SXSW 2017: Friday morning at the BMI / AT&T Fiber Acoustic Brunch – 17th March 2017

By on Thursday, 13th April 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

Mary and I started our Friday morning at the BMI / AT&T Fiber Acoustic Brunch on the spacious lawn of the Four Seasons Hotel. The weather was overcast and a bit windy, but still nice enough to enjoy a lovely outdoor breakfast, and turnout was high for the showcase. I suppose, technically speaking, the brunch show wasn’t fully acoustic, as it required an electronic keyboard. But the morning’s bill did feature six up-and-coming singer/songwriters who could easily adapt to that style of stripped-back performance when the moment required it.

Vera Blue

Once the guests had gotten a chance to take advantage of the sprawling brunch buffet, the stage was set for the first artist on the bill, Australia’s Vera Blue. Vera Blue is the new project of Sydney folk artist Celia Pavey, who started her career as typical girl-with-guitar folk singer. Pavey has now expanded her sound to include a heavier mix of instrumentation, including bass grooves and electronica. Her Acoustic Brunch set was necessarily scaled back, but her sultry vocals and folk-tinged melodies were more than enough to captivate the audience’s attention. Check out the fully realised version of ‘Private’ just below. [Vera Blue is a recent signee to Capitol Records. – Ed.]

Devin Dawson

Nashville singer Devin Dawson has a definite twang in his vocals, but also enough raw edge and smooth charm to appeal to those who might normally shy away from mainstream country. His recent singles ‘All On Me’ and ‘I Don’t Care Who Sees’ were among the slow-burning highlights of his solo acoustic set.

Caitlyn Smith

Fellow country singer singer Caitlyn Smith is already a well-known name in American songwriting circles, having composed songs with the likes of Garth Brooks and Meghan Trainor. In a nod to that aspect of her talents, Smith performed an acoustic version of ‘Like I’m Gonna Lose You’, made famous by Trainor and John Legend, on her brunch set here. But her rich vocals were best highlighted in the muscular ballad ‘Before You Called Me Baby’, from her own recently released ‘Starfire’ EP.

Michael Blume internal

If anyone in the brunch crowd was still sleepy at that point, soulful r&b singer Michael Blume most definitely woke them up. His defiantly powerful songs force you to sit up and take notice, with silky vocals and bold rhythms defining their sound and brash commentary on political and social issues permeating their lyrics. In live performance, Blume’s charisma and massive stage presence were undeniable. His EP ‘When I Get It Right’ was released last July; have a listen to breakout track ‘Colors’ just below.

Brayton Bowman

Pop/r&b singer Brayton Bowman was equally brash and equally charming, and perhaps even more viscerally effective. His flashy vocal stylings and intensely personal lyrics were captivating, and his easy banter between songs only drew his listeners further in. His recently dropped autobiographical mixtape ’22 Minutes Later’ features standout track ‘The Second I’m Rich’, which you can sample right here.

Morgxn

The final performer on the Acoustic Brunch show was electropop songwriter Morgxn, whose brilliant blue hairdo was only upstaged by his rendition of smouldering single ‘Love You With the Lights On’. Keep an eye out for his latest track ‘XX’, due out tomorrow, the 14th of April. I didn’t get the chance to chat with Morgxn myself on the day, but you can hear his insightful interview with Austin Underground right here.

Special thanks to Jodie for her assistance with this review. Stay tuned to TGTF for post-SXSW 2017 question-and-answer sessions with Michael Blume, Brayton Bowman and Morgxn in the coming days. For an up-close perspective on the BMI / AT&T Fiber Acoustic Brunch, featuring interview clips with the artists, take a look at the video below, courtesy of BMI.

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