South By Southwest

AUSTIN BOUND: SXSW PART 2 (of 5) – “An All-Star Tribute to Jimi Hendrix”; “Celebrating the Music Legacy of Memphis, TN”

part two
An All-Star Tribute to Jimi Hendrix

uring the late afternoon of Thursday, March 13, many festival goers at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas began making their way across the river from the downtown venues to *Butler Park. Something special was about to be unveiled with the help of an all-star group of musicians.

DSC_0291bThe banner advertising the unveiling of the Jimi Hendrix U.S. Postal Stamp at Butler Park. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

sxswAs one of the first to do so, photographer Stephen “Andy” Anderson and I made our way across the river, passing the long lines waiting to get into see the Jimmy Kimmel show. The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful and the anticipation was high as we neared the stage in Butler Park. One of the things you first come across when you go to huge sponsored events like the one in Butler Park is the amount of free things handed out, everything from T-shirts to Frozen Desserts to sample. The most exciting and highly prized item to be handed out to each person who walked through the gates to the park, was the brand new Jimi Hendrix U.S. Postal Stamp inside a pin. South By Southwest had two events honoring Hendrix, one saw the release of the Jimi Hendrix biopic “All Is By My Side” and later, the release of the new stamp and an all-star tribute to who, arguably, was the greatest guitarist in the history of music. A discussion ensued between the two of us about every great guitar player we’ve ever seen in concert. However, Andy had seen Jimi Hendrix twice; once at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970 and again in New Orleans.  As we debated this subject for a day or more, clearly there was no winner since we have both seen our share of great guitarists.

Before reaching the stage area, we had to pass by several food and drink vendors selling items more expensive than outside the gates. This common practice didn’t prevent us from buying some of the best Iced-Tea around for 3 bucks. They said we could get refills for $1.50, but who in their right mind would ever leave the front of a stage and climb through thousands for a drink?

IMG_0550The Austin skyline in the background to the big event at Butler Park. (Photo by J. Cole)

Los Lonely Boys, Vintage Trouble and Carolyn Wonderland

We were able to get to the front as the crowds slowly arrived. Many had come to see the opening band, the talented and gifted brothers of Los Lonely Boys. Others were there to see, what is currently one of the best live acts around, the highly praised and super energetic Vintage Trouble. And finally, there were those like Andy and I who were there to see it all. We heard many classic Hendrix songs.

DSC_0337bHenry Garza of Los Lonely Boys as he does a Hendrix tune in Butler Park. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

First up was Los Lonely Boys, a band to see, if you haven’t had the pleasure. This three-piece Rock band from Texas, the brothers: Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza deliver on a wide range of areas, but most importantly – They Rock! Henry Garza, being one of the best guitarists around, pulled off incredible Hendrix tunes along with some originals of their own including their hit single “Heaven”.

DSC_0341bBrothers, Henry and JoJo Garza of Los Lonely Boys in Butler Park. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

DSC_0476bTy Taylor of the highly entertaining ‘Vintage Trouble” Live in Butler Park. (Photo by Stephen Anderson.)

As the afternoon moved into evening, next up was the band, Vintage Trouble, a California Blues-Rock Band with an cool Retro appeal and what many are saying – “One of the best live bands going today.”  I’ve seen several bands that have tried their hand at something retro or a throwback to the past, but for various reasons, could not pull it off. These guys aren’t some frat party turned band….they are the real thing! The buzz around them couldn’t be more true and I completely agree. The band made up of Ty Taylor (vocals), Nalle Colt (guitar), Rick Barrio DillDSC_0426b (bass) and Richard Danielson (drums), have only released the one highly acclaimed album, “The Bomb Shelter Sessions”, but since it’s release they haven’t stopped performing shows all over the world and have made frequent stops on late-night TV shows like The Tonight Show and David Letterman. Additionally, they have opened for many huge name acts like The Who. Vintage Trouble’s retro sound and look is reminiscent of a number of late 50s and 60s blues and rock artists. You can see many influences in their show, but it doesn’t come over as ‘copying’ or ‘trying to be’. Each song was as good as DSC_0643bthe one before and to make things even better, they were joined on stage by Carolyn Wonderland, a Blues Singer/Musician who is no stranger to the unbelievable Austin music scene. It was a real pleasure seeing her and Vintage Trouble on stage together. It’s easy to see why so many can’t stop talking about Vintage Trouble. Fittingly their fans are called “Troublemakers” and there was plenty of their fans in Butler Park that evening, enjoying one of the best performances of the entire SXSW Festival.

