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The Sun Radio Sessions During Week of SXSW 2018

Once again The Southland Music Line has made its annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest “SXSW” Music Festival. Attending SXSW has become one of Stephen “Andy” Anderson’s and my favorite music highlights each year. The Line has previously written articles and shared hundreds of photos from this “one of a kind” event and this year is no different.

Although Stephen was unable to attend SXSW in 2017 due to an automobile accident, this year he rejoined me for the trip and again took lots of great photos.

It is impossible to catch everything during the week of SXSW and we have long ago stopped trying to do so. This year, we decided to limit our trip to a few non-showcase events such as the Sun Radio Sessions which provide accessibility to the artists, are also affordable and, of course, entertaining. In addition, many of the artists we hope to see eventually show up there.

Our first full day of music began at 7am at the Hyde Park Bar & Grill. The morning was cold but the music quickly warmed things up with performances by Milwaukee’s own Field Report, Austin’s Sydney Wright, and the always sensational Jeff Plankenhorn.

Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe at The Sun Radio Sessions (Mar. 14, 2018)

On Wednesday morning, we were also able to enjoy the music of one of our favorites, Larkin Poe. The band, fronted by sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell, has been the subject of past articles and photo collections at The Southland Music Line. Prior to this year’s performance, we had seen them several times (Atlanta, New Orleans, Easton, MD and a few shows accompanying Rock and Roll Hall of Fame great Elvis Costello). The last time we saw them was at Third Man Records during Nashville’s Americana Festival. It was really nice to see Larkin Poe again and we find their evolution into one heck of a good rock band with a love for the blues irresistible.

Wednesday afternoon was non-stop music fun with performances by The Texas Gentleman, Bob Schneider, Paul Thorn, and Carolyn Wonderland. We can now definitely be counted as fans of The Texas Gentleman. The band’s most recent album “Texas Jelly” was one of The Line’s Robby Amonett’s ten favorites of 2017. They have backed up a substantial list of artists including Kris Kristofferson’s first appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in 45 years. Rolling Stone magazine called that performance one of the festival’s ten most exciting sets. The afternoon continued with Schneider and Thorn performing well delivered and honest solo acoustic sets (of course, Thorn added some his down home humor to the mix), while Wonderland closed out the day with another of her trademark powerhouse performances.

Carolyn Wonderland at The Sun Radio Sessions (Mar. 14, 2018)

Our week continued with perfect weather and music by The Band of Heathens, Lukas Nelson, Red Shahan and Parker Millsap. We also had the privilege of being at The Sun Radio Sessions when Oscar nominated actor-director Ethan Hawke and Sundance Festival winning actor Ben Dickey popped into the venue on Lake Austin to promote the film “Blaze”, a biopic on the life story of late C&W songwriter Blaze Foley.

Lukas Nelson was a crowd favorite on Thursday. The last time I saw him was while he and Promise of the Real were on tour with Neil Young and at Desert Trip 2016 in Indio, CA. Nelson, son of Willie, pleased us all with a phenomenal solo acoustic performance.

Lukas Nelson at The Sun Radio Sessions (Mar. 15, 2018)

Friday would be our final day in Austin during this year’s SXSW. We attended more Sun Radio Sessions with performances by Kelly Willis, Lilly Hiatt, and Paul Cauthen (with special guest Taylor Nicks). Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell and The Shiny Soul Sisters were, as always, a definite highlight to our week, too.

It’s always nice running into friends during the week of SXSW. For the second year in a row, I ran into in Neil Ladner, a photographer, musician and friend from back home. This year, Stephen and I visited with Neil over an enjoyable dinner at The Magnolia Grill on South Congress. Each year, we look forward to making new friends at SXSW such as Anne Spako. I met Anne in 2017 and appreciate her help with our SXSW plans in 2018. This year, we met several more great festival goers. Among them was Ray Fulton, an Austin resident originally from Lancaster, PA who graciously shared his huge knowledge of Austin’s exciting music scene with us.

Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell at The Sun Radio Sessions (Mar. 16, 2018)

Due to obligations and more music-themed adventures, our SXSW trip was not as long as we would’ve liked. Regardless of our shortened schedule, it was one of our favorite weeks in Austin for South By Southwest and of course, you can definitely expect us to return in 2019.

The Hula Hut on Lake Austin: The Site of the Sun Radio “Afternoon” Sessions

Photos taken at The Sun Radio Sessions 2018 by Stephen Anderson:
Wed. March 14 – Fri. March 16, 2018


© The Southland Music Line. 2018. All rights reserved

©The Southland Music Line

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