A Merri Aftermath to SX620

Three days (daze?), thirty (plus) bands, and of course a few side projects. SX620 and SXSW have come and gone — and we are just now sorting out all of the music we recorded and the video we shot. One thing we know. There is some great stuff out there — for example, Meggan Carney’s quirky songs and powerful voice, which she will be taking to Washington, DC, and Chicago on behalf of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau in coming weeks. Flanfire will be joining Meggan and the incomparable Drew Smith in the Windy City (barring strange incidents that could happen). Meanwhile, Drew’s Lonely Choir played an amazing set last weekend at Momo’s that left even Ihor Gowda gasping for breath…. And I met Merri Palmer … at long last. Raw .. her new CD, Drinking and Dreaming, is as raw as an open wound from intentional cutting, so honest Abe Lincoln would blush, and so intense (and yet often funny but even more often poignant) that you just through the songs (and maybe an on-stage performance or two) you sense that this woman way too soon wants to fix every broken thing but knows she cannot … and wonders why. “Early in the Morning” is a deja vu moment in time as one copes with the non-reality that you tried to keep real but could not — one of the most haunting songs ever. “The Daily Grind” speaks of the earthquakes in people’s lives that so disrupt normal and always seem to come with aftershocks. “Underage Smokers” takes us back to high school memories — and a wish that “you’ve grown up to grow sane.” “Hopeless Romantic” bounces into your head to open the show, and you realize that this seemingly happy song has its darker overtones, as “everything I’ve loved so far’s gone bad.” The title cut has this line, “plans are what you make until something more important comes along,” and so relationships sometimes come to an end. There are songs here about which I cannot write — maybe because Merri has a heart the size of the moon itself and a passion for people daring to seek their own truth that comes from seeing hypocrisy way up too close. This offering follows her earlier acoustic EP, “The First Five Years,” and features new new synthesizer and lots of harmonies (many her own). Merri will have a residency at Flipnotics next month and has other shows about town … that is, if she doesn’t hop on a cruise ship to sing for her supper.

Elsewhere I recently gave high praise to the new CD by Jenny Parrott and Vaughn Walters, aka Loves It! Tonight I stopped by the Whip In to catch Jess Klein with Patterson Barrett as they sang an amazing duet of “Grievous Angel” that evoked the passion and joy of the original Gram and Emmy Lou that changed my life. Also on the stage, Professor Feathers aka Mark Addison (who will be sharing HIS songs with Jess i a fw weeks) and Danish songbird Annemarie Jensen (who has been “touring” with Chris Hawkes and will be in town through the end of April).
Then it was off to the Continental Gallery to check out The Frank Mustard Project — I liked their songs but even moreso their cover of Link Wray’s “Comanche.”

Coming up — Thursday at Threadgills’ – Cowboy and Indian (wear a costume); Friday at the Cactus, the beautiful Bonnie Whitmore (with Graham Weber), at the Continental Club, the long-awaited CD release by Slowtrain, and at Momo’s round 2 of Dave maden’s OMG Orchestra featuring Sara Hickman, John Pointer, and more … and the show I really want to see — Merri Palmer with D. B. Rouse (Kiddo) and others at Hornitos — which starts at 7 pm. It’s gonna be a looonnng night!

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