SXSW ’09: Day Four

Written by Music, SXSW '09

Les Paul lineupMy photos for SXSW Day Four are up on Picasa.

37,000 FEET OVER AMERICA — This 737 is headed east, about an hour from touchdown in Newark. I thought I’d take this opportunity to provide a recap of my activities on the fourth and final day of SXSW ’09.

I have to tell you that I more or less punted yesterday. Sore feet, an aching back, and the feeling that what I’d seen on Friday could not be topped, all led to my decision to kick back a little. That doesn’t mean that the day was without rewards. It’s simply impossible to attend SXSW without reaping some of the benefits just by walking around.

First I’d like to issue an apology to my friends in the wonderful Texas band Orange Is In. I was really looking forward to their afternoon gig yesterday, but a late start, and traffic on the way downtown caused me to miss their set. I hope that you’ll check them out though. I had the opportunity to see them play, and meet them, when they performed at The Saint in Asbury Park last year. They’re a really good band, and nice people as well.

My first stop was the Austin Convention Center for the Texas Guitar and Record Show. It was the most amazing collection of guitars that I’ve ever seen. Check out my photos to see what I mean. The one that stands out in my mind was a 1958 Gibson ES335 that was valued at $49,500, though there were a few others in that price range as well. The record part of the show was smaller, but there were some good finds, and prices were extremely reasonable.

Still at the Convention Center, I caught a 3:00 p.m. set by a band that was on my list. The Spinto Band, from Delaware, appeared on the SESAC Day Stage. Bands only get about twenty minutes in that venue, but I found the Spintos to be delightfully clever in terms of their songwriting, and their performance. Let’s put it this way … kazoo was a prominent interest in several of their songs, including one that featured dual kazoo. The Spinto Band has an album out on Park the Van Records. Check it out.

As luck would have, a wonderful panel called Woodstock: Untold Stories was starting nearby in the Convention Center just as the Spinto Band finished, so I headed over there. A stellar panel had been assembled for the occasion that included musicians who had played at Woodstock; Greg Rolie and Michael Shrieve of Santana, and Credence bassist Stu Cook. Noted producer and engineer Eddie Kramer (most famous for his work with Jimi Hendrix) who recorded and mixed the audio was on hand, as was the still-wacky leader of the Hog Farm, Wavy Gravy. Filmmaker Barbara Kopple (“Our Generation” a documentary about the three Woodstock Festivals, 1969, 1994, and 1999) took part. She’s working on a new film about the famous festival that will be on the History Channel in September. Michael Lang, producer of the original festival was there, still boyish with that mop of curly hair. In fact, as I write this, he’s sitting right across the aisle from me on the airplane. Michael’s book about the festival,the ultimate insider’s look,“The Road to Woodstock”, comes out on July 14. Oh, and how can I forget the great Jocko Marcellino from Sha Na Na?

The point of the panel was to promote the deluxe 40th anniversary dvd-blu ray edition of the great Michael Wadleigh film “Woodstock,” which will be released by Warner Home Video on June 9. The film includes a lot of concert footage that was not in the original film, and some of that footage was shown to us yesterday. I can tell you that it made me really excited about seeing all of the new material.

Continuing this back on terra firma …

By the time the Woodstock panel (and a nice after party with good free barbecue) was over, I was pretty much done. It was still late afternoon though, and the shuttles didn’t start running again until 10 p.m. So, although my heart, and feet, were not in it, I set my sites on the Bloodshot Records artist’s showcase at the Red Eyed Fly.

Bloodshot Records, out of Chicago, is one of the great indie labels, and perhaps the greatest when it comes to American roots music. They have a wonderful roster of artists, including Justin Townes Earle, who I mentioned in an earlier post. First up was a new Bloodshot artist, but a veteran performer, Exene Cervenka of the legendary L.A. punk band X. Her new sound is predominantly acoustic, but the songs echo the kind of stuff she was doing in X. Next came the Deadstring Brothers, who are your basic good time southern rock band, with sort of a Delaney and Bonnie vibe.

At this point, the shuttles were running again. I was done.

Look for my recap of the entire festival coming up in the next day or two.

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