By Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012
Three good reasons to camp out at the Gospel Tent: shade, chairs, and the Lord. Austin's own Stapletones commence the Friday proselytizing, covering the spiritual sides of the Staple Singers and Curtis Mayfield, before ACL veterans Shields of Faith, led by founding-member Brother LeeRoy Owens, draw on three decades of righteous song. The highlight of the day – if not the weekend – appears to be an encore performance by the Relatives, whose remarkable resurrection after 30 years landed the group at last year's festival. The Dallas band will mix new material from its forthcoming LP with the rediscovered Seventies gospel-funk sides that led to its redemption. (The Relies' Saturday Gospel Brunch performance at Stubb's is an official ACL "Late Night Show" despite the misnomer.) Following Wesley Bray's Disciples of Joy on Saturday will be the massive Baylor Choir Heavenly Voices, one of the few student groups landing on a major festival stage. Led by director Jerrid Fletcher, the usually contemporary Voices have curated a throwback set of Sixties and Seventies gospel standards especially for ACL. Expect a slimmed down version of the choir, which often performs with as many as 70 members. Sunday service begins with G.S.T. (Gospel Silvertones) of Austin followed by Navasota's the Mighty Sincere Voices, a vocal quartet sure to sing, sing in glory.