Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Saturday

On Saturday, I started the day with the cosmic cowboys vibes of Phosphorescent. I especially liked the song “Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)” off their album Here’s To Taking It Easy. Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performed songs from this new solo release Alexander. As Alexander the hippy guru brings folksy grooves like the opener “Awake My Body.”

Alison Kraus with the voice of an angel and bluegrass band from heaven performed a sweet set of classics. The band Union Station includes the fantastic pickers Jerry Douglas and Dan Tyminski.  Tyminski sang the crowd please “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow,” the hit track from the Cohen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Alison Krauss and Union Station’s set list also included my favorites “When You Say Nothing At All,” “The Lucky One,” and “Let Me Touch You for Awhile.”

From the soft bluegrass of Alison Kraus to the ear crushing dubstep of Skrillex was a nice juxtaposition. Skrillex’s wobbling sounds and remixes included samples from Damian Marley and Major Lazer. This was the youngest and most energetic crowd I have seen in a long time. It reminded me of the grunge rock shows of the 1990s in an odd way. Skrillex has a punky feel in a in your face type of way. The music literally fucks with your brain. The crowd responded with gusto to the hit single “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.” 

Cee-Lo followed Skrillex with a poppy soul set that included the summer banger and middle finger to the world jam “Fuck You.” He also performed the Gnarlz Barkley smash hit “Crazy.” The real musicianship though was under the tent where the Del McCoury Band joined forces with the Preservation Jazz Hall Band playing songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Jambalaya from their album American Legacies.

The evening concluded with a magnificent set by the king of Motown Stevie Wonder. “Superstition,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” “Sir Duke,” “For Once In My Life” and “My Cherie Amour” were all on the set list.  The funky politicized jam “Living For The City” rocked the park while the reggaefied funk of Master Blaster (Jammin’) brought people to their feet. My favorite song of the day was Stevie’s high powered “Higher Ground.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Saturday

Willie Nelson at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, January 8, 2010

Willie Nelson at Billy Bob’s, Fort Worth, Texas January 2010

Willie struck the chord, that booming chord, that one that kicks off “Whiskey River” and then the Honky Tonk filled with Willie’s nasally voice “Whiskey River take my mind….” The old man still rocks. He is a kid at heart, a smiling little kid that loves to play music.  He’s got it! He’s got soul. Some think Willie is a country music singer. No not really. Willie is a soul singer and flamenco guitar picker. If Texas were its own country (which some Texans think it should be) Willie would be on the one dollar bill. The red-headed stranger may have grayed over the years, but he is still full of youth. The family band, Sister Bobbie on piano, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Paul the drummer, and the rest of the musicians, are in tip-top form providing that classic Willie sound.

As Willie broke into “Whiskey River” the crowd surged attempting to get a glimpse of the man himself. Old men with cowboy hats, long-haired hippies, young bandana-clad Willie hoochie mamas, bikers, and frat boys all gathered together to hear a Texan legend in Fort Worth. Willie played some of his greatest hits including “Angel Flying Too Close To the Ground,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Crazy,” “Night Life,” “On the Road Again,” “Always on my Mind,” “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” He also played some newer favorites like “Still Is Still Moving To Me” and “Beer for my Horses” and some old favorites like Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans” and Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya on Bayou.”   And of course the band jammed out some gospel favorites, including “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “I Saw the Light.”

Below is a rough set list…

Set List: Whiskey River, Still Is Still Moving To Me, Beer for my Horses, Shoe Shine Man, Funny How Time Slips Away, Crazy, Night Life, Sister Bobbie Piano, Me and Paul, Superman, You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore, Good Hearted Woman, Georgia on my Mind, All of Me, Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground, On the Road Again, Always on My Mind, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, I’ll Fly Away, Willie Guitar Solo, Milkcow Blues, City of New Orleans, To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Jambalaya (On The Bayou), Move It Over, I Saw The Light

Willie Nelson at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, January 8, 2010