The Austin Chronicle

ACL Review: Tameca Jones

By Neph Basedow, October 10, 2015, 8:50am, Earache!

Friday morning, Austin Ventures’ backstage trailer door swung open to reveal an intoxicatingly fierce sight: Teetering tall on leopard-print booties, her leather leggings light, silk kimono flowing, and with a faux hawk of wild curls, local soul singer Tameca Jones made a grand entrance.

Backed by an eightpiece band including violin, keyboards, and backup vocalist, the homegrown collective whipped through a fast five-song set, one of the first of ACL Fest’s second weekend.

“My heart is bursting right now!” beamed the Austin native. “Playing ACL has always been my dream.”

It took a tune for the singer’s voice to warm, but once heated, her fireworks went off. Jones operates on a charisma payment plan, her smile magnetic and onstage gaze deceivingly direct. The sprawling group arrived both polished and spirited.

By 11:30am, Whiskey Myers’ country rock began seeping from the nearby Miller Lite stage. Jones gracefully refocused her crowd’s attention with a wise and familiar cover – one of her God-given specialties. Ten ensuing minutes of Beatles classic “With a Little Help From My Friends” bought back Joe Cocker’s reinterpretation from 1970’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

The mother of twins beseeched the modest crowd to aid her in the tune’s final chorus and they didn’t disappoint. “It’s like church up here – on a Friday!” she exclaimed. New single “Hot and Bothered” closed the 30-minute performance, Jones voice weaving between honey-dripped jazz and soul-pop powerhouse.

Eventually, the singer felt Friday’s mounting heat.

“It’s hot up here in these licorice leggings,” she panted. “But I look good. Right?”

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