Austin Music Impresario Clifford Antone Dead at 56

Clifford Antone, whose Antone's club became a legendary music venue in Austin, Texas, was found dead Tuesday (May 23) at his apartment in Austin at age 56. A blues fanatic, Antone was 25 when he opened the original club in 1975. Although the club later moved three times, Antone's club increased Austin's awareness of blues by presenting legendary acts such as John Lee Hooker and B.B. King while also helping to launch the careers of Austin-based acts including Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Charlie Sexton. In 1987, Antone launched a record label, Antone's Records, that specialized in blues acts but also released albums by Johnny Bush, the Derailers, Alejandro Escovedo, Tish Hinojosa and others. In 2000, Antone began serving a three-year prison sentence on federal charges of drug trafficking and money laundering for a scheme involving marijuana. In September 2005, Antone organized a Hurricane Katrina benefit in Austin that featured performances by Willie Nelson, the Neville Brothers and others.

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