Earlier this month, South by Southwest descended on Austin, Texas, for a week of what’s next in culture, tech, and more, sprawling all over the Lone Star State capital, and turning its street corners, grocery stores, and rooftops into bona-fide performance venues. But as the music portion of the festival heated up mid-week, fans didn’t have to leave Sixth Street to experience a night’s worth of great tunes. On Wednesday, March 14, G&G partnered with Paradigm Talent Agency and Blade & Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey to present The Hide Out, a showcase of Americana’s best and brightest, at Palm Door on Sixth. As Blade & Bow served up New Fashioned cocktails—the brand’s unique spin on an old fashioned using elderflower liquor—guests got a glimpse of the future of country and roots music. Now you can, too.
Red Shahan’s Lone Star State roots are unmistakable on songs like “Culberson County,” the title track from his forthcoming album. Set to be released on March 30, the singer-songwriter’s sophomore release features co-writes with the likes of Brent Cobb and a collaboration with fellow Texas up-and-comer Bonnie Bishop.
Essential Tracks: “Culberson County,” “Never Turn Around”
It’s hard to resist the energy on stage at a Liz Cooper show. But why would anyone want to? The Nashville-based rock band has a dreamy, psychedelic sound, and if the crowd’s engagement was any indication, keep an eye—er, ear—out for this trio in the near future.
Essential Tracks: “Motion,” “Mountain Man”
In this often-evolving band, Johny Fisher, guitarist for Mississippi band the Weeks, teams up with visual artist and Sol Cat bassist Aaron Martin, bringing in additional collaborators for each set. The constant? Show up ready to dance.
Essential Tracks: “Wavy Gravy,” “Always Never”
Come for the glittering banjo riffs, stay for the understated harmonies and stomp-worthy choruses. Fans of the Avett Brothers may find their next favorite band in this folk-rock quintet, which is still riding high off the release of five-song EP WE earlier this year.
Essential Tracks: “Take Me Back,” “Weeds or Wildflowers”
Lawrence County, Kentucky
Childers’s Sturgill Simpson-produced debut Purgatory is built on the foundation of traditional Appalachian bluegrass, and its rougher edges are shaped by the region’s modern-day hardships and hopes. Childers is one to watch for any fan of authentic country and roots music.
Essential Tracks: “Feathered Indians,” “Whitehouse Road”
The quiet voices of Sarah Vos and Daniel Wolff, the pair who make up Dead Horses, lend an empathetic quality to their songs. On forthcoming album My Mother The Moon, the duo found inspiration in poets like Robert Frost in addition to making poetry of Vos’s own difficult childhood and adolescence, coming away with a compelling collection of folk songs.
Essential Tracks: “Lay Me Down,” “American Poor”
This Texas singer-songwriter’s music is bound to make listeners feel something. Already well-loved for his confessional style and gut-wrenching lyrics, his latest album We’re Not Going Anywhere has messages of hope and resilience, too.
Essential Tracks: “Watching from a Distance,” “Twins”
Los Angeles, California
Riding high off the release of her debut album Well Hell earlier this year, Lauren Ruth Ward’s playful lyrics and decisive voice blend folk and vintage rock. Onstage, she has a commanding presence that’s sure to continue winning over new fans.
Essential Tracks: “I Feel Cool,” “Did I Offend You?”
Lucette recorded her debut album, 2014’s Dave Cobb-produced Black is the Color, when she was just 19 years old, writing and recording the straightforward Americana tracks in just one month. If this Canadian’s gentle twang is any indicator, the influence of Southern music knows no bounds—and we’re hoping she’s just getting warmed up.
Essential Tracks: “Bobby Reid,” “Muddy Water”
Cauthen brought the house down with his foot-stomping, fast-picking outlaw country tunes. His deep voice, searing instrumental highs, and endearing stage banter have us eagerly awaiting his forthcoming EP Have Mercy, out in June—the follow-up to 2016’s My Gospel.
Essential Tracks: “I’ll Be The One,” “Still Drivin’”
Since last year’s Honest Life was released to wide acclaim, Andrews has been hailed as the next big voice in country music—and to see her perform is proof enough that the hype is warranted. Her new album, May Your Kindness Remain, is due out this month.
Essential Tracks: “May Your Kindness Remain,” “Irene”
Lyttelton, New Zealand
Melding catchy pop choruses with rootsier sensibilities, Williams is steadily growing a near-obsessive following well beyond the borders of his native New Zealand. Hit “play” on his latest album, February’s Make Way for Love, and prepare to get hooked.
Essential Tracks: “Vampire Again,” “What’s Chasing You”
After finding success with garage-rock band the Heartless Bastards, Wennerstrom is set to release her debut solo album Sweet Unknown this month. Wennerstrom may be more vulnerable on this record, but the songs aren’t any less powerful—expect soaring anthems and hard-rocking instrumentals.
Essential Tracks: “Twisted Highway,” “Extraordinary Love”