The late Leon Russell was given his due on Thursday night (March 16) in Austin, by some fellow Oklahomans during the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy’s annual South By Southwest party.
Hanson and some other Okie musicians played an eight-song set of Russell favorites, including “Delta Lady,” “Roll Away The Stone,” “Tight Rope,” “Stranger In a Strange Land” and a jaunty take on “If I Were a Carpenter.” Taylor Hanson finished the show with a solo rendition of “Song For You,” while a local artist painted a portrait of Russell while the band was playing that will be auctioned off to benefit the Recording Academy’s MusiCares charity.
“Leon left a huge hole, but he also left a lot of songs that will last forever,” Taylor Hanson said. “Leon was always thinking about what was next. That was really inspiring.”
Hanson promised to champion Russell, who died Nov. 13 at the age of 74, for a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.