Photo By John Anderson
Sally CreweBD Riley's, Thursday, March 13
I'd be lying if I pretended that the possibility of Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, aka Spoon, serving as London singer-songwriter Sally Crewe's band had nothing to do with my attendance at this show. After all, Daniel and Eno share production credit and perform band duties for Crewe's new release, Drive It Like You Stole It
, and they're in town for the conference, so why not? Not that Crewe's songs, sharp jabs of narrative set to trigger-quick pop hooks, shouldn't have been enough in and of themselves. A single listen to Drive It ...
could tell anyone that there's something going on in Crewe's music that sets her apart, if not above. The significant crowd in attendance for this early slot could attest to that. Crewe was a mere tousle of straight, short-cropped blond hair to all but the tallest and closest of us, but the strength she wrestled out of her guitar and voice was reason enough for everyone there to stop chattering (well, not everyone) and pay attention. My hopes rose when I saw the Spooners leaning on the bar before the set began. But this was a solo show, and more power to her. She moved through tunes from her album with confidence and competence, roughly treated minor chords hardly the worse for the occasional bad pluck, and enriched the English language with her oddly inflected singing style. Along with a mind for a sharp and economical melody, these are things she shares with Daniel. In the end, her set was strong enough to stand up to -- even incorporate -- the perpetual pub chatter and ripping-by of Harleys on Sixth Street. For a relatively unknown solo acoustic singer-songwriter during SXSW, that's plenty.