Diverse Representation in Country and Americana: Gabe Lee’s Impact on the Conversation Thoughts+Photos: Gabe Lee on New Nashville Riverboat Roadshow on Lady Bird Lake during SXSW 3/15/23
“… Special shout out to Gabe Lee, who joined the ladies for a few songs. The man exudes a quiet and confident gravitas and clearly has the respect and love of his peers. And I can’t say I’ve crossed paths with too many Taiwanese-American country singers. Reinforces my heartfelt belief that all genres, at their core, offer an opportunity to connect. But it feels a bit reductive to get identitarian when Gabe is the authentic article. So while I think more diverse representation in the orbit of country and americana is an interesting topic more than worthy of discussion, that’s a rabbit hole — or river — we can dive down another time.
Downstairs, Gabe Lee took the mic solo for a full flex. I felt hints of young John Prine in his voice which I found tremendously comforting. I also loved the phenomenon of artists watching artists. When you can tell that they really respect and appreciate each other. Zach Meadows watching Gabe Lee. Gabe Lee stepping in with King Margo. Everyone digging each other. It makes their own music more legitimate when they recognize and support their buds. Because music is kinda like pie — the taste is sweet and there’s plenty for everyone. And even when there isn’t enough, at least for the artist, when opportunities are finite, no one gets ahead by putting anyone down. You could argue rap battles are the exception but even then, there’s honor among emcees. On this boat, it was sink or swim together. Really a special dynamic to witness…”