Sunday ACL Fest Picks

The first weekend of ACL Fest closes with highlights galore

Kacey Musgraves (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

The Shelters

11:30am, Cirrus Logic stage; Weekend One only
Sixties melodies conveyed by muscular folk-rock as influenced by the Rolling Stones and Byrds. If that sounds like Tom Petty, this L.A. quartet indeed counts the classic rock icon as a mentor and co-producer. Single "Rebel Heart" and this year's eponymous debut sound tailor-made for Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show.
Michael Toland

Shane Smith & the Saints

11:30am, Miller Lite stage; Weekend One only
Rolling out of Kaufman County in Northeast Texas, Shane Smith & the Saints unload a ferocious blend of fiddle-fired stomps and harmony-strapped choruses that mine Appalachia as much as the Southwest plains. The quintet's 2015 sophomore album Geronimo drifts between high-octane country kickers and Smith's dusty growl and harmonica on hard-time ballads, while Bennett Brown's fiddle bends rich tones and blazing riffs.
Doug Freeman

July Talk

11:30am, HomeAway stage
Toronto's July Talk conquered its native Canada with a gritty attack and conversational co-frontpersons Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay. A rootsy, alternative rock sound with just the right hint of camp tossed them up their home country's charts, and now the quintet looks to do the same with its brand new album Touch and single "Push + Pull."
Michael Toland

Domo Genesis

1pm, Miller Lite stage
After riding the coattails of Odd Future in the company of radical ringleader Tyler, the Creator, rap prodigy Earl Sweatshirt, and Frank Ocean, Domo Genesis set himself apart as one of the most technically consistent parts of the collective. Debut Genesis finds his hazy weed musings ("Go (Gas)") morphing into paranoia and doubt ("Questions") as he swings on an existential axis.
Alejandra Ramirez

Wild Belle

1pm, Cirrus Logic stage
Beginning on 2013's Isles, vocalist Natalie Bergman specializes in channeling Annie Lennox and David Bowie, striding through seductive whispers and crooning hooks over worldly textured pop on April's Dreamland. Brother and bandmate Elliot teams up in the Chicago duo to coalesce Jamaican ska ("The One That Got Away"), bayou river soul ("Mississippi River"), and polyrhythmic Afrobeat ("Coyotes").
Alejandra Ramirez

Avery Sunshine

1:15pm, Tito's Handmade Vodka stage
The surname describes her soul-tinged R&B best: sun-kissed melodies with thunderous vocals shining through languid instrumentals. The bedroom emotion of Musiq Soulchild and feel-good jaunt of the Isley Brothers run through her eponymous bow and sophomore LP The Sun Room, which boasts a therapeutic, gospel-bred delivery.
Alejandra Ramirez

Kacey Musgraves

2pm, Samsung stage; Weekend One only
Embracing her roots, East Texas native Kacey Musgraves represents many self-aware rednecks even as she refuses to excuse them. She's perfected a cheeky lyricism and gritty, country-radio-friendly strumming over two full-lengths. Sophomore album Pageant Material cements her place in the Nashville canon as both savior and reject.
Abby Johnston

Pete Yorn

3pm, Miller Lite stage
In 2001, singer-songwriter Pete Yorn's Musicforthemorningafter debuted gold (sales of 500,000). That earned the multi-instrumentalist his subsequent gig, scoring the Farrelly Brothers' film Me, Myself and Irene. 2009 then ushered Sixties-style duets LP Break Up, Jersey's collaboration with singer/actress Scarlett Johansson. This year dropped LP six, Arranging Time.
Neph Basedow

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

4pm, Samsung stage
Six years ago, Nathaniel Rateliff was on Rounder Records, indulging in introspective folk. Today, he's on Stax Records with crackerjack rhythm & horn sections, fitting ably into the legendary Memphis soul label's mythic roster. Breakout track "S.O.B." alone manages to wed binge-drinking anthem to hand-clapping gospel with hog-calling vocal power.
Tim Stegall

Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

6pm, BMI stage; Weekend One only
Brooklyn-based yet taking cues from Memphis soul, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds electrify audiences with their latest, Fowl Play, a double disc recorded live before a sold-out Northeast audience on New Year's Eve 2015. Led by harmonicat Jackson Kincheloe and a bluesy wail from his sister Arleigh, the septet executes brassy Americana with ceaseless charm.
Jim Caligiuri

Chris Stapleton

6pm, Samsung stage; Weekend One only
Since the May 2015 release of Traveler, Nashville's Chris Stapleton has knocked the country music industry sideways. The first artist to claim Album of the Year, Best Male Vocalist, and New Artist of the Year in the same year at the CMA awards, his outlaw-minded debut continues its winning streak as the second bestselling album of 2016 trailing only Adele's 25.
Jim Caligiuri

Miike Snow

6pm, Honda stage
Having worked with Britney Spears, Madonna, and Bruno Mars, all three Swedes in Miike Snow have already charted the Billboard Top 40. They've done the same as a band with electric wave "Animal," somber house thump "Silvia," and pop jingle "Burial." Album iii is no different with the kaleidoscopic, soulful "For U," Marlena Shaw-assisted "Heart Is Full," and groove stomp "Genghis Khan."
Alejandra Ramirez


7pm, HomeAway stage
Sister trio Haim returns to the ACL stage after melting faces on a 2013 debut. There's no new material since that year's debut, Days Are Gone, but the California sisters' penchant for goofy antics peppered between infectious rock-pop and adept tributes to classic rock predecessors (2013's ACL adaptation of Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well") will undoubtedly keep audiences starved for new material rapt.
Abby Johnston

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