Episode 2: Music & Musicians in Central Texas

This episode of Civil Society takes on a hot topic in Central Texas: the struggle to make a living if you’re a musician in the Live Music Capital of the World. While Austin is revered for its thriving music scene – and at a time all of Texas enjoys the time of unprecedented growth – some think that our local musicians have been left behind. Many are no longer are able to afford to live in the city they have arguably helped to build.

Our Guests:

Colin Kendrick

Colin Kendrick

Chairman, President & Founder, Black Fret

Gavin Garcia

Gavin Garcia

Chair, City of Austin Music Commission

Tomar Williams

Tomar Williams

Lead Singer, Tomar and the FCs


Colin Kendrick - Bio


Colin Kendrick:

In 1997 Colin wrote a business plan for what became the Austin Music Foundation (AMF). He served as the founding Executive Director of that organization between 2001 and 2003 and has served as a member of its board of directors ever since. Under his guidance AMF has raised and invested more than $1,500,000 into business education for Austin’s working musicians. Colin currently works for SunPower, the third largest global manufacturer of solar panels. His previous work experience includes a decade as a strategist for Dell, several years in business development for Apple and as an executive officer of a start-up in the Austin Technology Incubator. Prior to that, Colin was a consultant for high net-worth individuals at Pricewaterhouse. His work there included portfolio management and tax compliance for individuals and family foundations.

Colin holds a Master of Business Administration degree with a dual concentration in finance and accounting and a Bachelor of Science degree in radio, television, and film with a concentration in audio engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. During his undergraduate studies, Colin worked two seasons at KLRU public television as an audio intern for the award winning, nationally televised music program Austin City Limits. His experiences there and his graduate studies on sustainable funding for non-profits served as the catalyst for the concepts underlying the Austin Music Foundation and Black Fret.

Gavin Garcia - Bio
Austin Music Commission austintexas.gov/musiccomm
MISSION: The Austin Music Commission advises city council on music development issues. Duties are advisory and include: studying the development of the music industry, assisting in the implementation of programs to meet the needs created by the development of the industry; and review matters that may affect the music industry in Austin. See Section 2-1-109 of the City Code for additional duties.


​Gavin Lance Garcia:


Gavin Lance Garcia is a native Austinite recognized for his ability to create consensus among divergent groups and individuals. Honored by the City of Austin and several charity organizations for his advocacy, Garcia has led strategic initiatives and campaigns to promote Austin’s entertainment industry. He currently serves as Chair of the Austin Music Commission and sits on the Joint Cultural Committee and Visitors Impact Task Force. For 40 years, he has fostered numerous private, public, and non-profit sector endeavors as a musician, promoter, journalist/publisher (Austin Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, TODO Austin), and in various positions at the University of Texas at Austin.During his longtime involvement in Austin music, he has collaborated with artists as diverse as Roky Erickson, Ruben Ramos, Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Garcia produced some of Austin’s earliest punk, indie, metal, dance, rap and hip hop shows in the 1980s at legendary venues including Antone’s, Liberty Lunch, the Ritz, Austin Opry House, City Coliseum and more recently, SXSW Latin music showcases. At UT, he has been instrumental in a partnership of Austin music, Butler School of Music and Longhorn Athletics.

Garcia is also involved in project management and economic development as Executive Director of Austin Dia de los Muertos and as Assistant Director of the UT Project on Conflict Resolution. Additionally, he serves as a board member of the Pecan Street Association, Bellas Artes Alliance, Humanitarians in the Arts and Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, among other civic and professional organizations.

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Tomar Williams - Bio

​Tomar Williams:

Tomar and the FCs is a soul band out of Austin, Texas.

Lead singer, Tomar Williams, got his start singing lead and playing various instruments on the Chitlin Circuit with his family band as a youngster. He worked as a musician and backup singer on the Austin scene in the 80s and 90s. Starting in the late 90’s, Tomar and his brother, Salih, produced iconic southern Hip-Hop tracks for Big Mo, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and many more. In the early 2010s, he played keys and helped lead the Black Ties, the backing band for Texas soulstress Latasha Lee.

In 2015, three decades after his last show with the family band, Tomar returned to his roots as a frontman. Tomar and the FCs debuted during SXSW and released their first EP, “Day by Day”, in October. Deborah Sengupta Stith of the Austin American Statesman selected it as one of her top releases of the year writing, “Williams shows his own soul chops with searing vocals that drip with blood, sweat and tears”.

Tomar and the FCs opened 2016 with a NYE show at the historic Austin Continental Club and played an official SXSW showcase in March. In June, NPR music selected the FCs to represent Austin for their Tiny Desk Concert series. In November, the band released their debut album, “Heart Attack”, recorded and mixed at Level One studio with Grammy winning artist/engineer Adrian Quesada (Brownout, Grupo Fantasma, and Echocentrics).

Tomar Williams – Vocals
David Earl – Organ
Mitch Fischels – Bass
Andy Tenberg – Guitar
Paul Kresowik – Drums