No Depression has had a few choice words for, and about, SXSW. In several posts, there is lots of angst and regret. Praise, happiness, and criticism–for both Austin and its people. What I take from all this is that SXSW is still a worthy festival, but one that is too corporate. It is a place where the now is, and the past is not forgotten musically.
Alt Country is in a no man’s land one feels, because, since the 1990s (and my series on the Golden Age will continue in the near future), there has been no break out domination of the genre by a few choice acts or bands. I am conflicted: there’s just way too much great stuff out there on the alt country scene. 20 years ago there were only a few bands and acts, now there are numerous talents–too numerous to count. Does that not spell its success? Or are we forever going to relegate ourselves to “it’s only cool if hardly anyone listens to it” mentality? Sure, I miss Richard Buckner, Townes, and Whiskeytown, but we still have DBT and now the Carolina Chocolate Drops (among many, many others).
I am optimistic about the alt country scene. SXSW is its show and its stage. Perhaps, if SXSW is getting too big or too corporate, there needs to be another showing.