Full time support: Part Time Ex’s with two Austin natives playing for the arts

Published 5:35 am Saturday, November 9, 2019

On Nov. 16, Austin Area Arts will present Part Time Ex’s, part of the Music @ the Bank concert series.

It’s the perfect time and opportunity for two of the band’s members to come back and not only share their newest four-song EP, but to be a part of continuing to  grow the Austin art scene.

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“It’s really important for me to try to contribute back to the presence of art in Austin, because the presence of art in my life originated and was influenced by my growing up in this community,” said Part Time Ex’s founder and Austin native Jonathon Stowell. “To talk about it is important. It brings awareness of how are can have an influence on students’ lives in the community.”

Stowell is a prime example of this, along with guitarist Nick Tobar. Both are Austin graduates, with Stowell graduating in 1999 and Tobar in 2003.

Stowell was very active musically while going to school. He sang in the high school choir, performed in the theatre and took part in any musical endeavor he could find.

That musical stride kept going after he graduated and took a center focus of his life in the years that followed.

Along the way, he witnessed how art has changed in Austin as well as how art has changed Austin.

“I think it’s been a concentrated focus in the last 15 years or so,” Stowell said of the art scene. “You’ve had things like the Austin Symphony Orchestra, which is kind of unique for a city this size. Emergence of the ArtWorks Festival, gallery and storefront space has kind of changed with that.”

Park Time Ex’s at an outdoor show.

Stowell began setting the foundation of Part Time Ex’s in 2014 and at Thanksgiving of that year, he happened to see Tobar playing at Bobbee Joe’s in east Austin. Before that, Stowell had really only know about Tobar through a friendship with Tobar’s older brother.

But what he heard was enough to convince him to see if there was a partnership worth pursuing.

“I told him that I would be moving back to the metro in the next couple months and that we should do something,” Stowell remembered.

With the addition of drummer John Hicks, Ben Hering on trumpet and Benjamin Greenwald on bass, the line-up was set.

The writing of songs for the group comes from an extensive background of musical influences ranging from Bob Dylan to Nirvana; however, there isn’t one aspect of either or any other bands that imparts on the band soley. The freeing aspect of Part Time Ex’s is that each song can sometimes carry its own influence.

“This EP, the songs are all pretty unique,” Stowell said. “The first is a blues standard, then there’s old country tune, a surf rock tune and the last is a heavy metal song.”

As Stowell explains it, “… it’s a reflection of consuming and processing several kinds of music and the influences of the rest of the band.”

Since forming, Part Time Ex’s have travelled the rich music scene of the Twin Cities area, which has been made easier by Stowell’s time in an Americana band from 2005-2012. Made easier, but of course there are challenges.

“I have a lot of relationships with clubs and bars from that period of time,” Stowell said, but countered by saying, “Overall, it’s a pretty competitive marketplace for performance opportunities.”

But it adds to an appreciation for the arts of any kind, especially in smaller communities like Austin, where the arts have flourished.

When the ArtWorks Center opened downtown, Stowell played as an early fundraiser of sorts, and he’s eager to continue to give that kind of support when he can.

The group will play from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 on the second floor. There is a $5 admission. There will be a beer and wine bar and all revenues of the drink sale and 50 percent of door take go to Austin ArtWorks Center.