Lists

12 Artists You Should See at SXSW 2016

Country music is thriving at the 2016 South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. If you’re looking for the best country music showcases to check out this year, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find profiles of the rising and established country, Americana and alt-country artists that you shouldn’t miss, including the times and locations of their official SXSW artist showcases. Welcome to Austin, have fun and keep it country.

Rob Baird

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Courtesy Rob Baird

“He’s been building his fanbase throughout the Southeast and Texas. With a refocused goal and a new album finished out of a north Austin garage, Rob Baird has a shot to tackle Texas and beyond with a sound he’s proud of.” — Jeremy Burchard. [Read more]

He sounds like: A cross between Jason Isbell and Randy Rogers with a smoother voice.

Showcase: Weds., March 16  @ Hilton Garden Inn 10-10:40 PM

Margo Price

Angelina Castillo/Third Man Records
Angelina Castillo/Third Man Records

“Margo Price is known in Nashville as one of the hardest-working musicians around. Over the past few years, she’s quietly become one of the driving forces behind the city’s ever-growing throwback country scene, creating a vintage sound with timeless charm that adds yet another fine voice into the alt-country canon.” — Lorie Liebig [Read more]

What She Sounds Like: A modern, rock-edged mixture of Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn.

Showcases: Weds. March 16 @ Stubb’s 10:20-10:55 PM,  Thurs. March 17 @ The Gatsby 8-8:40 PM

Sam Outlaw

Matt Wignall
Matt Wignall

“Sam Outlaw has been tagged as the leading force behind the rebirth of Los Angeles’ modern country scene, but those big claims and expectations don’t seems to weigh too heavily on Outlaw’s shoulders. His focus is steadily focused on creating good country music, and sharing with others what that really sounds like. [Read More]

What he sounds like: Modern California country that appeals to traditionalists and alt-country fans alike.

Showcases: Thursday, March 17 @ The Gatsby 9-9:40 PM, Saturday, March 19 @ Swan Dive 11-11:40 PM

Loretta Lynn

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Courtesy of Loretta Lynn

“After more than 60 years in the business, Loretta Lynn’s influence on the new generation of country artists is still as strong as ever. This year, the country legend returns with a new album, Full Circle. The record features a duet with Willie Nelson, and given their friendship, we have our fingers crossed the pair will perform at some point during the festival.” — Matt Alpert [Read More]

What she sounds like: Traditional country music that’s still as potent and affecting as it was during her prime in the 70’s.

Showcases: Thurs., March 17 @ Stubb’s 8:15-9:05 PM

Jason James

Facebook/Jason James
Facebook/Jason James

“Jason James’ take on honky-tonk country is tailor-made for the dance halls of the Lone Star State and beyond. James, a native Texan, is one of the finest new artists in the current wave of neo-traditional country music. His style and songs are sure to please both casual fans and staunch defenders of traditional country.” — Matt Alpert [Read more]

What he sounds like: A cross between the vocal style of George Jones and the dance hall swagger of the Derailers.

Showcase: Weds., March 16 @ The Velveeta Room 8-8:40 PM

Wynonna & The Big Noise

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Courtesy of Wynonna Judd

“Country star Wynonna Judd reinvented her sound this year with a new album and band. Their self-titled album, Wynonna & the Big Noise, explores a style that’s more rootsy than Judd’s previous pop-country projects, and it features songs written by some of Nashville’s finest songwriters, including cuts by Chris Stapleton.” — Matt Alpert [Read More]

What they sound like: Modern Americana that focuses much more on roots music than Wynonna’s previous pop-country catalog.  

Showcases: Thurs., March 17 @ The Gatsby 10-10:40 PM

The Cactus Blossoms

High Road Touring
High Road Touring

“The first time you hear the Cactus Blossoms, you may think you’re listening to a sibling harmony duo from the late 1950’s, but they are actually one of the most talented country vocal groups of today. Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers, however, they’ve adapted their impeccable vintage sound for the modern era.” — Matt Alpert [Read More]

What they sound like: Vintage country harmonies that capture the sound and style of the Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers.

Showcases: Friday, March 18 @ St David’s Bethel Hall 8-8:40 PM

Drake White

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Courtesy of Drake White

“Exuding the passion of legendary soul artists such as Otis Redding, the Dot Records artist hit the ground running with his first two singles “The Simple Life” and “It Feels Good.” Opening for top-notch artists such as Eric Church, Zac Brown Band and a staple at industry showcases, White is finding himself in high-demand.” — Aimee Graham [Read More]

What he sounds like: Downhome country that draws inspiration of blue-eyed soul and swamp music.

Showcases: Sat. March 19 @ Easy Tiger 12:45 PM- 1:50 AM

Maren Morris

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Courtesy of Maren Morris

“In August, Morris released her first self-titled EP exclusively through Spotify. Her anthemic single “My Church” quickly garnered thousands of streams, which earned the attention of Sony Music Nashville. With the help of her newly inked record deal and support from industry friends like Kacey Musgraves, it won’t take long for Morris to break through the mainstream.” — Lorie Liebig [Read More]

What She Sounds Like: The classic country sound of powerful ’90s female artists like Martina McBride andFaith Hill, mixed with the modern sass of Kacey Musgraves and her own southern twang.

Showcase: Weds., March 16 @ Spotify House 1:30 PM

John Moreland

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Courtesy of John Moreland

“John Moreland is only three records into his career, and he’s already being called a songwriting savior. His most recent release, High On Tulsa Heat, explores the concept of home — what it is, what it isn’t, and if it’s really even a place at all.” — Jeremy Burchard [Read More]

What he sounds like: A powerful, introspective singer-songwriter who explores alt-country and Americana styles.

Showcase:  Weds., March 16 @ Spotify House 3:45 PM

Smooth Hound Smith

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Courtesy of Smooth Hound Smith

“If you’ve never heard Smooth Hound Smith’s music before, you’ve been missing out on something special. Members Zack Smith and Caitlin Doyle have created a unique blend of alluring storytelling backed by dynamic percussion and funky electric guitar that will win you over after just a few shakes of the tambourine.” — Lorie Liebig [Read More]

What they sound like: A heartfelt, hand-crafted union of folk, traditional country, Delta blues and modern rock and roll.

Showcase: Thurs., March 17 @ Palm Door Savine 8-8:40 PM

Jack Ingram

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Courtesy of Jack Ingram

“Texas native Jack Ingram is back in the business and gearing up to release his new album, Midnight Motel, in June. He’s We’ve heard that his new record will feature the raw type of songs that launched his career in the early days. If you’re eager to hear what Ingram’s been working on, this showcase is a can’t miss.” — Matt Alpert [Read More]

What he sounds like:  Confident contemporary country that both Texas and mainstream fans will enjoy.

Showcase: Thursday, March 17 @ The Gatsby 1-1:50 AM

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12 Artists You Should See at SXSW 2016