Americana 2014: Say What?!


One of my favorite things about attending music conferences and festivals are the crazy comments that you hear along the way. Here are a few choice selections.


If it wasn’t for that guy we’d be doing this at a burnt out Kmart. Jason Isbell acknowledging that the awards show was being held on Hank Williams birthday.

I can’t tell you how foolish I feel accepting an award from Vincent Gill [while standing] on a stage with Ry Cooder. Buddy Miller accepting the award for best instrumentalist

He was world music before there was such a thing. Keb Mo presenting Taj Mahal a lifetime achievement award

They are only easy to play badly. Keb Mo on playing the blues

The music of my people became the music of all people. Keb Mo

We’re scheduling a post-production hair off. Robert Plant is invited but he’s already got a lifetime achievement award. The Milk Carton Kids, filling time while they waited for the teleprompter to be fixed

I’m a little disappointed. We got used to be nominated for things. We never win and you need to manage people’s expectations. The Milk Carton Kids, accepting their award for Duo/Group of the Year

He’s taken the outlaw country sound and started singing about turtles and stuff. Elizabeth Cook introducing Sturgill Simpson

We were supposed to be short. You weren’t so I’m not gonna be either. JD Souther to co-presenter Ken Paulson during their presentation to Jackson Browne

It’s part of the American character to say what you believe. Jackson Browne, accepting the Spirit of Americana / Free Speech in Music Award

This ain’t nothing you’re gonna see on TV. Browne stopping his performance to tune his guitar

As time went on it turned out to be a quite more generous song than she deserved. Jackson Browne introducing a song that he wrote about an ex-girlfriend


Life is a mess and there’s no reason that our music shouldn’t be. Joe Henry

May he who lives without sin have better luck this evening. Todd Snider

Where the fornication nation meets the salvation train. Mojo Nixon describing Marty Stuart’s new album Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

How much did you pay to get in here? You’re getting your money’s worth. Marty Stuart to the crowd after flubbing a guitar solo at a free show

Why don’t you love me any more? Guy in crowd
Is that a request or a question? Eileen Rose, responding to his request

Sorry about that. Young people ordering beers. A bartender apologizing for the delay that resulted from having to deal with an indecisive group

He’s got great hair. Mojo Nixon describing Marty Stuart

Here’s a song I wrote about someday being famous and paying my bills playing country music. J.P. Harris
Right. Guy in crowd

“A long, long time ago…” Robbie Fulks, kicking off his final song when the sound guy told him he had time for one more short one. I’m sure you can guess the song.

I’ve knocked over 2 of my 3 drinks. I’ve baptized this stage in wine & vodka. Cory Chisel

Here’s a new song. It’s about drugs. We did it for the first time this morning at a gospel brunch. Elizabeth Cook

Most people, even musicians, don’t know what producers do. Joe Henry

You listen really hard until it gets good. Joe Henry quoting a T Bone Burnett comment about producing

That’s what is great about music, it can be your friend when no one else can understand you. Mike Farris.

Sometimes the end of a lease doesn’t line up with the end of a relationship. Anthony D’Amato introducing “If It Don’t Work Out,” a break-up song

If you aren’t having a good time, it’s your own fucking fault, because this band is fucking awesome. Cory Chisel, referring to his pick-up band

You’re like a yard full of coon dogs that ate some bad possum. J.P. Harris to a quiet but attentive crowd

How’s everybody feeling,’cause I feel like shit. It’s too much fun down here. Lee Briante of the Far West after a long week of music and festivities

We just moved to the south and felt we needed to write a song to make us fit in. So this is a song a out biscuits. The Grahams

If you don’t know this, there’s something wrong with ya. Mike Farris introducing “This Little Light of Mine”

If I fuck up the lyrics you won’t know any better. Anthony D’Amato introducing a new song

Click here for more Americana Music Conference coverage.

SXSW 2014 — Say What?!

One of my favorite parts of SXSW is the crazy things you see and hear along the way. Here are a few choice selections.

We’ve got about 20 minutes to make you love us. Chris Masterson stating what could be the SXSW mantra.

One in, one out. The other SXSW mantra, overheard at the men’s room.

It’s worth the wait. Don’t fucking give up hope. Guy leaving the men’s room, to those waiting in line.

