Future R&B and Old Soul Acts at SXSW Music

Lee Fields & the Expressions, Oshun, and 9 more soul sets to catch


Son Little

Mon. 12, Pour Choices, 12:10am

A deeply soulful singer-guitarist who's collaborated with the Roots and RJD2, Philly native Son Little's modern take on blues and soul offers subtle electronic inflections and a nod to hip-hop in both timing and lyricism. 2017 sophomore LP New Magic flexed and fleshed.


Tue. 13, Iron Bear, 9pm

Formerly the singing half of Afro-futurist hip-hop duo THEESatisfaction, Seattle's Stasia Irons brews hologram funk, singing jazzy riffs over downtempo synth beats. 2016 solo debut No More Weak Dates explored comic book nerdery while last year's New Black Swing brims with sensual seduction.


Tue. 13, Parish, 12:40am; Wed. 14, Dirty Dog Bar, 12:25am

The term Afro-futurist gets bandied about a lot these days, but this pair of recent NYU grads looks like they just walked off the set of Black Panther. Niambi Sala and Thandiwe pay homage to the Yoruba water goddess as Oshun, mesmerizing a blend of soulful spiritualism and sharp rhymes. Forthcoming debut Bittersweet cruises the cosmos.

Blvck Spvde

Tue. 13, Parish, 9:45pm; Sat. 17, Sheraton Backyard, 11:05pm

When your given name is Veto Lamar Money a stage handle seems unnecessary, but the St. Louis singer gets a pass with off-kilter vocals and scatting lo-fi beats. Recent LP Hopeless and Romanticizing emanates the same weirdo jazz aesthetic as Madlib's Quasimoto project.

Madison McFerrin

Wed. 14, 18th Over Austin, 1am; Thu. 15, Malverde, 11pm

Like jazz legend Bobby McFerrin, his daughter does much more with her voice than sing despite a beautiful, breathy tone. The budding singer-songwriter builds lush backing tracks with seemingly endless layers of her hums, oohs, and coos transformed by looping percussion. Madison continues building her catalog with a recent three-song EP Finding Foundations Vol. II.


Thu. 15, St. David's Historic Sanctuary, 8pm

Foolish to predict stardom after only a six-song EP and zero national profile, but if James David Treadwell can bottle the infectious hand-clapping romp that is "Testify," go ahead. The Jersey-to-L.A. singer channels Pharrell and Bruno Mars with upbeat pop-soul. The Black Gospel Vol. 1 EP debuts his church roots.

Durand Jones & the Indications

Thu. 15, Barracuda Backyard, 12:50am

Louisiana-bred soul man Durand Jones linked up with the Indications at Indiana University and recorded their stellar debut LP in a Bloomington basement on a shoestring budget. This is gritty Southern soul with punchy horns and dirty fatback drums, a signature act on Ohio's Colemine Records, a worthy Daptone clone.


Thu., 15, St. David's Historic Sanctuary, 10pm; Fri. 16, Lustre Pearl, 9pm

Spotify certainly amplified Nashville's R.Lum.R. (pronounced R-Lamar) with prime placement on playlists and even making his face the cover on its popular Alt R&B jukebox for six months. Classically trained guitarist Reggie Williams earns it with synth-laden love songs and a piercing falsetto.

Lee Fields & the Expressions

Fri. 16, Clive Bar, 10pm

Last soul man standing, North Carolina native Lee Fields first cut a cover of James Brown's "Bewildered" in 1969 and only followed it with a deeply soulful full-length a decade later. He proudly rocked a Jheri curl on several Nineties releases before throwing in with the young Brooklyn hipsters that helped vault Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley to stardom for a late-career run still going strong.


Sat. 17, Sheraton Backyard, 10:20pm

Spiritual descendant of Erykah Badu, 23-year-old Dallas singer Mecca Tauheedah cooks up an intoxicating blend she calls "galactic hip-hop soul." The candy-painted singer unleashes the divine feminine on her 2017 Fruittape EP: "She walks in the darkness/ Her aura is shining/ It smells like God's incense/ Bring blessings."

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SXSW 2018, Son Little, SassyBlack, Oshun, Blvck Spvde, Madison McFerrin, Davie, Durand Jones & the Indications, R.Lum.R., Lee Fields & the Expressions, M3CCA, Neilà, SXSW Music 2018

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