(Photo: Reuters/Jason Redmond)
Dixie Chick lead singer Natalie Maines has gone solo for one of the first times Wednesday night at South By Southwest, showing off a new haircut as well as a host of new songs to the delight of her fans.
Maines took to the stage for about an hour long set, performing 10 songs from her new album Mother, which is set to come out May 7.
Her vocal performance at the Austin City Limits Live Hall was as powerful as ever, although overall it was a distinctly different style to what most are used to seeing from Maines while performing with the Dixie Chicks.
Joining her on stage was guitarist Ben Harper, who is also a co-producer on her new album, and they were both joined by five others for most of the songs in the set.
Maines opened the set with "Without You," and then went on to perform "Free Life," which was written by Semisonic's Dan Wilson, who also wrote the Dixie Chicks' Grammy-winning song Not Ready to Make Nice.
Later she performed a more bluesy number in "Vein in Vain," before she was joined on stage by the Jayhawks' Gary Louris and fellow Chick Emily Robison for "Come Cryin' to Me."
At the end of the set she thanked fans and then performed one final jam band-style crescendo on "Take It On Faith," and she was joined on stage by her father Lloyd.
Overall Maines' performance was warmly welcomed by fans, although she was less engaging than perhaps many were used to. However, the star voice most have come to know and love was definitely still there.
Here is a video of Natalie Maines covering Jeff Buckley's classic "Lover You Should've Come Over" at the Presbyterian Church in Austin for SXSW. March 15, 2013: