Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Oct 1st 2009 3:30PM by Mike Ayers
Friday, October 2 at 1:20PM on the Austin Ventures stage
Nickel Creek alum Sara Watkins has stepped out on her own this year, and while her music still slants heavily on the acoustic-folk side of things, her voice is something that has really developed over the last few years. Fans of Neko Case's belting or Gillian Welch's laid-back demeanor would surely love Watkins. But like Nickel Creek, Sara Watkins also likes to introduce a few covers from outside the scope of her genre, reinterpreting songwriting giants such as Radiohead and Tom Waits in ways that are moving and memorable. Her self-titled debut was produced by John Paul Jones, who will be playing later in the day with Them Crooked Vultures. Hopefully he can make some time to sit in with Watkins.
Them Crooked Vultures
Friday, October 2 at 7:30PM on the Xbox 360 stage
Possibly overshadowing Friday headliners Kings of Leon and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones supergroup Them Crooked Vultures are making their first US festival appearance after playing several in Europe. There's no album yet, so YouTube videos and small sound samples via their website are the only way to get familiar with their tunes, but from what we've heard, you don't need to go in that prepared. The music is fast, tempos shift abruptly and it sounds as powerful as you'd want something involving members of Led Zeppelin, the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age to be. This could be the performance that steals the ACL spotlight.
The Levon Helm Band
Saturday, October 3 at 6:00PM on the Livestrong Stage
ACL is a perfect setting for legendary drummer/vocalist Levon Helm. While he's mostly remembered for his work with the Band, in recent years he's moved away from rock-twang and now approaches the more traditional aspects of Appalachian-inspired songwriting. Expect to hear a handful of songs from the Band catalog reinterpreted a bit alongside selections from his past two albums, 2007's 'Dirt Farmer' and his recently released follow-up, 'Electric Farmer.' Helm is also friends with just about everyone under the sun, so this might be another spot for a quality, spontaneous jam session.
Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears
Sunday, October 4 at 12:30PM on the AMD Stage
It would nearly be a sin to go to the "live music capital of the world" and not check out hometown heroes Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears. Currently supporting their Lost Highway debut, 'Tell 'Em What Your Name Is,' Lewis' show is a high-energy blues, soul and funk affair that embodies a lot of what this festival is about: Throwing back to the roots of American music. For those wanting to start of Sunday with a more potent, upbeat vibe, Black Joe Lewis should be a solid jam.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Sunday, October 4 at 7:00PM on the Wildflower Center Stage
Outside of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, you would be hard-pressed to see a lot of jazz at any of the bigger fests, but the ACL promoters have wisely scheduled one of America's most historic groups on late Sunday, a perfect variant right before heading to Pearl Jam. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has shifted lineups over the last five decades but that doesn't matter -- the players, regardless of the decade, can play. In many ways, Preservation Hall Jazz Band are the essence of what New Orleans has always stood for and should be considered a rare treat to see them any time. While there are other jazz acts on the lineup over the weekend (Medeski, Martin and Wood, the Rebirth Brass Band) the one jazz act worth the efforts of stepping away from everything else would be Preservation Hall.