Found Gospel at SXSW 2011

SXSW is a fun but grueling dash for great music.  At one21music we cover Christian musicians and there were more than 100 Christian artists that we knew about at SXSW 2011.  Our job was to allow you participate in the light that was being shined at SXSW by covering some of the Christina musicians and to scout for new Christian musicians we did not have on our site.

Every possible genre and style was on display and for every performance I watched, I was missing nearly 200 more.  By Saturday, I was exhausted and I missed my wife.  I had had enough of SXSW 2011 so I was going to limit myself to those artists I was committed to seeing.  I am so glad I changed my mind.  The Relatives, a re-discovered gospel group from the 70′s, was one of the buzz acts at SXSW 2011.  I decided to go to a free party to see them perform and then rush over to catch one night of the SXSW 2011 gospel showcase.  I am glad I did, because The Relatives were everything they were advertised to be, the gospel showcase was redemptive and serendipity hit when I stumbled upon Shake Anderson at an 11 p.m. free show I heard from a parking garage.

I will share the SXSW 2011 Gospel Showcase with you separately. But right now, I need to introduce you to two gospel powerhouses you have not seen: The Relatives and Shake Anderson.

The Relatives

Formed in Dallas in 1970 by Gean West and his brother Tommy, The Relatives cut three genre-bending singles during their decade-long run that were too freaky for the church and too righteous for R&B radio.  Combining gospel-styled shouting with elements of psychedelic soul and gut-bucket funk The Relatives were pioneers of an utterly singular sound.  They never made a splash outside of Dallas and have remained virtually unknown even among serious record collectors.

After a decade of musical proselytizing at local clubs, hotels and auditoriums and touring the gospel circuit with the likes of the Staple Singers, Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, The Relatives hung up their instruments in 1980.

With only a few hundred platters ever pressed, The Relatives left little evidence of a legacy. Until now. Four decades removed from their inception and 30 years after their breakup, an old 45 of The Relatives, found at a garage sale in Galveston, Texas, started the quest for Heavy Light Records to ressurect this gospel treasure.  Watch them drive an overflow crowd at the South by San Jose party to the brink of ecstacy.

Shake Anderson

Shake Anderson spent 6 yrs as the musical director for Curtis Mayfiled’s Impressions as well touring with just about every major soul act over the past 40 years.  He has played in some of the greatest concert halls and venues in the world, like Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theatre, Symphony Music Hall, Radio City Music Hall, The Heinekin Music Hall, The Ryman Auditorium, The Buordone Theatre in Frankfurt Germany and all around the world.

Imagine my excitement when I “discovered” Shake Anderson playing a free party late in the night on the last day of SXSW 2011.  Share my joy.


  1. [...] next. I have already shared some of my new gems (The Relatives and Shake Anderson) in Found Gospel at SXSW 2011. I have saved the best for [...]

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