It’s not on the record because mom listens to the record and it’s a little risqué. Andrew Duhon introducing an unreleased song.

You’ve got three more free drinks. Bartender
Is that a challenge? My response

The album is a tribute to brotherly love. It’s not necessarily about us, but the concept of brotherly love. Dave Alvin on his new album recorded with his brother Phil.

I’ve been in the polar Vortex all winter. There’s a word I never want to hear again. Archie Powell

He owes me money. Stage manager at the Continental Club when Garland Jeffreys went over his allotted set time.

It’s all licks. Note at the bottom of the iPad displaying the music for Garland Jeffreys’ guitarist

We’ve been a band for about 13 years and this is our first time playing the Continental Club. It’s kinda like our bar mitzvah. Riverboat Gamblers lead singer Mike Wiebe

I’m trying to get a record deal. I’m growing a beard. Jesse Malin

Nobody had the balls to say “Elvis, you’re a bit fat. Have an apple. BP Fallon

Getting on the plane it was like summer camp for musicians. Rusty Anderson, on traveling to Austin

It’s the sound of SXSW. It’s really great music blended with really great music from somewhere else. Ellis Paul, on the proximity of music venues to one another during SXSW

I’ll try to play everything in the same key and at the same tempo as the band across the street. Ellis Paul, a few minutes later.

I apologize for the state of my voice but I’ve had a fucking great time. Shane Sweeney of Two Cow Garage at the end of his SXSW run of shows.

South by South shit show. Ward Hayden of Girls Guns and Glory, reflecting on a portion of his SXSW experience

I’m not just here to entertain ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to teach. John Doe, on his SXSW experience

A friend of mine’s mother asked me why I don’t write more songs about Jesus. So I wrote this song which has nothing to do with Jesus. Andrew Duhon, introducing his song “Just Another Beautiful Girl”

We’ve all just learned a valuable lesson. Don’t open with a song that requires tuning. Urge Overkill’s Nash Kato

Chris, on the other hand, is a slut and will go home with any man woman or child. John Doe introducing his band.

Anyone know any jokes? We literally can’t play without power. Archie Powell, after the power blew in the middle of his band’s set

We’re like that old pair of Chuck Taylor’s that you can’t throw away. Shane Sweeney of Two Cow Garage, on the band’s longevity.

This song is about what all of my songs are about. Lydia Loveless, introducing “I Really Wanna See You Again”

Has the rain stopped? Has anyone checked their handheld device? T. Hardy Morris to the crowd standing in an outdoor parking lot.

This is a song about living in my car. (crowd applause) I’m glad we can cheer about it now. It wasn’t so much fun back then. Micah Schnabel of Two Cow Garage

Click HERE for more Twangville coverage of SXSW.

Americana 2013: Say What?!

One of my favorite things about attending music conferences and festivals are the crazy comments that you hear along the way. Here are a few choice selections.


Lets cut the small talk, I got a new record out. It’s already a million seller. I got a million of ‘em in the cellar.

Scott Miller

You’re fucking quiet. We could all just chat and stuff.

Scott Kempner of the Del-Lords

On this version lets change the music and the words. Keep it fresh.

Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets, preparing to do a second take of the one song that they played during a CMT Edge taping

This is called “No One Knows Nothing Anymore.” I’d like to dedicate this to the major labels.

Billy Bragg

In this digital world where songwriter credits have disappeared along with royalties….

Robert Hunter, accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting

Thanks. You oughta hear that one in tune.

Scott Miller

I’m a little out of tune but I’m going to play a blues song so it’s OK.

Parker Millsap

You guys are like the two old men from the Muppet show up there.

Matt Mays, to the sound guys perched on a balcony in the back of the High Watt club

I borrowed the title from the Ray Bradbury novel, only to be informed that it is actually from Shakespeare.

Lucinda Williams, introducing her song titled “Something Wicked This Way Comes”

I got these short pants on. No peeking. Keep your eyes up here.

Mojo Nixon, referring to his shorts as he sat down on a high stool

One of the reasons that I started working with Plowboy [Records] was I was told that I could subvert country music from within.

Legendary punk songwriter and guitarist Cheetah Chrome

I’m the office boy.

