Sarah Jarosz

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Sarah Jarosz writes songs that “have a mystical streak, projecting love and loneliness across the landscape and the sky” (New York Times). Widely hailed as one of Americana music’s brightest young talents, Jarosz returned to the Austin City Limits stage performing songs from her newest release, Build Me Up From Bones.

Jarosz first appeared on ACL in 2010, supporting her debut album Song Up in Her Head. Though only 18 at the time, the Wimberly resident already had nearly a decade of performing experience under her belt, starting as a bluegrass prodigy but quickly expanding her horizons to include folk, jazz and pop. “I never became a bluegrass snob,” she told Texas Music. “I was always open to everything.”

Following her rising star turn on ACL, she left Austin to attend the New England Conservatory, releasing her second LP Follow Me Down along the way. Now graduated with honors from the Conservatory, Jarosz moved to New York City and dedicated herself to pushing the limits of her art, as Build Me Up From Bones asserts. “Jarosz makes music that’s all over the spectrum,” noted Pop Matters, “but puts her own imprint on it through her distinctive style.” All Music Guide declares that the album “reflects not only her growth as a songwriter but her willingness to push the boundaries of country, folk, and Americana to discover connections not necessarily considered before.”

Dawes

Photo ©KLRU by Scott Newton

Dawes’ authentically vintage sound, combined with wry lyrics, has made them one of America’s most beloved young bands. Dawes makes its Austin City Limits debut performing songs from their newest release, Stories Don’t End.

With 2009′s North Hills and 2011′s Nothing is Wrong, Dawes gained a reputation for impressive folk rock songs that evoke the past while still being modern. To make Stories Don’t End, the band traveled from their L.A. home to North Carolina and worked with producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), resulting in their most diverse and accomplished record yet. “We wanted to stay true to this thing that we had while starting to widen the spectrum a little bit,” said chief songwriter and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith. In doing so they have created what London’s Independent writes is “as close to a perfect Americana album as there’s been this year.”

Rolling Stone called the album “quietly gripping” and “deceptively gleaming.”  Paste noted that it’s full of “their most intricate music to date, full of colorful detours and surprising instrumental flavors” and the NY Daily News declared that it “both recalls a classic era and speaks to any.”

“The album is very honest,” concludes keyboardist Tay Strathairn. “It’s us.”

Encore: Bob Mould and Delta Spirit

It’s amazing to think that the loosely defined umbrella “alternative rock” now stretches past the quarter century mark. In celebration of its endurance, this week Austin City Limits presents a veteran of the style and a fast-rising newcomer. Bob Mould pioneered the loud/fast guitar pop style with both his 80s punk band Hüsker Dü and his 90s power pop trio Sugar, while Delta Spirit carves its own path by blending Americana and indie rock. This episode will get your heart pumping and your air guitar flailing.

Joined by longtime bass foil Jason Narducy and Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster, Bob Mould wastes no time getting to the point, opening with the bludgeoning power chords of Sugar’s “The Act We Act.” It’s the start of a blazing career retrospective that ranges from the romping Sugary power pop of “Changes” and “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” to the raging power rock of “Star Machine,” the lead-off track from Mould’s highly acclaimed LP Silver Age. Hüsker Dü classics bring down the house, including the nuclear powered folk rock of “Celebrated Summer” and the irresistible hooks of “Makes No Sense at All.” While it’s hard to pick a highlight in a show packed with so many goodies, the epic, elegiac version of the rarely-performed Hüsker gem “Hardly Getting Over It” elevates the episode from simply excellent to truly magnificent.

From the intensity of the veteran we go to the enthusiasm of the newcomers, as Delta Spirit takes the stage. The Brooklyn-based quintet revs the energy up immediately with the rumbling “White Table,” before irrepressible singer Matt Vasquez sparks the crowd into overdrive with the anthemic “Money Saves.” The band brings things back down with “Vivian,” a lovely song about former Austinite Vasquez’s grandmother, performed with his own mama in the audience for a touching moment. Then it’s more palate-cleansing with the lilting, melodic “California,” before bringing the house down with the band’s explosive standard “Trashcan,” probably the only song in the ACL catalog that features a metal trashcan lid as a main instrument.

photo by Scott Newton

More details can be had on the episode page here. Don’t forget to check in with our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL news. Next week: Widespread Panic.

 

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2013

12th Annual Americana Music Honors And Awards Ceremony Presented By Nissan - Show & Audience

Austin City Limits is taking a break from our fabulous season of new episodes, but never fear – that doesn’t mean new music isn’t up next. As we’ve been the past two years, we’re proud to present an ACL Presents special: Americana Music Festival 2013. Recorded at the Awards & Honors presentation in Nashville at the historic Ryman Auditorium, AMF 2013 gives us great performances by both veterans and newcomers across the spectrum of the music we know and love as Americana. From Dr. John walking through gilded splinters accompanied by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, pioneering guitarist Duane Eddy proving himself still a “Rebel-Rouser” and Stephen Stills revisiting his classic composition “For What It’s Worth” to young songwriter John Fullbright ripping through “Jericho”, host Jim Lauderdale and bandleader Buddy Miller showing off their distinctive chemistry and Hank Williams’ daughter Holly reviving her father’s signature hit “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” the special presents highlight after highlight. All this plus Shovels & Rope, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, The Milk Carton Kids, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Old Crow Medicine Show and, during the finale, some surprise guests. It’s a feast of Americana.

