Some loyal readers may remember that we hit last year’s edition of South By Southwest in Austin. Fun was had, cans of Lone Star were drained and music revelry was had in a very serious dose. This year, we’re only making the trip for some of the laid-back Day Party good times over the weekend of march 19th.

Let’s face it: For those living outside of Austin and working outside of the musical realm, it can be tough to make it down for multiple days of uninhibited, song-driven debauchery. That’s why it’s a good thing you are reading this, because below is a listing of some of the best, free parties that are going on in Austin on March 19th.

The Nine Bullets.net Day Party: For the second year, one of the internet’s best musical blogs will be making the trip from Florida to host not one, but two days worth of festivities. The first one is Friday, but on Saturday, you can catch Two Cow Garage, Glossary and several other cow-punk greats at the Revolution Bar.

Twangfest at Jovita’s: When SXSW rolls around, there are only two legitimate culinary companions to the music being heard and the beers being had: BBQ and/or Tex-Mex. Thankfully, that is capably covered with this party. Two stages and insane acts. The Waco Brothers, Kasey Anderson and Freedy Johnston are but a few of the acts that will be present, and again, FREE!

Brooklyn Country Cookout: Taking the “cookout” theme literally, this find collection of twangy bands from both Texas and New York will be held in an actual private yard, just off of South Congress St. It’s open to the public however. Bands in both the front and back yard will make for some frantic fence-jumping, don’t you think?

Mess With Texas 2011: Taking the “Day Party” idea and stretching it into the night-time for those who aren’t rocking SXSW badges or wristbands is the annual Mess With Texas party. Taking place this year at the Eastside Drive-In, off of 6th and San Marcos St., this all-day line-up is kind of insane, especially for free. Headlined by punk legends The Dead Milkmen, there are plenty of buzzed-about and out of starters supporting the bill. Deer Tick, the Dodos, Esben the Witch, Surfer Blood and many more ensure that this will be the most indie-riffic day party all week.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly.

As the first awards platform to celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat – tasty, authentic, and responsible – the Good Food Awards received over 780 products from 41 states. Today winners will be announced at the Good Food Awards Ceremony hosted by Alice Waters at the San Francisco Ferry Building, followed by a Marketplace event on January 15, 2011 where food lovers will be able to talk shop with producers, plus taste and pur- chase the award-winning products.

The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic, and responsible. This pioneering initiative grants awards to out- standing American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients. In its inaugural year, Good Food Awards will be given to winners in seven categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves.

Awards will be given to producers and their food communities from each of five regions of the US. The Good Food Awards seal, found on winning products, assures consumers they have found something exceptionally delicious that also supports sustainability and social good. Winners are announced at an annual Awards Ceremony and Marketplace at the iconic Ferry Building in San Francisco to honor new Good Food Award recipients and also organize a month of events and tastings to support the wider community making good food.

Two Texas contenders are going for gold tonight:

In the Preserves category, Austin’s own Confituras who make delicious small batch, locally sourced jams, jellies and preserves – I highly recommend the Salted Carmel Pear Butter

In the Coffee category up against microroaster Blue Bottle,  is none other than Cuvee Coffee out of Austin as well.

If the end of a year is a chance to look back and reminisce on all that transpired in the year as it ends, then it’s also a chance to look back and possibly catch up on the things that you simply missed out on, or never got around to gettin’ to, earlier in the year.

In that spirit, I have been doing what I should have been doing since March, and that is: Keeping up with the free, new tracks that Austin band Monahans have been digitally releasing to the public on a monthly basis. Instead of “properly” releasing an album in the traditional way, the band that sprang from the ashes of country-rock outfit, Milton Mapes, chose to get their third album out in a way that I wish so many other acts would do. Free to the fans.

While their earlier incarnation as Milton Mapes had the roots-rock thing going, Monahans, is a project that explores the spacey outreaches of moody, melodic and sometimes bombastic, indie-rock. The ten songs that have been released since March in the 2010 Recordings project are all strong and are not to be considered anything but legit tracks and not simply a few freebies that the band decided to get rid of before their next proper album.

Recently, iconic musical personalities have been picking up on the greatness of this group, also. Robert Plant added a cover of a Mapes tune into the group of songs that makes up his excellent, recently released Band of Joy record. On top of that, the most recent, and for my money, the best, of the 2010 Recordings, “Seabirds,” features the vocals of none other than Sinead O’Connor. This wasn’t the result of mere sampling, either. O’Connor specifically recorded her parts in Ireland for this project. Impressive much?

