American Songwriter at SXSW: T(ea) For Tennessee Party

The Next Big Nashville and American Songwriter Official SXSW Day Party got off to a perfect laid-back Friday midday start with the hangover cure of scrambled eggs, biscuits and jams from Loveless Cafe and the sweet songs of T(ea) for Tennessee “in the round” songwriters Jeremy Lister, Matthew Perryman Jones, Trent Dabbs, Katie Herzig and special guest Jedd Hughes.

The Next Big Nashville and American Songwriter Official SXSW Day Party got off to a perfect laid-back Friday midday start with the hangover cure of scrambled eggs, biscuits and jams from Loveless Cafe and the sweet songs of T(ea) for Tennessee “in the round” songwriters Jeremy Lister, Matthew Perryman Jones, Trent Dabbs, Katie Herzig and special guest Jedd Hughes.

Breakfast from Loveless Cafe

Jedd Hughes, Katie Herzig, Jeremy Lister, Trent Dabbs and Matthew Perryman Jones (L-R)

In the backroom of The Tap Room at Six Lounge, in the trendier shopping area west of dingy 6th Street bar land, party sponsor Moontoast.com was set up to field any and all questions about the launch of their Nashville-based creative/educational video sharing platform, which had made a splash the week before during the SXSW interactive conference.

Jockeying for space with Moontoast was our very own AmericanSongspace.com. where writers and industry pros can interact and post and listen to songs. Partygoers learned about both platforms and also entered for the opportunity to win over $4,000 in prizes from our gear sponsors Fishman Acoustic Amplification and Toontrack. (More on that later.)

After the songwriters round concluded, the stage was cleared for the bands. Sarah Siskind, Kyle Andrews and Madi Diaz brought some rollicking Nashville singer-songwriter stuff. Louisville-based Daniel Martin Moore slowed it down a bit with his quiet but encompassing songs before Those Darlins opened it back up with fun and refreshingly aggressive country punk. By the end of the Darlins set, it was close to 4 o’clock and our party was half-gone. The late afternoon kicked off with indie trio The Ettes before Nashville vets The Features took over, and then came Howlies from neighboring Georgia with some very loud Atlanta rock.

The Ettes (photo credit: Jonathon Kingsbury)

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The Features (photo credit: Jonathon Kingsbury)

One of the most impressive performances of the day was Jessica Lea Mayfield, who put a whole lot of attitude in the skinny blonde blues. With Richie Kirkpatrick (who usually fronts Nashville’s Ghostfinger) on some very weird and awesome echo-y electric guitar, and a rocking rhythm section sans bass, Mayfield showed us what Ohio is all about, and reminded us how much we loved The Black Keys “Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be” on which Mayfield adds a haunting counterpoint vocal to Dan Auerbach’s sick soul dirge: “She’s got the kind of love I need/ The kind that’s never good on me.”

Just as Mayfield’s band was breaking down for last act How I Became The Bomb, American Songwriter decided to steal the stage to pull some names out of the hat for our gear prize giveaway. We couldn’t have been more thrilled to pull Rollum Haas’ name. Rollum, who had already been on stage as a member of The Features, won the Ultimate Acoustic Rig, including the Fishman SoloAmp Performance System as well as a glut of Fishman AFX and Aura pedals. Second place went to Jessica Campbell who took home the Fishman Loudbox acoustic amp. (Look for a featured video recap of the party and Fishman prize giveaways on American Songspace in the next few weeks.)

Since the artists who come to SXSW travel long and far to play 20-minute sets (sometimes cut even shorter), with little time to sound check and a never-ending load-in and loud-out schedule, we decided to show our appreciation by giving our runner up prizes (Fishman Neo-D magnetic soundhold pickup and Toontrack Nashville EZX software) to the musicians who played the T(ea) for Tennessee party. Richie Fingers, still packing up on stage after the Jessica Lea Mayfield set as we announced the main winners, jumped up to grab a Neo-D pickup for his acoustic guitar. We found the Darlins lurking outside and presented some Toontrack prizes, while some of the other boys in The Features got Neo-D consolation prizes as well. 

Thanks to everyone who came out and all the performers, and a huge thanks to mastermind Jason Moon Wilkins (Next Big Nashville) and all the folks at Moontoast and Remarkable Wit.

As the party crew was breaking down The Tap Room, How I Became The Bomb took the stage. With the crowd worn out and waning, The Bomb unleashed some disco dance party explosives on the vestiges of the scene. Closing down the house with their raunchy rendition of Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds,” it was a fitting and upbeat end to a long day that covered a lot of bases.

Were you there? Tell us what you thought…

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