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Artists 2017-03-27T21:44:31+00:00


Black Fret is proud to announce the 2017 Black Fret Nominees:

Akina Adderley, Black Pistol Fire, Bright Light Social Hour, Carolyn Wonderland, Cowboy Diplomacy, Croy and the Boys, Daniel Eyes, David Ramirez, Eric Tessmer, Greyhounds, Jackie Venson, Jane Ellen Bryant, Kinky Machine, Leopold and his Fiction, Los Coast, Mobley, Sarah Sharp, The Deer, Warren Hood, and Whiskey Shivers.

Check back soon for Nominee bios, music and more. Congratulations to our 2017 Nominees!

2016 Artists

Black Fret awarded $220,000 in grants to our 2016 Artists on December 10th, 2016 at the Paramount Theatre.
Official Press Release

2016 Artists

2015 Artists

Black Fret awarded $150,000 in grants to our 2015 Artists on December 4th, 2015 at the Paramount Theatre.

Official Press Release

  • The Digital Wild
  • Ruby Jane
  • Tameca Jones
  • Casey McPherson
  • East Cameron Folkcore
  • Mother Falcon
  • Danny Malone
  • Gina Chavez
  • Migrant Kids
  • Shakey Graves (Shakey Graves received a major grant but he gifted his $12,000 to Black Fret’s minor grant winners of the year, making their $3,000 grants worth $4,200)

Major grant recipients from 2015 will not be eligible to receive a grant in 2016.

  • Aaron Behrens (who removed himself from consideration earlier in 2015 and gifted his grant to HAAM)
  • Dan Dyer
  • Jazz Mills
  • Max Frost
  • Nakia
  • Not in the Face
  • Riders Against the Storm
  • Shinyribs
  • The Nightowls

2015 Artists

2014 Artists

Black Fret awarded $130,000 in grants to our 2014 Artists on November 11th, 2014 at the Paramount Theatre.

Official Press Release

  • Amy Cook
  • Elizabeth McQueen
  • Erin Ivey
  • Gina Chavez
  • Graham Wilkinson
  • Lincoln Durham
  • Mother Falcon
  • Quiet Company
  • The Rocketboys
  • Wild Child

2014 Artists

About our Artists

We use the term “Artist” to refer to either an individual musician or a band.
We refer to Artists who are nominated for consideration for a Grant as “Nominees”.
Nominees who are selected to receive a Grant become “Black Fret Artists”.

Black Fret provides grants to Austin’s internationally recognized local musicians as selected annually by our members, advisors and artists through our Artist Selection Process. The Selection Process has been designed to steer grants towards popular local musicians. These musicians typically play regularly in local live music venues and are covered by local press including the Austin Chronicle. Generally they are established name recognition musicians who choose to call our city home or rising musicians struggling to make a living pursuing their art.

Consideration for a grant from Black Fret is by invitation only. There is no unsolicited application process. Black Fret guides our members through an annual three step voting process to select artists to receive grants. The Three phases are Nominations, Selection and Awards. Through the process a long list of great local musicians is shortlisted to a select group of Nominees who perform throughout the year’s Listening Season before voting to receive a grant and becoming a Black Fret Artist.

(1) Nominations: Black Fret’s Nomination Season runs from January to March. During this period the below list of folks have the opportunity to bring forward a long list of local musicians for “consideration”. Bands submitted for consideration are stack ranked based on the number of their nominations and public playlists are assembled of the top one hundred or so. After folks have had a few weeks to review and discuss with one another a vote is taken to identify a short list of Nominees for the year. For our 2017 season, twenty artists are invited to accept a nomination and become Black Fret Nominees. Nominees are selected from four distinct groups:

(a) Austin Music Awards: The winner and runner up in the category of Best New Band serve to represent the voice of the public in selecting two Nominees.

(b) Black Fret Members: Members will nominate, review and select ten Nominees.

(c) Black Fret Mentors: Black Fret’s Advisory Board members are a panel of music industry veterans that may volunteer to serve as mentors to Black Fret Artists. Mentors will nominate, review and select four Nominees.

(d) Black Fret Artists: Artists who won a Black Fret major grant in the immediately prior year may bring forward two Nominees for the current year.

Eligible Artists are bands or individual musicians that (1) have at least 50% of band members claiming their primary residence on their personal tax returns as being within 50 miles of Austin, (2) would qualify as a Small Business according to the US Small Business Administration standards for Musical Groups and Artists, and (3) are not immediate family members of the Black Fret Board of Directors.

(2) Selection: Black Fret’s Listening Season runs from April to November. During this period each Nominees is invited to perform at a Listening Session for our members and advisors. Our members and advisors are an educated group of music fans who have committed resources and sustained interest in Austin music over an extended period of time to learn about our local musicians. At the end of the Listening Period, members and advisors are invited to review, share and lobby for their favorite Nominees before voting to select this year’s Black Fret Artists.

