AUSTIN (KXAN) — As much more than 20,000 spectators trickled into Q2 Stadium for Austin FC’s inaugural property match June 19, Austin-based singer-songwriter Aaron Stephens geared up for his largest effectiveness nevertheless. Stationed on the pitch mere toes from Matthew McConaughey, he executed a funky guitar rendition of the National Anthem — no stress, he stated.

“I was so fired up. That there is the most important crowd I have at any time played in entrance of,” he mentioned. “Honestly, Matthew McConaughey was like, around there, and like, I was just a tiny anxious much too, you know, ’cause you undoubtedly want to execute that tune correct. That is a extremely significant song.”

But when it arrived to tackling one particular of the most noteworthy music in the country, Stephens claimed he wished to put his very own spin on the Countrywide Anthem, all even though shelling out tribute to a fellow Texan.

“I feel I saw Gary Clark Jr. play, enjoy slide, but it was a very little various than the way I did it. So I was like, I consider I’m gonna, you know, attempt the slide version,” he stated. “I like the way he did it with that audio. I feel like it is extremely Texas blues.”

Stephens and fellow Austin singer-songwriter and guitarist Jackie Venson took component in league history as the very first artists to complete at the household opener. Venson’s manager, Louie Carr, was common with Stephens’ get the job done and advocated for him to join Venson in the opening working day performances.

Seated at the piano, Venson executed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” usually referenced as the Black National Anthem, before heading down to Antone’s Nightclub off E. 5th Road for two nights of sold-out performances.

The general performance was just 1 highlighted component of obtaining Austin FC’s to start with ever residence video game on Juneteenth, explained James Ruth, the team’s vice president of advertising and marketing.

“When we noticed the program arrive out, and when we recognized that our dwelling opener was on Juneteenth, I suggest, it was anything that we were honored by. We had been honored by the chance to make something that was this kind of an celebration for Austin also an option to highlight this essential form of milestone in this crucial minute,” Ruth claimed. “And to be able to collaborate with any individual like Jackie on producing guaranteed that we honor the working day, even though acquiring our initial household match, was an exciting chance.”

In the weeks and months leading up to Austin FC’s residence opener, the league has comprehensive its endeavours to include aspects of Austin’s cultural legacy and affect in this historic period. Community artist Chris Rogers’ ‘Whispers of the Heart’ mural will grace enthusiasts for a few months, in advance of fellow Austin creatives unveil the upcoming iterations.

The workforce has also utilized the enable of Austin staple restaurants in feeding lovers, together with Effortless Tiger, Pluckers Wing Bar and Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ.

“I imagine for us, our major option is to be a flag bearer for Austin,” Ruth claimed. “You know, I imagine in a great deal of approaches that transcends soccer — that transcends staying a athletics group.”

And for Austin FC lovers perfectly versed in the city’s iconic audio scene, Ruth claimed they can foresee recognizing some acquainted faces at upcoming house online games. Maintaining in craze with the tradition launched Saturday, June 27’s residence match against the Columbus Crew will kick off with a general performance of the Countrywide Anthem by Austin Latin-folks singer, Gina Chavez.

“We’re genuinely enthusiastic for her to choose heart stage and, you know, for it to be an aspect for each and every Austinite which is coming into that stadium to see and be curious about who’s likely to consider the guitar for the subsequent iteration of the Countrywide Anthem,” he claimed.

While Austin FC is a soccer group, Ruth additional he also sees it as an option to marry alongside one another all of the quintessential aspects — the foodstuff, tunes, artistry, cultural legacy and persons — that make Austin the city people know and enjoy.

“It’s an possibility, but it is also a obligation,” he mentioned, introducing: “I imagine we want to be a cultural institution in this article as much as a sports activities group.”