SXSW Folk Heaven

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Photo courtesy of Mary Agnew

Another SXSW is gone. This is the second one that has taken place while living here.

I’ve been really down as a songwriter, because recently I’ve lost any faith in my abilities and I’ve slowly lost faith in myself as a whole over the last few months.

I played no shows during SXSW, but Saturday night I had the opportunity to go to a large folk music gathering at a friends house. I decided to go even though I was sick that day from flu like symptoms.

Tons of my folk idols where on hand, Raina Rose, John Elliott, Jack Wilson, Corrina Rachel, AJ Roach, Datri Bean, Rebecca Loebe, Matt the Electrician, Devon Sproule, Carrie Elkin, Danny Schmidt, Anthony De Costa, Cory Branan and more.

The guitar began getting passed around and that night I wanted to play a song more than I have ever wanted to play a song in my life. However my heat flashes, coughing and gas were something I had to focus on constantly. I was holding back a cough every second of the night and stepping outside between songs to cough.

The guitar gets to me and at that moment I had to cough and fart so bad that there was just no way at that moment. I let it skip me in hopes I could jump back in after clearing my throat, went outside and coughed and came back to hear what was the last song played of the evening. My heart and soul hurt more than ever not to play a song. I was destroyed.

Sunday night came and down the street from my house would be a similar party with most of the same folks. This time a birthday party, but I knew the guitar would come out.

I still felt ill, but needed to go. If for no other reason than to just hear those artist in that setting one more time.

Again the guitar gets to me and I can’t imagine trying to sing, but my heart would not have been able to not play a song, so I played one. It felt great, even though I was holding back a cough every second of it and I was walking a fine line of singing at a level I could muster without bringing out the cough.

A huge weight was lifted off me and even though my voice and cough got worse through the night I played 4 more songs.

At one point in the night two amazing cello players (David Moss of The Blue Hit and Rushad Eggleston of Tornado Rider) busted out cellos and started accompanying all the songwriters. They did so in a very beautiful and respectful way to the songs.

Then we were down to one cello player (Rushad Eggleston) and a guitar player (Graham Terry) accompanying all the songwriters. It was an incredibly beautiful night of music. Indescribable really.

Not only great songwriters in attendance, but great musicians. Andrew Pressman, who plays upright bass with pretty much everyone, members of The Blue Hit (John McGee, David Moss).

Me and the fellows from Tornado Rider ended up at a taco joint at 2am, had our fill of tacos before walking to my house to crash.

This Monday morning I am paying dearly for it. My voice is gone. My cough is non-stop. It kept me up most of the night, but last night was something I needed. Last night was beautiful.

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