No Depression SXSW Showcase — March 14, 2012 — Austin
A bit more of No Depression history occurred last night in an appropriate institution. It was a smooth running, well attended, fun event last night at the landmark Continental Club on South Congress.
Locally based ladies, The Trishas, opened to a full house, using some of the inspiring material this young group has put together so far. Savannah Welch, Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, and Kelley Mickwee are the mainstays, and last night they were accompanied by a 5th Trisha, but alas I don’t know her name. They started with a song I will call “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and played “Cheater’s Game” co-written with Bruce Robison and “Liars and Fools” as well as the fantastic song, “Drive” which were co-written with Jason Eady. Savannah’s Dad, Kevin Welch, watched the set, an added treat.
The good vibe kept going with Schuyler Fisk, joined by the exciting Brooklyn band, Harper Blynn – Pete Harper, Jesse Blynn, Sarab Singh, and WhyNot. The band has been playing around town themselves this week, and each member brought a lot of unique energy to the show. Songs ranged from the quiet “What Good Is Love” to disco-like “Irregular Heartbeat”, the semi-autobiographical “Trouble Is My Middle Name”, to a cover of Lucinda’s “Train Wreck. Virginia-based Schuyler (who happens to be Sissy Spacek’s daughter) is an actress along with being a singer-songwriter, and philanthropist too; confident and obviously covering a lot of ground with her music and life in general.
Amanda Shires then performed a truly beautiful set, in spite of a raucous crowd in the back of the club. Now based in Nashville, she said she was happy to be back in her home State of Texas. So soulful were “Ghostbird” and “I Kept Watch Like Doves”, and the song “Put Me To Bed” just took it over the sensual edge. She was with Rod Picott, another gentleman who drove in from Chicago but whose name I did not get, and there was also a quick appearance in her set by guitarist Jason Isbell.
The duo of Canadian guitarist Luke Doucet and his talented wife Melissa McLelland – together known as Whitehorse – were next. “Wow” is what came to mind. With the help of soundman Jameson Elliot, they played a number of instrument types to absolutely rock the place. Gifts of tequila shots from the crowd added fuel. Tunes included “Killing Time”, “Cleveland”, and one for the truck drivers, “Long Haul Drive”.
Another incredibly talented twosome, Brown Bird, arrived just after, porting their own oriental rug, which I found to be appropriate. David Lamb on percussion and guitar, and MorganEve Swain on various strings grabbed everyone’s attention and kept it. In a short time, they covered many differing sound styles. It was a lively set with few words in between numbers, and a helluva lot of music with tremendous harmonies, including songs from their Salt for Salt CD and ones I hope to learn.
Rounding out the night was Carrie Rodriguez, along with someone else I don’t know (sorry to say) on guitar. They had chemistry together and seemed to have a great time playing songs such as “I Don’t Want To Play House Anymore”, “Absence”, “Devil In Mind”, “Sad Joy”, “Never Gonna Be Your Bride”, “I Started Loving You Again”, and more.
Throughout it all, our No Depression emcee and organizer, Kyla Fairchild, added her own element of energy to the scene. Having chosen these particular musicians herself, her enthusiasm was apparent and rightfully so.
Yes, Kyla, there were some “kick ass women” up there last night! And the men lit ‘em up too.
See you next year!