Eleven Picks For Country Fans At SXSW 2012

6. The Little Willies

Date: Thursday, March 15
Venue: Antone’s

What’s not to love about a band fronted by Norah Jones and also includes such masterful players as Jim Campilongo (guitar), Lee Alexander (bass), Richard Julian (guitar, vocals) and Dan Rieser (drums)? This isn’t beer-and-backseat music; instead it’s moody, lovely, and more the sort of country Patsy Cline might have played if she was coming of age in 2012.

7. Folk Family Revival
Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue: Saxon Pub

Folk Family Revival includes brothers Mason, Barrett and Lincoln Lankford and their childhood friend Caleb Pace. They released a debut album last year, Unfolding, recorded in their current home of Magnolia, Texas. Steeped in country, rock, and touches of Southern gospel, these guys work together like they were family–which, wait a second, they actually are. Never mind if you’ve never heard of them, give their music a spin and see if it don’t catch right on.

8. Shooter Jennings
Date: Friday, March 16
Venue: Saxon Pub

The son of country legend Waylon Jennings, Shooter may not possess his dad’s smooth, deep baritone, but he does have papa’s honky-tonk sensibilities. His brand-new album Family Man (released March 13) is a return to his country roots, and songs like “The Deed and the Dollar” have thick roots and some pumping, Waylon-style bass lines. Dig in and dine hearty.

9. Roger Wallace
Date: Friday, March 16
Venue: The White Horse

Hardly a newcomer, Roger Wallace has been playing around Austin since the 1990s–only problem is, not that many folks outside Texas know much about him. If you dig the deep-rooted honky tonk of Dale Watson or the harder stuff from the likes of Alan Jackson or even George Strait, check this guy out.

10. Ray Wylie Hubbard

Date: Thursday, March 15
Venue: St David’s Bethell Hall
Also: Friday, March 16
Venue: Saxon Pub

This Oklahoma-born artist made his name back in the 1970s off of the song “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers.” He wrote it, Jerry Jeff Walker sang it, and it became a solid favorite around Austin, which at the time was a hotbed of left-of-center country creativity (think Willie Nelson after he grew his hair long). Hubbard’s written and recorded many more since then, though, on albums like Loco Gringo’s Lament and Dangerous Spirits, which mix introspective material with low-key humor. Some things just get better with age.


11. Justin Townes Earle
Date: Saturday, March 17
Venue: Stubb’s

Whether or not you know he’s the son of country singer Steve Earle matters none — Justin Townes Earle has made a name for himself all on his own. He’s the best of the best of alternative country singer-songwriters these days (last year he won the 2011 Americana Music Award for Song of the Year), his music easygoing, fresh, and full of country soul. His new album Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now comes out later this month.


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– Kurt Wolff, CBS Local

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