SXSW is one of those rare beasts that showcases not only some of the most cutting-edge and innovative tech on the horizon but also quality film and music. Tech and arts, as in years past, was front and center down here in Austin and we’ve been reporting the stand-outs that have caught our attention.
Budweiser hosted a country music showcase (a first for SXSW) featuring some of today’s most talented cowboy hat and rhinestone shirt-wearing performers. Billed as the “Budweiser Country Club” showcase, the show mainly consisted of fresh faces who embody the new sound of country.
One of those performers who blew the roof off the place was Elle King. Known for her hits “Ex’s and Oh’s” and “America’s Sweetheart” she added a hint of soul to the lineup. With her country meets soul meets (at times) raspy Janis Joplin voice, Elle grabbed the audience and refused to let us go until her final number – a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).”
The performance was a nice break-up in the otherwise pretty country-heavy night. Elle is country the way Taylor Swift is country. Sure there are roots there, but there’s enough pop and other elements to allow even those of us who prefer to not listen to country, to come along for the ride.
The soulful crooner belted out tune after tune and even threw in some banjo playing, with an occasional break to down some Budweiser (Why not? I’m sure it was free). In her 8-song set she made sure to cover her hits off her 2015 album “Love Stuff.”
Seeing as though she hasn’t released an album since 2015, fans were wondering when she’d release new music. Well, it looks like she was waiting for this kind of stage to do just that. Amongst her hits she offered up three new songs to get any Elle fan psyched. “Good Thing Gone,” “The Compromise” and “Baby Outlaw” left us wanting more. Hopefully we’ll see those songs featured on an upcoming album.
Others on the night’s lineup included Kane Brown, Levon, The Sisterhood Band and Old Crow Medicine Show.