Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SXSW: South Austin Saturday afternoon

'Cheater's Game' and Whiskey Sisters.

SXSW: South Austin Saturday afternoon

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis at Yard Dog.
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis at Yard Dog. Dan DeLuca

The music in Austin gets rootsier and twangier when you turn your back on the Texas state capitol and head south over the Congress Avenue bridge where the world's largest urban bat colony lives.

All SXSW long, there's free music going on outdoors at Mexican restaurants, coffee shops, and roadhouses like the Continental Club, where James McMurtry and Jon Dee Graham played Saturday.  It's good for the soul to get out of downtown and get away from all the badge wearing entitled weasels like myself and check out the thrift shops, boot stores and art galleries, and maybe eat half a chicken at Mrs. P's Electric Cock, where deejay Electrolatino was providing the music.

On Saturday afternoon I caught up with one old favorite act and came across an excellent find. Kelly Willis and her husband Bruce Robison were playing the Yard Dog art gallery, where punk-country heros the Waco Brothers had slayed, as usual, the night before. Willis and Robison have a fine new album of duets out called Cheater's Game, and the one-time would-be mainstream country starlet still possesses a powerful honky tonk angel's voice. Robison is a fine songwriter, but it was the covers that killed: Dave Alvin's "Border Radio," Robert Earl Keen's "No Kinda Dancer" and a winningly unrehearsed version of Tom T. Hall's  "Harper Valley P.T.A."

The Whiskey Sisters.

A couple blocks down the hill I ran into the Whiskey Sisters, the six piece band pictured above fronted by Barbara Nesnitt and Teal Collins Zee, the latter formerly of the Austin band the Mother Truckers. Zee (on the right)  in particular, is an impressive, big voiced singer, and the outdoor setting at the Lone Star Music Stage was pretty much idyliic, as headphone-protected tykes hula-hooped in the late afternoon light, and garage rock organ met biting barroom guitar. I'll miss you, Austin, Texas.

Previously: SXSW: Terakaft and Red Baraat Follow In The Mix on Twitter

More coverage
Inquirer Music Critic
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Join Dan as he blogs about music and other forms of popular culture

Reach Dan at ddeluca@phillynews.com.

Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter