Who puts the Austin in Austin City Limits Music Festival? This year, it's these acts
Though it’s the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the slots open to actual Austin artists each year tend to be fairly limited, and thus highly coveted. Some of this year’s locals are already well established — Grammy nominees Black Pumas, red-hot pop upstart Dayglow, Glassnote Records singer-songwriter Jade Bird, RCA Records alt-electronica duo Missio, 50-years-strong Western swing torchbearers Asleep at the Wheel.
But, as usual, the bill also features a handful of hometown acts who are still working the clubs or just on the cusp of breaking through to a national audience. Here’s a closer look at a dozen of them:
Local artists at ACL Fest Weekend 1
Nané (1 p.m. Friday, Lady Bird; also performing Weekend 2 at noon on Sunday, Miller Lite): Charismatic frontman Daniel Sahad invites your spirit to hitch a ride as his vocals soar on glorious swells of sound. With funky riffs, exuberant polyrhythms and searing soul, this lockstep six-piece groove machine serves up your best shot at an early afternoon ecstatic experience. Recommended if you like: Vintage Trouble, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Alabama Shakes. — D.S.S.
Sir Woman (1 p.m. Saturday, Tito’s): A couple of years into the run of this band that began as Kelsey Wilson’s side-project to the beloved indie group Wild Child, we’re getting the sense that Sir Woman may be pulling a Shinyribs, akin to when Kevin Russell’s current band ultimately overshadowed and outlasted his long-running outfit the Gourds. It’s too early to tell for sure, but for now, just revel in the soulful pop vein she’s mining with this sprawling ensemble. Recommended if you like: The Mamas & the Papas, Mavis Staples. — P.B.
Charley Crockett (3:20 p.m. Saturday, Vrbo): The old-time-country singer-songwriter’s career has been bubbling up for a couple of years now but just this month began boiling over. His new record “Music City USA,” released Sept. 17, hit No. 1 on the Americana radio album chart in its first week of release, and then Crockett won the coveted honor for emerging artist of the year at the Americana Awards show in Nashville. Over the summer, he taped an episode of the “Austin City Limits” TV show that will air Oct. 30 on PBS stations nationwide. (He’s playing both weekends of the fest.) Recommended if you like: Wayne Hancock, James Hand. — P.B.
Gina Chavez (5:20 p.m. Saturday, BMI): While the world grappled with pandemic shutdowns in 2020, the rising Latin pop star claimed her position as “La Que Manda,” the woman in charge. Her buoyant Spanish language EP earned her a Latin Grammy nomination while she landed high-profile streaming performances and hosting spots. Through it all, she used her platform as a queer, Catholic, Latinx artist to advocate for social justice and inclusivity. Recommended if you like: La Santa Cecilia, Lila Downs. — D.S.S.
Shooks (12:15 p.m. Sunday, Vrbo) and Calder Allen (1 p.m. Sunday, Tito’s): Musical talent often gets passed down through the generations in Austin, as these two acts attest. Charismatic indie band Shooks is fronted by Marlon Sexton, son of Bob Dylan guitarist Charlie Sexton. And troubadour Calder Allen is the grandson of Terry Allen, the great Lubbock songwriter/sculptor. The kids are all right. Recommended if you like: Spoon, James McMurtry. — P.B.
Deezie Brown (12:15 p.m. Sunday, Miller Lite): The hard-spitting hero of the ATX underground got a boost last year when baller Chris Bosh — who’s been experimenting with hip-hop production in his post-NBA life — tapped him for a pair of club-banging collabs. The party continued this year when he teamed up with singer-rapper Jake Lloyd on "Geto Gala," a lavish celebration of Black excellence that aims to break the cycle of hurt. Recommended if you like: Outkast, Vince Staples, DJ Screw. — D.S.S.
Local artists at ACL Fest Weekend 2
Riders Against the Storm (1:30 p.m. Friday, Tito's): More than a musical group, the husband-and-wife hip-hop duo are driven by a higher calling. In a world that is aching for relief, they unearth divine mysticism with rhythm and rhyme. For a decade, they hosted monthly healing sessions with their Body Rock dance parties, and that energy carried over to their brilliant 2021 release “Flowers for the Living.” Come dance yourself free. Recommended if you like: Fugees, Damian Marley, Jidenna. — D.S.S.
Heartless Bastards (2:30 p.m. Friday, Lady Bird): Austin-via-Ohio rocker Erika Wennerstrom has led Heartless Bastards for nearly two decades now, though she released her last album, 2018’s “Sweet Unknown,” under her own name. The new release “A Beautiful Life” is back under the Bastards moniker, and it’s a career peak, full of thought-provoking songs that sound great with the volume cranked. Recommended if you like: Jefferson Airplane, St. Vincent. — P.B.
The Teeta (3:15 p.m. Friday, BMI): Moving beyond party rap without losing his swag, the ATX rap heavy and fashion kingpin’s latest, “24,” finds him feeling philosophical and mining his vulnerability to produce songs that ache with emotional depth. Recommended if you like: Future, Young Thug, Travis Scott. — D.S.S.
Blk Odyssey (noon Sunday, Vrbo): During the pandemic shutdown, singer Sam Houston abandoned his plan to become the hottest rock & roll screamer in Texas. Instead, “Blk Vintage,” the stunning debut album from his band, swirls shades of Fela Kuti, Parliament, 2Pac, D’Angelo and Bob Marley in an adventurous sonic palette. Painting a portrait of a Black America that is alternately defiant, sensuous and devastating, the work invites easy comparisons to modern classics like Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and Kamasi Washington’s “The Epic.” Recommended if you like: George Clinton, Kamasi Washington, D’Angelo. — D.S.S.
Zach Person (noon Sunday, BMI): Person, who moved from Houston to Austin shortly after appearing on “American Idol” in 2016, recently issued a self-titled album that documents his energetic blend of rock, blues, funk, soul and more styles. Recommended if you like: Gary Clark Jr., Eric Tessmer. — P.B.
David Ramirez (5:30 p.m. Sunday, BMI): Singer-songwriter Ramirez has been putting out records for more than a decade now, gradually building momentum with engaging live shows and emotionally charged albums such as last year’s “My Love Is a Hurricane.” He might fold in some gospel material to his ACL set, given that his latest release, “Backslider,” focused on traditional hymns. Recommended if you like: Son Volt, Jason Isbell. — P.B.