About a Mover: Doug Sahm

Conference Panel

SXSW Live Shot
Photo By Gary Miller

About a Mover: Doug Sahm

Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 14 Doug Sahm was the quintessential Texas musician of the 20th century. Amazingly versatile, he played rock, blues, country, and Tex-Mex with style and confidence that was both unique and energizing. His death in the fall of 1999 left a big hole in a lot of people's hearts, and this discussion, led by Joe Nick Patoski of Texas Monthly, was rightfully a celebration of Sahm's life through remembrances of some of the people who knew him best. Ernie Durawa, a friend of Sahm's since childhood and a drummer in many of his bands, recalled the early days of playing teen dances in San Antonio and sneaking in to see T-Bone Walker play. Augie Meyers, the man responsible for the keyboards in the Sir Douglas Quintet and Sahm's longtime sidekick, told of how the Quintet wasn't allowed to speak at a television appearance to protect the myth that they were from Britain and not from Texas. Carlyne Majer, who owned the Soap Creek Saloon, spoke with glee of how Sahm rarely toured in the Seventies, because he was happy playing at her club which was just steps from his house. Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson proclaimed, "Doug was the ambassador of Texas," and explained how the Wheel moved to Austin from California at his urging. The thing is everyone who ever met Sahm has a memorable story to tell about him, and the panel could have gone on for days. Shawn, one of Sahm's sons, has more than a little of his dad's penchant for talking; had the best recollection, having asked his dad the right questions before the elder Sahm's passing; and was able to fill in a great deal about who he was and how he did things. At the beginning, Patoski cautioned that a few tears might be shed, but just the opposite was true. It was just a bunch of friends sitting around sharing stories of a life that was lived to the fullest, and -- as it was when he was alive -- Doug Sahm's spirit put a smile on the face of everyone in the room.

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