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South By San Jose 2007

There's a spirit that is unique to Austin, Texas. It seems to emanate from every element around you; whether it's the detail of a sculpted backstreet garden or an expression on a sun-colored face at the coffee shop. This past weekend the Tift Merritt Band was fortunate to feel that spirit once again as it whispered breezily through the bamboo shoots in the courtyard of the Hotel San Jose... then David Byrne did a long sound check ten feet away with his amazing Brazilian band. Did I mention that we love Austin?

South By Southwest is always a great time to see old friends, meet new colleagues, hear great music, and play some of your own. This year was fantastic on all of those fronts. Tift once again played South By San Jose, the magnificent free festival which is held in the parking lot of the Hotel San Jose and Joe's Coffee on South Congress. It was a beautiful Friday evening, and the sun went down during the show. The parking lot was full of smiling people.

She opened the show alone on acoustic with great versions of her new songs, "Something To Me" and "My Heart Is Free". I joined her on bass/backing vocals for two additional numbers: "Hopes Too High" (a new one I've become really fond of) and "Stray Paper".

Zeke got behind the kit and our friend, Austin's own Bukka Allen, played accordion on the following songs:

Another Country (Tift on piano)
Heart Run Wild (Tift on guitar)
Morning Is My Destination (Tift on piano)
Woodstock ('re reading it right, and it was fun...Tift played piano)
Good Hearted Man (Tift solo on piano)
Mille Tendresse (Tift played piano)

We really had a blast. Billy Joe Shaver closed the parking lot down, and afterward we went next door to The Continental and saw part of Kelly Willis (Chuck Prophet on guitar) and John Dee Graham.

It's too much to tell, but briefly we saw these artists during SXSW '07:

Stax Revue featuring Booker T. and the MGs (with William Bell, Eddie 'Mr. Knock on Wood himself' Floyd, and Isaac Hayes)-what a show!
David Byrne
Midlake (at the Yard Dog Party)
Amy Cook (sxsanjose - it was great)
Kings of Leon/Spoon/Stooges (all great shows, but Iggy and co. were beyond amazing)
Alejandro Escoveeda at the Continental (last night of the festival, replete with strings-beautiful)

The Tift Merritt Band would like to extend a special thank you to Liz Lambert. Liz has created an amazing scene on South Congress (and everywhere else she goes), and we are so proud to be a part of it. She also loaned us a great car to cavort in all week from the stables of the Hotel San Jose - a 1973 Ford Ranchero GT (lacquer black, tinted windows). The mechanical minded will remember that this automobile sports a 335-hp 428 Cobra Jet motor, but I liked the broken copy of Fandango in the 8-track. Let's just put it this this band, the bass player drives...and we had no problem on those back roads to Buda, TX.

Thanks to Bukka Allen for luring us into the countryside and joining us on stage, to Amy Cook (first of all because she's Amy Cook but secondly for David Cassidy in the back yard), all the fine folks at Joe's/Hotel San Jose (Erin/Quentin/Amy/Isadora, to name a few), and lastly-to Iggy Pop, for reminding me that 60 is the new eighteen.

See you on the road,

posted @ Tuesday, March 20, 2007 5:11 PM by

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Now THAT'S a Redneckwagon for the ages right there . . .

posted @ Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:09 AM by Phillip Reid

GOTTA get back to Austin, I love that town, too. wish I was there to catch that set. Morning is My Destination, I hope that becomes a regular in the setlist. While I'm wishin', hows about adding Sunday, too?

posted @ Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:29 PM by Matthew Wester

Tift covering 'Woodstock' would have been worth the trip by itself!

Robert A.

posted @ Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:48 AM by Robert Axel

You were on fire, baby.

What? You no remember?

What am I, chopped liver??? Noel is going to be muy hurt. I challenge ye to a dual, sweet songster!

posted @ Saturday, April 14, 2007 6:37 PM by

Ok. That damn thing asked me how I wanted to be displayed and I said Ck, all mysterious and stuff. What's with the freaking full name and social caca doodee?

:) Just stopping by to say granny loves you. Be good. We'll see you next time.

posted @ Saturday, April 14, 2007 6:39 PM by

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