Sonny Landreth

Acts Playing South by Southwest

Sonny Landreth

Levee Town (Sugar Hill)

Sonny Landreth is a guitar player and songwriter with a Cajun pedigree. He's played with Clifton Chenier and Allen Toussaint, but is perhaps best known for his work with John Hiatt's backup band the Goners and as the writer of "Congo Square," a tune that's been recorded by the Neville Brothers and John Mayall. Levee Town is his third solo effort and first for the Sugar Hill label, and while his first two albums seemed fresh and imaginative, this one mostly falls flat. One of the problems is that Landreth's songwriting feels forced and clichéd. His lyrics never get beyond "the river is high" or "rolling down the road," images we've encountered before and that others have described with a bit more panache. Landreth tries for a variety of moods and styles, yet his slide guitar playing undermines it all; what at one time seemed innovative, now seems repetitious. He seems to have run out of ideas on ways to make his playing move beyond the rote and it drags the whole project down. There are some occasional sparks. The energetic "U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile" and the acoustic blues of "Broken Hearted Road" stand out for their concise form and enthusiastic musicianship. As a whole, Levee Town finds Landreth seemingly out of ideas both as a musician and as a songwriter, and one would hope that the promise he once showed will bear fruit for him again in the future. (Saturday, March 17, Broken Spoke, 11pm)


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

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

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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