wrapped in an incredibly cozy blanket
It’s a feeling that most people would never refuse or deny.
It’s a feeling that makes many people think of home.
It’s a feeling that breeds warmness and softness.
As you may know, Austin hosts an annual music and film festival called “South by Southwest”. Now, I didn’t grow up going to SXSW, but I have gone for the past few years because I’ve had friends playing at different venues throughout the week. I want to give a shout out to some of those people because they are currently slaying it at what they do.
First, let’s talk about the band Joseph.
(left –> right) Allie, Meegan, and Natalie — three sisters from Portland, OR, that hold the power to sing such impeccable harmonies that it forces you to close your eyes and forget that you are anything but a pair of ears that were made to listen to beautiful things. I saw them five separate times this week and not only are they more than remarkable musicians, but I was reminded that they are some of the kindest humans with whom you’ll ever interact.
They have been writing and recording some new tunes and they are…well…yeah. Not a descriptive enough adjective for the goodness of the new songs. So far, my favorite new track is a song they call “White Flag“. Natalie describes it as a song “with a fist in the air towards all the things in the world that make us feel afraid”. Here’s one of the lines from the chorus,
I could surrender, but I’d be pretending
I’d rather be dead than live a lie
Burn the white flag
Joseph is also currently traveling with three more friends and adding those friends has done nothing but add new dimensions of wonder to their music. Also, they love denim! Go check them out!
Next, let’s talk about a little group that goes by the name of Judah & the Lion.
(left –> right) Brian, Dylan, Judah, Spencer, Nate, and Daniel, simply put, have more fun on stage than just about any other band or artist that I have ever seen. Joy not only fills their faces, but this sense of overwhelming joy takes over their bodies and creates one of the biggest parties that any stage has ever seen. I saw these guys play twice and they were as unbelievable as ever.
They just put out their new album called “Folk Hop n’ Roll“. My thoughts? Well, there a two kinds of people in this world: 1) people who don’t care what they look like when they dance in the car and 2) people who are too baptist or self-conscious to dance in the car. Either way, this album is going to make you want to dance. It’s also going to make you want to see them do it live, and I highly suggest you getting a ticket to a show near you to experience this album live. Word on the street is that the side-effects of a folk hop n’ roll show are pure joy and happiness. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on that! One of my favorite lines is from one of their new songs called “Insane“,
I think that we’re all going insane
hiding behind some smiling face
Go check them out. They are fantastic!
Those were my two most-notable of the week. Other artists and bands that I really enjoyed were:
Rayland Baxter, whose rock n’ roll feel will put you straight into some good vibes.
Margaret Glaspy, whose Janis Joplin-esque vocals and in-your-face lyrics will make you take a step back and think while also making you want to lie down and never stop listening to her make beautiful noises with her vocal chords and fingers.
Penny & Sparrow, whose wonderfully ominous melodies and lyrics will make you want to sit next to a fire with four-fingers of whiskey or wine and contemplate the important things in life.
Snarky Puppy, whose beautifully constructed instrumentals will put you in a groove that is near impossible from which to be removed.
I also spent almost all of my free time at a coffee shop called Seventh Flag Coffe Co. on south 1st street where the drinks and baristas are nothing short of marvelous. If you’re ever in Austin, please give them your business!
wrapped in an incredibly cozy blanket
That is the best way to describe this past week spent at SXSW. The music, the coffee, the old and new friends, the food, and the more than stupendous weather all combined to create an atmosphere worthy of celebration. It felt like a place that I am proud to have called home for eighteen years.
If you had a spring break, I hope it was marvelous. If you are a grown-up and not a teacher, then I hope you can find some rest and solace in some of these bands listed above. They’re all so incredible and worth giving a listen!