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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Ray Wylie Hubbard
Jim Bennett/WireImage23/25

Ray Wylie Hubbard

"So that's what a 'smattering' sounds like," Ray Wylie Hubbard quipped when he found the audience response wanting for his opening-night SXSW show. And of course, the applause picked right up. Fronting a blistering blues-rock trio with his son Lucas "on lead guitar and bad attitude," the wily Texas raconteur's set was a master class of storytelling and crowd management. He spun out one hilariously ribald story-song after another and led the crowd in the old-favorite sing-along "Snake Farm." "I hope God grades on a curve," Hubbard said at one point, guessing he'd come in at about a C-. "Not enough to get me into heaven proper, but maybe a celestial vocational night school." As long as he’s there as a teacher, all will be well. D.M.

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