Here are the R Bands ranked (1-5) on my likeliness of seeing them at ACL. 🙂 Happy Thursday.
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Rebelution- This is a group who defines their style as California reggae. Their sound reminds me so much of 311 and Sublime it took me right back to high school. And then I felt old. Reggae is always a great musical festival choice with all the swaying music, island beats and socially-charged lyrics. The crowds will be swaying, eyes closed with arms sprawling all over the place. On a side note: I don’t like when this happens, because the people swaying, eyes-closed are usually smoking and I feel like I’m constantly dodging cigarette burns from that middle-aged hippie lady that is so moved by the music she doesn’t realize she’s saber fighting me with her flaming cancer stick. I sound uptight, maybe I need more reggae in my life.
My Vote: 2
Richard Thompson- I feel like this guy is one of the biggest deals that I’ve never heard of before. He’s gotten a lifetime achievement award from BBC, been named one of the top 20 guitarists of all-time by Rolling Stone and influenced untold numbers of musicians. Maybe that is the disconnect. He is a musician’s musician and I am no musician. He is talented and I know I’m not fully appreciating him. I kind of want to fake like I know him and love him because I think he is the kind of musician that gives you instant street cred. And I like street cred. For when I’m on the street. The truth is though, I just like what I like.
My Vote: 2
Robert Earle Keen- This is another one of those artists that is a quintessential part of college in Texas. Shoot, he even went to A&M. He’s got a nice pure brand of country. Plain, simple, upbeat and fun. I think The Road Goes on Forever is somewhat of an unstated anthem for College Station. I’ve gotten to see him twice before and he’s great live. He’s good at banter and telling stories behind songs. I can’t really decide if I want to see him again. It all depends on who else is in the slot. So we’ll see when I get around to looking at the match ups.
My Vote: 3
Robert Randolph and the Family Band- Robert Randolph is another one that I’ve seen before, but I think I’d be more inclined to see him again. It’s rare that you get to see someone so talented with a pedal steel guitar, or someone playing one in general. There funk/soul/rock was heavily influenced by legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and you can hear it in their attention to technical excellence, amidst their jam sessions. These guys just know how to get an audience moving, which I find especially impressive considering the leader of the band is sitting for the majority of the show. I hadn’t listened to their new stuff yet and its great too, so I may need to head over for a listen.
My Vote: 4
Ruby Jane- This girl is precious. She’s a fifteen year old kid with a sweet southern drawl, and mad strings skills! Her voice is a bit like raspy, country Rosie Thomas. She’s like the girl version of a younger Chris Thile, my favorite bluegrass prodigy. Side note: love Chris Thile. I love watching the video of her because the transitions between her speaking like a typical 15 year old girl and then playing the violin like an accomplished pro. It is quite the juxtaposition. I’m really excited to keep an eye on her and watch her come into her own. Maybe she’ll make an album as amazing and original as Thile’s Deceiver.
My Vote: 3
Run with Bulls- This Nashville trio is definitely able to rock with long, loud guitar riffs and vocals that while commanding, keep a bit of almost soulful smoothness just underneath the surface. Since joining together they’ve kept an open attitude to music, trying to never shoot down any ideas and finding freedom in branching out into whatever genres pull them. In fact, the more I listened the more diversity I found, with the soft, ballad-like Follow the Light. They could definitely be worth a listen, especially if they bring that female vocalist. I like her.
My Vote: 3
Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses- I’m excited about this one. Ryan Bingham is the singer behind CrazyHeart’s The Weary Kind. There has to be a decent bit of pressure involved in singing a song that basically served as a character in and of itself throughout the movie. The song holds its own too. He has a lot of talent as a singer/songwriter and a voice that has quite a bit more maturity and heart than you’d expect from such a young guy, maybe it comes from the years he spent as a bull rider. He’s another one with a nice amount of rasp to his voice. You know how I love that.
My Vote: 4