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POP EYE

March 27, 1994|Lorraine Ali

IN THE HEART OF TEXAS: For the past seven years, musicians, record executives and music journalists have headed for Austin, Tex., each spring to see the latest in new, cutting-edge rock acts at the annual "South by Southwest" music and media conference.

This time, though, it was some old names that got most of the attention from the 4,200 in attendance at the recent four-day convention: Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the re-formed Sir Douglas Quintet. Cash pulled the biggest response with an unannounced show on a small, outdoor stage at the unassuming club Emo's. His stark acoustic guitar and dark, baritone storytelling proved that the Man in Black is a resurgent pop-music icon. His Rick Rubin-produced album is due late next month.

Respected country-folk singer Gilmore played a show at the City Coliseum tent and was notable for his jams with members of pioneer Seattle grunge group Mudhoney (they've recorded some of each other's songs) and folkie Michelle Shocked.

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