SCHED* SXSW 2011 has ended
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Kendel Carson and Chip Taylor

((By Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY)) NEW YORK — A fresh-faced lass from the Canadian prairie takes the stage in a tiny club, fiddle in hand, pink headband holding back her blond tresses, guitarist at her side. Black tennis shoes tap the beat. This could be cute. Then Kendel Carson opens her lips and out slinks the opening line on her new Alright Dynamite album: "Oh, baby, lie down, next to me, next to me." Her blue-green eyes smolder, her voice aches and intoxicates, and the farm gal becomes a worldly temptress. When she gets to "I am naked and cold ... ," cute becomes completely inadequate. At 26, this emerging country/folk artist is at that delicious point in her career when her image still is coalescing and the rough facets await their polish. She is definitely a child of the country who fiddles like a demon and likes "trucks — big trucks," as she sang on the rowdy breakout track I Like Trucks from her 2007 debut album, Rearview Mirror Tears. But in the new Belt Buckle video, she mimics the tongue-in-cheek downtown-cool look of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love video. In a clip for Cowboy Boots, she appears as a jaded jet-setter. And elsewhere on the album she sings of fueling "the erotic dreams of aristocratic men" (Lady K) — and of skinny-dipping with an outlaw (Jesse James). "There are all of those elements inside me," the Calgary native says as she relaxes before her show, where she'll perform with guitarist/mentor Chip Taylor. "I feel pretty lucky because I've experienced a lot of different cultures and different places. But I'm happiest when I can come to New York and rock out and hang out in the city, and then, say, fly back to Canada and visit my sister on her farm. I am very much both of those people." Although her albums get airtime on Americana-format radio stations —Alright Dynamite entered the Americana airplay chart at No. 39 and hit No. 4 for over six weeks — Carson resists being typecast musically, and always has. She began taking classical violin lessons at 3½ and later performed with the Victoria Symphony. But at 6 she was smitten by her brother Tyler's fiddle playing and began exploring the musical realms of country, Celtic and Appalachia. "I have very distinct memories of having a little time to kill, and instead of watching TV, I'd pick up my fiddle and play," she says. "It seems like such second nature." By her midteens, she was performing with fiddle orchestras and folk groups. She met Taylor, 69, on the folk festival circuit four years ago. The songwriter is best known for the '60s pop hits Wild Thing and Angel of the Morning (and as the brother of actor Jon Voight and the uncle of Angelina Jolie). Carson asked Taylor for career advice, which led to an invitation to visit New York to write songs and cut demos. The session spawned her first album, and its positive reception led to Alright Dynamite. Carson wrote four tunes with Taylor, who wrote the bulk of the remainder and produced and plays on the album. "She's fearless," Taylor says. "I never saw anybody get it so quick. I always tell her, 'Just sing it like you believe it, and other people will get it.' " **** KENDEL CARSON will be performing at 2011 SXSW with critically acclaimed singer/songwriter CHIP TAYLOR and legendary guitar player JOHN PLATANIA (Van Morrison).

My Artists Sessions

Thursday, March 17

11:00pm CDT