The Governor's Annual Salute to Texas Music

Music Showcase

Johnny Gimble Band
Johnny Gimble Band (Photo By John Anderson)

The Governor's Annual Salute to Texas Music

La Zona Rosa, Wednesday, March 12 Gov. Rick Perry broke the proverbial champagne bottle over SXSW 03 Wednesday night at La Zona Rosa during the third annual Governor's Salute to Texas Music bash. Before the guv took center stage, merrymakers dined on finger-sandwich versions of chicken salad on croissants and chopped beef on a little squishy crostini thing while listening to the Texas swing of Johnny Gimble. The event was a decidedly button-down affair -- indeed there were more suits at La Zona on Wednesday evening than anyone is likely to see during all the rest of the South-by events combined. This, of course, is likely due to the evening's guest list, which was dominated by legislators and their staff members along with the heads of various state agencies and members of Perry's staff. (Industry reps from L.A., NYC, and Nashville provided but a small accent to the blue-suit crowd.) Among the Chronicle's "star sightings": state Sens. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound; Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay; and Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, and state Rep. Ron Wilson, D-Houston, who spent the evening circling the guv with dark sunglasses on. Of course, none of them were too hard to spot once Perry took the stage just after 7pm to bless the Music Festival, causing the faithful to flock as near to his side as possible. Perry sidestepped any mention of war or state budget shortfalls, stressing the fact that SXSW is great for the economy, adding nearly $23 million to city revenues. Besides, he said, the Festival offers a host of great music to enjoy, including "alternative" music that "some of us are learning to enjoy, all the way across the stream." Nonetheless, at least Perry dressed the part, donning a slick-backed Rick hairdo with a decidedly hipster ensemble of black T-shirt and black jacket. Unfortunately for Gimble and his swinging band, Perry was the real draw at this shindig, and while the band played, Perry drew the crowds, spending nearly 45 minutes pressing flesh with, seemingly, anyone who was interested. He was, of course, accompanied by a staff photographer who caught the evening on 35mm; suffice it to say that Perry had as many Texas blondes vying for photo ops as former President Bill Clinton had large-hipped brunettes. Go figure.

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