Cosmic Cowboys, Thunderbirds, and Punks: From Austin Countercultures to the 'Live Music Capital of the World'
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The complex musical traditions of the American Southwest reflect the vastly diverse ethnic cultures long present throughout the region. For hundreds of years, the Southwest has been a cultural crossroads for Native Americans, Hispanics, Anglos, African Americans, Germans, Czechs, and many others, all of whom have left an important imprint on the area's musical history. As historian Gary Hartman notes, "The number, variety, and placement of the state's ethnic communities are unique in all of North America, and they have allowed for a prolific cross-pollination of musical cultures that has given Texas music its special character." Today, music continues to be a vital cultural element in defining what it means to be Texan.