HITS Daily Double
"The most famous Texas Jewboy of all, Kinky Friedman himself, worked the room, soliciting votes for Governor of the Lone Star State, a tidbit that, after a few shots of tequila, you start to seriously consider..."


Good Vibes Permeate 20th Edition of Austin Music Biz Confab, Let the Shiner Bocks Flow
Golda is an anonymous industry veteran attending this year's 20th South by Southwest in Austin, TX, under cover, and after editing her report, we can't say we blame her. If anyone else cares to have their SXSW musings posted, e-mail me at [email protected] and we'll see how many we can get up here.

It’s a Love Fest.

Arrived in Austin late Tuesday….and it really is the greatest city for live music. I'm reminded within two minutes why I got in this business in the first place. You can hear someone playing before you even get off the plane, with the incredible soul goddess Ruthie Brown greeting the arrivals in song from a makeshift stage. Waiting for my luggage was like a high school reunion… some people it's really great to see and others, well not so much...

After dropping off my stuff, we all headed over to La Zone Rosa for legendary Asleep at the Wheel singer Ray Benson’s annual birthday party. Don't ask how a nice Jewish boy from Philadelphia has become the King of Western Swing, but there you go.

The moment we arrived, we were immediately greeted by perhaps the most famous Texas Jewboy of all, as Kinky Friedman himself worked the room, soliciting votes for Governor of the Lone Star State, a tidbit that, after a few shots of tequila, you start to seriously consider... and find yourself agreeing with his campaing slogan, "WHY THE HELL NOT??!!" Why not indeed? Seeing the gangly 6'6" Ray on stage is always quite an experience, but then the sultan of twang Mr. Bill Kirchen, one of the night's special guests took over and he really is one of the most amazing guitar players ever. Boy that tequila was going down smooth.

So now it’s Wednesday (that's yesterday if you're counting, which I've stopped since about 3 this morning). I had my annual brunch at the Four Seasons, where EMI technohoncho Ted Cohen was seen holding court about how his cell phone can actually microwave a TV dinner as I spent some quality time with friends before everyone was let loose into the wilds of Austin to try and catch as many of the 1,300-some-odd bands that would be playing within the next 96 or so hours... not to mention which parties to hit.

I fullfilled my obligations to SXSW by participating in their mentoring program, which is always fun. I have even been known to actually hire some of these kids over the years and watch them do good. Then, it’s off to the smoking balcony…which I recommend should be the non-smoking balcony sponsored by Zyban next year (which might be the only sponsor not here this year). The Canadian contingent sponsored a big tent, barbeque and a lively afternoon showcase and after that it was off to relax and figure out the night, which ended up being divided between clubs on 6th Street and a couple on 4th.

Most notable were the Gourds, who were kinda like intellectual hillbillies, and great multi-tasking musos to boot, each playing multiple instruments effortlessly. Then, it was off to the Austin Music Awards for a little bit just in time to see Kinky again, giving a speech I couldn’t hear very well. Couldn't really tell you who won, but it's usually the same folks every year. Finally a showcase for Jimmy Rankin, one of Canada's foremost singer-songwriters, who looks like he could be Paul McCartney’s little brother, which is enough to win me over as he rocks the house until the clock struck 2. I drove around looking for cigarettes until 3, and then it was time to sleep it off and start all over again.