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Old Settler's Music Festival returns this weekend with a mix of local and national acts

The Old Settler's Music Festival will be held for the first time since 2019 this weekend at its property in Tilmon just south of Lockhart.

Usually held in the spring, the Old Settler's Music Festival took 2020 off because of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 conditions were still dicey in the spring of 2021, so the festival booked dates for the fall. Now it's finally happening, after a two-and-a-half-year absence.

Old Settler's begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at the festival's 145-acre property in Tilmon, just south of Lockhart. The bookings are a bit more local-focused than in recent years, but plans are in the works for a return to the springtime in 2021, likely with a more typical lineup.

That said, the combination of quality locals and festival-favorite national acts has made for a worthy welcome-back party. Four-day general admission passes cost $189 (with gold and platinum upgrades available); single-day tickets are $90 Friday, $99 Saturday and $50 Thursday and Sunday.

Full details, including COVID-19 protocols, are at oldsettlersmusicfest.org. Attendees must show either a negative test within 48 hours of entry or proof of vaccination at least two weeks prior to the festival.

Here's a look at a handful of this year's highlights.

Thursday

(All performances on Campground Stage)

Della Mae (7:10 to 8:20 p.m.): Launched in Boston in 2009, this all-female ensemble has become a leading light in bluegrass music over the past decade, earning a Grammy nomination for their 2013 Rounder Records album "This World Oft Can Be."

Peterson Brothers (8:40 to 9:55 p.m.): The Austin-based, Bastrop-raised duo of brothers Glenn Jr. and Alex Peterson have been playing local clubs since they were teens. Our Austin360 Artist of the Month in February 2020, they've toured as Gary Clark Jr.'s opening act and have made fans among the Old Settler's faithful in previous appearances at the fest.

Also playing: Steve Poltz, 10:15 to 11:25 p.m.; Will Taylor & Strings Attached, 5:50 to 6:50 p.m.; Cari Hutson & Good Company, 4:20 to 5:30 p.m.

Friday

Jade Bird (8:50 to 10:05 p.m., Original Black's BBQ Stage): Fresh off an invigorating appearance at Austin City Limits Music Festival as well as her debut on the "Austin City Limits" TV program, U.K. transplant Bird is flying high as one of Austin music's brightest young stars. Her new album "Different Kinds of Light" builds on the effervescent singer-songwriter pop that marked her self-titled 2019 debut.

REVIEW:New Austinite Jade Bird wins big with a splendid 'Austin City Limits' taping

James McMurtry (5:40 to 6:50 p.m., Original Black's BBQ Stage): Having put his twice-weekly gigs at the Continental Club and Gallery on hold since the pandemic began, McMurtry has rarely played live over the past couple of years, concentrating instead on livestreams. As a result, his Old Settler's appearance is a rare treat to hear him in person again — and he's got some great new material, thanks to an acclaimed new album that came out in August.

Tony Kamel, who played at Old Settler's in 2019 with Wood & Wire, returns this year to perform songs from his new solo record.

Tony Kamel (6:55 to 8:05 p.m., Bluebonnet Stage): Kamel is best-known for his work with Grammy-nominated Austin bluegrass band Wood & Wire, but last month he released a solo album, "Back Down Home," on Bruce Robison's label Next Waltz. Expect a set that shows off more of his singer-songwriter chops.

The Deer (4:10 to 5:10 p.m., Bluebonnet Stage): Fronted by captivating singer Grace Rowland and featuring some of the region's best pickers, the Deer formed a decade ago and have become a top draw among Austin-area acoustic-based acts. Their music defies easy categorization, drawing upon folks, indie rock, bluegrass, jazz and other forms.

Also playing: Original Black’s BBQ Stage: Cedric Burnside, 10:35 to 11:35 p.m.; Della Mae, 7:20 to 8:20 p.m.; Cold Spring Union, 4 to 5:10 p.m.; Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Bluebonnet Stage: Fruition, 9:55 to 11 p.m.; Kalu & the Electric Joint, 8:25 to 9:35 p.m.; Kelsey Waldon, 5:30 to 6:35 p.m.; Steve Poltz, 2:45 to 3:50 p.m.

Saturday

Carolyn Wonderland & Shelley King (9:05 to 10:15 p.m., Bluebonnet Stage): Guitar slinger Wonderland's new album, "Tempting Fate," combines blues, country, rock and more. Produced by Dave Alvin for renowned Chicago label Alligator Records, it might be her best yet. King, a former Texas State Musician, is a close friend and frequent collaborator who shares Wonderland's appreciation for the blues.

Sam Bush (10:15 to 11:25 p.m., Original Black's BBQ Stage): There's probably no better mandolinist alive (with the possible exception of Chris Thile) than Bush, a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame for his work with the inventive 1970s-'80s ensemble New Grass Revival. He's released a slew of solo albums as well and has a long history with Old Settler's.

Jackie Venson (6:50 to 8 p.m., Original Black's BBQ Stage): "Love Transcends,"  the new album by Austin guitarist and singer-songwriter Venson, focuses her wide-ranging talents on a set of blues-and-gospel-based material, resulting in her most cohesive album to date. A relentless livestreamer during the pandemic, Venson is a dynamic live performer who's more than ready to be back onstage again.

IN HER OWN WORDS:Jackie Venson writes about about racism and her activist approach to music

Travelin' McCourys (7:30 to 8:45 p.m., Bluebonnet Stage): Brothers Ronnie and Rob McCoury are at the helm of this ensemble that grew out of their father Del McCoury's legendary bluegrass band. Joined by fiddler Jason Carter, bassist Alan Bartrom and guitarist Cody Kilby, they got a Grammy nomination for their self-titled 2018 album.

Also playing: Original Black’s BBQ Stage: Jamestown Revival, 8:30 to 9:45 p.m.; Logan Ledger, 5:15 to 6:20 p.m.; Jeremie Albino, 3:35 to 4:45 p.m.; Arcadian Wild, 2 to 3:05 p.m.; Folk Family Revival, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.; Elijah Delgado (2019 Youth Talent Competition winner), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Bluebonnet Stage: Tomar & the FCs, 10:35 to 11:35 p.m.; Bonnie Bishop, 6:05 to 7:10 p.m.; Sierra Ferrell, 4:40 to 5:45 p.m.; Hogslop String Band, 3:20 to 4:20 p.m.; Youth Talent Competition winner, 2:40 to 3 p.m.; Po' Ramblin' Boys, 1:20 to 2:20 p.m.; Youth Talent Competition, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday

(All performances on Campground Stage)

Ray Wylie Hubbard (4:20 to 5:30 p.m.): Just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday, Hubbard has been one of Texas music's most enduring troubadours since Jerry Jeff Walker recorded his classic "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" in the 1970s. His horizons have broadened in recent years through collaborations with country hitmaker Eric Church and rock greats Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh.

MORE:Ray Wylie Hubbard burns rubber in long-awaited ’Austin City Limits’ TV debut

The House of Songs (noon to 1 p.m.): Singer-songwriter Graham Weber has been a key player in the House of Songs, a local retreat that helps arrange collaborative writing sessions for songwriters from all over the world. Joining him for this in-the-round session are accomplished Austin tunesmiths Carrie Rodriguez, Suzanna Choffel and Matt the Electrician.

Also playing: Bob Schneider, 3 to 4 p.m.; Cleverlys, 1:40 to 2:40 p.m.