(3) Awards: The Black Ball occurs in December. The final list of Artists is approved by the Board of Directors. The Board does not select the Artists. The Board only validates that the process has worked fairly and has resulted in committed Artists who can well represent Black Fret and the City of Austin. Grant amounts are announced at the Black Ball and Artists then become eligible to receive their grant funds over the course of the following calendar year though the Black Fret Artist Program.

Consideration for a grant from Black Fret is by invitation only. There is no unsolicited application process. If you would like to be considered… play your music with every ounce of passion as often as you can. The fans will find you… and so will we.

You may however submit your band for consideration by Black Fret staff and volunteers here: Bands for Consideration. Submission here does NOT provide visibility to your band to those members of Black Fret with the ability to nominate or vote for your band. It does NOT increase our chance of getting a grant nor of being invited to play at a Black Fret event. It only ensures the staff and volunteers who work for Black Fret have you on their radar.

Are you an artist who would you like to help Black Fret? If so, here are a few ways. Some of these will take you less than two minutes and will help us immensely. Please email us regarding the below or any other ideas you might have at

1) Promote Black Fret to your fans: Help us spread the word about Black Fret. Post a link about Black Fret on your Facebook page right now. Then do it again every once in a while. Mention us in a newsletter or at a show. Some of your fans will definitely be interested in joining Black Fret. For those fans who work for major employers with corporate match programs (think Dell, Apple, Bank of America, etc.) the cost is only about $30 a paycheck. Remember our Members nominate and vote for artists to receive grants. If your fans become members you become more likely to receive a grant from Black Fret.

2) Share Your Story: Give us a quick view into your life as a musician. Examples: What brought you to Austin? What are the challenges you face? What has been your greatest moment? Who has helped you the most? What would a grant from Black Fret mean to you?

3) Endorse Black Fret: Provide us a quote or two about Black Fret and a photograph of yourself along with your permission to include these things on our website, in our communications and marketing materials. Your endorsement is just about the most important thing you can provide us to help us demonstrate the need for Black Fret to our members and potential donors.

4) Host a Private Recruiting Show: Do you have ten or twenty select fans who you think might be interested? Let’s arrange a short acoustic set and happy hour for them. A Black Fret member will attend and give a short overview of the organization and answer any questions folks have. We promise no hard selling, just us explaining the model, benefits and importance to our community.

5) Join as a Black Fret Member: No one knows more about great music or recognizes great talent more than other artists. Our artist members have a critical role in acting both as A&R scouts and as taste-makers influencing the nominations and ultimately the votes of other members. In return membership will help you keep your finger on the pulse of rising talent.

Black Fret is here to help Austin’s musicians. For that reason your support of us means so much more. Thank you for taking the time to help Black Fret!

The following is an open letter to Austin’s musicians from the Board of Directors of Black Fret.

To Austin’s Artists,

We understand that as musicians you frequently hear stories that are too good to be true. Black Fret probably sounds like one. We understand that you’ve dedicated years of your life to perfecting your art and that protecting your art, and the livelihood it provides, is important to you. With that understanding we respectfully ask that you spend a minute understanding us and our commitment to you.

We grew up in Austin. Austin’s music and clubs defined our youth. Together the Board of Directors of Black Fret has been volunteering for local music non-profits in Austin for more than forty years. During that time we haven’t been paid a penny. We know that you’ve invested lots of time and money perfecting your art. We’ve committed the same trying to perfect a non-profit business model to serve Austin’s musicians. We think Black Fret is the answer.

We are committed to making Black Fret a reliable, valuable and equitable organization built to provide grants to a large number of Austin’s local musicians. Membership directed grants are just the start. As an institution Black Fret will be empowered to raise money from many other sources. Those funds can be used for a variety of other grant programs to support our music community.

Our vision for our core, membership directed grants is that they become a globally recognized symbol of artistic excellence and, that in doing so, they will create new opportunities for Austin’s artists beyond just the value of the grant. That being said, we know that money is the gas in the tank. We want those grants to be large enough that they allow an artist to undertake a significant project, tour or transition that they wouldn’t without the funds. There are some responsibilities that come with accepting a grant (see Black Fret Artist program) but we think they are minimal, give our donors some assurances, and in no way give Black Fret any rights or claims on your songs.

As far as we know nothing like Black Fret exists anywhere else. That means we are learning as we go. We believe strongly in building equitable processes that result in supporting artistic excellence without bias. We are listening and we are learning. If you don’t like something you see with Black Fret or if you just want to know the folks driving it… please contact us. We’ve met with scores of Austin’s musicians in building the Black Fret model but know that there is always room for improvement.

We would welcome your help in building Black Fret into the next great Austin music institution. If you’d like to help please read “Support Black Fret” and contact us at

Thanks for taking some time to get to know us.


Colin, Matt and Kerry
Black Fret Board of Directors

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Black Fret
PO Box 29628
Austin, TX 78755