ACL Live Shot (Second Weekend): Sons of Fathers

Cauthen and Beck’s piercing howls

Sons of guns! David Beck (left) and Tony Browne at Zilker Park, 10.11.13
Sons of guns! David Beck (left) and Tony Browne at Zilker Park, 10.11.13 (by John Anderson)

With ACL’s second weekend already being dubbed the locals’ Fest, Austin quintet Sons of Fathers played hometown heroes to a hilt with their noontime set on the Austin Ventures stage. The hard-touring locals returned from summer travels with a live show honed for maximum impact.

Behind the fervent core duo of Paul Cauthen and David Beck, opener “Big Diamond Waltz” set the tone. Tony Browne’s electric guitar ripped into Cauthen’s acoustic six-string, and celebrated local multi-instrumentalist Kullen Fuchs layered horns into the sound. Likewise, the title track of sophomore disc Burning Days whooped the gathering crowd awake before leading into the deep rumble of Beck’s upright bass on “Hurt Someone.”

Cauthen and Beck present a dynamic tandem. The former stomps and shuffles wildly against the latter’s feral grin, straddling his bass as the two rolled through “Tumbleweed” and the dirty electric vamp and rolling keys of “Feel the Fall.” The smooth lope of “Almost There” and accordion-laced “Roots & Vine” took the duo’s harmonies into piercing howls.

Despite the plethora of material from their two LPs, Sons debuted new songs throughout the set, most notably the moving “Until the Morning,” which found Fuchs bowing a xylophone. A raging breakdown jam of their signature anthem, “Sons of Fathers,” closed and captured the band at its best. While the group’s songwriting continues to evolve, there’s no doubt of the power in their live performance.

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Sons of Fathers, ACL Fest 2013, Paul Cauthen, David Beck, Tony Browne, Kullen Fuchs