The biggest takeaway from SXSW 2017 will be that for the first time since the very inception of the idea over 30 years ago, the annual music gathering experienced a palpable draw down in attendance and industry participation to a degree that it fundamentally changed many of the dynamics and rigors one must endure to attend.
For every officially-sanctioned event, there’s two more that squeeze in where they can and try to keep the original spirit of SXSW alive, including the now 8th Annual Brooklyn Country Cantina, which boasts a stacked 2016 lineup including Sam Outlaw, Daniel Romano, Possessed by Paul James, The Quebe Sisters, Mike and the Moonpies, and many more.
Saving Country Music was out and about Austin, TX and its outskirts over the past week or so as part of the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) gathering, pounding the pavement and looking for the next country music artist worthy of your ears that you may never otherwise hear about. In the coming months I look forward to taking some of these discoveries and sharing them with you.
American Aquarium, Brooklyn Country Cantina, Hurray For The Riff Raff, J.D. Wilkes, Legendary Shack Shakers, Lukas Nelson, Mickey Raphael, Nikki Lane, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Doores, Shovels & Rope, South by Southwest, Sturgill Simpson, SXSW, The Cactus Blossoms, The Defibulators, The Deslondes, The Dirt Daubers, Tim Easton, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
Somewhat weird, certainly smart-assed, but seriously entertaining, The Defibulators from New York, New York have unleashed their latest album Debt’ll Get ‘Em, ripe for weird looks and rank misunderstanding, but filled with some really good times. The line between where the sarcasm ends and the seriousness begins with The Defibulators is hard to define, and they appear to like it that way.
Nope. And that’s how you know it’s good. If you like country, and I mean country, then Jonathan Parker’s They’ll Never Play My Songs In Nashville has you covered. This guy has a country growl that’s like Waylon Jennings mixed with the DNA of a hard-nosed bulldog. This is hard country, honky tonk music in its purest incantation. No frills, just lean forward and belt it out.
A reinterpretation of classic country in their own vision as opposed to the attempt at an accurate portrayal is what allows The Defibulators to separate their steer-horned emblem from the herd through substance and creativity. It also helps that they approach the music with a level of respect and admiration instead of seizing on it as fodder for irony. It’s music that gets it, for people that get it.