“Focused fun” is how Whiskey Shivers’ Bobby Fitzgerald describes Austin, Texas, one of America’s most famously eclectic and independent cites. “Everyone here is trying to enjoy themselves and do what they love, but they’re all very serious about it. You gotta get shit done,” he says.
That mind-set makes Austin prime real estate for any dedicated band looking to enjoy the journey of (hopefully) breaking out. Like everyone in the group, Fitzgerald, the resident fiddle and harmonica player, was neither born nor raised in Austin but quickly adopted the city as home. Contrary to the cutthroat nature of the music industry, the Austin scene is known for its good vibes. “Everyone wants to help everyone,” he says. “We’re all just trying to get to the same place.”
TOP FIVE: Messing with Texas
1 THE WHITE HORSE
500 Comal Street
“It’s a honky-tonk dive bar on the East Side,” says Fitzgerald. “There’s a taco truck outside, usually a couple horses tied up out front. Bikes everywhere. It’s loud, dirty, kinda smells like pee.”
3 CONGRESS AVE BRIDGE
111 S. Congress Ave.
Stake out a spot on the bridge early in the evening in order to see the largest urban bat colony in North America make its post- sunset flight. Don’t worry, they don’t fly above the bridge—but even from a distance, there is a distinct, uh, batty smell.
4 UNCOMMON OBJECTS
1512 S. Congress Ave.
This antique shop is like a museum of the absurd with a Texas bent: stuffed armadillos, cow-skin lamps and vintage bizarre dolls. The city’s motto isn’t Keep Austin Weird for nothing.
5 BOULDIN CREEK CAFE
1900 S. 1st St.
“I didn’t realize until I’d been going a couple months they don’t have meat on the menu, which is strange in Texas,” Fitzgerald notes. “They take your mind off it; it’s just so damn good.”
Capital Times in Austin
Nothing’s more Texan than football. And Thanksgiving Day will be the last chance to catch the Longhorns in action (against intrastate rival TCU). Hook ’em.
Because why should the Germans have all the fun? The descendants of German settlers and fans of partying keep the beer and sausage tradition alive in nearby New Braunfels. Nov. 2- 11
THE EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOUR
Musicians and artists in the cool neighborhood open up their studios to the general public. Two weekends: Nov. 15-16; Nov. 22-23