At the second of her two Austin shows, Friday night at the Central Presbyterian Church, Maines looked ultra-modern in a pompadour haircut and all black clothes. What mattered more was the confidence she found within a new band led by Harper in a set that included covers of songs by Vedder, The Jayhawks, Dan Wilson and others, as well as a couple of catchy originals.
Although the closing guitar duel between Harper on lap steel and Maines’s father Lloyd on pedal steel was fun, the set’s crowning moment came when she dared to try a version of the late Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should Have Come Over.” That sweeping ballad’s technical difficulty is enhanced by the challenge of living up to Buckley’s vocal, which hit otherworldly heights. Fully committing herself, Maines scaled the song’s tricky melody like a free mountain climber, hitting notes that seemed to defy any scale. Immersed in the music, unconcerned about whether she was living up to anyone’s definition of success, Maines presented us with the privilege of witnessing her own internal process of rediscovery.