Cheetah Chrome, on his role at Plowboy Records

I’ve known this guy since we wore dog collars together back in the 1977.

Cheetah Chrome, introducing Alejandro Escovedo

Escovedo: So you remember?

Drummer: I know the name.

Escovedo: That’s good. My band doesn’t remember the name.

Alejandro Escovedo, teaching the house band one of his songs

Parker Millsap: Did you just call him ‘Cracker’?

CMT crew member: That’s his name.

Exchange while Millsap was setting up for a performance at the CMT Studios

We did a tour together in June and I’m lucky to be alive.

Joe Fletcher, on touring with JP Harris

I sarcastically said that this song was my version of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” The journalist misinterpreted it and wrote that I was inspired by it.

Samantha Crain, introducing her song “I’m Never Going Back”

Nashville has a problem with body parts.

Lucinda Williams, quoting Robbie Fulks on the Nashville establishment’s hesitation to promote certain songs

The one advantage of being in a band that looks like roadies is that you actually are roadies.

Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets

There ain’t nothing better than a real honest to God encore. A lot of bands do the bullshit encore.

Brian Henneman of the Bottle Rockets.

I’d like to play one from his back catalog, meaning pre-Mermaid Avenue.

Billy Bragg, introducing his cover of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home. “

That’s like bucket list stuff for a record store.

Grimey, of Grimey’s Record Store, after Billy Bragg played his entire first album in the parking lot behind the store

Miller Lite, the beer of kings.

Patrick Sweany

My dad is hunting or he would be here tonight.

Holly Williams, accepting Hank Williams’ lifetime achievement award at the Americana Music Awards

I don’t know why you’re clapping, the man just died.

John Fullbright, responding to the applause after he played his song “Fat Man”

We’re 31 years old and they think we are emerging.

The Milk Carton Kids

[We played] rockabilly before they had a name for it. We just thought it was hopped up country music.

Duane Eddy

We’re the organization that used to Sue people.

Cary Sherman, CEO of the RIAA, introducing himself

Click here for more Americana Music Conference coverage.

Photo credits:  Mayer Danzig.

SXSW 2013: Say What?!

One of my favorite parts of SXSW is the crazy things you see and hear along the way. Here are a few choice selections.


You laugh, but finding a good band name is still the hardest fucking part, I hope you know that. I mean, Foo Fighters is the stupidest fucking name in the world. Dave Grohl during his SXSW keynote speech.

Rick Springfield’s Manager: I wanna be Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl: Dude, you gotta get some shittier clothes.
As recounted by Rick Springfield

My name is Alejandro. I’m the Jermaine Jackson of the band. Alejandro Escovedo on his role with the True Believers.

We are the Beards. And we like beards. And we have beards. Australian band The Beards

Your favorite band sucks. Hipster t-shirt

“‘We want to be the biggest band in the world’ I laughed. I thought he was fucking kidding.” Dave Grohl, recalling what Kurt told a record exec when he was asked what he wanted.


I walk by it on the way to the gym. (pause) Oh, you think that’s funny? Steve Earle, to someone in the crowd who laughed.

Just in case you’re looking around and thinking folk music is getting too classy. Patty Griffin, referring to a lyric about rabbits in a song about her grandparents. You can guess the reference.

Here’s another one that I haven’t played in public. We’re gonna put it out whether you like it or not, so I hope you like it. Jason Isbell introducing a new song

You may think it’s humorous but my partner doesn’t. Billy Bragg, referring to his new song “Handyman Blues” Sample lyric: “‘cause I’m a writer, not a decorator; I’m not your handyman…”

Many of the lyrics were about flowers but it sounded so aggressive. Overheard.

People spend too much time on the protest and not enough time on the song. Billy Bragg on writing protest songs.

This next song is the worst one that I ever wrote. But I keep playing it. Billie Joe Shaver introducing a song called “That’s What She Said Last Night”

This song is gonna piss a lot of people off and I can’t wait. Steve Earle.


Who’s to say what’s a good voice and what’s not a good voice. The Voice? Imagine Bob Dylan standing there singing “Blowing in the Wind” in front of Christina Aguilera. ‘I think you sound a little nasely and sharp.’ Dave Grohl

There’s your free bird. Steve Earle, making a hand gesture to someone who requested said song.

