Willie Nelson brings the family for a New Year’s cheer at ACL Live

Willie Nelson with his Family band at ACL Live on Friday, December 29, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Oh, to be in Austin when New Year’s Eve is here. There’s no more ideal way to spend it than with Willie Nelson, singing at the theater that hosts the TV show he launched, on the downtown block that bears his name, where he’s forever venerated in bronze out front.

Around 7,500 locals, Texans and visitors are taking part in the three-day ritual this year, as ACL Live was sold out for Friday’s opener and will be again for Sunday’s official 2018 ring-in. We attended on Saturday, another sold-out evening that featured not only the likes of Willie and his longtime band but also an extended family gathering, with sons Lukas and Micah opening the show.

A-LIST PHOTOS: Willie Nelson at ACL Live on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017

Family describes so much of Willie’s musical realm that it feels heightened during the holidays. When he turns to cast the spotlight on the graceful piano runs of “sister Bobbie” Nelson — a January 1 baby who’ll turn 87 when the clock strikes midnight Sunday — or when he’s introducing his longtime drummer as “brother Paul” English (whose actual brother, Billy English, is alongside him helping him roll out the rhythm) — it’s a reminder of how close-knit Willie’s world onstage remains.

Willie Nelson with his Family band at ACL Live on Friday, December 29, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Harmonica sidekick Mickey Raphael was there too, as always. A ringer of a special guest on guitar for these three shows is Jamey Johnson, who kept his golden voice mostly under wraps, quite content to play the supporting role for the occasion. Kevin Smith, still the “newbie” of the bunch since taking over after longtime bassist Bee Spears’ passing in 2011, thumped along on electric and standup models, a sure and steady presence in the shadows behind Bobbie.

Daughter Amy (she of Folk Uke fame) came out to sing along on the traditional “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”/”I’ll Fly Away”/”I Saw the Light” finale, too. But much of the evening’s attention was focused on Willie’s two youngest sons. Micah, 27, opened (billed as the Particle Kid) with two exquisite acoustic songs (including one called “I’m in Love With the Ocean”) that suggested he may have something special in the works on an upcoming album. Lukas’s backing band, Promise of the Real, then came out and joined him for two full-on rockin’ electric songs that veered toward grunge territory and reminded that the kids will find their own way musically.

Indeed, Lukas — who turned 29 on Christmas Day — has done that impressively, especially during a banner year for him in 2017. A self-titled “Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real” album released in August recently topped the Americana charts, and Saturday’s set focused on that record, with highlights such as the acoustic “Just Outside of Austin” and soulful country-blues-rock burners such as “Forget About Georgia” and “Find Yourself.”

READ MORE: Lukas Nelson is coming into his own

A more histrionic singer and showman than his father, Lukas pushes his voice into the red on occasion, but he has the pipes to pull that off. The touring he and Micah have done with Neil Young in recent years clearly has sharpened their guitar-playing chops to a fine point; on this night, Lukas wisely forewent the over-the-top break in “Forget About Georgia” during ACL Fest in October, when he plucked guitar strings with his teeth, in favor of hard-driving solos that drew their passion simply from the playing.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real at ACL Live on Friday, December 29, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

It’s telling, too, that Lukas bookended his set with Tom Petty songs. He dedicated the solo acoustic opener “Breakdown,” played with exquisite bluesy deliberation, to the late rocker who clearly influenced his music in ways his father never could. And underscored the point at the end with his Promise of the Real mates driving “American Girl” home in a full-on fever. (Across downtown at Antone’s on this night, Austin band Reckless Kelly was paying tribute as well, playing a full night of Petty songs.)

Lukas’ love for the musics of both Petty and his father is a study in contrasts that reveals his character as a musician. Petty’s Heartbreakers were one of the tightest bands in rock ’n’ roll history, whereas playing with Willie calls much more on jazz-informed instincts; indeed, Willie’s family band may be the loosest country outfit ever. Petty’s vocals took their cue from the music, but with Willie, all the players work around the singer’s phrasing.

Two of the best numbers Willie’s show came mid-set when both Lukas and Micah stepped up front to sing with their dad on two tracks from their new “Willie and the Boys” album: Hank Williams’ “Move It On Over” and Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep in Your Arms” (to the melody of “Red River Valley”). And Willie put Lukas in the spotlight for the Larry Davis blues classic “Texas Flood,” a Stevie Ray Vaughan staple that Willie performed with Bonnie Raitt and Jimmie Vaughan at an Erwin Center benefit for Hurricane Harvey victims earlier this year.

READ MORE: The Year in Willie, a look back at his 2017 highlights

They’ll all reconvene Sunday night for the real-thing New Year’s Eve bash, with Georgia band Blackberry Smoke added to the bill.

Micah Nelson at ACL Live on Friday, December 29, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

Willie Nelson set list:
1. Whiskey River
2. Still Is Still Moving to Me
3. Beer for My Horses
4. Good Hearted Woman
5. Texas Flood
6. Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
7. Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
8. On the Road Again
9. Always on My Mind
10. Move It On Over
11. Can I Sleep in Your Arms
12. Down Yonder
13. Shoeshine Man
14. Nuages
15. Georgia on a Fast Train
16. Georgia on My Mind
17. It’s All Going to Pot
18. Still Not Dead
19. Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I’ll Fly Away/I Saw the Light


This week’s music picks: Mobley, Thor, Nakia among Free Week highlights

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Starting Monday: Free Week in Red River Cultural District and beyond. This annual new-calendar kickoff has become a favorite of local clubgoers. Though Red River Street remains the core, some associated shows extend to East and West Sixth, Rainey Street and even the UT campus area. (It’s worth noting, too, that other shows around town on these days also are free, even if they’re not officially associated with Free Week; we’ve noted some of them below.) Here’s a top pick for each of the first four days: Monday, Duncan Fellows, Delmer Dennis and Poly Action at Hotel Vegas; Tuesday, Jeff Plankenhorn, Peterson Brothers, Nakia & the Blues Grifters and the Bluebonnets at Empire; Wednesday, Smiile, Thor & Friends and Kraken Quartet at Mohawk outdoor; Thursday, Jackie Venson, Mobley and Melat at Stubb’s indoor. Full listings are at freeweek.do512.com; check individual venue websites for addresses and times. — P.B.

