From the Austin Chronicle~ Off the Record Music News BY AUSTIN POWELL Leeann AthertonIn the Land of the Rising Sun Local Queen of the Barn Dance Leeann Atherton left earlier this month for her first ever Japanese tour. "The response has been amazing; I walk in the room, and the polite full house applauds," she relays from Hiroshima, adding that she already needs to ship over more merch. "The wall at one club, Kapone, has signatures from Michael Fracasso, Scrappy [Jud Newcomb], Kevin Carroll, Walter Tragert, Gurf Morlix, Randy Weeks, Colin Gilmore, Beaver Nelson, and Matt the Electrician." That's largely due to Shuichi Iwami and Keiji Matsumoto. Since 2004, the two independent Japanese bookers and regular attendees of the South by Southwest Music Fest have created a niche market in their native underground by regularly hosting and routing Austin singer-songwriters through intimate clubs (capacities vary from 20 to 80 people), a stark contrast to the experience of Asylum Street Spanker Stanley Smith (see "Big in Japan," May 2, 2003). "First of all, I am not a professional promoter or agent," writes Iwami, who was first turned on to roots music by Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Loose Diamonds' Burning Daylight. "I've been doing what I've wanted. ... I've been totally addicted to the [Austin] scene." http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/column?oid=oid%3A808169
Made lots of friends on the long flight, arrived in Osaka to stay with a beautiful musical family (check out the 11 year old keyboard player+ Shin, his great guitarist and guitar builder dad+Tatsuko, and mandolin singing mom, Kyoko. The band here is incredible; like we have been playing my songs for years.I lost a day traveling yesterday (it was my mother:s birthday,too.) Went to Kyoto today and hung with the geisha:s at the temples, ate interesting food, but the highlight that brought tears to my eyes was the rehearsal. They even love the odd music I do, like Uncle Walts Band, Little Feat, The Band, Gram Parsons... I am in Heaven! The toilet reference is about the "toilet showers" that are in the bathrooms; I will try to bring one home and add it to the Barn Dance port-o-potty! I hope to upload a video tomorrow. xoxo
Touring Japan in July with new CD "Heart Traveled Road". Check out one of the new songs," Change of Heart"
Beautiful Barn Dance with Eve and the Exile, LeRoi Bros., Tommy Womack (buy his book... he is hilarious!) and the great open mic. Thanks to Jody Adair, AJDowning, Joel Melton, Korn Poney, Leeann Atherton, Cynthia, Angelica and mom foe playing your sweet songs. Thanks for supporting live music, Better in Y.our O.wn B.ackyard productions.