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Making Sense of a Trying Year

For not even close to the last time, Houston isn't Austin — music isn't an essential component of either this city's economy or its self-image, and probably never will be. That's not entirely a bad thing. Like those weird exotic plants that only grow in the dark, the music scene's low profile fosters an underground that's as fertile as it's ever been.

And, even in Houston, live music is far from a luxury. As the economy falters and things seem to grow more uncertain by the day, its fundamental role as spiritual tonic only gets bigger. More than anything else, music — whether Tom Petty or Two Star Symphony — is the beacon reminding us that no, we don't have to live like a ­refugee.

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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