SXSW 2018: 25 Best Country, Americana Shows We Saw

From eclectic sets by Devin Dawson and Caroline Rose to star-is-born turns by Billy Strings and Liz Brasher

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Paul Cauthen
Travis P Ball/GettyImages3/25

Paul Cauthen

Paul Cauthen began his SXSW not with a showcase – that would come later, when he headlined the inaugural Big Velvet Revue at the Rustic Tap on a hectic St. Patrick's Day – but with a mid-bill slot at the Palm Door on 6th Street. The Texan and his band carry more than a hint of Waylon Jennings' swagger, but they're not fastidious in replicating the sounds of the Seventies. With their industrial strength twang, this crew pushes the past right into the present, and Cauthen provides a powerful center of gravity onstage, lending this music both humanity and muscle. But what made this gig seems special is that it wasn't necessarily anything special at all: it was the kind of strong, solid performance that suggested Cauthen could deliver the goods any given day of the week. In the often overheated setting of SXSW, such sturdy reliability is an unabashed pleasure. S.T.E.

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