In the time leading up to SXSW, Lee acted as the social director, coordinating with everyone via email to compress a week's worth of activities into a single weekend in Austin: places to eat, drink, and of course catch some live music. What to do on Saturday night was of course one of the main topics. One option he put forward was:
I was thinking another road trip...down to Greune Hall (Texas' oldest continuously running dancehall) to see the Joe Ely Band. If people like this idea, we'll want to jump on tickets now.I replied:
Joe Ely? on a Saturday Night?!to which Lee replied:
Well played on the Ely clip. Well played, sir.That's some pretty obscure fan boy humor, but Lee and I connected on that level.
Instead of seeing Joe Ely*, the group voted instead for catching the critically acclaimed, Austin-based, alt-country legend Dale Watson at the Broken Spoke. Also an Austin legend, The Broken Spoke is on the outskirts of town, the kind of place that you assume only exists in movies. Danette had been to the Broken Spoke on one of her business trips and had told me all about it. So while I was somewhat prepared for what awaited me, the honky tonk that time forgot was an experience all its own. The song that was playing when we walked in was "Quick Quick, Slow Slow". I can't find which LP, if any, has this song; I don't know why that song stuck in my mind but it did, and it came to represent the entire experience for me. We were there for maybe 2 hours, and towards the end Lee came up to me as I was standing by myself near the stage and asked with a smile "what do you think?". I smiled and replied "it is everything I hoped it would be."
Although we exchanged emails several times before he and his wife Judy died in an accident while vacationing in Peru in August 2012, that was the last time I saw Lee. The tributes that followed were many and moving, with many focusing on his considerable impact and influence within the scholarly communication community. While he and I had that connection, we always eventually steered our conversation to things like our mutual admiration of Joe Strummer and our shared frustration of how people use "bbq" as a verb and not a noun (e.g., "what you're doing is called `grilling'...").
I had less than 48 hours in Austin that weekend, but it was a great time largely in part due to Lee insuring we all had great places to go. There were a lot of memories, including being Johan's "plus one" at a reception (he was insufferable after that). Many of the folks are shown below, but I regret that I did not take any pictures that weekend -- who really thinks this will be their last opportunity to do so?
Dale Watson - "Quick Quick, Slow Slow" -- This video is from 2009, but the point about places like The Broken Spoke is they don't change much, so this is pretty similar to the experience we had that night (although on March 10, 2012 the fiddle player was a woman).
Want more Broken Spoke? This video describes how they make chicken fried steak. We didn't eat there that night, but if I go back I'll make a point to.
* It's been almost two weeks since I've mentioned The Clash, so I'll point out that Joe Ely sings back up on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" just so I can check that box. I'll also mention that I could make the Joe Ely reference because Scott Kinkade introduced me to the music of Jimmie Dale Gilmore ~1992, but that's a story for another time.