The crowd was dense and the air was chilled last Saturday night as we anxiously waited outside Lamberts Downtown Barbecue to see Elizabeth McQueen, fresh off her departure from Asleep at the Wheel.
After eight years, a Grammy nomination and over a million miles on the road with the group, Elizabeth was saying goodbye and hitting the stage with some close friends she made along the way.
The show was held to celebrate the release of McQueen’s new EP, The Laziest Remix. It’s a collaboration with St. Louis-based band Brothers Lazaroff that beautifully infuses a number of different genres into songs from McQueen’s latest album, The Laziest Girl in Town. The event also promoted local with a portion of the proceeds going to Black Fret, an Austin non-profit that provides grants to local musicians.
Once inside Lamberts, I was ushered upstairs and greeted by the lovely Sarah Sharp of The Jitterbug Vipers and a copy of the EP. Album in hand, I stepped into an even thicker gathering and was soon taken by the jazzy swoon Elizabeth has come to be known for in more recent years. She delicately shook us out of our element with her relaxed, seemingly effortless vocals on the phenomenal remix of “Laziest Girl in Town.”
McQueen got everyone in the crowd involved with her infectious enthusiasm on the remixes of “You’re to Blame” and “Gone Solid Gone,” which both had plenty of choral “ba-da’s” and “da-da’s” to sing along to. My favorite track among the remixes, “Mind of Men,” was flawlessly executed with the combination of spacey keys, rhythmic bass lines, dreamy guitar riffs, a solid hip-hop beat and McQueen’s encapsulating vocals. I was blown away.
Though, one of the most beautiful moments of the show came when McQueen invited Katie Holmes, new vocalist and fiddle player for Asleep at the Wheel, up on stage with her to perform a wonderful version of the jazz standard, “Careless Love”. They harmonized brilliantly and as I took a look around the crowd, every face was smiling. It was refreshing to see such grace and humility from a huge name in the Texas music scene to a rising star of that same scene.
The show featured several other local music stars performing alongside McQueen, including Erin Ivey, Jazz Mills, and Nakia. The musicians seemed to be interspersed among the crowd, rather than appearing from a backstage area. In fact, I found myself right next to Ivey at one point. I’m a huge fan of her and McQueen, but I refrained from saying hello because of the obscene amount of meat I had just eaten and the effect it may have had on my breath.
All in all, both The Laziest Remix release and the celebratory performance with her friends only strengthened the already stout faith I had in any musical endeavor McQueen may choose to take on. Let’s all hope she continues to make music for many years to come.
You can listen to The Laziest Remix here and support Elizabeth McQueen by purchasing a digital copy for a mere five dollars. To find out what Elizabeth is up to, check out her website. Catch her live on Sundays in late January and early February at St. David’s Episcopal Church downtown or this coming Thursday at Strange Brew with Matt the Electrician.
What was the last live show you caught in Austin?