3 things you don't know about SXSW

The SXSW Sweet 16

Bands you don’t want to miss this year:

16) Brooke Waggoner – Anyone who lists their influences as Mary Tyler Moore, trapeze artists, the Appalachian Mountains and mermaids and has a voice that makes flowers grow is a must in my book

15) Port O’Brien – sea slappy, slack-strung cobblestone stroll music. The jangle in your boot cut wranglers never felt so good

14) Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele – Tiny Tim loaded on Diet Tab, Burt Bacharach and Love Boat pills with a penchant for purple. Somehow wink and nudge kitsch hasn’t sounded so good.

13) Heartless Bastards – It’s not Austin until you drench yourself in fuzzed out, shoe gazing, head nodding guitar rock with a side of Easy Rider Soundtrack 3.0

12) Amanda Palmer – It’s a once a year fix, what can I say; i need to feed my inner drama queen.

11) Wild Light – uummm because they’re from New Hampshire! Live Free or Die, baby. We can swap tales about loading our pick-ups at the packy and cruising the Kancamangus.

10) Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – because I need to thank them for helping me survive February.

9) Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band– because the guy has the blood of a troubador, the mind of a painter and lacks a phony bone in his skeletal make-up. You gotta love and support a guy made up of such parts.

8 ) St. Vincent – not only is she the epitome of a woman who slays you with guitar chops and hypnotic melodies, but she’s a damn fine conversationalist.

7) Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – jellifies your spine with cactus funk and horns so powerful they’ll pin back your blissed out ears before filling them with lip smacking nectar.

6) Justin Townes Earle – He doesn’t know how to shut-up and for once that’s a good thing. I never had the chance to see Hank Williams and while there is no substitute; JTE keeps me crying in my PBR and wondering where the hell my dog wandered off to

5) Loney Dear – Dear John was one of my favorite albums of the last few years and with a new collection of songs and band, seeing a Swede sing falsetto in a cowboy hat should not be missed on principle.

4) Deer Tick – One of My favorite artists this year; I figure that’s a pretty good reason.

3) M. Ward – Because last year he brought the goods in every way, shape and form, and this year he’s loaded up the basket with an ever bigger assortment of treats

2) The Decemberists – Because Colin is a showman and he works too-cool-for-school crowds into hand clapping hootennanies. While the new album The Hazards of Love has been dubbed a rock opera, it is actually another melodic march into a impish and sinister imagination. Down a bottle of tequilla and elbow your way into the front row to sing along.

1) The Avett Brothers – “if you never did you should because those things are fun and fun is good.” – Dr. Seuss

Next: Over 80 OurStage Artists performing at SXSW!

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