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Jack White and ‘Third Man Bus’ Surprise Show-Stoppers @ SXSW

March 24, 2011

Oh, Jack White.

You just keep on doing those things that make us love you so much.

Most recently, the ‘maiden voyage’ of your brand new, mobile record store stole headlines at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. While this is supposed to be a weekend for the struggling, rising artists of indie and alternative rock, you sweetly stole the stage, as your big yellow bus came rolling into town.

Jack White has shown his unmeasurable love for music in more ways than merely performance. Rather, he is exercising his passions as owner of Third Man Records, discovering and promoting true 'diamond-in-the-rough' artists.

White’s “Third Man Records Rolling Record Store” made the journey all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, home to the Third Man label. As White’s fresh new vehicle proved, it doesn’t just move and sell records… it serves as an impromptu stage too.

Stopping in front of the Texas city’s Frank’s Diner venue, White donned a gorgeous white and gold acoustic guitar, conveniently connected with the bus’s amplifiers, which he then strummed to the tunes of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and the White Stripes’ classic “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.”

The five minute solo set was a bittersweet moment for fans, who have lately speculated White’s next move after his recent disbandment of the White Stripes in early February. The brief performance turned out to be an opening act for White’s newest Third Man Records recording artist, Steven Gene Wold; better known as “Seasick Steve.”

The haggard-looking bluesman brought out his three-string guitar, with what looked like a fishing line strap, to perform his song “Cut My Wings.” Despite a few technical errors, in which the amplifier lost connection, Steve slyly joked with the crowd and continued to play, even abandoning the functioning microphone to bellow his vocals in a truly rocking fashion to the adoring crowd.

One of Third Man Records' newest signees, Seasick Steve, delighted fans with his music and charm, proving once again that Jack White has an eye for not only talent, but "it."

The spectacle was perhaps an accurate portrayal of White’s priorities, with the White Stripes now disbanded and no news on upcoming music from his other bands, the Raconteurs or the Dead Weather. It seems White’s attention is firmly fixated on Third Man Records.

It’s the perfectly executed formula…drive a huge, one-of-a-kind rolling record store bus into town, play two quick hits for the kids and then move on to promoting your next artist. White has always been the selfless, humble type, even with his recording groups. Now it seems, his leadership and vision are taking an appropriate seat as head of a record label.

With Jack White sharing less and less of his own music to the world these days, I guess its the next best thing that he’s sharing others music now.

Who knows? In the end, that might have been the better of two fates…

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