Sunday night’s Soul of a Musician Series provided the perfect remedy for a week’s worth of SXSW exhaustion with inspirational ‘fire water’ from Gina Chavez and Johanna Chase? Chavez, wrapped-up her SXSW schedule Sunday night at The Iron Cactus with her 9th show of the week while the West Coast native Chase trekked all the way in from LA for SXSW and the 133rd Soul Series show.
In its fifth year, the Soul of a Musician Series provides a forum for musicians to play music in a loving, receptive environment in order to explore the various emotional and spiritual dimensions of their music. The musicians perform one or two hand-picked original songs, then series host Rev. Merrill Wade leads an interactive discussion with the artists about the inspiration and spirituality behind those songs.
Chavez and Chase played a back-and-forth, song-swap set in which Chavez led off by debuting ‘She Persisted’. “This song’s not all that deep,” claimed Austin’s 2015 Musician of the Year before unleashing the righteous and unapologetic tune. A lack of depth is most certainly not an issue with ‘She Persisted’. It’s the sort of bold and empowering songwriting Chavez fans admire in her music.
Chase followed with ‘Gangster of Love’, a gorgeous love song with hints of spiritual vulnerability. I’m ashamed to admit, I was unfamiliar with the SOLO.B singer-songwriter prior to the Soul Series event. However, I was pleasantly surprised once she dove into the zoot suited, grass roots ‘Gangster of Love’.
The entire set consisted of 8 total songs between the ladies and concluded with a passionate duet of Chavez’s ‘Fire Water’ from 2015’s critically acclaimed Up.Rooted. The theme of the evening was “thunderous applause” and both musician deserved that and more. I’m not certain why it took 133 shows for me to check out the Soul of a Musician Series. But, I will definitely be visiting The Iron Cactus more frequently on Sunday evenings from here on out.