Check out the episode page for a songlist and more details. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: an encore episode featuring Bob Mould and Delta Spirit.

Jim James and The Black Angels get psychedelic for ACL’s new season

Austin City Limits explores new sonic directions in a double bill with Jim James and Austin’s own Black Angels.  My Morning Jacket leader Jim James plays songs from his acclaimed debut solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God while Texas psych-rockers The Black Angels highlight songs from their latest release Indigo Meadow.

The versatile Jim James commands a spellbinding set in his first-ever solo outing on ACL, marking his sixth appearance on the program—having performed twice with his main outfit My Morning Jacket, in addition to appearances with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk.  Declaring his solo project a “new adventure”, James invites the Austin audience to come on the journey with him, and they are more than happy to oblige.  He reaches into new territory in an intimate and hypnotic performance that combines hints of old school R&B, flickers of hip hop, operatic pop and delicate instrumentation.  James and his four-piece band open with the 70s soul of “State of the Art” and “Know Til Now” and segue into the spiritual love song “A New Life” and the atmospheric “Actress”.  It’s a captivating and completely danceable set, with James himself getting in the groove while holding a bronze panda up and adding his own sliding dance steps.

“Jim James has found many ways to pursue his musical muse, and it’s amazing that this is his very first solo album,” notes ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “What better way to bring it to his legions of fans than ACL?”

photo by Scott Newton

Carrying on the long Texas tradition of psychedelia, Austin’s Black Angels round out the episode, making their long-awaited ACL debut with their unique brand of psychedelic music for the 21st century.  It’s a fitting showcase for ACL, as the psych rock movement has its roots in the Lone Star State thanks to 60s acid-rock heroes the 13th Floor Elevators, who were the first band to apply the term psychedelic to rock & roll.  Named in tribute to the Velvet Underground number “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” The Black Angels found themselves the spearhead of a new psychedelic revival soon after their formation in 2004.  The band’s carefully crafted blend of melody and noise won over fans of both modern indie rock and old school acid rock, and established it as a major force in underground rock & roll, even starting its own festival in 2008, the still-running Austin Psych Fest.  Opening with the heavy duty headbanger “Evil Things”, the Angels create a dark, brooding mood with their trademark vocal reverb and fuzzy, distorted guitars on a stage complete with fun-house optic, psychedelic images swirling on projection screens.  The Black Angels take the Austin crowd into the psychedelic heart of darkness and back out into the light, proving why they have become one of the foremost acts in the psych and garage rock revival.

“Whether you remember 60’s acid-rock first-hand or this is your first ‘psych’ experience, The Black Angels have taken a classic rock form and turned it into their own,” Lickona says. “It’s got an other-worldly vibe but at the same time it’s totally accessible.”

Check out the episode page here and tune in this Saturday to see the show for yourself. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: Americana Music Festival 2013.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell continue ACL’s new season

Music legends Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell return to Austin City Limits and share the stage for the first time. The pair celebrate their shared history, their recent collaborative album Old Yellow Moon and the continuing power of the song in a new episode that premieres November 2nd. Check with your local station for showtimes.

Friends for forty years, Harris and Crowell have an entwined four-decade history of music-making. ACL veterans, both artists have each appeared on the program seven times, although this episode marks the first time the pair have performed together on the ACL stage. The Americana icons perform favorites and songs from their acclaimed duets album Old Yellow Moon. The collaboration was chosen as album of the year at this year’s Americana Music Awards and the pair was honored as duo of the year. American Songwriter says of the album, “On Old Yellow Moon, Harris and Crowell embrace the entire range of life and music they’ve experienced, from the reckless passions of youth to the reflectiveness of age, from loose-limbed hillbilly boogies to graceful balladry.”

“It’s great to be back at the world’s greatest and longest-running music show,” says Harris as she takes the ACL stage with Crowell. The breathtaking performance includes the two longtime kindred spirits joining their voices on Crowell originals as well as revivals of songs by Roger Miller, Matraca Berg and Kris Kristofferson. Harris opens with some of her earlier Gram Parsons-era hits, and the duo fast-forwards to a more recent era for Harris’ “Red Dirt Girl” and Crowell’s “Rock of My Soul,” their voices wrapping the songs in the kind of harmonies only old friends can generate. Special guest Shawn Colvin joins in the finale for a spirited take on Crowell’s “Stars On the Water.” The episode celebrates a longtime friendship and collaboration, and the pleasure the two music legends take from singing some of their favorite songs is palpable.

photo by Scott Newton

“Emmylou and Rodney are an important part of the history of ACL – going all the way back practically to the beginning,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “But it goes deeper than that – they reflect the heart and soul of what ACL is all about. And the two of them together is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts!”

Check out the episode page for more details on this great show. Be sure to hit up our Facebook and Twitter pages and our newsletter for more ACL-related information. Next week: Emeli Sande and Michael Kiwanuka.