2006-07 Austin Music Awards Show

Austin Convention Center, Wednesday, March 14

Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)
In a new venue on a stage bedecked with floral tributes to Ann Richards and Clifford Antone, the 25th edition of the Austin Music Awards evoked the spirit of a smaller, more casual town that continues to persist even as the growing metropolis is beset with toll roads and Neiman Marcus openings. Margaret Moser's homey introduction set the tone for satisfied Nashville transplants Bobby Whitlock and CoCo Carmel to deliver an informal set of Derek & the Dominos songs. "Keep On Growing" showcased Whitlock's smoky Memphis growl, while Carmel's sax work on "Bell Bottom Blues" channeled Lubbock's own Bobby Keys. The couple's arrangement of "Layla" was loungey by comparison, but their onstage chemistry proved endearing nonetheless. Someone get this deeply soulful duo in front of a crack full band at once. Timbuk 3's Barbara Kooyman & the Unstrung Heroes of Texamericana promoted Kooyman's new nonprofit radio venture with a hootenanny-style set highlighted by Michelle Shocked's soaring rendition of "Come a Long Way." New AMA emcee Andy Langer assumed Paul Ray's gavel with purposeful aplomb, though the best award presenter quip came from poster artist Billy Perkins. "I'm flattered to be a presenter," he said, "but the fact that I'm here means some of y'all sons a bitches didn't vote for me!" Vanguard Eighties punk quartet Scratch Acid made it into the Hall of Fame, but only guitarist Brett Bradford was on hand to accept. "David Sims is now a corporate accountant in New York and it's tax time," Bradford explained. The convention center ballroom began buzzing with anticipation immediately prior to Ian McLagan & the Bump Band's tribute to McLagan's Small Faces bandmate Ronnie Lane, who succumbed to multiple sclerosis in 1997. After warming up the crowd with Lane's "Glad and Sorry" and a less sprightly, more mournful arrangement of "Itchycoo Park," the big moment arrived when Pete Townshend strode onstage to play "Kuschty Rye." KGSR's Jody Denberg looked like a kid in a candy store as he harmonized on the chorus. At song's end, McLagan shook Townshend's hand and Chairman Pete responded by patting Mac on the head. Introducing "Whatcha Gonna Do About It," McLagan noted that Small Faces guitarist Steve Marriott nicked the song's solo from Townshend before exhorting Pete to "take that fucker back." Townshend complied by tearing through a marathon version of the song like it was all in a day's work. The crowd never left their feet while he was onstage. No one in their right mind wants to follow such an event, but Shawn Sahm & the Tex Mex Experience kept the energy level high. With accordionist Flaco Jimenez and organist Augie Meyers in tow, they paid tribute to fallen Texas Tornados Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender with crowd-pleasing renditions of "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and "Who Were You Thinking Of?" Although virtually every other award winner gave a shout-out to Clifford Antone, the real tribute came at night's end, when guitarists Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark Jr., and Derek O'Brien joined special-guest harp blower James Cotton to play the departed back home to the blues. Physical traces of Groover's Paradise are increasingly hard to come by in today's Austin, but Augie Meyers' recitation of Doug Sahm's famous exhortation, "Don't take no shit from nobody," was a clear-cut reminder that the groove lives on.

the Tex Mex Experience
the Tex Mex Experience (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

CoCo Carmel (l) and Bobby Whitlock
CoCo Carmel (l) and Bobby Whitlock (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

Jimmie Vaughan
Jimmie Vaughan (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

Barbara Kooyman (l) and Carrie Rodriguez
Barbara Kooyman (l) and Carrie Rodriguez (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

Margaret Moser (l) and Kathy Valentine
Margaret Moser (l) and Kathy Valentine (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

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