Friday Night At SXSW With Ryan Bingham And The Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers

Ryan Bingham © Per Ole HagenFriday night during SXSW in Austin was a wet night. My original plan was to start with the Auditorium Shores outdoor concerts, then go to different showcases around town. But with the rain and generally unfriendly festival weather, I changed plans. So I started at the Auditorium Shores, than went to a special South Austin event instead of running around on 6th Street or Red River. (Picture above: Ryan Bingham)

Ryan Bingham © Per Ole HagenRichard Bowden

Ryan Bingham was the last act out on the Auditorium Shores stage. Because of the rain, the organizers had cordoned of parts of the venue, where it was so soaked they didn’t want the fans to go. This meant that the photo pit wasn’t available, meaning the few photographers that came had to stand further bad, with the restricted movement.

Ryan Bingham © Per Ole HagenRyan Bingham

This might be the photographer nagging, but it goes to why all the photos are from the same position. Ryan Bingham is one of the most interesting new country artists, and he had also deserved a much bigger audience than ha had. But he made a great show with his fellow musicians. His style is more folk rock than pure country, and it sounded really good. I noticed that Bingham had an old acquaintance, Richard Bowden, on fiddle, and he really made one of the songs rock with his fiddle solo

Ryan Bingham © Per Ole HagenRyan Bingham won an Academy Award and a Grammy for the song The Weary Kind, the main song for tyne critically acclaimed movie Crazy Heart in 2010. Bingham is one of the newer country artists who don’t necessarily cater to the traditionally conservative country credo. Musically he in my opinion far more interesting than  many of the artist who are play listen on country radio,

Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers © Per Ole Hagen

Because of the rain, I went straight op to the On-2-One Club on South Lamar. This is a relative new club, and it was my first visit. The band for the night was the South Austin secret, The Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers. They are a band made up of different musicians, who have played the Hippie Church spot at noon at Maria’s Taco XPress one Sunday every month for 11 years. The money that and the other artists made from the tip bucket, have gone, and is still going to charity. They disbanded a few years ago, and this was their reunion concert.

Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers © Per Ole Hagen

The Harmonizers have had some regular members, and some others, depending on if they were available. Friday night had this line up, from the left: Kim Deschamps on pedal steel guitar, Scrappy Jud Newcombe on vocals and guitar, Papa Mali, vocals and guitar, Carolyn Wonderland,vocals and guitar, Shelley King, vocals and guitar, Martha Merriall Chang on vocals, Sarah Brown on vocals bass and Cole El Saleh on keyboard, plus Paul Buddha Mills on vocals and drums. If you haven’t seen them before, or didn’t see them Friday night, you might unfortunately not get another chance.

Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers © Per Ole Hagen

The nice thing about this concert, was that the whole “South Austin Family” plus many others had turned out, They are the regulars at Hippie Church at Maria’s Taco XPress every Sunday. They are great people, regular folks, some old hippies, but mostly friendly people who care about each other and who like good music. And that was what they got, The harmonizers kept it going for two hours with gospel songs interpreted in their special way, and with some really good vocal arrangements.It was a real special night, and I am glad I got to be there.

All picture are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.

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