DSC_0653bThe members of Vintage Trouble along with the great Carolyn Wonderland. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

DSC_0009 (2)bThe unveiling of the Jimi Hendrix U.S. Postal Stamp, while Janie Hendrix looks over the huge crowd, who came to the event in honor of her brother. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

As the sun went down and the Texas sky became dark, it was time for many to come forward to to honor Jimi Hendrix, who had died 44 years ago and now the U.S. Postal Service was releasing an official postage stamp in his honor. Janie Hendrix, the sister of Jimi Hendrix spoke in behalf of the family, prior to the unveiling of the stamp, as a huge banner replica was to be lowered.

In a statement she said: “While Jimi was in the Army, he wrote these wonderful postcards and letters to my dad. There’s something about handwriting a letter that gives a sense of intimacy.” She then added: “I am deeply touched and so are other members of the Hendrix family by the issuance of this stamp, and I wish to thank the United States Postal Service for bestowing one of our nation’s highest honors on my brother Jimi.” She further said: “While my brother has been cited many times as being among the most influential musicians of all time, the recognition implicit in his being portrayed on a U.S. postage stamp ranks as an unparalleled honor.”

DSC_0016 (2)bIt truly was a night of great music.  Those who came to honor him on stage were great artists like Lucinda Williams, Guitarist Wayne Kramer from MC5, Rusty Anderson, the guitarist from Paul McCartney’s band; Dave and Phil Alvin from The Blasters (one of my all-time favorite bands); Mary Bridget Davis, star of Broadway’s “A Night with Janis Joplin”; King’s X vocalist Doug Pinnick; Rapper, Boots Riley; Punk-Rocker, Jesse Malin (formerly of D Generation); And Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Slash (inducted in with Guns n Roses) and Robby Krieger (inducted in with The Doors). All the artists performing the music of Jimi Hendrix and ending with the Hendrix version of The Star-Spangled Banner.”

DSC_0147 (5)bAbove Left: Lucinda Williams; Above: Mary Bridget Davis, star of Broadway’s “A Night with Janis Joplin” performing live at the SXSW Jimi Hendrix Tribute.

DSC_0279 (4)cLegendary guitarist from The Doors and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member, Robby Krieger. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

1975248_679036882160950_670242804_nxRock & Roll Hall of Fame member Slash (Guns n Roses) at the Hendrix Tribute.

DSC_0200 (3)bRusty Anderson, the guitarist from Paul McCartney’s touring band, giving his tribute performance in honoring Jimi Hendrix. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

DSC_0533 (4)bThe All-Star Tribute to Jimi Hendrix in Butler Park during SXSW. (Photo by Stephen Anderson.)

It was a real joy to see such a great show and for one we were totally pleased to have been in attendance.

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Take Me To The River: Celebrating The Music Legacy of Memphis, TN

971309_678628715535100_525440213_nb The incredibly entertaining Bobby Rush performs at Butler Park in celebration of the Legacy of the Music of Memphis, TN.

Thursday may have been a day of beautiful weather, but Saturday saw the skies cloudy with periods of light misting rain. We returned to Butler Park to see a mixture of artists from new to classic. The film – “Take Me To the River”, a documentary highlighting the music legacy of Memphis, TN premiered earlier at SXSW, and now it was time for a concert in honor of it. 

