old 97’s

Old 97’s: Ken Bethea, Rhett Miller, Murry Hammond. Not pictured: Drummer Philip Peeples. Photo by Mark Couvillion, used under Creative Commons.

Old 97’s: Ken Bethea, Rhett Miller, Murry Hammond. Not pictured: Drummer Philip Peeples. Photo by Mark Couvillion, used under Creative Commons.

The Old 97’s are an alternative country band hailing from Austin; they have been playing twangy rock and roll for the past 24 years. Their songs are three minutes of catchy hooks, marrying country twang with a dash of punk. Their wry cynicism doesn’t mope or lecture – it bursts with joyful irreverence in songs about angst, or love, or angsty love, or drinking, or drinking and sex. Their love songs are what keep me coming back to them: well crafted little songs about the messy complications of being so entwined with another person. [read the whole post]

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Opening for Holly Golightly at Thee Parkside

Opening for Holly Golightly at Thee Parkside

Thursday, May 8th [read the whole post]

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Who's with me on this one?!

With the recent breakout success of Mumford & Sons, I finally feel validated that the sound I’ve enjoyed for years has finally crossed over to the category of  “stuff my friends will actually listen to.”  In past years, I’ve had to venture out amongst the throngs of music go-er’s at SXSW by myself in order to catch the bands that I wanted to see. Not the “on-the-verge-of-breaking-out-so-you-better-see-them-now” bands, but bands like Deer Tick, and A Hawk and A Hacksaw; folky, introspective music that doesn’t necessarily provide an earth shattering good time or  story, but leaves you with a lingering ache in your stomach, like recalling an old memory, long after the show is over. Music that creates that physiological response is what ultimately attracts me as a listener. So hopefully these acts will provide that tingly sensation to my SXSW companions, and entice them to join me the next time their schedule opens up. [read the whole post]

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There are a lot of really surprising, and really funny shows within. This is an extra special week of fun silliness, and I think that you should check it out:

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So, this is the kind of crowd you get to see a retired amusement park employee play banjo? San Franciscans are weird...

So, this is the kind of crowd you get to see a retired amusement park employee play banjo? San Franciscans are weird...

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is different than most music festivals in several ways. The best thing about it is that it’s free. That might also be it’s biggest downfall, as well. It attracts a lot of people that normally don’t go to shows. The crowd veers a bit older, and they tend to prefer to bring lawn chairs and stay in one place. If you really want to get up close and personal with a big act, you essesntially have to get there at the crack of dawn, stake a place, and hang out. If you go to the show thinking that you can jump stages and get a good spot for everyone, you are really out of luck. The best way to enjoy this festival is to drop most expectations of actually seeing the performer, and jump between stages freely, taking an the smorgasboard of music in little sample sizes. You will end up with a much more eclectic palate, and you will have a much better time. [read the whole post]

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