The band, who has worked with Doug Burr and helped with the recording of other Denton-based Spune Productions projects, have finally joined Spune’s increasingly stellar stable of artists, so who knows, maybe there’s a 2011 Recordings project to be announced soon? Maybe? Hopefully? 

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

South Austin’s Jesse Dayton might be the biggest country star in the world of Horror movies. His music and performance as fictional Country group Banjo & Sullivan, in Rob Zombie’s 2005 flick, The Devil’s Rejects, is likely the singer’s best selling album, even if many of the film-buffs who bought the record aren’t exactly familiar with his other work. Which, they should be.

While it’s been a while since Dayton’s last studio album, Holdin’ Our Own – an album of duets with Brennen Leigh – but Dayton has stayed busy none the less. Dayton played a large role in helping fellow honky-tonker Mike Stinson become a productive member of the hard core Texas country scene, as he produced Stinson’s superb album from earlier this year. Add to that, his weekly, practically legendary gigs at Austin landmark The Broken Spoke, and his recent work with a campaign to bring greater awareness to the soldiers who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), and it’s clear that Dayton is a man with many irons in the dance hall fire.

Speaking of dancehalls, Dayton’s upcoming record, the hardwood-tested One for the Dance Halls, is just that. Available on December 21, this is a new country record for the folks who want to know what happened to the country music of the past. It’s still here, and it’s still vital.

Dayton’s drawl lays itself on top of pedal steel and fiddle in a way that send your toe well beyond simple tapping and into the realm of full-on boot stomping. While some of the harder-charging rockabilly electricity of some of his past works isn’t as prevalent, Dayton’s ability to take time-honored, and in certain cases, slightly stale, sounds that echo from the valleys surrounding Bakersfield, California to the Hill Country of Texas is as uncanny as it is essential to the success of this exemplary ten-song collection.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

Best of Texas’ favorite gluten-free goddess, Lauren Hubele, and her company Bona Dea Baking Company, shared some great news with us yesterday! Just in time to send out the gift of baking mixes for the holidays, Bona Dea has launched their online store.

Now available for shipping throughout the U.S., their products will be packed and shipped using Flat Rate Priority Mail each Tuesday and Friday. They welcome your orders and look forward to sending their baking mixes across the state and from Maine to Alaska!

Never tried the awesomeness that is Bona Dea? Well, mark your calendars for December 8th.

Better Bites of Austin’s Annual Holiday Fair will be Wednesday December 8th, 4-8 PM at City Hall. Along with other Better Bites members, Bona Dea will have a selection of tasty products for holiday gift giving. The Holiday Fair is in conjunction with Austin’s Eat Local Week.

And there’s even more, Lauren explains:

Now at Wheatsville!

We were warmly welcomed this week into Wheatsville and now proudly display our mixes on the baking isle. Stop by Saturday the 20th between 1-3 PM when we will be providing samples to all Wheatsville customers…and Waffles

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

1 package Bona Dea Gluten Free Positively Pancakes
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of cloves and ginger
1 cup greek style plain yogurt
1 cup organic canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
6 large organic pastured eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat and prepare your waffle iron as needed for your model. Combine yogurt, eggs and butter thoroughly with a whisk or mixer. Pour in Positively Pancake mix and spices, combine by hand only until dry ingredients are incorporated-do not over mix. Batter should be quite thick. As egg size varies you may find the batter too thick and can thin with a tablespoon of milk or two as needed. I use an ice cream scoop to portion mine into the waffle iron. Bake in waffle iron. Makes 6-8 large waffles which are gone in minutes.

A few months ago, I made a point to catch Doug Burr’s record release show for his breathtaking album, O Ye Devastator. Obviously, it was a great show, one in which Burr featured a full-backing band, even.

On that night, Burr was the opening act, even though he was the main act, as far as I was concerned, back then. I had to leave and missed out on what I heard later was a fantastic, headlining set by an Austin-based band that has been hitting the road pretty hard lately, and has a fantastic, soulful record to carry around with them.

The band that I missed on that Friday night? DEADMAN.

It only took one listen to the Austin-based band’s southern hymns for me to fully realize I had indeed left entirely too early when they played in Dallas. They have a relatively new live disc out, Live at the Saxon Pub, which only adds to what seems to be a more than solid discography. Their two previous albums, 2001′s Paramour and 2004′s Our Eternal Ghosts, were both released prior to the sad drama that brought a halt to the group’s existence for a bit of time.