DSC_0311 (2)bThe concert was emceed by former Stax Records executive and music great, Al Bell. He took the time to speak to the audience about  bridging together “the old” and “the new”. I really don’t know if many in the audience, understood what he was trying to convey, but he eloquently spoke of unity in music and in life. On this day, the audience mostly made up of teens to twenty-somethings, had come to see the rapper, Childish Gambino, later in the evening, and hope to catch some of Snoop Dogg. And speaking of bridging the old and new, along with the other photographers and those covering the event, Stephen and I were definitely among the oldest in the crowd near the stage.

Above left: Former Stax Records Executive and music great, Al Bell along with Syl Johnson (famous for his Top Ten R&B hit “Take Me to the River”)

DSC_0747 (2)bTwo legends in Music: Charlie Mussellwhite and Booker T. Jones on stage in Butler during SXSW. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

With all that said, the afternoon show truly was an all star event of great music featuring Hi-Rhythm Section teamed with Ben Cauley and the Royal Horns of Memphis (The legendary Hi-Rythym Section appeared as the house band on so many great records by artists like Al Green. They are an amazing part of the Memphis’ music history.); Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member, Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & The MG’s (needs DSC_0289vno introduction); Otis Clay (inducted into the Blues of Hall of Fame in 2013 and known for his song “Trying To Live My Life Without You,” which was later covered by Bob Seger’s on his “Nine Tonight” album in 1981) all took to the stage with great performances.  If that wasn’t enough, there was the amazing Mississippi-born Electric Blues Harmonica player, Charlie Mussellwhite (often mentioned as the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd’s character in the “Blues Brothers” and most recently won a Grammy for Best Blues Album) appeared on stage with The North Mississippi Allstars (The Allstars’ Cody Dickinson wasDSC_0618 (3)b one of the producers of the film, “Take Me To The River” and his brother, Luther, formerly of The Black Crowes, was an associate producer). Adding to the amazing roster of talent was Blues great, Bobby Rush (who has been recording for over 50 years); Syl Johnson (famous for his Top Ten R&B hit “Take Me to the River, a song penned by Al Green and later covered by the band, Talking Heads); and R&B singer, William Bell (his song “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” was later covered by Billy Idol as “To Be A Lover”, which hit the Top Ten in 1986). Joining them was Memphis rapper Al Kapone; Big Baby, a singer with a big voice and smile; Fayser Boy from Three 6 Mafia (who has won an Oscar for the song from the film,”Hustle and Flow”) and more.

DSC_0414 (3)bAbove Top Left: Otis Clay; Above: Cody Dickinson; Above Right: Luther Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-Stars.

DSC_0523 (3)bLegendary Charlie Mussellwhite performing in Butler Park while celebrating the legacy of the Music of Memphis and Mississippi Delta Region. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

What seemed to be the highlight to most, including many on stage, was the appearance of rapper, Snoop Dogg, who to his credit respectively showed appreciation for the music legends in our presence. Despite the crowd at times making it seem like a Snoop Dogg rally, he never tried to outshine the artists he obviously admired. He joined R&B singer, William Bell on the song “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” which turned out to my surprise, as one of the show’s highlights and funnest numbers. It was followed by Snoop Dogg’s very own big hit, “Gin & Juice”. That wasn’t a surprise.  What impressed me most the whole afternoon, was the audience. The young crowd had no clue who most of these artists were, but they showed them respect and seemed to enjoy the mixture of music and ages. I guess what Al Bell had said, at the beginning of the show, rang true – a bridge can be made…..well at least for awhile, because the young crowd was ready for Childish Gambino and older folks, like Stephen and myself, climbed our way out to the closest exit.

DSC_0108 (2)bMany came to see Snoop Dogg perform a few songs along with some of Memphis’ All-Time Greats. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

*SXSW held three nights of FREE outdoor shows at the Outdoor Stage at Butler Park this year while Auditorium Shores undergoes renovations.

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Robby Amonett on the Road with Banditos;
Austin Locals Prove Why Austin is “The Real Deal”


Our Final Thoughts of South By Southwest ’14



Return to Part 1

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