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2011 Austin City Limits Music Festival

Insider Picks for the 10th Anniversary

By John T. Davis




Local Favorites

Court Yard Hounds
AKA, Martie and Emily from the Dixie Chicks. This D.C. side project yielded one of 2010’s most listenable albums, and they sparkle onstage.

Asleep at the Wheel
The best way to kick off the ACL Music Festival (they’ve played every one). A shot of bottled-in-bond Western Swing for a soundtrack as you make your way across a pristine Zilker Park on Friday morning.

Gary Clark Jr.
A bluesman at heart, Clark can still rock the house on a whim. With a new album dropping, this lanky guitar slinger is poised for wider recognition.


Wanda Jackson
Rockabilly’s first female star has a new audience, thanks to her Jack White-produced album, The Party Ain’t Over.

Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
PHJB, a standout at last year’s ACL Music Fest, teams up this year with bluegrass innovator McCoury. This is what ACL is all about: the best of music, blended a new way.

Stevie Wonder
A no-brainer. Motown legend, innovator, fount of inspiration for generations of rap, soul
and R&B innovators.

Must See

Arcade Fire
The very definition of a modern festival headliner. If you were stuck in traffic trying to get to see ’em at The Backyard, you owe yourself this one.

Kanye West
Because you couldn’t see him at 4 a.m. during SXSW. West is arguably at the top of his game now, and his festival appearances have been focused and brilliant.

Randy Newman
Can Newman’s low-key presence and intricate, New Orleans-flavored songcraft get over to a rowdy festival crowd? You’d be a fool not to find out.

On the Bubble

Manu Chao
A player since the 1980s, Chao remains a revolutionary presence in pan-Latin music and a dominating live performer.

Fleet Foxes
Folk rockers (more rock than folk) who killed at Stubb’s this year. Harmonies and strong songs rule their second album, Helplessness Blues, and their live show is riveting.

Bright Eyes
Having played last year’s ACL Music Festival as one of the Monsters of Folk, frontman Conor Oberst is back doing business at the old store. The new album, People’s Key, is BE’s most pop-driven album yet.

Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub
Lanois, the celebrated producer for U2, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and more, makes his ACL debut with a new trio and new material. Lanois describes the music as a fusion of dub, soul and rock. “Fascinating” might be a better catchall.


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