Written by Rob Reinhart
It seems like a simple thing. Bring songwriters together to write a new song. It happens in Nashville cubicles, NYC coffee shops and the back of cars and vans every day. But our idea was a bit different. Amidst the biggest exposition of songs in North America, isolate a songwriter to create something brand new, from the ground up, and record it in about 3 hours. During our Subway Sessions at SXSW this year, we did that seven times over the course of five days. While artists everywhere in Austin were playing songs of both recent and distant past, a few were with us in Bouldin creating the next entry in their musical catalogues. Some were testing their limits and pushing their work forward, in fact.
We started the week with an Austin local, Matt the Electrician, and then went on to work with a British rock band, a folk troubadour, a group of Canadian roots music legends, a post-punk band from Brooklyn and more! Each artist or group created a new song with the help of SongCraft Presents' Ben Arthur, a process captured on video and audio by the guys from New York's Dubway Studios. Some of those artists went on to perform their new songs at two Subway showcases at their stage on Red River, and Matt the Electrician and Elizabeth and the Catapult were kind enough to also play their songs at our panel discussion on Saturday afternoon. Seven new songs, two showcases, and a discussion with young artists about the creation of new songs... that's a pretty great SXSW, I'd say.
52 weeks a year, I talk with artists on my radio program, Acoustic Cafe, all of whom tell me about their latest work or something from the past. Actually watching artists create a song, and seeing the real labor involved to bring new art into the world is something I will always cherish. We're already getting set for SXSW 2015!
Check out Rob's syndicated radio program (which airs on 90 stations in the US and on Voice of America worldwide for 3 million people a week) at Acoustic Cafe, and you can hear new songs, and radio segments about them, at SongCraft Presents.
Rob Reinhart photo by Steve Rogers