The divorce of lead-man Steven Connor and his wife and, at the time, band mate, did slow the band’s roll for a time, but a renewed sense of purpose and a serendipitous residency at The Saxon Pub in Austin brought about an opportunity to get the ball rolling with the band, again.

Their sound, a hearty mix of soul, blues gospel and country with just a tad of rock thrown in, is reminiscent of fellow Austinites, Band of Heathens. Perhaps not surprisingly, the two bands often play shows together when out on the road, away from the capital city.

So, if you catch yourself out at a show, and you see that Deadman is on the bill, but you weren’t originally planning on catching their set, don’t make the same mistake that I made!

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

The 5th Annual HAAM Benefit Day, held on Tuesday, September 21, brought in the largest amount of funds ever raised for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, its member-musicians and the healthcare service programs they participate in: $195,000, the organization reported today.

It was a record-breaking day all around, with the largest number of Austin area businesses making a donation or pledging a portion of the day’s proceeds — more than 200 — and the most musical performances (more than 140) heard on any HAAM Benefit Day.

“We at HAAM are incredibly pleased with the response to the fifth HAAM Benefit Day,” said Keith Carmichael, HAAM Benefit Day 2010 Committee chairman. “The number of businesses and the number of entertainers participating — not to mention the amount of funds raised, the largest ever — shows us how much this city and the people in it appreciate live music and what this organization is doing to make sure it flourishes.”

In addition to acknowledging Whole Foods Market for its generosity in serving for five consecutive years as HAAM Benefit Day presenting sponsor, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians is grateful for the tens of thousands of dollars donated not only by Whole Foods Market but also by C3 Presents and South by Southwest over the years of HAAM Benefit Day.

It also recognizes Texas Heritage Songwriters Association for its donation that matched the contribution of the Austin community as a whole on September 21 as residents ate out, shopped and donated on behalf of their favorite music-makers.

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians also announced today the date for the 6th Annual HAAM Benefit Day: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, when business, the music community and residents will again unite to keep music alive and well in Austin.

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians provides access to affordable healthcare services to Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians with a focus on prevention and wellness. Since HAAM’s 2005 start, more than 2,200 of the city’s battalion of hard-working musicians have joined and gained access to regular, cost-effective healthcare services. Medical, dental, mental, hearing and vision health services are provided by Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David’s Foundation, The SIMS Foundation, Estes Audiology and Prevent Blindness Texas. HAAM’s annual Corporate Battle of the Bands and HAAM Benefit Day have become signature events behind a great cause: maintaining the health of the musicians who help make Austin such an enviable place to live and work.

For more information, to join or to make a donation, visit HAAM online.

Now that I’ve completely ruined your appetite, I thought I’d make sure that those of you in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Lufkin, Midland, Nacogdoches and San Antonio can get a free chicken sammich on Thursday, August 19 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. at participating Texas Popeyes locations.

“As we bring something new into the market, we want to offer our loyal guests the opportunity to try, taste and fall in love with our new Simple Chicken Sandwich — for FREE,” said John Busby, a Texas franchisee.

Popeyes recommends calling ahead to confirm the restaurant is participating in the promotion.

Head to your local Texas Popeyes early to beat the flocks of Popeyes lovers taking advantage of this one-hour only offer.

whipinNestled in Austin’s Travis Heights is the Whip In, a Mom & Pop grocery and cafe run by the charming, married duo, AKA the Mom 7 Pop, of Joe & Chandan Topiwala. They first opened the Whip In in 1986 and this wondrous place is still going strong.

The Whip In is everything you’d expect from an Austin grocery/cafe: Live music, local and organic veggies, meats and wine, beers from around the world and some of the best, authentic Gujarati-style Indian food this side of, well, Western India. Their dedication to great things doesn’t stop there, though. Well respected in the community, the Whip In and its proprietors all give back by way of fundraising events, like this Thursday’s Benefit for Groundwork Music Project, and work with grassroots organizations throughout Austin. The shop’s staff is just as diverse as the contents of the store. For instance, the Beer Manager (he’s assembled the largest selection in Austin, BTW) once considered going into politics, until he remembered that he doesn’t like people. Mom & Pop used to sew uniforms for mine workers in Zambia. As for the kitchen staff, one member is a derby girl, another a singer-songwriter.

Finding the place is easy, it looks like your run-of-the-mill convenience store…but it’s so, so much more.

Whip In
1950 Interstate Hwy 35 S
Austin, TX