At the end of the beginning, "Little Danny" Lanois got it right. After all his beat-down poetry, after his self-congratulatory accolades, after a welcoming speech in which he kept referring to himself in the third person, the producer of U2 and Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan hit it square in the grinning face. "There's a lot of optimism in the air," Lanois said at the end of the keynote address that opened the 17th South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, which began March 12 and ended Sunday. Some of us smelled something different--apprehension, fear or maybe just the musician sitting in front of us--but Lanois, who lives in higher and more rarefied altitudes than the rest of us, has a different perspective. You can afford to be optimistic when expensive people hire you to make... More >>>