Jimmie Dale Gilmore (a.k.a. Smokey from The Big Lebowski) Performs Live and More from SXSW

​Remember Smokey, the pacifist who may or may not have stepped over the line while bowling in The Big Lebowski? He was the fidgety, silver-haired opponent who insisted The Dude mark it eight despite Walter's contention that his toe slipped over the line, prompting one of the Vietnam vet's many meltdowns.

​That dude is actually a kick-ass country singer named Jimmie Dale Gilmore. On Wednesday, he brought his new band, The Wronglers out for a hometown show at South By Southwest. The band has a new record called Heirloom Music, which leans heavily toward bluegrass, due out later this spring.

Judging by his show last night, where the band sounded great on standards like Lead Belly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" and Harry McClintock's "Big Rock Candy Mountain," it looks like it's going to be pretty good, too. You can hear a sample here.

It's laudable that both the official Southby bio and The Austin Chronicle write-up of Gilmore's show omitted the fact it was Smokey from The Big Lebowski who was performing. Very discreet. Sorta surprising that they could bring themselves not to mention it in their preview of the show, which took place in classy and cramped ballroom at The Driskell, a fancypants hotel in the heart of the city. 

With all due respect to Mr. Gilmore's other undertakings -- and after watching every second of his very impressive set, I'll agree he deserves to be considered one of the great Texas country singers of his era -- there's no doubt the first line of his obituary will someday say he was best-known for the memorable bitpart of Smokey in the Coen Brothers classic. Is it unfair that he's best remembered for a fling with character acting? Perhaps, perhaps not not. But that's just, like, my opinion, man.

Now, will it be possible to line up Gilmore's new band to headline an upcoming Lebowskifest?

More From Austin:

  • It was a quiet day for local bands as most Phoenix acts laid low -- with the exception of Kinch, who played a Speed Set at the convention center. It was so speedy that it was over before I could get down to see it. Reports were good, however.
  • Ted Leo -- with no help from The Pharmacists -- was pretty impressive at Swan Dive. Still, watching a solo show where a guys plays punk songs on an electric guitar is a little weird.
  • I caught about half of Smith Westerns set at Stubb's. They're pretty polished considering how green they are -- singer Cullen Omori even had a theatrical little Triple H style water spit thing -- but far from likable. They came across as being pretty pompous. NPR was filming the whole thing -- they had about a dozen staffers on hand in cutesy little t-shirts, most of whom seemed to be free to play Angry Birds on their laptops with the help of our tax dollars and tax laws-- so feel free to check it out yourself and disagree. Seriously, though, it was cool of NPR to shoot the show -- and it helps keep those guys busy so they won't "break" any like the death of Gabby Giffords.
  • Lone Star Beer is not great. Pearl is a little better. Luve Oak Brewing does not have a brewpub -- which I discovered after a looooooong walk.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar