After I heard the exciting news that Bay area label New Granada Records (which just celebrated its 15th anniversary) got an official showcase at this years SXSW festival, I called chief-in-charge Keith Ulrey to get the juicy details. It was basically just handed to us, Ulrey said, sounding thrilled. And he didnt have to go through the rigorous application process or pay any of the app fees. For me to be handed this platform, a free coupon ... Im still a little stunned.
The series of auspicious events that led New Granada to their current official status were engineered in large part by Josie Fluri. Last year, the bassist/vocalist of Austin-based New Roman Times was working as a bartender at the Ginger Man and had persuaded her boss at the pub to host an unoffical SXSW party that featured her own modern rock outfit supported by a handful of bands from her label New Granada. The show also served as the last hoorah at the Ginger Man before it moved to a building around the corner. But by the time the pub settled into its new digs, the city had registered its old digs as historic and decided not to tear it down. So the space was re-vamped, the Ginger Mans sister bar, The Ghost Room, was born, and Fluri was brought on as the venues manager-booker.
Fast forward several months to three weeks ago, when the Ghost Room was approached by the SXSW commission and asked to come on board as an official venue. And because Fluri pushed for it, New Granada was not only allowed to keep two already-planned day parties at the Ghost Room, but was offered an official SXSW Saturday night showcase with any bands repped by the label immediately approved. The bands are official for the night time show, on the books, in all the advertisements for SXSW ... Its an amazing opportunity that were taking full advantage of. NGR bands on the official March 20 bill are New Roman Times and The Tenant (both from Austin), Jen Wood (the latest NGR signee, from Seattle), and Tampas own Zillionaire, King of Spain and Rec Center.
To make matters even better, Ulrey just confirmed that well-respected indie PR and radio promotion firm, Team Clermont, would be sponsoring the two day parties and bringing some other bands to join the three aforementioned locals, New Roman Times and Tampas Red Room Cinema The Low Lows of Austin, and Packway Handle Band and Venice is Sinking from Athens. It just keeps getting better and better.
Best of the Bay-winning gritty stompin blues and funk rockin trio Nervous Turkey has also been accepted as an official performer at SXSW. Stay tuned for further details about the band and their plans for heading out West...