SXSW Music Review: From the Hills With Love

Israel Nash’s answer to Luck Reunion and Revival Experience

“I’m just going to sing a bunch of songs that I wrote about living out here,” announced Israel Nash before launching into “Lucky Ones” in the headlining slot of his fourth annual From the Hills With Love Fest on Saturday. Hosting a couple hundred artists and neighbors on his Dripping Springs ranch, Nash provided a calming Hill Country close to SXSW.

From the Hills With Love founder and headliner Israel Nash (Photo by Doug Freeman)

The lineup culled mostly from artists who recorded at his Plum Creek Sound studio, and the sound all afternoon reflected Nash’s brand of mellow, rumbling, guitar-driven roots rock. That included Western Youth’s more subdued early-afternoon set and ex-Band of Horses guitarist Tyler Ramsey’s meditative, reverberating anthems from upcoming fourth LP For the Morning. Carson McHone also showcased new material that hinted at more rocking directions on top of her twanging country sound.

Denver’s Kyle Emerson chilled a Kurt Vile-like twang, while T. Hardy Morris sent steel-laden rock bouncing deep into the hills. E.B. The Younger bopped Harry Nilsson charm, even covering the late tunesmith’s “Gotta Get Up,” but Jonathan Tyler swept the best set with three-guitar, Southern-fried jams and Nikki Lane joining to duet “To Love Is to Fly.”

Compared to other events on the outskirts of SXSW – the Revival Experience’s inaugural high-end communion or the Luck Reunion’s full-blown Western town activation – Nash’s event felt like an informal neighborhood party with free-whiskey sponsors. The grounds are naturally unruly, which plays into crowds with their own chairs, picnics, and kids running free. It proved a refreshing reminder that sometimes the best festival experience is still just a casual Hill Country party.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Patty Griffin on Her Battle With Breast Cancer and New Album
Patty Griffin on Her Battle With Breast Cancer and New Album
Local songwriter rises through the fire

Doug Freeman, March 29, 2019

Nardwuar Gifts Quin NFN a Copy of the <i>Chronicle</i> in New Video
Nardwuar Gifts Quin NFN a Copy of the Chronicle in New Video
“They had it everywhere. My momma was loving it.”

Kevin Curtin, March 26, 2019

More by Doug Freeman
AmericanaFest 2022 Brings the Roots Community Back Together
AmericanaFest 2022 Brings the Roots Community Back Together
Eight emerging acts seen in Nashville, from Nora Brown to Early James

Sept. 21, 2022

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Fest, Eastside Kings Festival, HAAM Day,, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few, and more

Sept. 9, 2022


From the Hills with Love 2019, SXSW Music 2019, From the Hills with Love, Israel Nash, Western Youth, Tyler Ramsey, Carson McHone, Kyle Emerson, T. Hardy Morris, E.B the Younger, Jonathan Tyler, Nikki Lane

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle