Friday, March 16, 2012


Bruce Springsteen, old friend and rocker emeritus, performs "Wrecking Ball," a new song about these hard times, and "Badlands," an old favorite, at the SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival in Austin, Texas. Bruce has a new album that hits hard--you might call it his "Occupy Wall Street" album, but he's not just getting on the bandwagon; all along he's been writing and singing songs about people hit hard by Reaganomics, corporate greed, layoffs and outsourcing--but not in a preachy way. He writes personal songs. And he rocks.

Sorry we missed the fest. This week, along with some old geezers like Bruce, plenty of hungry up-and-coming bands, along with some more established acts, will rock stages across Austin. As you may know, Austin is an oasis in the otherwise conservative Lone Star State, an island of alternative culture and enlightened politics with a musical tradition that extends from Willie Nelson to punk bands like the Butthole Surfers. The town is full of great bars and restaurants, with good Mexican food (not just Tex-Mex, which also exists here) and barbecue and deep-fried delicious southern food. A couple of my favorite pots are Threadgill's, where Janis Joplin first sang, and where they still make killer chicken-fried steaks and shrimp etouffee , and, just south of town, in Dripping Springs, Texas, a family-style barbecue joint called The Salt Lick that serves lip-smacking brisket and ribs. It's gotten bigger over the years, but still sticks to the family recipe for out of this world 'cue. (Be sure to bring a rack of Shiner Bock beer because it's smack dab in the middle of a dry county) So get rid of this George Bush, shitkicker Texas cliches out of your mind when you think of Austin. Good food and music? My kind of place!

The "Boss" gives the keynote address, kicking off SXSW

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