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Armadillo Rising: Austin’s Music Scene in the 1970s

Detail of closing-night poster for the original Armadillow World Headquarters, © 1980, Micael Priest

FEBRUARY 9 – JULY 3, 2015
ARMADILLO RISING  Austin’s Music Scene in the 1970s

In the early 1970s the Armadillo World Headquarters became the cosmic capital of Austin’s burgeoning music scene, sparking the rise of a uniquely Texas blend of rock, country, and blues that transformed American music. The Wittliff Collections new exhibition, Armadillo Rising: Austin’s Music Scene in the 1970s, tells the story of a city that blossomed into “the live music capital of the world.”

Armadillo Rising showcases many treasures from the Wittliff’s extensive Texas Music archives, including handwritten song lyrics by Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker along with signed guitars from both men. Also on display are rare sound recordings, photographs and memorabilia that whisk viewers back to Austin’s heady past. Selections from the Austin City Limits archive, donated by ACL founder Bill Arhos are featured along with materials from the Armadillo World Headquarters. Pop culture keepsakes from the Wittliff's newly acquired collection of Jerry Retzloff highlight the connections between Lone Star longnecks and Texas's musical culture.

Rounding out the display are interviews, photographs, and mementos from the collections of Wittliff authors who’ve written expertly about Texas music: Joe Nick Patoski (author of biographies on Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan), John T. Davis (author of Austin City Limits: 25 Years of American Music), Bud Shrake (co-author of Willie Nelson’s autobiography), and Jan Reid (author of The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock.) Read more....

[above] Detail of closing-night poster for the orginal Armadillo World Headquarters, © 1980, Micael Priest