Just about any boot-scootin' Texan can tell you that deep in the heart of the Lone Star state, where there's smoke there's barbecue. This is especially true around Austin these days, since the town billed as the "Live Music Capital of the World" has followed most major US cities in banning cigarette smoking indoors, leaving tobacco-inclined people in need open-aired spaces in which to exercise their habit--with the net effect of societal prejudice now adding (given the detrimental effects of nicotine and tar) insult to injury, so to speak.
Billy Bob's shows at SXSW were at venues sponsored by two tobacco companies, both of which, we should note, are purveyors of products advertised as being "all natural"--although, as their advertisements do faithfully note: "No additives in our tobacco does NOT (their caps) mean a safer cigarette." And while Thornton doesn't have any specific songs relating to smoking, he did take the stage at both his concerts with a lit cigarette firmly in hand. Technically, he was breaking the law, though no one seems compelled to make a citizen's arrest Wednesday night at the aptly named Smokin' Music Club, which does have an outdoor safe haven "lounge" area adjacent to the music room.
Tough crowd, these oppressed smokers.
- Billy Bob Thornton