© 2022 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

'The Living Coast' Explores The Texas Gulf Coast With Music, Imagery And Storytelling

Over the past five years, Justin Sherburn and his band Montopolis have been creating not just music, but a series of immersive concert experiences that focus on the diverse landscape of Texas.

In 2014, they created the soundtrack for  Yakona, an award-winning documentary about the San Marcos River. They followed that up with shows about Enchanted Rock and Big Bend, and this year, Sherburn is again collaborating with the co-director of  Yakona, Anlo Sepulveda, for  The Living Coast. It’s part concert, part documentary, and part travelogue.

“I would call it an immersive experience,” Sepulveda says. “With film, with music, some sound effects. We’ll also have some narration and interviews and soundbites from people who live on the coast.”

As with all their Texas projects, the artists are trying to invoke a feeling in their audience. “[We’re] trying to capture the emotion you get and the feel that you get from visiting these spaces,” Sepulveda says. 

In  The Living Coast, the focus is not only on place but also on the people and animals that inhabit that place. “We’ve got cranes and alligators and surfers and dolphins,” Sherburn says. “And all of that wildlife is well represented.”

As the scope of the filmmaking has grown from project to project, so too has the size of the live band. “This is the biggest band we’ve ever had,” Sherburn says. “Each song responds to each interview – that’s the theme that ties everything together. And musically, I experimented with… I don’t know how nerdy to get with it, but…”

Sherburn pauses for a moment, and after quick encouragement from myself and Sepulveda to get as nerdy as necessary, he continues: “There’s some obvious things, you know, like the 6/8 – like a waltz feel – has that ocean feel. I ended, for the main theme, in a 5/4 feel. That seemed very appropriate, because I do a lot responding to Anlo’s imagery. You know, he’s got this beautiful underwater imagery and that really kind of shaped the main theme of the piece.”

“We did a workshop screening at the North Door,” Sepulveda says. “And that was the first time that I got to hear the music in its full glory. It’s a lot bigger, a lot bolder … just more stuff going on.”

“Yeah, it’s very dynamic,” Sherburn agrees. “We’re still doing the more chamber-music-driven things that were on  Enchanted Rock … but we have the ability to get very big and very loud, and that’s a lot of fun, too.” 

“The Living Coast” will premiere at the Stateside Theater on Aug 2.


The Living Coast - Stateside - Aug 2 from Anlo Sepulveda on .

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit .

Mike is a features producer at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for kut.org. When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.