Bruce Springsteen Delivers SXSW Keynote Address, Jams With Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo

After a surprise appearance at the Austin Music Awards, Bruce Springsteen reminisced about his musical influences during Thursday’s (March 15) keynote address at the South by Southwest music festival underway in Austin, Texas. At Wednesday night’s awards show at the Austin Music Hall, singer-songwriter Joe Ely told the crowd, “We need one more guitar player,” during Alejandro Escovedo’s closing set. Springsteen then walked onstage and began playing guitar and singing as Ely and Escovedo performed “The Midnight Train.” Springsteen cited influences ranging from the Beatles and the Animals to Woody Guthrie and country music during his keynote address. He began his remarks by expressing some concern about being scheduled to speak at a relatively early hour. “Why are we up so … early?” he said. “How important can this speech be if we’re giving it at noon? Every decent musician in Austin is asleep right now — or will be by the time I’m through with this.” Springsteen and the E Street Band are scheduled to perform a Thursday night concert at SXSW.