Rosie Flores w/ Chris Scruggs at SXSW

Chris Scruggs During and after South by Southwest this last week, people kept asking me what my favorite show was. It’s probably a toss up between Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. (Reviews coming, and also of the pre-SXSW Hank III show).

But one of the cool things about SXSW is the random collaborations of artists that can happen at any time, and that is what generated my favorite, most memorable moment of the whole week.

The Rockabilly Filly Rosie Flores is a legend on her own. (read my artist review of her HERE.) I had never seen her before live, so this was one of my top priorities for the week. When she was setting up at the Bloodshot Records showcase on Friday (3-19), I noticed they brought a steel guitar on stage, NOT a pedal steel, but the pedal-less style.

This was very significant to me. If you could say that there’s one instrument that embodies REAL country music, it would be the pedal steel guitar. But when you’re talking about the one instrument that embodies the country music REVOLUTION and the neo-traditionalist movement, it would be the pedal-less steel. It’s what Wayne Hancock uses, Hank III uses, but it got it’s start in the modern era in BR549, and specifically with one of the best and influential multi-instrumentalists of our time, one Chris Scruggs.

When I interviewed Hank III’s steel player Andy Gibson, he gave credit to Chris for really reintroducing the pedal-less steel sound to the new generation, and re-igniting interest in players like Kayton Roberts.

That’s why my jaw dropped when Chris walked on stage, to back up one of the few women in the world that takes her own leads. Luckily I had the camera locked and loaded, ready to shoot:

As soon as the set was over, I tried to talk to Chris or at least shake Chris’s hand, but he was gone like lightning. My guess is he was collaborating with a dozen different people that day. How Rosie and Chris got hooked up I don’t know; Rosie is Austin and rockabilly, and Chris is Nashville and traditional. But it made for the highlight of my 2010 SXSW.

PS: Don’t let one evil thought enter your mind about the Jessica Rabbit slimmy in the second video. She’s mine. We’re going to get married and have babies so HANDS OFF!

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