North Texas makes itself heard at South by Southwest

Abraham Alexander. Photo: Dualtone Records

North Texas is making a strong showing at the music portion of this year’s South by Southwest, which kicked off Monday in Austin, and continues through Sunday.

Nearly two dozen artists, from Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton and Arlington are descending upon the capital city for official showcases (and a great many more playing unofficial day parties or other SXSW-adjacent events), bringing with them a full range of musical expression — everything from hard-hitting rap to sensitive folk-pop to Japanese taiko.

Here’s a look at five musicians poised to use SXSW as a springboard to what’s next.

Abraham Alexander
The momentum the Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter generated as last year drew to a close — chiefly, signing a record deal with Nashville-based label Dualtone Records — shows no signs of slowing as he heads into SXSW. Fresh from opening up for Austin’s Black Pumas during their recent Dallas gig, Alexander has a fistful of SXSW showcases scheduled, during which he’ll doubtless preview tracks from his forthcoming debut studio LP.

Luna Luna
It’s been roughly six months since Dallas indie pop quartet Luna Luna dropped its debut album, Flower Moon, and the band, which originally began as a solo project for Colombian-born singer-songwriter Kavvi, continues to turn heads in its own city and beyond. Glossy, melodic tracks like “One Thing” ensure Luna Luna will leave Austin with exponentially more fans than it arrived with.

In 2021, Dallas singer-songwriter Alex Montenegro, who performs under the musical moniker Skirts, made a splash with her debut LP, Great Big Wild Oak. That critical acclaim precedes her appearance in Austin — a rare opportunity to witness Skirts’ delicately crafted and deftly rendered pop-folk in concert, as Montenegro does not regularly perform live.

Juliana Madrid
Alt-rock singer-songwriter (and former American Idol contestant) Juliana Madrid, who calls Southlake home, recently dropped her debut single, a sleek pop confection titled “Madonna.” The 20-year-old Madrid has been making music since she was 9, cutting her teeth at Southlake’s School of Rock, and all that study has paid off: She’s currently working on her debut LP with producer Benjamin Ruttner.

A contemporary taiko (Japanese drumming) ensemble based in Fort Worth — six members will make the trek to Austin — Goisagi is focused on original percussion compositions and, per SXSW press materials, “bursts with choreographed visuals and dynamic solos.” Next month, Goisagi plans to release its debut EP, Alight.

Additional North Texas artists performing during SXSW include: A-Wall; Farah; Free; Lil Texxan; the Texas Gentlemen; Page 9; Ariel & the Culture; Jacks Haupt; Rosegarden Funeral Party; Sara King; Cure for Paranoia; Bayleigh Cheek; Venus Twins.

Preston Jones is a freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. 

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