I'll take any opportunity I can to write about my brother on these Music Mondays. Unfortunately, his last new album came out in the 2012 calendar year, so I can't exactly promote new music as a New Thing.
(Although he talked about playing a new song down in Texas this week...so maybe he'll get his own featured week at some point.)
But I can keep him in the conversation as I write about other new music he's helped expose me to.
Because for the past week (actually, more) he's been in Austin, Texas, living the South by Southwest life.
He did this last year, too, though by his own admission he did it better this year.
He also played in a higher-profile way this year, as part of "The Outlaw Roadshow"...and that's where the New Thing comes in.
"The Outlaw Roadshow" is a music event presented by Ryan Spaulding - a music blogger - and Adam Duritz, who you probably know from the Counting Crows.
This year they invited my brother to perform along with about 30 other artists. He played the first weekend, then there was another show on the second weekend of SXSW.
I was kind of stuck about what to do for this Music Monday. I was hung up on the number 77 - my birthday is 7/7, and I wanted to do something new featuring the number 7. I didn't really get anything good.
Then I realized the Outlaw Roadshow's website has a song from each of the artists who played each of the shows. So I sat and listened to each one. Two things made this seem less daunting to me - 1) My brother was at most (if not all) of both shows, and was raving about each of the bands that played, and 2) If they, like my brother, were invited to play here, they have to be good.
So I listened to 33 new songs this weekend.
I liked Bridges and Powerlines' "The Jameson," "I Can't Wait" by Star & Micey, Air Traffic Controller's "You Know Me," "Need You" by Daniel and The Lion, and "Television" by You Won't from the March 16th collection.
From the March 9th set, the PHOX and Animal Talk songs were kind of fun, and actually there was an upbeat, fast-paced tone to most of that lineup. I liked a lot of the songs, including "The Arsonist" by Tyler Stenson. My wife had been talking up Stenson since the early rounds of voting for some of the artists for the event.
A definitive highlight for my brother came when he was invited (I think? Maybe he just went up there on his own. Just kidding. I don't know how this transpired, though - he and a number of others closed out the night on stage.) on stage Saturday night to sing with Duritz. (See the video below.)
My favorite SXSW artist is back from Texas today. He's heading on the road again soon, playing in Tennessee later this week. Keep tabs on him and check him out when he's in your area.