From Nashville by way of Britain, Lucie Silvas might be a new name to many attending the Austin City Limits Music Festival, as is often the case with acts playing the smaller BMI Stage. As it happens, she's been putting out records since 2004. But an almost decade-long gap separated her first two and the more recent "Letters to Ghosts" (2015) and "E.G.O." (2018), which brought her to the festival's attention.
It's easy to see why Silvas is a rising star in pop-leaning country, and how she could find a place alongside singer-songwriters such as Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves. Silvas has a powerful voice and a confident stage presence, whether she'd singing classic ballads such as "Change My Mind" from the new album or tackling more upbeat material such as the title track of "Letters to Ghosts."
Especially impressive was another new-album track, "Everything Looks Beautiful," a soulful Dusty Springfield-esque number that featured Silvas on piano. Silvas played guitar on many songs, accompanied by a three-piece backing crew, but she stepped out near the end of the set for a vocal spotlight on a cover of the late-1960s Jackson Five hit "Who's Lovin' You."
As her set concluded, Brandi Carlile was about to begin on the neighboring Honda Stage. The two artists have different approaches and styles, but it was a fitting transition, bridging one of the many strong female artists in this year's fest lineup into the next.