MACK, JACK & MCCONAUGHEY RETURNS FOR 9TH ANNUAL FUNDRAISER Virtual Event Announced for April 23, 2021
AUSTIN, Texas (March 24, 2021) – Austin’s premier charity event, Mack, Jack & McConaughey (MJ&M) will return in its ninth year for a virtual experience on April 23, 2021. MJ&M is the joint fundraising effort of Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, ACM Award-winning recording artist Jack Ingram, and coaching legend Mack Brown.
The program is the virtual edition of the iconic event that promises an unforgettable evening of impactful stories and a lineup of exceptional performances. Viewers will have the chance to support the cause with access to a silent auction offering exclusive and one-of-a-kind lots.
Since its inception in 2013, MJ&M continues to make a direct impact on the Austin community and across the country. The nonprofit event has resulted in nearly $16M invested into charity beneficiaries, serving organizations dedicated to children’s education, health, and wellness.
The event will aid charities devoted to children’s wellbeing, including CureDuchenne, Dell Children’s Medical Center, HeartGift, just keep livin Foundation and The Rise School of Austin.
“Now more than ever is the time for us to come together and raise awareness and money for these charities working hard to help children succeed,” said McConaughey. “Camila and I are proud to join our dear friends for this special event each year and know MJ&M 2021 will be a year to remember.”
The Mack, Jack & McConaughey virtual experience will be held on April 23, 2021 at 7p.m. CST. To access the event, individuals are asked to make a $25 donation. Register here: https://one.bidpal.net/mjm2021/ticketing.
MJ&M 2021 sponsors include: American Airlines, American Campus Communities, Covert Cadillac, H-E-B, Lone Star Ranch Water, Neiman Marcus, Nike, and Sewell Automotive Companies. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please contact Jessica Balladares-Bennett at email@example.com.
For more information about Mack, Jack & McConaughey, or to sign up to receive further announcements about the 2021 event, please visit www.mjm2021.com.
On March 28th, Six-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, musician, and producer Brandi Carlile and her band emerged from lockdown to perform a special livestream concert from Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. The show streamed on the Veeps platform to a global audience, just over a year after Covid shut down life-as-we-knew-it, including our ability to see live concerts.
The livestream started with a nice montage of concert photos of Ms. Carlile set to Willie Nelson’s famous “On the Road Again” which has gained popularity again during the pandemic.
Emotions were high as the lights lifted slowly on Brandi strumming the recognizable opening chords to Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on her acoustic guitar. She wore a fitted red suit (which she said was a tribute to friend Elton John), plaid shirt, and cowgirl tie while belting out the soulful lyrics. Her voice was clear and gorgeous, with its signature soulful trills and half yodels. It was pitch perfect and a fitting song given the 1892 historic church setting with incredible acoustics and beautiful stained-glass windows. The lyrics touched on mourning, redemption, love and loss; a fitting expression of all we’ve experienced collectively over the past year. She was clearly getting the audience ready spiritually for what was to come – we were in the church of Brandi.
Carlile greeted the socially-distanced crowd with a joyful smile; “Got all dressed up, makeup on my face, I am in it!”, she cheered.
She led into “Raise Hell” with rousing upbeat foot-stomping then the whole band joined in. The six-piece band, dred-locked Phillip Townes on piano, drummer Chris Powell, and her guitarists/songwriters, twins Phil and Tim Hanseroth, and cellist Josh Neumann filled the church with amazing sound. Between songs, she addressed the audience with her Brandi love: “What an emotional, unspeakable honor to be playing in this place tonight…. It sounds good in here! Even in your masks, you sound good!”
The show was extra special as the band was making history that night – playing, to a vaccinated crowd, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started and sent everyone into lockdown over a year ago. It was clear from their stellar sound and radiant expressions that the band was enjoying the concert as much as the audience. Brandi reminded them they were live-streaming to a “Madison Square Garden sized audience.”
At certain moments I wished I was there in person at the famous Ryman. But watching the livestream performance was still a treat and at times emotional. The energy came through even on my laptop. You could feel the collective loss of live music this past year, but also joy and a reminder of how healing music can be, especially during difficult times.
The top-notch production captured the band’s power and presence through impactful lighting, background videos, and tremendous stereo sound. Streaming fans commented on how emotional it all was as they’ve been craving live music this year.
The set had a melded mix of new songs and fan favorites like “The Story” which displayed both her cracking yodel skills, belting out the song’s familiar chorus cascading down shifting harmonic chords. For crowd favorite “Turpentine”, the band sectioned out the audience who sat in face-masked clumps in the multi-level pews to sing 3-part harmonies. “I know we’re gonna be ok,” Carlile belted out over the loud fan chorus.
For “Have You Ever” she led intentionally with yodeling, “since we’re here at the mother church, we gotta do some yodeling!” Her lyrics are clearly a tribute to nature and her love of her native Washington state. “If you’ve ever wandered lonely through the woods…. have you ever stared into a forest sky…or ever been out walkin’ in the snow.?..” Neumann’s cello solo mesmerized the crowd. Online fans felt it too, “her joy is palpable.” “So miss those harmonies.”
