« SXSW 2004 - Day 5 | Main | SXSW 2004 - Quote of the Day »

March 17, 2004

SXSW 04 - Wednesday, March 17


The evening started with a delightful dinner at Guero’s, one of my favorite Austin restaurants. I swear that I could eat Mexican food every day of my life, or at least for five days straight in Austin. We raced out of Guero’s to make it to “The Portrait of Billy Joe,” a short documentary on the life of singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, the musician Willie Nelson calls “maybe the best songwriter today.” Told through concert footage, family photos and personal testimonial, the film touches on Billy Joe’s life, loves, and loss (he recently lost his wife, son, and mother), and his personal triumph through the music he loves.

Vicki convinced me we should see Jessi Alexander next, so we headed to the Fox & Hound.

Alexander is a young country singer/songwriter who has a new album coming out. She has a beautiful, soulful voice, and engaging demeanor and sounds little like Lucinda Williams or Mary Gaulthier. At one point, she brought Australian singer/songwriter Jedd Hughes (RIYL: Ryan Adams or Tim Carroll) up on stage to cover a duet of Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Keep Your Distance,” which is a beautiful song. At another point, she began to sing “This World is Crazy,” a song written after the Columbine shootings, but became overwhelmed with emotion. Visibly choked up, she stopped, restarted, then perservered. It’s not you see music this genuine.

We dashed off to the Austin Music Hall to catch Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez next, but managed to see the end of “Class of 78,” a punk supergroup made up of people even I am too old to remember. One of them was in the Big Boys, so they did “Red Green,” but I like the Throw Rag version better. We were then subjected to the Austin Music Awards, with most of the awards being given out by folks from 101X, a radio station I will NEVER listen too based solely on the shitty radio personalities they seem to employ. I believe the Austin Music Awards are the equivalent of the Orange County Music Awards, i.e., they mean almost nothing except to the people involved. Bands who were cleaning up in awards included the Greencards, Los Lonely Boys, and Wide Awake. I would have liked to hear these bands, but they weren’t playing, and I couldn’t take one more minute of the damn awards!

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez played, but their set was painfully short. Highlights included Red Volkaert on guitar, Earl Poole Ball on piano, and Kevin Smith on bass. They performed hits from their recent release, “The Trouble with Humans,” as well as a countrified version of Taylor’s classic hit, “Wild Thing.”

Even though Jen beseeched us to stay for Los Lonely Boys, I couldn’t take one more minute of the bad awards show, so we toddled off to barhop on 6th Street and wound up at Buffalo Billiard’s for Lucero. This Memphis-based band has been compared to The Replacements, Whiskeytown, and Uncle Tupelo, but they remind me more of a cross of Son Volt and the Drive By Truckers (who of course all borrow from the previous bands). The problem is that most of their songs sound the same to me – wistful and witty guitar-heavy alt. country – the good thing is that it’s a really good song, so I guess it’s okay if there’s only one. To close the night, lead singer Ben Nichols performed a solo song with only guitar accompaniment. What a great way to end the night.

Posted by DJWanda at March 17, 2004 11:07 PM | Technorati Cosmos: other blogs commenting on xx- Barflies.net News & Tidbits - xx: SXSW 04 - Wednesday, March 17 Technorati


Hi Wanda,
As director of the Austin Music Awards, I was disappointed to read so many inaccuracies in your report of the 2004 awards show. I sympathize with the plight of being an out-of-towner at a show that honors local musicians but with so much going on at SXSW, I am baffled as to why you bothered to attend.

While I can't vouch for the OC Music Awards, I can tell you that once and future Austin-based musicians such as Lucinda Williams, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fastball, Eric Johnson, Bob Schneider, Timbuk3, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, etc. all got their first career awards here. That may not mean much to you but I bet each and every one of them would say different.

The morning show team from 101X presented two awards, so I am not sure where you got that "most of the awards [were] being given out by folks from 101X."

You also say "Greencards, Los Lonely Boys, and Wide Awake. I would have liked to hear these bands, but they weren’t playing, and I couldn’t take one more minute of the damn awards!" In fact, both Greencards and Los Lonely Boys were on the bill but it seems you couldn't stay.

I am also sorry you found Chip and Carrie set "painfully short." Most awards shows such as the MTV Music Awards and the Grammys put acts up for one song. The Austin Music Awards gives its performers a 20-minute set on average and balances it with 20-minute award sets, so that seldom does more than 20 minutes pass with a music break.

Finally, you "couldn’t take one more minute of the bad awards show." Well, Wanda, I can assure you that if you avoid the Austin Music Awards next year, we won't miss you either.

Margaret Moser

Posted by: Margaret at April 5, 2004 1:03 PM