Backbeat: MTV, VH1 and CMT Come Together for Joint SXSW Showcase

From left: MTV Networks SVP of digital music strategy Shannon Connolly; VH1 executive VP Rick Krim; VH1 president Tom Calderone; head of connected content group, MTV/VH1/CMT/LogoDermot McCormick; and CMT senior VP, music strategy, Leslie Fram

ZZ Ward chats with her manager Evan Bogart on Tuesday at the Empire Control Room prior to taking the stage at her first show of the week.

Hollywood Records artist ZZ Ward rolled into Austin to do the first of a eight gigs at the MTV/VH1/CMT showcase Tuesday night at the Empire Control Room. Ward was on a bill with two country acts -- Striking Matches and Ashley Monroe -- and VH1's You Oughta Know artist for March, Youngblood Hawke, who had to stop their set to repair a guitar amp. Jim James went last at the evening's showcase, preceded by Guards and Elle King.

Ward's manager showed up in the VIP area with a special edition ZZ Ward-branded Hohner harmonica. In the case was a handy guide to Ward's SXSW showcases, which include a 7 a.m. Thursday KGSR gig and a 6:15 p.m. performance at the Whole Foods Market Rooftop Plaza.

Jim James gazes into the lens during the MTV/VH1/CMT showcase in Austin (Loren Wohl)

Guards perform (Loren Wohl)

ZZ Ward onstage (Loren Wohl)