What We’re Into: Recommendations From Austinites Style




George Jones: 22 Early Starday Recordings

The only thing on iTunes that I’m a bit of a junkie on is I collect a lot of the re-masters. I just got George Jones’s 22 Early Starday Recordings from Gusto Records. Starday was a Texas label that shot people to fame like George Jones. I like that one because it has all of the stuff that was the early magic of George Jones, like some rockabilly stuff you wouldn’t think of. It’s a fun, toe-tapping kind of album that wakes you up.

What I like about this one is they have different phases of the artist. This is the start of him being his own personality, and you can hear George Jones in his raw glory. When he first started off, he sounded like Hank Williams; everybody did! Everybody tried to sound like Hank Williams back then. But with this one, he came into his own and that’s what makes George so great.

Hearing George Jones do Heartbreak Hotel – that’s just fun because hearing him sing it is so out of character. It originally came out under his nickname, “Thumper Jones,” back in the day as he tried to jump on the Elvis train. Of course, you get the hits – “Raw Baby Riot” and “Ragged” – but one of my favorite cuts on the album is “If I Don’t Love You (Grits Ain’t Groceries).”



Book: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

A book that truly captivated me recently is Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. My company, Noonday Collection, creates economic opportunity for artisans all over the world by selling their handmade jewelry and accessories. India is our biggest producer country, and this book helped me gain incredible insight into the lives of some of India’s most vulnerable people. I read it before a buying trip to Delhi and it really enriched my experience there.

I haven’t read a book this delicious and smart in a long time. The author writes in such a flowing narrative style that it took me a little while to realize it was non-fiction! Throughout the book, I found myself whipping out my pen to underline and circle – both to highlight the ideas and the incredibly smart writing. (Note to self: must look up “perspicacity” and “sinecure.”) I recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a more global perspective!



Album: Amanaz’s Africa

Amanaz cut this really cool record in 1975. It’s kind of psychedelic. The guys are from Kitwe, Zambia, and the songs are spoken in their native tongue, Bemba, and some of the songs are in English as well. I just got turned onto it a couple of months ago and I’ve been playing it nonstop over and over. I got tipped off to them by a friend… and when I finally listened to them on YouTube, I was blown away. I went and bought I everything I could find on iTunes. I think they only printed 400 copies, so if you find one, it’s worth more than gold.

It reminds me of Cream and this band called Witch, but it’s not as wild as Cream. It’s not as rock and roll-y, but it definitely has songs that get up there. Two of my favorite tracks are “History of Man” and “Sunday Morning.” A couple of songs are fuzzy and remind me of the vocals of Moby Grape. It’s really laid back with fuzz guitar, and the drums are low fi. It’s beautiful music— insanely rich and soulful.


Favorite Movie: Whiplash

I didn’t know what to expect when considering a movie about a student at an elite music conservatory, but this is the crazy intense story of a young, talented drummer, Andrew, doing everything in his power to succeed. He pushes himself to the limits, sacrificing and forsaking so much to get where he wants to go. All the while, he’s beating back the obstacles, namely J.K. Simmons in his Oscar-winning role as the brutal, drill instructor-inspired music teacher.

The student’s drive and perseverance really resonated with me. When I began my career as a makeup artist, I was determined to be the best and wouldn’t let anything stand in my way. Launching Rae Cosmetic a few years later, it sometimes seemed like the roadblocks were Simmons-esque — but tenacity pays off for young Andrew in Whiplash and it has for me, as well.



Miansai Anchor on Leather Bracelet

I always love a good wrap bracelet, but the piece I recently purchased from Miansai truly takes the cake. This Miami-based, nautically-influenced line features handmade pieces utilizing the highest quality leathers and fine metals. Miansai has a traveling showroom trailer – they stopped by W Austin during SXSW last month and I instantly fell in love with their rose gold anchor wrap bracelet. I chose mint leather and somehow this color combination matches everything I’m wearing this spring. The bracelet is so well-made, though, that I can tell it’s going to last me many, many seasons!

Images: George Jones Album Cover (Amazon), Amanaz Album Cover (Okay Player), Book cover (Amazon), Bracelet (Miansai)


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