Lorrie Darlin’ Is Around the Town with Austin Sounds

Posted on: August 14, 2023
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Around the Town Sounds has aired on KOOP almost 30 years, showcasing Austin-area artists exclusively. Lorrie is in her 5th year as a programmer with the Around the Town Sounds collective.

Michael A. Brown: How did you get involved with the show and how has it evolved since you started?

Lorrie Darlin’: When I was first certified as a KOOP programmer,Around the Town Sounds was a collective with Charlie Martin … who had started the show when the station first went on the air … plus Rob Carter, Kim Simpson, Eric Hungate, and me. Charlie reached out to me, and I was really excited to get on the airwaves. I love Austin music … it was one of the things that made me want to move here. Such a vibrant music scene with many different kinds of shows to check out. It makes my job easy to have so many talented local artists to spotlight.

In the five years I’ve been doing the show, people have joined the collective, but others left, especially during the pandemic when we had to do home recording. When we finally could get back in the studio, Rob and I were the two hosts for a while. I’ve been doing it by myself since last winter.

MAB: Besides building your own playlists, you invite Austin area musicians to submit their music to be considered for airplay. How do you decide who to invite and how do they typically respond to your invitations?

LD: Yes, I do that! Artists sometimes drop off their playlists and CDs at the station and ask that we consider playing them. And sometimes when I run into artists at their shows and I love their music, I tell them I have a radio show featuring local music and ask if they would they like to come to KOOP and play a few songs or maybe do an interview. And they usually gladly accept!

MAB: You like to play music by artists who are performing locally during the weeks of your shows. Do the artists know you’re doing that, and do they mention you and KOOP during their live performances?

LD: I’ll try to tag them on social media to let them know that I’ll be playing their songs on the show that week in case they’d like to tune in. I don’t know how often they mention KOOP in their live performances. If they do, that would be cool. But I have heard from artists saying the KOOP play was the first time they ever heard their song on the radio, which was encouraging to them and that’s a really good feeling. I really enjoy being able to connect our listeners with new bands they may not know. Artists get exposure, venues get exposure, and our listeners get a sample of the fun happening around town.

MAB: Tell us about some memorable live, in-studio musical guests.

LD: One the most exciting guests was the amazing Jackie Venson, who joined me and Kim Simpson in the studio and put on a great performance. Another artist was Caleb De Casper, who did a great piano performance and interview, too. And most recently was B.R. Lively, who gave us a sneak peak of some of his unreleased material. It’s so exciting having performers in the studio live with us!

MAB: How often do local musicians approach you about being on the show and how do you determine if they’re a good fit?

LD: It’s usually the other way around. Occasionally I’ll get an email or DM from someone looking for airplay, but most of the time I discover new music out at shows or online. Anytime I meet someone who says they’re in a band I’ll write the name down to check out later. I use resources like Do512 and the Austin Chronicle to see who’s playing that week. From there I’ll listen to some songs and pick as many as I can fit into an hour-long show. I think at KOOP there’s room for just about everybody. We support underserved artists in our community, so if you play music in Austin, you’re welcome on Around the Town Sounds.

MAB: Which musical genres are Austin musicians most often performing nowadays?

LD: There are so many! Country, folk, and honkytonk. Punk, metal, rock and indie of course. There’s plenty of psychedelic and experimental stuff. Hip hop, electronic, world music. Some great cumbia artists and even some psychedelic cumbia. We’re so lucky to have so many great sounds here!

MAB: Austin is promoted as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World.” Are we?

LD: I personally have not been to another city that compares. I’m sure there are other great music cities, but here I can go to several shows every week, every night even. When I visit friends who live in New York or New Orleans or San Francisco, I’ll ask, “Who’s playing? What should we go to this week?” And they’ll say, “I haven’t gone to a concert in years!” In Austin, there’s someone good performing somewhere every night.

MAB: Besides KOOP, you’re quite active in the Austin community, including on Lady Bird Lake. Tell us about that please.

LD: In my day job, I am a party boat operator licensed by Texas Parks and Wildlife. We do all kinds of cruises on the lake and also bat tours. Right now in August is a great time to see the bats because the baby bats are flying. It’s fun to spend a day out in nature, even if it’s a bit warm, and to see the skyline and the animals and people having a good time.

You can enjoy Around the Town Sounds with Lorrie Darlin’ every Wednesday at 11am.

Interview by Michael A. Brown