This song is called “Lord, Keep Me in Mind” but I wish it was called “Lord, Keep My Guitar in Tune.” Colin MacDonald of the Trews

Let’s just play. None of this is gonna help. Buddy Miller getting a bit testy with the sound guy.

You look dumbfounded, please don’t be. Alejandro Escovedo, to the audience in the midst of playing a set of punk rock covers.

I have no trouble singing this song. Bobby Bare, Sr. introducing his cover of Alejandro Escovedo’s “I Was Drunk”

One good Bowie deserves another. David Garza, introducing his take on “Golden Years” after Charlie Sexton finished playing “Rebel Rebel.”

In the spirit of SXSW we’ve never played this before. Except maybe at 5am in a hotel room. Ian Moore, with guests Scott McCaughey and Ken Stringfellow, before playing a Doug Sahm cover

That song was short but you get the same amount of notes. We just play ‘em faster. Punk rocker Lee Ving, playing with Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players.

I’d like to thank the good people of scotch and soda. Patrick Sweany

We even played the Rolling Stones’ “Time is on My Side” at a fucking nursing home. Dave Grohl, recalling one of his first rock and roll bands

Y’all are a barrel of fun. Can we do this every night? And God says, ‘we’ll see about that.’ Butch Walker, playing in the Central Presbyterian Church

You may not recognize your favorite hits, but we play some of the notes. Barfield

Now let’s bring up someone who can really sing. Peter Buck, introducing Mike Mills, who joined Peter and his band to sing “Don’t Go Back to Rockville”


I can see the fucking finish line from here. Jon Dee Graham, nearing the end of his 15 gigs during SXSW.

We’re really enjoying the 52nd of our 59 shows this week. Bruce Robison.

We’ve got one more show tonight. I don’t know where it is. I don’t care really, it’s all too much. Andy Clockwise

I’m a tourist. We don’t have this kind of food in Sweden. A guy taking pictures of the fajita bar at the New West party.

Me: Do you know who is playing upstairs?
Door guy: Whoever is playing up there.
Me: Thanks. Helpful.

Enjoy your South By. It’s gonna be awesome. Don’t get arrested. Singer Rob Baird

Bowie. He’s the only person not here. David Garza, reflecting on the number of major artists who converged on Austin

Me: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a deer head on the wall.
Woman next to me: You’re not from Texas, are you? We got ‘em in the dentist offices.

On the tip line, they just wrote “math.” A bartender complaining about how a patron completed his credit card slip. The patron gave a tip but left it for the bartender to figure out the delta between the tab amount and the total amount the person wrote.


I’d rather you leave here with one that without one. But if you’re one of those flush mother-fuckers, you better pay. Jon Dee Graham describing his “pay what you want” policy for selling his cds.

Someday it will be worth twice what you paid for it. Yeah, 4 dollars. Jon Dee Graham

That’s where I first learned how the music industry worked. Otis Gibbs, recalling his early childhood years singing for tips while his uncle accompanied him on piano.

All these people are tech savvy. They can just Google “Kickstarter” and “the True Believers” Jon Dee Graham cutting to the chase as Alejandro began to pitch the band’s Kickstarter campaign.

How many people are actually from Texas? (many hands go up) Thank god. Billie Joe Armstrong demonstrating his love for the music industry


I don’t know what he does but I’m proud of him. Bobby Bare Sr., referring to his son, singer Bobby Bare, Jr., a singer-songwriter who was singing back-up vocals for him

If you see Peter Buck walking around with a bucket, please donate. Alejandro Escovedo as Buck worked his way through the crowd with a bucket collecting funds for charity Palapa Society

It’s a 14 hour drive unless you miss the left turn at Little Rock. Then it’s a 21 hour drive. Patty Griffin, on driving from Nashville to Austin

You too could have a beard like this, and all you have to do is nothing. The Beards

I’m fat and I’m ugly but at least I’m not on Facebook. Otis Gibbs, recounting something a truck driver said to him once at a truck stop.

Waiting for Godot

Click HERE for more Twangville coverage of SXSW.

Photo credit:  Erica Bruce/Between Love and Like (Billie Joe Armstrong).