label founded by father-and-son duo Bill Josey Sr. and Bill Josey Jr., Sonobeat set the stage for the Capital City's musical legacy. The label's brief but powerful tenure produced an enormous amount of music and directly preceded the progressive country movement and the proliferation of a music scene that would earn Austin the nickname of "Live Music Capital of the World." Musician and author Ricky Stein explores the roots of Austin's contemporary music history through the story of one small but essential label..
A Gathering of Promises is a history of acid rock and psychedelic music in and from the state of Texas, focusing largely on its mid-1960s origins with the 13th Floor Elevators and contemporaries such as the Golden Dawn, the Red Crayola and Bubble Puppy, and following its development to the present day and the popularity of the annual Austin Psych Fest. Grounded in a strong social, cultural and historical context, the book asks how Texas produced some of the most extreme and influential psych of any era despite a prevailing social ethos of Christian conservatism and the strictest drug laws of any American state. It looks at how this environment shaped and affected the music, alongside the Texan frontier spirit and its championing of expansion, freedom and individualism.
Country music of the late 1960s and early 1970s was a powerful symbol of staunch conservative resistance to the emerging counterculture. But starting around 1972, the city of Austin, Texas became host to a growing community of musicians, entrepreneurs, journalists, and fans who saw country music as a part of their collective heritage and sought to merge it with countercultural ideals to forge a distinctly Texan counterculture. Progressive country music-a hybrid of country music and rock-blossomed in this growing Austin community, as it played out the contradictions at work among its residents. The music was at once firmly grounded in the traditional Texan culture in which they had been raised, and profoundly affected by their newly radicalized, convention-flouting ways. In Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks: The Countercultural Sounds of Austin's Progressive Country Music Scene, Travis Stimeling connects the local Austin culture and the progressive music that became its trademark. He presents a colorful range of evidence, from behavior and dress, to newspaper articles, to personal interviews of musicians. Along the way, Stimeling uncovers parodies of the cosmic cowboy image that reinforce the longing for a more peaceful way of life, but that also recognize an awareness of the muddled, conflicted nature of this counterculture identity. Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks provides new insight into the inner workings of Austin's progressive country music scene-by bringing the music and musicians brilliantly to life.

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