More than 15 years after his passing, Doug Sahm is as alive as ever. That was the takeaway from Wednesday night’s “Groovers Gathering” at the Broken Spoke, which packed out the South Austin dance hall for a Sahm-a-thon of Texas-sized proportions.
Jack Ingram, Ray Benson, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Kevin Russell and many more local luminaries took the stage to pay tribute to the legendary Texas musician, who died in 1999, with a first-rate house band including Tom Lewis, John X. Reed and Speedy Sparks.
Especially poignant were the appearances by Doug’s son, Shawn Sahm, and Doug’s longtime bandmate Augie Meyers, who delivered joyful renditions of staples such as “Mendocino” and “She’s About a Mover.”
The performers spanned generations: Longtime Austinites Bobby Earl Smith and Alvin Crow teaming up for a couple of songs, while relative newcomer Cory Reinisch sang “Give Back the Key to My Heart,” a song he regularly plays with his band the Harvest Thieves.
The show was initially intended as a final rally for a crowdfunding campaign related to the recent documentary film “Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove,” which premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival. It costs considerably more to secure music rights for theatrical release as opposed to festivals, director Joe Nick Patoski explained. His crew negotiated that figure to $75,000, which they spent the past month raising via Kickstarter.
Last week, it looked as if Wednesday’s bash would be crucial for the campaign to reach the goal before its July 30 deadline. But some late donors pushed the total past $75,000 a couple days ahead of schedule, making the Groovers Gathering more of a celebration. The addition of the fundraiser proceeds helped the Kickstarter haul tick just past $90,000 when the campaign closed at midday Thursday.
The overage will help support efforts to get Sahm nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which Patoski says was one of his goals in making the film to begin with. “The more we can show this, the better we can make the case that Doug belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he said, noting that those who see the film at screenings will have an opportunity to sign a petition in favor of Sahm’s induction. (There’s also a link to the petition on the still-accessible Kickstarter page.)