Nile Rodgers is one of the most successful musician, producer, composer in our time. He is also one of the artistically greatest. Through the work of CHIC, David Bowie, Madonna, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and countless others he has been part of the soundtrack for several generations in the Western world. This year Nile Rodgers was the keynote at the SXSW Music Conference.
This year’s Barn Dance after SXSW is over, was my 19th Barn Dance so far. They have all been different, but all have had the same kind of ingredients: great bands and artists, great food, great surroundings, and most of all, great people from South Austin and the world around. A lot of things is happening in Austin that slowly takes away what makes it my favorite city. I just hope the Barn Dance will survive those changes for many years still to come. (Photo above: Darling West with Leeann Atherton)
One of the good things about SXSW is the mix of all kinds of styles. There is a misconception among some of my fellow Norwegians that in Texas, everything is about country music. They can’t be more wrong, and specially during SXSW. I’d rather say there could be a little more country at the festival. On Wednesday I managed to see two metal bands – one sludge metal, the other doom metal – two country/Americana acts, a psychedelic pop act, one old time rock hero, a pop and rock singer songwriter and a modern pop artist. (Picture above: Aurora)
Thursday night at SXSW I went for country music and Americana. Loretta Lynn played at Stubb’s, so I started there. Then I went over to The Gatsby and saw Sam Outlaw, Wynonna Judd, Hayes Carll, Asleep At The Wheel and Jack Ingram. That was not the worst way to spend a night in Austin.
The first Monday during SXSW this year I was invited by an artist I know, to ride with him and his family to Donn’s Depot. I had never been there before, but what a place! That first night I ended up being there, talking with the musicians after the show until the place closed for the night. Last Monday I just had to go back again.
The first time I saw Ian Moore was in 2005, and then some years later at the Continental Club. I remember his playing and his extrovert show as something special. This year he played at the Continental Club again during SXSW, at 1 AM the last day of the festival. And it was the perfect artist to close SXSW for me.
This year I followed up my favorite SXSW Austin tradition of attending Leeann Atherton’s Barn Dance at her house the Sunday after the festival is over. This year the weather wasn’t as cooperative as the last years, but in spite of the cold, everyone had a great time. The BBQ was good, the music was great, the people friendly – in short – just as it always is at Leeann’s. (Picture above: Hedvig Mollestad and Leeann Atherton)
One of the premiers at the Film festival during SXSW was the documentary and concert film Road to Austin. The film was screened Thursday, and after the screening, many of the artists who participated in the film held a concert. The film is a perfect introduction to why the music scene in Austin is like it is. (Picture above: screen shot from the trailer to Road to Austin)
I have liked Hedvig Mollestad Trio since the first time I saw them. This year they play several gigs at SXSW, and I got to see a off-festival gig at Leeann’s Traveling Barn Dance at Maria’s Taco XPress yesterday. Their music is hard and loud guitar-based jazz rock, and they showed us how the experts do it.
Guy Forsyth is one of my all time favorite Austin musicians. I have written about him on this blog before, and Friday night I saw him at another pre SXSW late night show at the Saxon Pub. I can’t count all the different settings I have seen and heard him in, everything from solo, with a tuba, with the Asylum Street Spankers to a pop band setting some 10 years go. This time he was reunited with his old compadre George Rarey, and he played one of the best sets I have ever heard from him.