I’m lucky to live where I live and to have so much music available to me in Austin. But you create your own luck, too. Sometimes it all falls into place, and you’re just in the right place around the right people at the right time of day.
Earlier this winter Lucinda Williams performed at Waterloo Records for free. She played for an hour. I didn’t bring my camera, and I didn’t have to — I had already taken the best pic of Lucinda performing that I’ll ever take. This shot was snapped in 2012 at her outdoor show at Stubbs. Fantastic show. Beautiful night.
Whenever I get a little low here, thinking the folks that make this town great might be getting crowded out by the folks that aren’t so — I remember the afternoon show Lucinda Williams performed for fun, and the hundreds like it and the hundreds more to come.
It’s SXSW in Austin, Texas and while the city and festival we love continues to change and grow around us, one constant over the years are the local musicians who play to us for free.
I couldn’t name 99% of the bands that travel here, from home or abroad. To me it’s all a little much. What I look forward to are the day shows, the ones where the local songsmiths seem to perform for their friends. Guitartown Conqueroo at Dogtown is one. Jenni Finlay’s party at Threadgill’s is another.
Maybe my favorite though takes place at Joe’s Coffee when Alejandro Escovedo unites his rock band with his orchestra. In the daytime Joe’s parking lot appears tiny and ill-fit for what happens there at night. The sun sinks and the amplifiers shake. Thousands appear. And if you were there the year before, and the year before that, the faces you see are the same.
In 2009, after what I understand was a lengthy hiatus from performing with his orchestra, Alejandro returned. I was doing archival work for a documentary about the event and was allowed to snap some photos during rehearsals. Above and below are a few of my favorites. Not really sure why.
A big thank you to Alex Smith, Liz Lambert and Alejandro Escovedo for an exciting week.
A script I wrote called “Gus” for Fully Armed Films in 2008 is a finalist in the screenplay competition at this year’s Omaha Film Festival. Mark Hoeger, a respected screenwriter and Nebraskan, came into the project later that year and added his own much-appreciated insight.
“Gus” was based on the inspiring memoir of Ron “Gus” Gustafson, a man whose arm was amputated in a farm accident when he was 9 years old. It’s a story of determination and faith, and I was honored to have spent time with Gus and his family as I learned the details of his childhood and recovery from the accident.
If you’d like to know more about Gus, click here.
For more information on the script, click “Dove Foundation review of the script“.