SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 16, 2007
18th Floor @ Hilton Garden Inn, Thursday, March 15The very definition of precociousness, Sahara Smith is not your typical high school senior. With the sun and Downtown Austin fading behind her through the 18th Floor's picture windows, the 18-year-old local held an intrigued audience rapt with songs that journeyed though musical territory that one might expect from someone twice her age. Aided by bass, drums, and the tasteful guitar of Jake Owen, the thin, red-haired songwriter recalled a young Natalie Merchant. Smith's understated melodies belied her poetic lyrics, especially when she repeated "I don't give a damn about you" over and over in a cool semiwhisper. Appearing demure, or perhaps a bit nervous, she was bold enough to try a new song, "Glorious," demonstrating a stately nature that explains her attraction to the Austin folkies. Apparently the word has gotten out on Smith as a few music-business types, including at least one record-label executive, were in attendance. She's not reinventing the wheel, but Smith is an attractive talent who won't be a relative secret much longer.