SXSW Music: Must-See Singer-Songwriters

Ryan Adams, Robyn Hitchcock, Neko Case, and the next generation of solo strummers


Ryan Adams


Robyn Hitchcock

Wed. 15, Buffalo Billiards, 9pm; Fri. 17, Central Presbyterian Church, 9:35pm
In a career dating back to psychedelic UK pop act the Soft Boys in the mid-Seventies, Robyn Hitchcock, 64, has borne the standard for pop songcraft falling between Beatlesque genius and Syd Barrett eccentricity. His 21st disc levitates in April, co-produced by Brendan Benson and featuring Gillian Welch, Pat Sansone of Wilco, and Grant-Lee Phillips.

Mark Eitzel

Wed. 15, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, 9pm; Thu. 16, St. David's Bethell Hall, 11pm
American Music Club president, Bay Arean Mark Eitzel released his newest solo effort, Hey Mr Ferryman, in January. Cut in London, it features his emotive, noir-ish vocals and intense lyrical wisdom in a manner bigger, darker, and more dramatic than much of his previous work.

Shannon McNally

Wed. 15, Cooper's BBQ, 11:50pm
From Oxford, Miss., Shannon McNally releases her long-awaited, Rodney Crowell-produced album, Black Irish, in May. She'll be joined by Austin's Charlie Sexton at SXSW, and tours with Stephen Stills' the Rides this spring.

Ben Sollee

Wed. 15, Palm Door on Sabine, 12mid
A classically trained cellist and onetime Sparrow Quartet anchor from Louisville, Ky., Ben Sollee explores old-time mountain music, blues, and classical composers. Fifth studio album Infowars came out in October.

Jesse Colin Young

Thu. 16, Victorian Room at the Driskill, 10pm
A legendary songwriter for his Sixties/Seventies work with the Youngbloods, Jesse Colin Young pioneered Americana. In 2016, he began reissuing his catalog on vinyl, while also readying a new collection of songs for later this year.

Parker Millsap

Fri. 17, Central Presbyterian Church, 7:45pm
Oklahoma's Parker Millsap had a stellar 2016 with his second solo disc, The Very Last Day, ending up on Top 10 lists nationwide and an appearance on Austin City Limits. He's recently been songwriting with Elton John in preparation for his next trip to the studio in April.

Sara Watkins

Fri. 17, Cooper's BBQ, 10pm
Fiddling third of bluegrass superstars Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins spent much of the last year working on her third album, Young in All the Wrong Ways, the most audacious turn in her career in terms of hooks, songwriting, and self-assurance.

Ryan Adams

Fri. 17, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, 11pm
Twenty years have passed since Ryan Adams broke through with a band from North Carolina named Whiskeytown. Ups and downs, a rabid fan base, and his just-issued 16th solo disc, Prisoner, a response to his divorce from Mandy Moore, color a catalog filled with heartache, classic rock, and a supple voice.

Neko Case

Fri. 17, Clive Bar, 11pm
Alt.country's queen revels in collaboration these days. She's in town with the New Pornographers, releasing Whiteout Conditions in April, while 2016 found her on the road with k.d. lang and Laura Veirs in a trio setting that drew a rabid response from critics and audiences alike.

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Fri. 17, Cooper's BBQ, 1am
Nashville's Aaron Lee Tasjan was once a member of the New York Dolls and served time with Drivin' n' Cryin', but his second album, 2016's Silver Tears, made him as a definitive Americana artist.

Lilly Hiatt

Sat. 18, Lamberts, 10pm
Daughter of Americana godfather John Hiatt, Lilly Hiatt paves her own way. Wide-ranging roots styles over a pair of full-lengths, her songs rough up around the edges in anything other than your typical singer-songwriter fare.

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