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The Country and Americana Music Fan’s Guide to SXSW 2017

It’s crowded, it’s corporate, it’s nutty. It’s still a great place to discover music. The official showcases of SXSW 2017 have a lot to offer fans of Americana and alt-country music this year. The established clubs of Austin have more to offer fans of straight up country. Whatever you like, there’s plenty of music to experience this week. Here are some picks for artist showcases you should check out while you’re visiting the Live Music Capitol of the World.

Wide Open Country’s Texas Showcase — 6-9 p.m. March 15-16, Lustre Pearl East

We’re hosting two unofficial showcases, spotlighting some of the best country and Americana artists here in Texas. Both nights are free and you won’t have to wait in line or fight the crowds. The lineup includes Rob Baird, Shane Smith and the Saints, Whitney Rose, Carson McHone, Statesboro Revue and High Plains Jamboree. If you can’t make it to the event, watch the live stream of the shows on our Facebook page.


Artist Showcases

Carson McHone

Carson McHone

A badass songstress and honky-tonker, Carson McHone is one of Austin’s brightest new talents. If you like straight-up country and inspired folk music that has someTexas attitude, McHone should be on your short list.

Where and when she’s playing:

Tuesday, March 15, 15, 9 PM, Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room — Badge required?  Yes | No

Thursday, March 16, 6 PM, Lustre Pearl East — Badge required?  Yes | No

Friday, March 17, 4 PM, SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake — Badge required?  Yes | No


Jason James

Jason James
Facebook/Jason James

Texan Jason James has a rich voice that harkens back to jukebox heroes like George Jones and Conway Twitty. He’s one our Rising Texas Artists to Watch in 2017. Traditional country fans should definitely make it a point to see his showcase.

Where and when he’s playing:

Thursday, March 16, 9 PM, Victorian Room at the Driskell — Badge required?  Yes | No

Friday, March 17, 8 PM, Lamberts — Badge required?  Yes | No


Ray Wylie Hubbard

ray-wylie
Courtesy Ray Wylie Hubbard

As a fan of American music, you owe it to yourself to see Ray Wylie Hubbard perform. He’s an absolute master songwriter and is always entertaining on the stage. And really, if you want the complete Texas music experience during your visit, Hubbard’s showcase should be on itinerary.

Where and when he’s playing:

Friday, March 17, 10 PM, Continental Club — Badge required?  Yes | No


The Wagoneers

Courtesy Wagoneers
Courtesy Wagoneers

Austin originals, the Wagoneers played the very first SXSW festival back in 1987. Fun, upbeat, and straight-up country. Wear your boots and get ready to dance.

Where and when they’re playing:

Tuesday, March 14, 1 AM, Maggie Mae’s Gibson Lounge  — Badge required?  Yes | No

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

Courtesy Sarah Shook and the Disarmers
Courtesy Sarah Shook and the Disarmers

Brash, unapologetic, and rough around the edges. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers make raw, rock-tinged country music that colors way outside the lines. For fans of alt-country and outlaw.

Where and when they’re playing:

Wednesday, March 15, 8 PM, Continental Club — Badge required?  Yes | No

Redd Volkaert

Redd Volkaert
Redd Volkaert

Redd Volkaert is, simply put, one of the best country guitar players alive. See him if A) you like to two-step B) are a guitar nerd and want your mind blown, and/or C) want to see one of the all-time greats play on their home turf.

Where and when he’s playing:

March 18, 10 PM, Saxon Pub — Badge required?  Yes | No

Scott H. Biram

artist-13921
Photo: Nate Burrell

Scott Biram is a one-man-band musical powerhouse. His songs blend Hill country blues, folk, bluegrass and a mess of other American styles with some pretty heavy lyrical content. Think a slightly darker version of Shakey Graves.

Where and when he’s playing:

Friday, March 17, 12 AM, The Continental Club  — Badge required?  Yes | No


Jared Deck

Jared Deck
Photo: Yasmin Shirali

Oklahoman Jared Deck is heavily inspired by the Heartland, both by its people and its landscape. Leaning more towards rock and roll, Deck reminds us of John Mellencamp and Bob Seger with an earthier sound.

Where and when he’s playing:

Saturday, March 18, 12:40 AM Saxon Pub  — Badge required?  Yes | No


Paul Cauthen

Source: Facebook/ Paul Cauthen
Source: Facebook/ Paul Cauthen

Bold, powerful, full of presence, Paul Cauthen has one of the most striking voices in Americana today. At times his music sounds like the driving four-on-the-floor outlaw country of 70’s, while other times he’s weaving in and out of gospel, a la the Rolling Stones on Exile on Main Street. 

Where and when he’s playing:

Friday, March 17, 12:40 AM Maggie Mae’s Rooftop — Badge required?  Yes | No

The Band of Heathens

Band-of-Heathens
The Band of Heathens

SXSW veterans The Band of Heathens put on one of the best live shows in Americana. You want a good rock and roll show chockful of diverse and carefully crafted material? The Band of Heathens will deliver.

Where and when they’re playing: 

Friday, March 15, 7 PM, The Parish — Badge required?  Yes | No


Sunny Sweeney

Facebook/Sunny Sweeney
Facebook/Sunny Sweeney

Sunny Sweeney is one of the Texas music scene’s finest songwriters. This month she released her Trophy, which is proving to be a breakthrough album for her. Our music writer Bobbie Jean Sawyer described the album as “exactly what country music needs right now.”

Where and when she’s playing: 

Friday, March 17, 8 PM, The Parish — Badge required?  Yes | No


Cale Tyson

Cale Tyson. Photo: Lorie Liebig
Cale Tyson. Photo: Lorie Liebig

Cale Tyson is a perfect example of how a traditional country artist can take music from the past and modernize it by making it their own. Hugely popular in Europe and a darling of the East Nashville scene, Tyson is one of the most buzzed-about artists in Americana music today.

Where and when he’s playing: 

Thursday, March 16, 8 PM, The White Horse — Badge required?  Yes | No ($5 cover)

Friday, March 17, 4 PM, The Hard Luck Lounge — Badge required? Yes | No

Now Watch: Rising Artists to Watch in 2017

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The Country and Americana Music Fan’s Guide to SXSW 2017