“Every great artist has had a place where their music could be birthed.”
That quote from the new documentary Anderson Fair – For The Sake of The Song about a small, long-lived acoustic room in Houston puts into perspective how important the venue is to music more than any other I could procure. We talk starry-eyed about our favorite musicians and songwriters, but without the independent venue to nurture their career, we might never hear of them.
Though mostly known for music, South by Southwest is also a film festival, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend the world premier of For The Sake of the Song at this year’s event. Anderson Fair’s stable of people who either got their start or rose to fame because of the venue is sick: Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and Lucinda Williams just to name a few.
Anderson Fair is one of many great independent venues all over the country, but it’s one of the very few where an artist cannot be insulated by a full band and backing drums. It’s just the artist and a guitar, and either they’re exposed, or they outright shine.
Do you have a favorite local, independent venue? And no, your city’s chapter of the House of Blues doesn’t count.
From Anderson Fair: