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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

In Austin, Texas, the annual South by Southwest Music Festival is in full swing. More than a thousand acts will take to the stage. At South by Southwest, few people are busier than Andy Langer. He's a local Austin DJ, and he's built a national reputation with his ear for talent. NPR's Neda Ulaby is at South by Southwest. She spent a day with Andy Langer and some people who look to him for the latest buzz about the hottest new musicians.

NEDA ULABY: Andy Langer staunchly denies having much of a musical influence on the national music scene. But some think his taste is impeccable.

Mr. LYLE LOVETT (Singer, Songwriter): I think people recognize Andy as the go-to guy in Texas.

ULABY: That's Lyle Lovett. He's on tour. He phoned in from the road.

Mr. LOVETT: If I'm going to come to town for the weekend to Austin, we'll call Andy and say, who's in town? Who's playing? What's going on?

ULABY: In Austin right now, the answer would be 1,300 bands playing literally 24 hours a day at clubs, bars, street corners and hotel lobbies.

(Soundbite of music)

ULABY: During South by Southwest, Andy Langer hosts a show first thing every morning, at 7 AM in the plush Four Seasons Hotel lobby. There he introduces up-and-coming bands to the kind of people who stay at the Four Seasons.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) Oh, baby, you're for me.

ULABY: Even so early, it's standing room only. But that's not unusual for Austin.

Mr. ANDY LANGER (Disc Jockey): Where your Monday or Tuesday night audience looks like a Friday or Saturday audience in any other city. You know, people have made it their priority to go see live music on a regular basis.

ULABY: Even for Austin, this week is extreme. It's like Austin on steroids.

Mr. LANGER: This is a small town with a big music community. You know, they call it the little town with the big guest list.

ULABY: Andy Langer believes the acts most likely to break out of South by Southwest this year are international. He mentions Amy Winehouse, the young British singer with a much-publicized appetite for booze, and a singer from Scotland barely out of his teens.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. PAOLO NUTINI (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) Hey, hey.

Mr. LANGER: It's still early in young Paolo Nutini's career. He's a genuine, singular talent. I mean, he sings a little different than everyone. He writes a little different than everyone.

Mr. NUTINI: (Singing) You said you'd marry me if I was 23. But I'm one night you can see if I'm only 18. Tell me who made these rules...

Mr. LANGER: I expect there's going to be a giant, James Blunt kind of backlash against him later on. People are going to think he's a little too precious, a little too quaint. But I think people are going to like Paolo Nutini in the kind of numbers that allow for backlash.

ULABY: It's not just newbies creating buzz at South by Southwest. In the sort of moment the festival is known for, The Who's Pete Townshend joined Ian McLagan of The Faces in a tribute to musician Ronnie Lane.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. IAN MCLAGAN (Singer, Songwriter): Hey Pete, sing one for Ronnie, would you?

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. PETE TOWNSHEND (Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter): (Singing) She learned me, life is sweet, God is good.

Mr. MCLAGAN: (Singing) He always will provide.

Mr. TOWNSHEND: (Singing) She taught me all I ever knew, and she taught me a whole lot more besides.

ULABY: DJ Andy Langer hosted that show last night, and was back behind the mic this morning at 7 AM. He doesn't sleep much during South by Southwest. He estimates maybe 10 hours over five days. Remember, he's the go-to guy. Michael McDonald is a manager to such musicians as The Wigs and John Mayer, who, he says caught Langer's ear years ago.

Mr. MICHAEL MCDONALD (Musical Talent Manager): He's the mayor of Austin. Everyone comes through Austin. It has an amazing musical reputation, and I think Andy has really just become part of that culture. And he becomes part of your visit to Austin. There's a show, there's barbeque and there's Andy Langer.

ULABY: For those who haven't yet met him, Langer's the guy dashing around Austin with a nice smile, a cup of coffee and a big yawn.

Neda Ulaby, NPR News, Austin.

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