News and Notes

April 13, 2010

More SXSW 2010: I’ve previously mentioned that Edgar Heckmann, label chief of  Germany’s Blue Rose Records, produces one of my favorite daily SXSW blogs, complete with pictures and video clips.  The only drawback was Edgar’s blog has been that it was written in German.  But due to popular demand, Edgar has begun translating his blog into English!  So now you can get to see Edgar’s view of SXSW without resorting to your German-English dictionary.  The first installment is right here, and there’s more to come.

In my SXSW daily recaps, I mentioned running into high school classmate and music writer Billy Altman.  You can read Billy’s take on his SXSW highlights by checking out his column in the L.A. Daily news here.

In the studio: It’s been five years since Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3 went into the studio and cranked out an album.  Not that Steve has been resting on his laurels during that time; he’s just be writing and recording other things.  But I’m happy to pass on the news that Steve and band mates Jason Victor, Dave DeCastro and Linda Pitmon are now ensconced in a studio in Richmond, Virginia working on the follow up to 2005′s …tick…tick…tick. With any luck, the new record should be out by the end of 2010.

Words to Live By: Robbie Fulks is not only an excellent songwriter, he’s an excellent prose writer as well.  Here’s Robbie’s take on the philosophy of the late Alex Chilton:

Try to appreciate music, all music, without respect for denominations or hardline schools of thought. Do your homework. Don’t let the hipsters and the know-it-alls bully you. Your flaws are yours alone — revel in them. Enjoy esoteric chords.


SXSW Thursday: Taking SXSW Through Strategy

March 20, 2010

Thursday seemed to be a reaction to the freneticism that was Wednesday.  The day’s activities started in the late morning.  Fran decided to go to the American Apparel sale and I set off for the Convention Center to see the keynote with Smokey Robinson.  I got there early enough to grab a seat in the front section of the auditorium, and Bob soon joined me.

Before the Keynote started, a few of the officials of SXSW noted the passing of Alex Chilton.  They also announced that there would be a benefit for Alex’s family held on Saturday at SXSW, but the details were still being worked on.

The Keynote at SXSW is usually an interview and not a speech, and that was its format this year with rock writer Dave Marsh leading the interview.  Smokey shared stories about songwriting, how he got started, and working with Berry Gordy at Motown.  He also offered this advice for people who want to get into the business: get a thicker skin, you didn’t start it (show business) and when you think that the world can’t live without you, that’s when they’ll discover they can.

Before leaving the Convention Center, Bob and I got our express passes for Antone’s that night.  We were going to see The Court Yard Hounds and figured that it since they were 2/3s of The Dixie Chicks, it might be tough to get in.  We then grabbed a quick lunch and went back to our respective hotels.  I decided that since the next show I wanted to catch was at 4pm, I could take the time to rest.  Around 3pm, I got up and left the hotel and made my way over to Waterloo Records for the afternoon’s shows.

I soon found Fran, who had found a seat and was saving one for me.  Up at 4pm was Ola Podrida, who, like Dawes the night before, played melodic rock with some nice harmonies.  Next up at 5pm was Carrie Rodriguez, who was recording the show for a live album.  Finally at 6pm, The Watson Twins took the stage.  Chandra announce that she had been up since 2:30am traveling to Austin.

When The Watson Twins had finished their show, Fran and I hit the 24 Diner (in the same row of stores as Waterloo).  We had dinner and planned out the night.  Since we already on the west side of town, I thought that it would make sense to hit La Zona Rosa and see John Hiatt at 8:30.  Since Fran didn’t have a badge or a wristband, I figured that she wouldn’t have a problem getting in if we arrived at LZR just after the show before Hiatt started.  That’s what we did and that’s exactly how it played out. Read the rest of this entry »


SXSW Wednesday: Like Night and Day – Part 2

March 19, 2010

At 5:30, Fran and I were picked up by Austin Bob and his brother Dallas Bill.  We were on our way to South Lamar to Maria’s Taco Express.  Charlie Faye was playing a full band show there at 6pm.  Would would catch Charlie, get dinner and from there be on our way to the first night of official SXSW shows.  We were also supposed to meet our friend Tim there for the first time at SXSW.

We got to Maria’s, grab an impossibly good parking spot and went into the outside area with the stage.  Things looked promising: even though there was no sign of Tim, Charlie and Will Sexton, her guitarist (and boyfriend) were in plain sight.  We found a table and then I went inside to get something to eat.  When came back outside, Tim had parked himself at the table adjacent to ours.  We moved our chairs and Tim joined us.

But Charlie didn’t go on as scheduled.  Instead we saw a male-female duo named Hey Momma who played blues and included a washboard.  When they had finished, it was announced that Charlie would go on a bit later.  We had finished eating, we needed to get back to downtown Austin, and so we scratched Charlie from our schedule.

Fran and I ended up at Club deVille, where there was a line.  But soon enough the line moved, and Fran who had neither badge nor wristband was able to buy a ticket and get in.  We saw Dawes, a young band who played melodic rock with some nice harmonies.  After Dawes, Fran elected to stay at Club deVille for the next band, Here We Go Magic.  I left to join up with Bob and Bill.

Read the rest of this entry »


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