The set list also covered several songs from her award-winning 2018 album ByThe Way, I Forgive You, including Grammy winning “The Joke” and several from her collaboration with Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris in Highwomen. Guest Monica Denise joined her for a duet on popular “CrowdedTable”. She gave a shout out to Tanya Tucker and the Highwomen, “I miss my girls”, she said when talking about her ‘country-adjacent career’ that thrives in Nashville. The deeply personal “Evangeline” had Carlile opening up about motherhood and challenges of modern roles and identity- a song she named her daughter after. One reason she connects so deeply with her audiences is her willingness to be real, to be vulnerable, and relatable.
Carlile paid tribute to a slew of other artists – collaborators and muses- that continue to inspire her today. For Joni Mitchell fans, she played her song “A Case of You,” – “I could drink a case of you, still be on my feet.” In honor of Elton John’s birthday, the band lit into a rendition of “MadmanAcross the Water” starting with the acoustic guitar in its wistful minor key and building tension through layers of piano, cello, and electric guitar. It turned into a full-on sweaty jam session complete with ‘80s rock and killer guitar solo at the end.
Towards the end of the set, the multi-instrumental Carlile jumped over to the piano chatting about life and marriage during the pandemic diving into the ballad “Party of One”.
The night fittingly wound down the church-like performance with “Amazing Grace” in full sound, four-part gospel harmony featuring surprise guest Lydia Rogers, Carlile, and the Hanseroth twins. She introduced it by saying “Stay safe, stay sane, we love you.” The entire show felt like a religious experience (afterall it was Palm Sunday). The lyrics ‘how sweet the sound’ were so true and poignant.
Overall, the show felt intimate and emotional. Despite the venue capacity of about 2400, there were only a hundred or so in attendance. It felt like Brandi didn’t want to stop. She was clearly reminded of the vibe and thrill of playing in person again.
Fans who purchased the $25 tickets not only saw a full 2+ hour concert, but were also given a free copy of Brandi’s memoir, Broken Horses (soon to be released). Brandi has always been quite generous. The show, her first full-band performance since before the pandemic, raised money for two organizations—The Rainy Day Fund and Fanny’s School of Music—with all remaining proceeds supporting Carlile’s band and crew.
Hallelujah (cover) Raise Hell The Story The Eye Fulton County Jane Doe Have You Ever Cannonball Sugartooth Madman Across the Water (Elton John cover) The Mother Wheels of Laredo (The Highwomen cover) Crowded Table (The Highwomen cover) (ft. Monica Denise) A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell cover) Turpentine The Joke Pride and Joy Party Of One Carried Me With You Amazing Grace
When Aaron Winston was asked to play at The Mohawk in 2017, he scrambled to get a group together. Within a week, Russel Taine Jr. went from a solo project to a band. Three years after that, the dreamy alt-rock band is leaning more into its country identity with four Austin-centric singles about summer in the city. The two released so far, “Sister Sister” and “Blue Jean Baby” offer Austinites some much-needed reassurance via serious nostalgia.
(photos by Brianna Carleri, Russel Taine Jr. and band, 2019)
Winston started writing songs as a teenager, eventually adopting the pen name his grandfather used in correspondence to the United States from Moscow during the Cold War. His decision was a little intellectual, and a lot because he liked how it sounded; two key elements of the band’s future efforts. Now it inspires a conversation starter in the perpetual fan question, “Who is Russel Taine Jr.?” And while it may just be a happy coincidence, naming the band for a semi-fictional member anchors the group to their southern rock forebears (remember Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Marshall Tucker Band?).
“Sister Sister” wastes no time in introducing the mysterious ghostwriter, slipping the band name into the lyrics as a way, Winston says, of reminding new audiences who they’re watching at local venues. In context as the first of four related singles, it has the unintended effect of staking a claim to a new, more purposeful identity. The track explicitly mentions Austin and it’s “hot summer nights,” but, lest the lyrics get too on-the-nose, sprinkles in charmingly confusing images like a demure woman’s “Rorschach grin.” Little intellectual twists maintain the group’s usual air of delicate fantasy over the song’s retro southern skeleton. Lots of delay and effortless arpeggios wash a haze over soulful organ and what might have been a screaming guitar solo is set back into the distance of the mix.
Winston clarifies the titular “sister” isn’t any woman in particular, but represents “any number of relationships” over time. This one is about nostalgia; a feeling best reserved for weak memories about strong feelings. It’s about sharing the tiny moments that build our identities, and the vagueness that makes them relatable and reassuring. The story told is a bid for reconnection. Emotional intimacy in the simplicity of summer is something many of us are missing right now while keeping our distance.
“Blue Jean Baby,” released on July 1, provides a foil to “Sister Sister,” with a shoutable anthemic chorus any band would be tempted to use for a show closer. Despite a more energetic presence, it’s overall lighter fare. The leading lady of this crowd-pleaser skews more toward the femme fatale. Like her, the electric guitars are grittier, but a riff runs through the song to nail down the kind of mellow reverie that ties together the Russel Taine Jr. catalog. This one in particular is packed with southern tropes: blue jeans, a tight sundress, standing on docks, and even dueling guitars. Against the muddy bass is jangly rhythm guitar that brings flashes of Tom Petty’s California to Texas.
Of the two tracks, “Blue Jean Baby” offers a simpler message, about dancing all night. It’s the one to sway along with while grilling for two and looking forward to the return of cookouts for twenty. Following the reassuring “Sister Sister,” it seems to seems to say we don’t always have to take ourselves so seriously. Summer hits are the ultimate form escapism, but in this case, the escape is in our own backyards. It’s not so bad to be stuck here, after all.