I've been working to digest all that was SXSW last week. And after all the music I heard, I realize the two favorite shows I've seen in the past 8 days (counting in what I saw last night), were extremely 'simple' performances unassociated with the actual festival. That is, duos who play unadulterated music at a truly great level: Bill Frissell & Greg Leisz at the Continental Club, and last night, David Rawlings Machine at the Great American Music Hall.
Like "Gillian Welch," "David Rawlings Machine" is still Gillian Welch and David Rawlings playing together BUT with him now taking the lead turn. The guy is indeed a machine of a guitar player: he's fucking good and self-effacing ...shy really,until he starts playing. "I'd be a lot more comfortable if fewer of you showed up," he said as he set to tuning somewhat sheepishly.
"Take your time," someone yelled from the audience. Meanwhile, another 'compassionate' audience member blew a bunch of herbaceous smoke toward Rawlings, but he didn't comment. Finally, clow of smoke disipated, tuning complete, he let his guitar rip. Anyhow, enough said.
Check out this video I found on YouTube of the two covering Radiohead's "Black Star" at Bonnaroo. They played it last night and it's been haunting me all day.