It’s no secret that the Americana and indie roots scene is growing in recognition, popularity and presence on the touring and festival scenes.
This weekend’s ACL Fest lineup offers plenty of chances to experience some of your favorite (or soon-to-be favorites) from the emerging roots scene as they should be: outside, on stage, with a few thousand of your closest friends.
Here are our picks for who to catch from the Americana scene at ACL Fest 2012.
Modern Americana Stalwarts
A chilling duo with theatrical tendencies, The Civil Wars is the project of Joy Williams and John Paul White. Based in Nashville, the duo doesn’t err on the side of commercial pop country; instead The Civil Wars introduced a new — almost haunting — take on bare bones songs to the Americana scene. The duo played a sold out show at the Paramount in January and returns to ACL Festival before continuing a tour overseas.
Listen for: “Barton Hollow”
See the band: Sunday, Oct. 14 at 4:15 p.m. on AMD
After a self-released EP in 2011, The Lumineers took to the Austin spotlight in March 2012 during SXSW, which aligned with the release of the band’s self-titled first full-length album. With references drawn in the vein of Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers emerge as one of the best examples of the future of the roots/Americana scene: striking beats, folk lyrics and subtle harmonies.
Listen for: “Flowers In Your Hair”
See the band: Sunday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. on Austin Ventures
Formed by brothers Scott and Seth Avett, The Avett Brothers hail from North Carolina with a sound that fuses bluegrass with fresh indie influence and rock undertones. In 2009, The Avett Brothers released I And Love And You, which launched the band into the spotlight across multiple music sub-sects. The Avett Brothers released The Carpenter in 2012, which Paste Magazine calls “a balance between traditional country sensibilities and the rock and roll of tomorrow.”
Listen for: “The Once And Future Carpenter”
See the band: Sunday, Oct. 14 at 6:15 p.m. on AMD
A longtime Texas tradition, Asleep At The Wheel’s Friday ACL spot is an honored pastime that kicks off the fest each fall. For almost four decades, Austin-based Ray Benson has maintained a stellar cast of musicians for his western swing band whose strong ties to Willie Nelson and inspiration from Bob Wills create an undeniably true Texas experience.
Listen for: “Miles and Miles of Texas”
See the band: Friday, Oct. 12 at 12:30 p.m. on AMD
A longtime player in the Texas-to-Tennessee songwriter tradition, Steve Earle emerged on the music scene in 1980s with what are now anthems of the genre like “Copperhead Road” and “Guitar Town.” A follower of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle’s rebel roots have been infiltrating the Texas, Tennessee and New York scenes for years. His 2009 album, Townes, pays tribute to the expert songwriting that shaped Earle’s unique take on the craft.
Listen for: “Copperhead Road”
See the band: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Austin Ventures