The paradox inherent to many major music festivals, whether it’s California’s Coachella or Texas’ South by Southwest (SXSW), is that given the preponderance of choices available to music fans, it’s often difficult to choose where to go at all. Extensive lineups offer plenty of choice, but at the same time they create a din that’s hard to cut through in order to find something truly special. Nevertheless, if one takes the initiative to look beyond the headliners and main stages, she can find exciting music being performed in the nooks and crannies of even the most overwhelming music festivals.
Luke Winslow-King‘s performance for Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas is one such case. View the performance and read about what went into it below.
Fred Abercrombie, Integrated Creative Manager at Lagunitas Brewing, explains to PopMatters a bit about what Lagunitas Couch Trippin’ is: “The whole idea behind CouchTrippin’ is about taking a bit of Lagunitas out on the road to party with friends and bands on their way down to Austin. We bring some well-loved couches from our brewery, killer tunes (we have live music every day we’re open), some freaktacular talent from our annual Beer Circus, and fresh brews. The CouchTrippin’ shows are something to be experienced first-hand for sure. But these stripped-down couch video sessions we do with bands, like with Luke Winslow-King inside Yard Dog Art, have given us a way to share these unique performances with the rest of the country who weren’t lucky enough to stumble upon ‘em.”
“Crazy how this all came together ‘cuz the scheduling at SXSW is insane. Once a band is done playing one spot, they’re running off across town to play another venue, stage or parking lot. Having the Lagunitas couch cross paths with our Bloodshot [Records] friends was fortuitous.”
Abercrombie had this to say about Winslow-King’s session: “This session was conjured by a perfect storm in the middle of SXSW—the Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ to Austin tour was back in town, Bloodshot’s annual Yard Dog party was in full-swing out back, and out front was a full-on rainstorm. So we setup just inside the gallery. Right after Luke Winslow-King stepped off the stage he hopped onto the Lagunitas couch (you see he’s still wearing his rain boots).
“While most everyone else was either watching the mainstage out back or heading for cover at the next show, the few that stumbled out of the rain and into this impromptu session got a serious treat.
“It was unreal to be setup amongst all the killer art at Yard Dog. Getting to marinate in that many Jon Langford pieces was the highlight of the visit—until Luke and his fiddle player Matt Rhody started working their magic. While the original recorded version of ‘As April Is To May’ has a rollickin’ New Orleans swing, the duo’s slow burn on this rendition has a gypsy saunter that’s downright intoxicating.”
Winslow-King’s latest LP for the Bloodshot label, Everlasting Arms, is out now. In his 7 out of 10 review of the record for PopMatters, John Paul describes it as “full of charming, deceptively complex arrangements and chord progressions that hearken back to a freer, looser time in American popular song.”