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Ben Ottewell: SXSW 2015

by Laura Fedele

We've never been shy about our love for Gomez, one of our favorite all-time live bands and creators of some truly beautiful albums. But it's been a while since the quintet has fed its hungry fans, so we're always listening extra-hard for news from their camp.

Thank goodness for Ben Ottewell.

Ibeyi: SXSW 2015

by Laura Fedele

Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, 20-year-old twins with Cuba in their blood and percussive soul in their hearts, have sprung from their home in Paris to take over the world. Where has Ibeyi been hiding all of this time?

The quirky, rhythmic Naomi blends traditional drumbeats and layers of sampled cadence to build a steely spine for their sound (the twins' father was Anga Díaz of Buena Vista Social Club fame). She's the one making the crowd sway in waves from her perch on a cajón percussion box.

Heartless Bastards: SXSW 2015

by Laura Fedele

Heartless Bastards are fresh off a tour with Bob Seger and back home in Austin, TX, just in time for a world of crazy to show up for SXSW 2015. They're contributing some of their own crazy by playing at Willie Nelson's big annual bash outside of town, and for contrast also doing a kids show during the fest, renamed 'The Heartless Bathtubs' for the occasion.

This should be a big year for singer/guitarist/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom and the band—for one thing, they're celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the release of their debut album, Stairs and Elevators. And according to Twitter in late January, the recording sessions they started in August have resulted in a new finished album.

The Group Harmony Review For March 21

by Dan Romanello
Ruth Brown (courtesy of Rhino)

"The Group Harmony Review" at midnight is a special for Women's History Month. The show will include various ladies of rhythm and blues, the blues, and rock 'n' roll. I'll feature both popular and obscure artists, from a variety of time periods, including Ruth Brown, Hadda Brooks, The Staple Singers, the Shirelles and Savannah Churchill.

Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear: SXSW 2015

by Laura Fedele

Independence, Missouri's Ruth and Madisen Ward are a mother-and-son duo who go by the moniker Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear. They're the kind of artists you root for in this world — you want to tell people about them so they'll have that many more fans.

Ruth was already a fixture on the coffeehouse circuit when Madison started sitting in with her in about 2010. He got inspired to start writing his own songs to add to those gigs, and wrote parts for her too.