Roots Vibes

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SXSW 2018 report
Austin music & SXSW are in a new era since I last went 5 years ago. The Festival, although spread out much further into the trendy new high buildings & bungalow bars & street’s of East Austin, has less branding these days, hence not many, if any big names (Keith Urban?) & thankfully not as many big queues (unless its St Patrick’s Day on 6th st – which is always a nightmare). Actually for the first time ever, I didn’t buy a wristband & that saved me a cool $200. I could easily pay $10 at the door to most of what I wanted to see…. & $20 into an amazing Festival at Sam’s Town Point with an outdoor field stage. Take into consideration that the sun shone every single day & it hardly rained & yes indeed I was quid’s in, so thanks SXSW.
Austin music scene used to be awash with rockin’ rootsy bluegrass/americana /retro vintage music. It was my comfort food every year, but unfortunately it hasn’t stayed that way. The young redneck local’s now prefer their music with a mainstream country flavor…. & its not that very good either. Paul Cauthen was one artist in point – once a decent up & coming songwriter/duo with his brother, he was by far, the worst act I saw…. a dreadful sickly achy breaky kind of masque…with long hair & fedora’ being the only fashion difference. Also the less daunting but hip artist seems to have psychedelic jams added to everything they do. The Texas Gentlemen are a super’group /backing band, but were everywhere jamming with everybody & White Denim just bore the pants off me ( sorry….. who’d wear white denim anyway)
Not withstanding all the above, I had an absolutely brilliant time & hope it comes to benefit the Jumpin Hot Club. It was heartening to hear from my friend, the Austin born & bred photographer George Brainard that his favourite band here are Brennen Leigh & Noel MacKay. That CW Stoneking was the big hit of Sam ‘s Town Point -Hideout Festival & that Jesse Dayton probably did the best show of SXSW 18. This certainly mean’s were doing ok with what we already book & of course CW is already penciled for July & Jesse Dayton is now booked for September 7th @ The Cluny.

Here’s my SXSW top four list of sorts

Best Live shows
CW Stoneking @ Sam’s Town Point
Jesse Dayton @ The Continental Club
Waco Brothers @ Yard Dog
John Doe Folk trio @ Lucy’s Fried Chicken

Best new acts (to me)
The National Reserve @ The Blackheart
Ben Dickey @ Sam’s Town Point
Durand Jones & The Indications@ Jo’s Parking Lot
Tyler Childers @ The Ranch (huge crowd)

Best local acts
Jason Eady @ The Ranch
Carson MacHone @Coopers BBQ
Brennen & Noel @ The White Horse
8 ½ Souviners @ C Boys

Best live music venue
Continental Club
Elephant Rooms
C Boys
The White Horse

Best SXSW afternoon chill place
Lucy’s Fried Chicken
Yard Dog

Three Acts I Missed (& Wish I’d Saw)
Lukas Nelson 
Billy Strings
Sweet Spirit