Sean Courtney is a partner in the This Is American Music record label.
What was the food highlight of your year?
This November, my wife, Rebecca, ran the NYC marathon, and while I am not a runner, I am a serious eater and walking all over New York for a week and eating everything in sight was incredible. Totto Ramen, oysters in Greenpoint, hitting a few of David Chang's places, amazing duck-liver pasta at Osteria Morini in SOHO, mutton chops at Keens, pastrami at Katz...not to mention daily helpings of bagels with smoked fish and slices of pizza or other street meat at 2am. Honestly...I felt like I ate New York City over the course of a week. I was lucky enough to have a hat-full of recommendations and as most people know, everywhere I turned was another bar, another bodega, another smell to chase...and I did my damnedest to accommodate it all. I can't wait to return.
What was the music highlight of your year?
Standing in the wings while the Replacements played had to be the highlight, right? I mean...it's the REPLACEMENTS and I'm standing in the wings about to have a heart attack...but to be honest, the music highlight of my year is almost the same thing every year: SXSW in Austin, TX. Of course, it has become a bloated ghost of what it was in years past...but it is still one hell of a time. It doesn't hurt that I meet up with a couple dozen friends from all over the country (and abroad) every year and seeing old and new favorite bands with them is probably the greatest thing I can imagine. This year's highlights included a raucous mess from Nashville called Diarrhea Planet with four or five guitars going at once, old friends like Have Gun, Will Travel and Lydia Loveless finding new audiences, seeing Ex Hex for the first time, and slamming a few tacos & Tecates between Natural Child and Reigning Sound...two of my all time favorites.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Food and music are always intertwined in my life...aside from friends, family & pets...what else is there? Thinking back to SXSW, I remember the deep fried deviled eggs, fried chicken & gizzards and Moon Pie Pie (that's right...a pie of Moon Pie) at Lucy's Fried Chicken as well as I remember who was playing (L'il Cap'n Travis, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Ramsey Lewis) that day. That same week, I was sweating every ounce of energy I had out to Grand Champeen at the Hole in the Wall...right after ducking out of the back door for ramen and sticky buns at Paul Qui's East Side King. We actually head to SXSW a day early so that we can do a "BBQ crawl" in Lockhart, TX...always starting at Black's and then on to Smitty's, and never making it any farther than a barstool at Lily's for a couple beers before heading back into the city. It's easy to find BBQ and tacos in Austin, but the town has so much more to eat than that...of course you do worse than a week of tacos & bbq.