Latest book All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music (UNT Press), featuring 42 profiles of music pioneers, is available now on amazon.com.

Michael Corcoran here. I took the buyout at the Austin American Statesman in June 2011 and since then I’ve devoted my time to passion projects, as well as ones that pay the bills. Currently, I’m researching and writing a book on 1920’s Texas gospel greats Arizona Dranes, Washington Phillips and Blind Willie Johnson. But I also do a lot of writing on sports, music, popular culture, true crime, whatever I’m interested in.

I graduated from the same high school as Bette Midler and have been a music critic since I was 19, first for Sunbums in Honolulu.

Here’s a rundown of my writing life before I moved to Austin in 1984.

Writer Bill Wyman, who I replaced at the East Bay Express in 1988, then got to know in Chicago the next year, was kind enough to write this about me a few years later:

“Readers will remember that Hitsville recently gave an update on the personal doings of another onetime S-T writer, Michael Corcoran. While I was in Texas I picked up a copy of the Dallas Morning News, where Corcoran is now a writer on country. The Morning News is considered to be the best paper in Texas, and this issue demonstrated one of the reasons why: when you have a good writer on hand, you should channel his energies and let him go. It contained a major feature by Corcoran on Houston’s Rap A-Lot records, home of the Geto Boys; Corcoran’s weekly “Country Railbird” column, a collection of sharply observed handicaps on various new C and W singles’ chances of hitting number one; and, apropos of absolutely nothing, his scabrous memoir of Johnny Thunders. My two favorite sentences in it: “William Burroughs has written that junkies look like they’re wearing borrowed flesh, but even face down on tile Johnny Thunders’ skin looked tailor made” and “In JT’s warped and bleary world, the line between vomit and orgasm was erased.” Not bad for one writer’s music coverage at a daily newspaper in Texas.”

– Bill Wyman, Chicago Reader March 1993

That you never knew which Corcoran would emerge made him a polarizing figure, yet this much is not debatable: His retirement from the Statesman marks the end of an era in Austin music journalism. His legacy- and the unlikeliness that anyone comes along remotely like him- boils down to attitude…

 Andy Langer, June 2011.

I was named pop music critic at the DMN in ’94 and moved on to the Austin American Statesman the next year. OK, folks who hate my writing- and there are more than a few- will want to stop reading now. This is where we have to talk about some awards and acknowledgements.

On Nov. 28, 2017, I was nominated for two Grammys in the album notes and historical album categories for Washington Phillips and His Manzarene Dreams (Dust-to-Digital). It’s the culmination of 15 years on the trail of the mysterious gospel bluesman. In 2012, I wrote He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes, the Tompkins Square label’s first book/CD, which was nominated for a Grammy as historical album.

More honors: Cox Newspapers “Writer of the Year” (1996) and the Da Capo “Best Music Writing” series for three straight years (2003- 2005). My profile of Billy Joe Shaver won best entertainment feature in the 2003 AAFSE awards and in 2005, my thing on the legacy of trunk-rattling hip hop producer D.J. Screw was voted best feature story by the Texas APME. Awards are like heroin- euphoric at first, but after awhile you need them just to keep from getting sick.

My email address is yikescrawford@gmail.com.

P.O. Box 117, Smithville, TX 78957

17 Responses to “About”

  1. jess said

    Love your articles, they’re hilarious. And true! But you’ll get slammed because we’re not supposed to utter a bad thing against Austin, it’s against the city code, and doesn’t fit in with the local pastime of Austintude. Don’t let any of this bother you though, it’s just bullying and groupthink, carry on!

  2. Reggie said

    For someone who writes about how mediocre Austin is, I believe after reading your bio to say that your career as a writer is mediocre at best and that if you love NYC or LA then by all means do not let the door hit you on the way out! One less assclown in Austin! You and your subpar work will not be missed at all!

    • shim said

      your epic douchey-ness perfectly articulates nearly all that is wrong with you and this place. austin exists so that persons of your mental stature may not be ground up by the real life outside of TX.

