Laura Stevenson turns in charming performance during SXSW day-party set

It’s hard to imagine that Laura Stevenson could possibly be more charming than she is on her records. But then there’s her live show, where the New York singer totally pulled it off Wednesday in Austin at a SXSW day party sponsored by Riot Act Media.

Despite a 10-hour overnight drive from Arkansas to Austin, her easy poise at the microphone and considerable vocal talent shone through, aided by the iced tea and bloody mary she downed before hitting the stage mid-afternoon for a quick set of songs, including tunes from “Sit Resist,” the forthcoming album with her band, the Cans.

She sang sweetly through the stomping stop-start rhythm of “Ain’t No Way,” turned up the power on the impossibly catchy “Master of Art” and sang with off-handed grace on “A Shine to It,” playing ringing guitar arpeggios backed only by high-neck bass notes from Mike Campbell.

The rest of the band returned to end the set with “The Healthy One,” lilting accordion and chiming glockenspiel augmenting her pleasantly rumpled vocals.

— Text and photo by Eric R. Danton

Master of Art mp3

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