Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

March 20, 2011

SXSW

Filed under: Austin,Music,Radio stuff — Janice @ 11:35 pm

I would like to put off posting about SXSW until I can put some pictures with the story and digest it all a bit, but knowing my history (remember reading all those posts about my great New Year’s Day trip? No, you don’t.) I guess I’d better post something, anything, to remember the events of the past week.

I won’t go into the worst part about SXSW… No, it isn’t that town is in a gridlock for 10 days. It’s that Mark works 12 to 16 hours days for a solid week. He is so beat up and exhausted that it isn’t even worth the big paycheck that’s coming. No one should have to put in the overnight, impossible hours and frustrations. Yes, that’s the worst part.

But, for the good part… I got to see a couple of artists that I like. I didn’t really discover anyone that I hadn’t heard of before this year. But two years ago, I heard a guy named Brian Wright at a little daytime show that I think John Patillo put on. I truly don’t remember being knocked out by the show, but I met him afterward and he gave me a CD. The CD was by his group Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies… memorable name, right? I really liked the CD and as two years have gone by and I’ve weeded out CDs and thrown away many by dear friends, I have always kept that one around because it was unique and memorable. Last week I was doing some of my work on my job and discovered that he has a new CD coming out March 29 under just the name Brian Wright (no Waco Tragedies this time). That surprised me and reminded me of him immediately and I was SO happy to discover that he would be at SXSW. I got to see him play Friday afternoon at his record label’s private day party (Sugar Hill Records). The new album is great and I recommend the song Accordion. It has a lyric that says something like: She’s never gonna be bored again, she’s gonna get herself an accordion. Perfect lyric! See how he rhymes “bored again” with “accordion”? You don’t hear Kenny Chesney writing lyrics like that, my friend. Don’t go getting this CD expecting it to be country. It’s not really. Unless you think Steve Earle is country. Then maybe it is.

My other highlight of the festival was seeing Jon Byrd today at Amelia’s on South First… with about 8 other people. I had never seen him before, but his was one of the very few CD’s that I received while I was at the radio station that made me sit up and take notice. Truly, there are probably 10 CD’s or less that made a GOOD impression on me during the five years I was at the station. That doesn’t mean all the others were bad — though most were — but there were only a few that made me listen over and over and hang on to them. His was one. From his liner notes, I knew he knew my friend Walt Wilkins and some others, but it was also apparent that he doesn’t do a lot of touring. For a while I would check his site, hoping he would tour and make a swing through Texas, but it seemed like he only played in Nashville. I lucked into knowing that he was in town when I saw a post on Facebook about my friend Karen playing with “Jon Byrd.” I had to check to make sure it was the right one because there is a folk singer named Jonathan Byrd that has been playing locally a lot, but she and her husband Jim assured me that this was the one that had the CD Jon Byrd’s Auto Parts. So I got to see him today at Amelia’s with just him and a sideman (Tom Mason I think he said) and it was great. He has a great voice, a terrific way with words, and good stories to tell. I would go see him a lot if he were to play here, but I’m glad I got the opportunity today. And I’m incredibly grateful it was down south, uncrowded, I had a place to sit, and I didn’t have to walk 6 blocks to get there. My get-up-and-go had gotten-up-and-went by today and some of those things I did for music on Thursday could not have been done today.

So those were my two musical highlights of the week, but I truly enjoyed many other venues, artists, parties, and experiences of the festival. But I’m also glad that life returns to normal tomorrow…

Well, sort of. I’ve been called for jury duty so there may be all sorts of excitement in my days ahead.

1 Comment »

  1. Hello,
    I hear SXSW can be a zoo. Looks like you missed a gem of an artist called ROBINSON. I think he just might be up your street. I am happy to send you his first album, and he is putting the finishing touches to his second album which is semi acoustic if you would like to send a snail mail address.

    Many thanks.

    Comment by Sue-Ling — May 19, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

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