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MORE SONGS ABOUT LONGING

Seen before heading to the nearest Four Seasons for a spa day are (l-r) Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan, Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, the Lemon TwigsBrian D’Addario, The ZombiesColin Blunstone, the Lemon Twigs’ Michael D’Addario, Karen Glauber and Spoon’s Britt Daniel.

Ten years ago, I started moderating a songwriters panel at SXSW. Rather than have songwriters talk about the craft of songwriting, I ask them to perform songs that fit the designated “theme.” I have a tendency to tune out when other people speak, or so says Lenny, and this has been a way to keep myself interested.

This year, spurred by the overwhelming sense of deprivation and isolation that the pandemic has triggered, I called the panel “More Songs About Longing.” The core panelists have been the same for the past decade: Matthew Caws from Nada Surf, Mac McCaughan from Superchunk and Britt Daniel from Spoon, plus a revolving roster of my favorite artists. This year, Colin Blunstone, one of the greatest singers in the history of sound, known by all as the singer of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Zombies, agreed to join the fun. The Lemon Twigs were also new recruits.

Matthew flew in from the U.K. specifically for this panel and even wrote a new song called “More Songs About Longing” for the occasion, which he performed for the first time. Colin then played The Zombies’ “Care of Cell 44,” with the Lemon Twigs as his backing band, while the audience smiled and I freaked out onstage. Seriously. I thought I was going to pass out.

Mac sang my favorite song from the latest Superchunk record called “On the Floor,” with Matthew contributing harmonies. The Lemon Twigs performed one of their classic songs, “Corner of My Eye,” followed by Britt’s first-ever acoustic performance of “Satellite,” from the genius Grammy-nominated Spoon album, Lucifer on the Sofa. By request, he also played “Black Like Me” from Gimme Fiction, which marked 18 years since we first met at SXSW.

In lieu of having the audience ask questions at the end, we closed the panel with an audience singalong of The Zombies classic, “She’s Not There,” with Colin on lead and the rest of us joining in. This was Colin’s first-ever appearance on a panel of any type, and he agreed to return next year, even if my chosen theme is cats. Or songs from Cats, The Musical. This is my 34th SXSW (out of 35—I missed last year) and this was my favorite panel of them all.

Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Glauber

Glauber and The Zombies' Colin Blunstone


 
 
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