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SXSW’s Lou Reed tribute set for March 14 at Paramount

Peter Blackstock

Editor’s note: This article was originally published January 30, 2014

“We all owe a big debt to Lou Reed,” says Richard Barone, the New York singer-songwriter who, along with Austin’s Alejandro Escovedo, is putting together a major Lou Reed tribute for SXSW.

The show is booked for the Paramount Theatre on Friday, March 14. Performers won’t be announced until a little later, but expect a mix of big-name artists and up-and-coming acts.

An all-local tribute to Reed, who died in October at aget 71. takes place this Saturday at Cactus Cafe with host Jesse Sublett. Guest performers include the Reivers, the Wild Seeds, Jon Dee Graham, Kacy Crowley, Why Not Satellite and Kim Simpson. A full story about that event is available on our website or in the Austin360 section of Friday’s Austin American-Statesman. Sublett will be on KUTX-FM with Jay Trachtenberg at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the show and play a couple of songs.

Barone says that when SXSW approached him about coming to the festival this year, he told them that what he really wanted to do was a tribute to Reed. They obliged, and Barone then recruited Escovedo, who was a sensible partner both for his Austin connections and because both musicians have worked recently with producer Tony Visconti.

Reed delivered SXSW’s keynote in 2008, speaking in an interview format with producer Hal Willner. “People told us that Lou Reed was going to be a handful as keynote, but he turned out to be very professional, and relatively low-maintenance,” managing director Roland Swenson recalled in “SXSW Scrapbook,” an informal history of the event. “However, Reed was the only keynote ever to bring his own microphones and demand a soundcheck … just to speak.”