There’s something about songwriters from Texas that sets them apart from their contemporaries from around the country.

Folks like Guy Clark. Dale Watson. Ray Wylie Hubbard. Nanci Griffith. Ryan Bingham. And so many more. Their work seems to have an extra dash of kick ass and grit.

Chuck Hawthorne certainly can keep company with all l of them. His sophomore release, Fire Out Of Stone, dropped last week. This collection of songs is as Texas as they come, rich with dusty boot honesty and echoes of the wide open Texas plains.

“Amarillo Wind” and “I Will Fight No More Forever” are two of the finest songs I have heard all year.

Austin has long been on my list of places to visit, so I recently caught up with Chuck to let him dish on his hometown, one of the most musical cities in the country.

BRO – Best place to catch a show?

CH – If you want to hear every word and every note, one of the last listening rooms is the Cactus Cafe on the UT campus. That’s one hell of a storied room. If you want to kick your heels up at a honky tonk, try The Broken Spoke or Giddy Ups. Somewhere in between are The Saxon Pub and Continental Club. The Paramount Theater is the place to catch the big acts.

BRO – Favorite place for a post-show libation?

CH – Try this. Check out Mystery Monday, hosted by Christine Albert, with her mystery guest, at El Mercado. Then cruise over to Donn’s Depot for the post-show soiree with Chris Gage behind the keys. It’s tradition.

BRO – Local band our readers should know about?

CH – You’ll have a hell of a good time if you can catch Walt Wilkins & The Mystiqueros in town. They’re not afraid to have fun, and the songs . . . well, you’ll see.

BRO – Favorite local distillery?

CH – Desert Door Distillery. They make a sotol that’ll make alliteration impossible.

BRO – Best place for hunting vinyl?

CH – I don’t hunt vinyl much, but I’m partial to Waterloo Records. I discovered Waterloo and credit cards around the same time. That was a mighty dangerous combination. Catch an indoor performance if you can. They have some great ones.

BRO – Favorite local restaurant?

CH – Matt’s El Rancho. You can’t beat the Tex-Mex food. A lot of deals have gone down there, music and other wise. I’ve heard LBJ held court there back in the day.

BRO – Local music hero?

CH – Ray Bonneville has a residence in Austin. If you can catch him in town, he’s the maestro that got me started.

BRO – Favorite outdoor adventure?

CH – The patio at The Saxon Pub. Or camping with Libby Koch at Flathead Lake in Montana with a grizzly bear named Pucker. But the Austin thing to do is float the Guadalupe or Cormal Rivers with a cooler full of your favorite beverage.

BRO – One place an out-of-towner should visit?

CH – Out of town guests usually want to go to the Texas Chili Parlor for a Mad Dog Margarita, a la “Dublin Blues,” the Guy Clark song. We’re forced to take them there. You know, just being good hosts. It’s a tough duty.

If you find yourself in the Texas state capital, Chuck Hawthorne has served up a pretty solid hit list of places to visit. You can catch Chuck live at The Grove on August 4th. Later in August he has dates lined up all around Texas. For more info on those dates, as well as how you can grab a copy of Chuck’s new record, check out his website.

And be sure to listen to “Such Is Life (C’est La Vie),” alogn with tunes from Steve Goodman, The Steel Wheels, Giri & Uma Peters, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.