Midway through their 45-minute set at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Roosevelts singer James Mason announced that he and guitarist/mandolinist Jason Kloess first met at this festival eight years ago. They made a vow to each other as they looked around at the music they were hearing: “One of these days we’re going to play that stage.”
The BMI stage is the smallest one at ACL Fest, but anywhere is a good place to start, and they delivered a bright and breezy set of mostly good-time acoustic-based Americana songs to a few hundred festgoers who came their way. Already-converted fans took up the sunny space near the front of the stage, while many others watched from the spacious shady trees on the side and farther back.
Mixing songs from their 2013 debut “Cold Sheets” and new material from this year’s “The Greatest Thing You’ll Ever Learn,” the group engaged the crowd early on, smiling broadly and encouraging occasional handclaps and sing-alongs. It seemed fitting that they gave a nod to Adam Duritz’s support of the band by covering the Counting Crows’ “Long December,” as the Roosevelts mine a similar vein of folk-grounded but pop-leaning material.
They could have closed with something better than the new album’s “Peaches,” a faux-bluesy number with embarrassing lyrics. But that was a small downer on a set with a lot of upside, full of solid support from Mason and Kloess’ bandmates on keyboards, bass and drums. No surprise that the new album’s “This Is Love,” one of many broadly accessible tunes in their repertoire, recently got an airing on the TV show “Nashville,” which is the band’s home base these days.