Caroline Herring

Saturday

SXSW Platters

Caroline Herring

Lantana (Signature Sounds)

If there were no other songs on Lantana, Caroline Herring's murder ballad "Paper Gown" would still be the tour de force befitting her 2002 win as the Austin Music Awards' Best New Artist. Compositions "Song for Fay," "States of Grace," and "Lay My Burden Down" resonate with Herring's newfound strength, yet it's the devastating simplicity of "Paper Gown" that makes the Rich Brotherton-produced Lantana a career-defining work. "Paper Gown" weaves the tale of Susan Smith, the small-town girl who drowned her two sons in 1994 when her lover rejected her "ready-made family." Herring's brilliance is in recanting the story not as horrific matricide but as the desperate act of a love-blind girl, willing in heart and soul to sacrifice her own flesh and blood. Crafted with timeless elegance and graceful confidence, Caroline Herring's Lantana is the best modern Southern Gothic since Lucinda Williams' Sweet Old World. (Saturday, March 15, St. David's Church, 12mid.)

***.5

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Caroline Herring, SXSW

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