Since 2015, we have asked independent artists to share their favorite memories from their time at SXSW. In just three years, this project has become one of our most popular features thanks to the growing interests of bands and singers from around the world. These memories are from Riley Moore.
The Nashville native’s bio is something else. He lives on a boat that sits on a lake outside of Nashville. He did a tour on foot, walking 1600 miles from Nashville to Portland, Maine, and back. To get his gear to each destination and to perform with the likes of Arlo Guthrie, Lyle Lovett, and Shakey Graves, he pushed a stroller. Although Moore has been compared to John Prine and Bob Dylan (and there definitely is a resemblance with his storytelling approach), he’s more like a modern-day Woody Guthrie. His adventures continued at SXSW (he didn’t walk this time).
SXSW, a strange arrangement of letters that represent what is to me almost an equally strange group of words. South By Southwest, something that 19-year old me learned during an internship at American Songwriter Magazine is the name of a “really cool,” really mysterious music festival/ everything festival that has taken place in Austin, Texas for 31 years.
Eight years after that internship, it was finally time to drive down from Nashville to Texas to figure out what the hell happens at “South by.” What follows is a collection of photographs and memories that represent my scrappy attempt to do so.
In Memphis, I took a picture of this pretty, pink tree (and my friend and driver, Jack). I also ate a burrito from Chipotle.
In heaven knows where Arkansas, I took this picture of a pretty, pink sky and listened to my favorite murder, which sort of weirded me out. I also realized the amount of podcasts about famous serial killers is alarming.
We slept in Shreveport, Louisiana that night with some of my greatest college friends. I actually married them. It was such a hot day, and I was sweating so hard I wiped my face with a fancy handkerchief mid-marriage ceremony like a baptist preacher.
They served us some special strawberry pie. It was pretty much just a bunch of strawberries and a bunch of whipped cream. It was delicious. Apparently, Shreveport is famous for this pie. Apparently the only things Shreveport has is this pie and some B-Grade Casinos – no offense, no offense, no offense. Oh yeah, if you’re ever driving into Shreveport (it’s ok if you never do this, by the way) don’t be confused – none of those buildings in the skyline are skyscrapers. They’re just casinos.
Oh, also my friend Amy works at a chimpanzee sanctuary, which I guess is in Shreveport so that’s pretty cool! Catch it now on Vice!
I found this photograph of me and some of my best mates in my friends’ home. Always nice when you discover photographs of yourself in your friends’ homes!
Also in their house, I drank coffee from this handle-less mug with my face on it. I’m wearing a bow tie.
This was the morning of my birthday. Drank some mad cap coffee out of myself and rehearsed the big South by set. Good vibe.
My ancestors were big dogs in Tyler, Texas, which happens to be between Shreveport and Austin. We had to do a stop, so I could tread the lands from which I came on the day of my birth.
Moore Grocery Co. was owned by my great grandfather and my grandfather worked here as a whippersnapper. I made the leasing office people give me a tour. Actually, they were extremely kind and made me feel special about my heritage. They even let us use the bathrooms.
Within 20 minutes of my arrival to Austin, it was time to play my first set – inside this moving truck. To clarify, it was stationary, but it normally moves lots of things and was large enough to fit several church pews and host an intimate crowd.
This was a really cool gathering put on by Keeled Scales – a super cool Austin Label (Twain, Buck Meek). Seth, one of the humans behind Keeled Scales, also owns a moving company called Mash Movers and had the brilliant idea of bringing some of their artists and friends out for a couple acoustic day parties. I encourage other people who own moving trucks to copy this all the time. The sound carried well beyond the bounds of the truck bed and the vulnerability between singer and listener was palpable!
Seth and his girlfriend Kyra were two of the most kind and wonderful people I’ve met and allowed myself and my travel companion, Jack, to stay at their home. The sofa on their screened in porch was the perfect nest to run home to after days of scrambling around the Austin streets.
The coolest band I discovered by being in the right place at the right time is an electronic, space vibe duo called O/Y. The place was the German House. Shout out to my German friend Becca (jeans, shoes, and incredible jacket pictured in truck show) – legend!
I was just standing there innocently and then this incredible woman with a massive afro, tights with little creatures on them, baggy, floral, cotton shorts and a 1970s patched suede jacket bounded past me towards the stage. I was captivated. Then she carried out a microphone stand with these cute little monster critters dangling from it. I knew I was in for a real treat. I snapped this photo and made an Instagram story (s/o @young_legend) that I think said “this girl bout to be lit af” and she was! Accompanied on stage by a chronically masked (the mask was white green and orange with streamers on the side) mystery drummer, she tore into “Space Diaspora” and my body could not keep moving for the next 30 minutes. No doubt the Germans thought I was some sort of Americana Alien. Later she sang of how “in the beginning there was milk.” Memorable vibes!
This small girl was the official photographer for the Single Lock Records day party. Everyone who played at this was incredible. Shouts outs to Lera Lynn (pictured), Erin Rae, Belle Adair, etc.,
The day parties are certainly one of the greatest vibes of SXSW. Free to all (for the most part I reckon) and largely comprised of official SXSW artists shaking it out under the sun, I found it was far less stressful and, therefore, more peaceful and engaging to catch homies at many of these sets than in the chaotic, congested hours of the evening. Also I like waking up early and drinking coffee and eating tacos with eggs in them.
I kept seeing this beer that I liked to look at from Austin Beer Works and taking pictures of it for my design friend. I never drank it though – pretty sad. But I think they are also affiliated with this sparkling water company called Rambler, which also had a very pretty can, and marketing team member– shout out to Amber. Wait, Amber the Rambler! What?? Wild!
The last night before leaving, we moved from the East Side out to charming, rural town of Georgetown to stay with my guitar player in the tiny house he and his wife built. What a treat! Jack got to sleep in that cool loft deal near the ceiling, and I slept on the floor with some nice soft pillows. What a treat! Also we ate In-N-Out Burger in here, which was a real treat. How many can say they have eaten animal fries in a tiny house? Only some!
Here is a nice picture of me drinking some Rambler sparkling water in front of a tire shop with murals all over it. Austin has lots of cool paint jobs like this. If you go down there, try to find a wall to match the branding of your cover art so you can do the big IG post during single roll out. #wanderingman
NOT PICTURED BUT HIDDEN DEEP IN MY HEART:
- Greater Goods Coffee!
- Radio Coffee & Beer!
- Vera Cruz Tacos!
- Gang of Youths!
- Faye Webster!
- Really good, lucky parking spots we found!
- Spider House!
- Aussie BBQ!
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