I have arrived here in Austin, Texas for a very busy and chaotic week. I am in a hotel downtown, and there are so many people out there, it is intense! I am honored to be in a place where so many musicians are playing. This blog is about the two sides of Austin that I’ve experienced in the past two days. I landed around 4:00 pm central time on the night of spring daylight savings. This means that not only was I losing one hour of sleep from the time change for mountain to standard time, but I was losing an extra hour from daylight savings. Nonetheless, I still went out and explored the “lay of the land.” Never having experienced Austin, Texas before, I was happy to get a feel for the town itself. On historic 6th street, not only is there a rambunctious downtown area (with hundreds of people in the streets and bar after bar showcasing bands,) there are outskirts that are artful and full of history, and even more bars that showcase underground bands.
The east side of 6th street may not be as pretty as downtown, but it sure seems authentic. I currently, as I write this blog, am listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn; a late prolific blues musician that was an Austin local. He was one of the first blues guitarists I ever heard growing up. I can almost guarantee that he walked that very same east side of 6th street. Words can’t express what it meant for me to see where he came from. I walked back to the downtown side of 6th street, but I was happy to have experienced the East side of Austin that holds its history dear. The older buildings and saloons have a distinct cowboy feel, and I realized that I was in the birthplace of the cowboy image that has permeated throughout the entire world. I walked back to the hotel for a short nights rest, and got myself ready for the first trade show day at the Austin Convention Center.
I received a wakeup call at 7:30 AM, which as I said before was what felt like 5:30. Regardless, I was excited for the free hotel breakfast and ate as much as I could. After that, I got ready for my first day representing my day at the trade show. As I explored the tradeshow, I saw a booth about Texas born musicians; with their names printed on Texas license plates. I saw Stevie Ray Vaughn’s name, among many other legendary musicians. The booth was taking pictures, so I put on my cowboy hat and took a good photo with a guitar. The trade show experience was a great chance to try to meet possible contacts for my career. I met a good amount of people that could definitely influence my career. There were a whole lot of industry professionals, however, that seemed to have little time for networking. Working at a trade show booth can be daunting; surrounded by professionals in suits that at some times show a true indifference to you. At the same time, I felt that same indifference myself as I explored the booths on my free time. At the end of the day though, I believe that social interaction really boils down to two things: kindness and respect. If you have faith in these principles, it’s only a matter of time before you find someone with whom you can be mutually beneficial to each other. The trade show also featured an impromptu musical set by Lamar Williams Jr., who really sounded great. Everywhere you go in Austin, Texas during the week of South by Southwest, there are dedicated musicians playing.
As the trade show experience was over, I couldn’t help but go back to the east side of 6th Street. The art scene and music of this side of town seemed the most underground of all Austin areas. I caught a set at Hotel Vegas by a band named Emily Wolfe. I’m pretty sure that’s the name of the lead singer and guitarist. Her music was all things rock and roll. I have to be honest here; (though gender shouldn’t matter) she is one of the best girl guitarists that I have experienced in my life. She’s definitely breaks the rock and roll gender norms. Girls can rock, and she is proof. She has amazing tone and great use of feedback during her solos. I was happy to be in the right place at the right time to catch Emily Wolfe rock out. I finally took a walk back to my hotel, but not before I tried one of the tastiest Cajun food trucks. Gumbo hit the spot, and as I got back to my hotel; I realized that two days were already gone. I have three days left here, and I am more than ready for them. This town is the place to be tonight, and I’ve never felt more connected to a music scene. It’s a beautiful thing: to find that people still love music enough to have a whole town rocking out at once. Here’s to the whole world from Austin, Texas. Till next time people; this is Soundluver signing off.