Roots Vibes

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SXSW 2022 (Mon/Tues)

You really put a lot of effort into journeying all the way over the pond to Austin Texas for March’s SXSW Festival. This year even more so, what with the pandemic & PCR test 24 hours before you go. So my mind was literally put on hold for musical expectations until I actually got on that plane.Accompanied by Richard & Harold & with the new “ten-hour” flight route from London, I had plenty of time to check out a music schedule anyway & eagerly arrived to the heat of Texas & the cool vibe of the live music capital of USA. I’m quite experienced with the city, having been coming here since 1998 but it really seemed like another place. All the new murals on every street corner (great), a multitude of more tall buildings (inevitable) & here’s by far the worst, all the kids on electric scooters (you can easily get around walking). Nothing puts me off a bit of music even if exhausted though, so my first taste of Texas was Mike & The Moonpies @ The Blind Pig on 6th Street. I cannot recall how many times this band has rescheduled their JHot Club show, so I thought at least Id see them on home soil. The show was full of young cowboys & cowgirls & The Moonpies had a modern 70’s country rock slant to their music. I liked them, as did the locals, as the place was full on a Monday night.
Tuesday– I think SXSW actually started on Sunday but I wasn’t going to run around like a madman this time, quality over quantity for me. So, it was up to Gureo’s for breakfast & scrambled eggs and corn tortillas. My lunch was a pepperoni pizza from Home Slice across the road & what joy it was to hear my name Grey.hemmmmm being called to pick up. Musically, I got to see three artists.

Whitney Rose @ The Continental Club. Mike, her manager was telling me that the club was completely shut for 14 month during the pandemic. Getting people back regularly to live music is a worldwide problem but with artists like Whitney (a countrified Dusty Springfield) with a hand picked backing troupe (Brad/Lisa from Dave Alvin’s band) Dave Leroy Biller & Rich Brotherton guitars, I was listening to the cream of Austin talent. I only bought three albums on this trip; Whitney’s was the first.

8 ½ Souvenirs @ C Boys. This joint is the swanky lounge version of The Continental Club & owed by the same person. Its also the perfect place to hear 40’s styled French Jazz swing, as played by Tuesday night regular’s the 6 piece band 8 ½ Souvenirs. The band changed a couple members since my last trip but can swoon & swing just as well & were promoting a brand new album. So my 2nd purchase of the trip was made.

Rosie Flores Blue Moon Quartet @ Continental Gallery. Rosie’s been quite a main stay of the Austin scene for decades & is quite some guitarist. Tonight she’d put the guitar away, just to sing the American songbook in a lovely quartet with Jim Stringer (guitar) Matt Hubbard (piano). Her voice was made for Jazz blues & I could even hear Peggy Lee tones to her voice. A couple shiner beers in hand, sitting amongst the chosen few in this small upstairs gallery, I couldn’t wish for anything more.