This is my first year to attend the Ameripolitan Awards,and the first year of the five years of the program’s existence that the show is somewhere other than Austin, which is just my luck since I moved to an area thirty miles south of Austin just last summer.
Anyway, the show last night was a good way to kick things off. There were a few antique cars, and a good bit of rockabilly in the mix. It’s a bit of a curiosity in the last decade or so how 1950s rock and roll has pretty much shifted from “rock” to “country.” In truth, it seems like much more of a fit than with modern rock.
Celine Lee was first up. In addition to her own material, she threw in some choice covers, like “Night Train to Memphis” (associated with Roy Acuff and others), and Wanda Jackson’s “Fujiyama Mama.”
Don Diego brings rockabilly and country from Sicily. He has some trucker songs, and is another fun act to listen to. Host Dale Watson said that a documentary about the Don Diego Trio will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival. I saw the Barnyard Stompers doing some two stepping during Don Diego’s set.
Next up was some insanely energetic guitar work from Chris Casello, who was Ameripolitan’s Instrumentalist of the Year last year. He even threw in some Herb Alpert, but with electric guitar instead of trumpet. He alternated between electric guitar and steel guitar on some songs.
Rosie Flores was Dale’s co-host for the evening, and she brought Dale on for a song or two, and she brought Jolie Goodnight on stage for a song or two. Jolie had done a song with Don Diego earlier. Jolie is also one of the dancers in Whitney Rose’s recent video.
Dale Watson was the evening’s closer, and he took a few minutes to describe his vision, to create a framework to support the artists who “fall between the cracks.” Memphis is now Dale’s second home, and my initial impression is that Memphis is a very welcoming host city. I visited Beale Street and the Rock and Soul Museum yesterday, and look forward to absorbing more history over the next few days.