"We are youuuung," sings Fun. frontman Nate Ruess on the latest edition of KGSR’s annual "Broadcasts" series, now in its 20th year. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar and piano, he makes his way through the pop hit without the aid of any slick production.
Other artists on the double CD, including James Mercer of the Shins, Gary Clark Jr. and Foster the People, offer similar efforts. The stripped-down immediacy of the tracks is part of what make the annual compilation of live recordings, released each year at Thanksgiving (and benefiting the SIMS Foundation), special.
Producers Andy Langer, Chris Edge and Bill Johnson commemorated the 20-year milestone with a second disc of unreleased archival recordings, including performances from Ryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Spoon, David Gray, Norah Jones and many others.
Austin guitar wizard Clark introduces the collection with a raspy "oh yeaah" before easing into an acoustic version of his hit "Bright Lights," an appropriate opener for the collection, as Clark is Austin’s biggest star of recent years, even without an electric guitar. On "Simple Song," Mercer sheds his thunderous pop sensibility, leaving only his dramatic, confessional voice. Similarly, Michael Kiwanuka, who spent a decent amount of time in Austin this year at both South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, delivers a fireplace warm version of his song "I’m Getting Ready." Kat Edmonson closes out the first disc with the quiet groove of "I Don’t Know," with sweet and smoky vocals and a feel-good percussion/guitar/bass jam.
Adams opens the second disc with a 2007 recording of his career-reloading "Everybody Knows," a song that merges his early country/folk inclinations with his embrace of the Grateful Dead. McLachlan shines on "Adia," one of the most widely used songs of the last 15 years; this version was recorded in 2010 in KGSR’s music lounge. In 2005, Ray LaMontagne performed his song "Jolene"; with his gravelly voice he manages something at once gritty and delicate. Kris Kristofferson, Norah Jones and Ryan Bingham offer songs similarly sweet and sad.
Then, at the end, it’s Adams again, with "KGSR Rainy Day Talkin’ Blues," a rambling, improvised song where he talks about Willie Nelson, burritos, barbecue and, in the chorus, KGSR. It’s a light-hearted way to close out a collection that contains many much more serious selections.
KGSR’s "Broadcasts Vol. 20" is available Friday at Antone’s Records, Barnes and Noble, Central Market, Threadgill’s, the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Piranha Records, Maudie’s, Music Mania, Waterloo Records, Wild About Music and the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar (starting Dec. 12).
Grohl to deliver SXSW keynote. Former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl will deliver the keynote address to South by Southwest’s music conference in 2013, organizers announced Friday. It’s unclear whether Grohl, who recently took a break from the Foo Fighters, will perform. He is currently prepping his debut documentary, "Sound City: Real to Reel," which focuses on the California studio where "Nevermind" and other classic albums were recorded.
Old Settler’s announces partial lineup. The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Justin Townes Earle, the Del McCoury Band, Leftover Salmon, Fred Eaglesmith and Jerry Douglas are among the acts that will perform at this year’s Old Settler’s Music Festival, which takes place April 18-21 at the Salt Lick Pavilion in Driftwood. The festival also announced discounted early bird tickets. Visit oldsettlersmusicfest.org for more information.
Psych Fest hits the woods. Austin Pysch Fest, now in its sixth year, will be April 26-28 at Carson Creek Ranch , a 58-acre ranch off U.S. 183 near the airport. The festival also announced a partial lineup, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Black Angels, Deerhunter, Tinariwen, Warpaint, Man or Astroman?, the Growlers, Acid Mothers Temple, Black Mountain, Boris, the King Kahn and BBQ Show. More information and tickets at austinpsychfest.com.
In brief: Icelandic band Sigur Ros will perform April 10 at the Cedar Park Center as part of their upcoming North American tour. Tickets are on sale through c3concerts.com. … The Mavericks will join Willie Nelson on Dec. 30 and Iron and Wine will join him on Dec. 31 for two nights at ACL Live. Matchbox Twenty plays the theater March 25. … After postponing his current tour last month, Morrissey has announced a rescheduled list of dates that includes a Feb. 13 show at Austin Music Hall.