  3. Chap Chapman said

    Hang in there, Michael. Austin needs more like you and fewer “Reggies.”

    Now that I’ve found your blog, thanks to John Lomax writing in the Houston Press, I’ll be checking back now and then.


  4. steve williams said

    hey Mike…remember me??? i was at one time the graphic artist in charge of production for John Leonard…at Sunbums…i left in 1975 to go to college in Kentucky….i remember Jackie and the kids..i heard from John Pritchet…who still lives in Hononlulu, that John died. too bad…and what about that guy who owned stone free….rick grey…he is either in jail or passed on by now….
    well, hope you remember me…if you got some old copies…i still do,
    check it out…i remember kathy, peter, and john berger amd used to hang out with hank at his radio station late at night..KTUH……and then there was that black guy named Blue….a long time ago in a land far away..
    take care and hope to hear from you

  5. Michael, I have enjoyed and have been enriched by your work over the years. As I writer, I appreciate your enthusiasm and expertise – keep doing what you’re doing. By the way, I’m not sure we’re “writers” anymore – the new term is “content providers!”

  6. Christopher Keeble said

    Great blog and keep writing.

  7. Tippi said

    I really enjoyed your articles! I think you are funny! Visiting Smithville this Sunday with your recommendations in hand. Thank you!

  8. Krismas said

    Isn’t it funny how a “bad” review about Austin in 2012 might have gotten ya lynched, but in 2015 is redundant dribble as common as triple digit temps in August?

  9. mary hunter said

    Thank You – this is amazing writing and work. i too went to school in Hawaii at the same time. Kalakaua and Leilihua.

  10. Bob said

    Michael, simply a fantastic and personal piece on The Hip. Glad that you got to make the pilgrimage to see them on this tour (was thrilled to watch final show by CBC phone app). I read your piece while listening to the YouTube video, “The Tragically Hip Live at the Misty Moon 1990;” a wonderful “multi media” experience tonight.
    I “discovered” them by accident about ’91 or so, on their first trip to Atlanta opening for Eric Johnson. I took a date, a beautiful, smart, and later, successful interior designer for whom I had a thing. For the first two songs Gord was frantically thrashing about and seemingly possessed, doing what we would all later know was his beautiful thing, the band giving their all for this new audience. In retrospect, this was R.E.M. country and he must’ve determined to put on a great show. I was mesmerized. They paused and Gord opened his eyes for the first time to humbly introduce themselves. The crowd stood stunned and oddly silent. They were here to see a guitar god. A few words in, Gord was interrupted by a woman from the balcony who shouted with crystal clarity, “Are you retarded?!” We were 6 ft. from the front of the stage and saw a flash of pain cross Gord’s face. I was angered and embarrassed by her outburst. Fortunately the crowd was of like mind, and a sudden wave of applause/encouragement gained traction, building throughout the set. We felt protective of them! Like family. The date was a one-off but I was now a Hip fan for life.

  11. Katie said

    After 38 years I moved out of Austin. Have read you a lot while there. Truthfully, I enjoyed Towsend Miller more. Then you pop up in the February Texas Highways writing about Oak Cliff wererI was born and grew up. To bad you weren’t there before it became the “racial melting pot”. It was agrest place to live even though Dallasites looked down on us. At least our parents knew we were safe no matter where or how far we rode our bikes. In our eyes Oak Cliff was much prettier than all of Dallas except Highland Park. But then, we had Stevens Park so we didn’t care. As far as your report in TX Hwys, you’d have done better sticking to reviewing music in Austin “The Liberal Biosphere”! Oak Cilff had back then and is now rediscovering its soul. And to us natives, Davis Street wasn’t the “main drag” it was Jefferson and Red Bryan’s BBQ our hangout.

  12. wog woggerson said

    You shouldn’t write about the origins of the blues if you’re as clueless as your article makes you sound.

  13. Adam Xavier said

    Just read your republished 1989 SPIN article on Soundgarden. It took me back to a place I felt like I grew up despite having never been there. Thanks.

  14. tom thompson said

    TREES ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ2n8zrXcq8

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