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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

Caroline Rose Devin Dawson

Sets by Caroline Rose and Devin Dawson were among the best country and Americana showcases we saw at SXSW 2018.

Hutton Supancic/Getty Images, Tim Mosenfelder/GettyImages

The Americana music umbrella makes room for a whole lot of genres, and nowhere was that more clear than during the 2018 South By Southwest lineup, as country, rock, folk and blues sounds filled venues around Austin. But SXSW is a famously eclectic gathering, where even country-radio superstars like Keith Urban can feel at home. Here’s the 25 best things we saw at SXSW from the country and Americana genres.

Whitney Rose

Brian T. Atkinson

Whitney Rose

Canadian Whitney Rose adopted Austin as her hometown not long ago and performs regularly at the Continental Club. But that didn’t make her Saturday night SXSW gig any less special. Fronting a lean and lithe crackerjack band that switched between hardwood honky-tonk and Bakersfield snap without batting an eye, Rose and her style of Americana wasn’t dogmatic. She drifted into soul and winked at pop, performing songs, like opener “I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out),” that were lyrically sly. Rose ran through a fair portion of her excellent 2017 album Rule 62, peppering her show with such clever covers as a defiant version of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” Playing with the power of a locomotive, she delivered a set that would sound ideal on any Saturday night at any beer joint in the land. S.T.E.

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