Roots Vibes

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I was quite fresh today to pop along to the morning radio show in the Hotel & even had a chat with Andy the presenter as we went into the room. His favourite SXSW radio broadcast was with Kenny Rodgers & amazingly I was there for that one!

Buffalo Nichols– Lilting country blues, Buffalo was the prefect start to any day. Nice and light & mellow, & solo on his Dobro guitar. He sounded like Eric Bibb & has recently moved here to make a mark.

Bronco – Two brothers from Austin University, banjo/guitar, harmonies. A young sound but a bit backdated as they were not unlike Mumford & son

Alison Russell & Band – Were so proud of Alison. She has had three Grammy nominations for her recent work & has stepped up to major league. She was given a bit longer to make a speech on the radio & the tunes sounded like her old band Po’girl. She got the biggest standing ovation I’ve ever seen too. Anyway she was so pleased to see me, and we got a photograph together. JT (her hubby) was looking after their little girl. I hope we see JT & The Clouds again…I miss them.

Bob Schneider– Once a mighty name in Austin music I’ve always quite liked this man & his music. He’s put a bit weight on & took a bit weight off his tunes. They were almost two comic tunes. One simple guitar/vocals, the other beats & voice

Afterward I got picked up off George Brainard, a famed photographer here & a good friend of mine, for a photo shoot. We went to the oldest district in Austin, Hyde Park & a community store that’s been there for 70-80 years. In fact George’s old band The Muleskinners got publicity shots taken right here 30 years ago. Ross the owner of the little store came out & it’s the first time in a couple decades He & George had saw one another. So we were here quite some time!
After some damn good Taco’s/enchiladas on 31st near the University I was ready for more live music. Unfortunately at Lucy’s Fried Chicken Herni Herbert Rocking Band were the worse thing Id heard all week; But It wasn’t long till they had finished.

Tommy McLain, CC Adcock @ Lucy’s Fried Chicken. Just turned 82 year old Swamp pop legend Tommy McLain was helped through the crowd to the stage & took his place at the piano. Accompanied by CC Adcock the prodigious guitar player from Lafayette we were sent back in time to the Crescent city in the 60’s with their music. Tommy had a huge US hit with Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams” & was promoting a new album in more than 4 decades. Time stood still with their sound & Austin guitar legend Charlie Sexton guested on the last couple tunes. A top 3 SXSW highlight.

John Doe Folk Trio@ Lucy’s Fried Chicken. John’s based in Austin now & plays regularly with Kevin Smith (Upright Bass) & Conrad Choucroun (drums). They were a highlight last time I came & were excellent today to a capacity crowd. Acoustic suits John Doe & he finished a great set by dueting with Susan Cowsill on a song about love and hate. What a voice she’s got too.

Jaimee Harris in the street. Walking down the road from Lucy’s & set up a few blocks down, next to her caravette was indie folk singer/songwriter Jaimee Harris. She had the Western Youth frontman backing her with harmonica & doing a few ditties himself. I stood in the street for half an hour & was enthralled, as they were as good as many official acts. I’m not surprised though as Jaimee has been mentored by Mary Gauthier !

Seratones @ SxSan Jose. I got my times all mixed up & joined a very trendy crowd in the parking lot on hot spring teatime for another taste of Louisiana. With a powerhouse, full on singer & a soul/rock sound Seratones were very entertaining. They had a bit of disco in their music as my hips were swaying … very nice

Houndmouth @ Sx San Jose. Id came to see these but didn’t realise they were headline & had my evening planned right opposite the road. So I only got 30 mins of their set. They reminded me in a good way, of being back in “No Depression” days of head swaying alt/country rock. They’ve been together 7 years and are an extremely tight Americana unit & no surprise they were headlining.

Emily Gimble & Band @ Continental Gallery. I got through lockdown watching Emily & her husband’s live streams from their house on the outskirts of Texas. Here she was live with her wonderful quartet. I had to pinch myself. Emily’s grandfather Johnny Gimble was a legendry fiddle player on the western swing scene. She has a lot of Western Swing in her music but lots of other songs too. Her voice is just incredible & her piano playing so good & the band were hot as hell players. It was $10 in & I was the only person not a dancer here. It didn’t matter to me, as I love watching the dancing too.

Croy & The Boys @ San Jac Saloon. Id heard a buzz about this local country act as they’d played quite a few gigs already. So I was happy to catch this late night set on 6th street. The guy on the door said to climb the exit stairs to directly enter & I was at the front of stage. What surprised me was 1) the whole room was singing along to Cory, they knew every single word 2) A girl was in Croy & The Boys 3) I was the oldest in the crowd by about 30 years …well maybe that wasn’t a surprise. He’s certainly an entertainer & looks like a young Kinky Friedman. His band has keyboards/accordion &
no steel player but that was ok as they do some Tex Mex style tunes. The songs are a hoot too like “If I Die In Waco” & “ Kicking Indie Kids Arses” As if that wasn’t good enough they finished with a James Hand cover, as the perfect nightcap. I was in Honky Tonk heaven.