Monday, March 21, 2011

RIP: Joseph William Pinetop Perkins

Legendary blues pianist, Pinetop Perkins, passed away today at age 97. I was fortunate enough to have seen him play multiple times at Antones. He had been living in Austin for several years.

This moment is particularly surreal for me, however. This past Saturday night, I was at a SxSW showcase, for another legendary blues player, Bobby Rush. As a surprise, some people quietly moved Pinetop in his wheelchair, through the crowd, and parked him in the front row.

Bobby Rush's face lit up, he was delighted to see Pinetop, acknowledging him, and leading the crowd in a very loud round of applause. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I should go see Pinetop a few more times, before the inevitable happened. He seemed to be in very good spirits as they wheeled him out of the 18th floor, at the conclusion of the show. Unfortunately, the inevitable did happen less than 48 hours later.

This is sad news on multiple levels.

SxSW BBQ - Day 10


My friend Frank says that the good thing about the Sunday BBQ and Softball Tourney, is that it gives you closure. It let's you wind down a bit, and let's you get mentally prepped, because you know it's going to suck going back to work on Monday. Of course, I also figure that I already paid for the food, so I might as well go eat it.

So, for the second year in a row, I attended the BBQ. I also flirted with the idea to go see the handful of shows at Emos later that night, but then sanity (and the need to catch up on sleep) prevailed.

Only 355 days or so to go until SxSW 2012.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SxSW Day 9


KUT Morning Show on the Hilton Stage - The Monahans

Ok, I broke my self imposed rule about trying not to see Austin based acts. In my defense, it's hard to walk by the day stage at the Hilton and not stop for a listen, on your way in, in the morning. The Monahans, KUT morning set, on the Hilton Stage

Vinyl Records 3.0 Challenges and Rewards

Another vinyl panel. Vinyl is surprisingly big, and records are selling. It's an amazing story, and it will interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years.

Panel: Vinyl Records 3.0 Challenges and Rewards

And On Piano... Nicky Hopkins

This panel arranged by biographer, Julian Dawson, talked about the life and music of the late, Nicky Hopkins. Nicky's volume of work was staggering. He was a legendary touring and session player, and a formidable composer/arranger.

The panel also included other friends that had known him, and two other pianists that had shared the same sideman chair, with the Rolling Stones, Ian McLagan, and Chuck Leavell.

It was delightful to here all of the stories about Nicky, and I promptly ordered a copy of Dawson's biography from Amazon. The icing on the cake however, was having Julian Dawson and Chuck Leavell play No Expectations, a song written by Nicky Hopkins, but credited to Jagger and Richards at the end. It's always great to have someone perform at a panel. Nicky Hopkins Tribute Panel

SxSW Interview: John Popper

This was another fantastic interview. While not a huge Blues Traveler fan, John and the other panelists encouraged the crowd to all move up front, and get close, so they could make eye contact.

What resulted, was a very intimate setting. I left with a newfound respect for Popper as an artist, and really enjoyed this session, as well. John Popper

SxSW Interview: Bobby Rush

My last panel of SxSW, and it was a great one, legendary bluesman, Bobby Rush.

The time went by very quickly, and I was fully engaged in this session. It was fascinating to hear Bobby's life stories, since they span an era of great change in the US. Bobby played with Muddy Waters and was known as the King of the Chitterling circuit. Looking at him today, you would never guess how old he was.

This was a great session, with added benefit that I would be getting to see him play, later in the night. Bobby Rush Interview


Unfortunately, in addition to cash bars, they no longer hand out party invitation envelopes in the swag bags. As a result, you have to send an RSVP in some cases, or you don't get in. Even with a badge.



Galaxy Express

I saw this band playing on the patio of what used to be the Habana, but is now called the Easy Tiger(?). They were a somewhat interesting garage rock band. Unfortunately, I came in during the last song of their set. Galaxy Express


I then sauntered over to the Hilton, to check at the Day Stage. Neema was playing, I'm not sure if this was the female lead singer's name, or the name of the band.

In either case, she had a great voice, and the musicianship was first rate. Neema Poster Neema

Erin McLaughlin

Back to St. David's to hear a very enchanting singer/songwriter named Erin McLaughlin. Erin McLaughlin at St. David's Sanctuary

Agnes Obel

Continuing my stay at St. David's, the next artist Agnes Obel was singer/pianist from the Netherlands, accompanied by a Cellist. Another fantastic set. No photos, because the venue people were cracking down.

Silje Nes

Staying at St. David's, I walked down the hallway to Bethel Hall, to catch experimental Norwegian artist, Silje Nes. Silje played a strat, and was accompanied by a bassist and percussionist.

While the music was very avant-garde and experimental, it was very enjoyable.

Amanda Shires

Since I had arrived early to the Hilton Garden to see Bobby Rush, I decided to quickly check out the Hilton Creek venue, downstairs. Amanda Shires was an alt-country act, that was listenable enough. I caught the last two songs of her set. Amanda Shires

Bobby Rush

This was another amazing set. Bobby Rush held a packed house on the 18th Floor of the Hilton Garden, in the palm of his hand, singing and playing solo. No backing band. It was a very special night of blues.
Bobby Rush

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

After Bobby Rush's set, I quickly turned around and returned to St. David's to join my friends Ron and Alissa, for Swedish, psychedelic band, the Soundtrack of Our Lives. Several people were surprised however, that the band had decided to play acoustic.

I enjoyed this set, and have made a note to check out more of their music in the near future.
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

The Rods

From St. David's, my friends and I walked down 7th street to see the Rods. They were the closet thing to Spinal Tap, that I have seen at any SxSW. They were entertaining, but I'm not sure I would want to pay to see them headlining, to be honest. The novelty wears off after one listen.
The Rods

Back to the 18th Floor

For the last showcase of SxSWm, I returned to the 18th floor. When up there during SxSW, I always try to get some pictures of Austin at night from the elevated viewpoint. 6th Street at Night

Homemade Jamz Blues Band

The last band I saw of the festival was the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. The band consists of a father, his 2 sons, and daughter, all from the Hill Country in Mississippi. Dad sings and plays harp, the eldest son plays guitar, the younger son plays bass, and the daughter plays drums. In addition, the guitar, a double neck, and bass, are custom made by the father, out of racing muffler.

Let me just say, these guys were smoking. The guitar playing son sounds like a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy, and his daughter plays drums like Cindy Blackman. What a way to finish the festival. Homemade Jamz Blues Band