Peelander-Z helps to kick off Free Week at the Mohawk on Monday, January 1, 2018. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN





  • Dale Watson & His Lonestars, Peterson Brothers at Continental Club
  • Michael Hale Organ Trio with Mac McIntosh at Continental Gallery (free)
  • Beth/James at Geraldine’s (free)
  • Bluegrass Night at Radio Coffee & Beer (free)
  • Matchmaker Band at Highball (free)




  • James McMurtry Ephraim Owens Experience at Continental Gallery
  • Antone’s Big Trio (free)
  • Fingerpistol at Little Longhorn Saloon (free)
  • Seela at One-2-One Bar




  • Thee Unseen Eye, Tommy Shannon Blues Band, Bill Carter at Antone’s
  • Texas Radio Live with Duncan Fellows, Texas Tycoons at Guero’s (free)
  • Blue Moon Jazz Quartet with Rosie Flores at Continental Gallery
  • Trube Farrell & Snizz, Matt Hubbard Trio at C-Boy’s
  • Chris Gage & Friends at El Mercado Backstage (free)
  • Warren Hood at ABGB (free)
  • John Bush, Bruce Salmon & Cole El-Salah at One-2-One Bar
  • Uranium Savages at Little Longhorn Saloon (free)




  • Henry + the Invisibles at Antone’s (free)
  • Bonnie Whitmore, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few at Continental Gallery
  • Thor & Friends, Don Piper, Seth Sherman at Lemon Lounge
  • Aaron McDonnell at Geraldine’s (free)
  • Paul Oscher at C-Boy’s
  • Alvin Crow at Little Longhorn Saloon (free)

Spending New Year’s Eve in? ACL Hall of Fame broadcast might be the ticket

Elvis Costello, Chris Isaak and Trombone Shorty helped the Neville Brothers celebrate their Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction at ACL Live in October. The program airs on KLRU on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy KLRU and Austin City Limits/Photos by Gary Miller

As the clock approaches midnight on Sunday, the New Year is set to bring freezing temperatures that may last for a couple of days. While there’s plenty to do if you’re willing to brave the cold for New Year’s Eve, here’s a good option for those who might opt to stay in: The fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show.

Taped Oct. 25 at ACL Live, this year’s gala event honored new inductees Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and the Neville Brothers, with special guests including Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and host Chris Isaak. An hourlong program of highlights from that night will air at 10 p.m. on local PBS affiliate KLRU, and again at 11 p.m.

READ MORE: Our Austin360 review of the ACL Hall of Fame show

Not a physical place but simply an honorary designation, ACL’s Hall of Fame first honored Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan in 2014. Every year since, they’ve added a few more musicians who’ve played a significant role in helping the 43-year-old show become the longest-running music television program ever.

In January, episodes taped in the summer and fall of 2017 will begin airing as the 43rd season of “Austin City Limits” continues. The schedule through mid-February is as follows; click on the name of each band to see our review of that show.

Check Austin Music Source’s ACL TV page for all of our “Austin City Limits” reviews and news.

RELATED: Virtually hang out with Ed Sheeran, Zac Brown Band in new ‘ACL’ series


Austin360 On The Record: A look back at highlights of 2017

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For the inaugural Austin360 Awards, we asked dozens of local music community experts to nominate five finalists, and then choose a winner, for Album of the Year and other categories. You’ll find those results here:

The Austin360 Awards for 2017

Throughout the year, Austin360 On The Record reviewed or noted about 200 local releases, from high-profile artists who tour the country to little-known acts that play in clubs. Check our On The Record archive for more details about all of those releases. In the meantime, here’s a list of local highlights in 2017, from personal favorites to other high-profile releases to notable EPs, live albums and archival records.

Chris Fullerton’s “Epilepsy Blues” earned him Austin360 Artist of the Month honors in December 2017. Tom McCarthy Jr. for American-Statesman



  • Willie, Lukas & Micah Nelson, “Willie & the Boys: Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2”
  • David Ramirez, “We’re Not Going Anywhere”
  • Curtis McMurtry, “The Hornet’s Nest”
  • Sour Notes, “Darkest Sour”
  • Golden Boys, “Better Than Good Times”
  • Balmorhea, “Clear Language”
  • Sam Baker, “Land of Doubt”
  • Kalu & the Electric Joint, “Time Undone”
  • Laura Scarborough, “Reflection”
  • Cotton Mather, “Wild Kingdom”
  • Matt the Electrician, “The Doubles”
  • Pulkingham Layne, “Stringology”
  • Stephen Doster, “New Black Suit”
  • Matt Hubbard, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
  • Bluebonnets, “Tonewrecker”
  • My Education, “Schiphol”
  • Robyn Ludwick, “This Tall to Ride”
  • Adrian Ruiz Quintet, “Premiere: A Collection of Originals”
  • Caroline Says, “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong”
  • Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, “Don’t Go Baby, It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You”


  • Spoon, “Hot Thoughts”
  • Missio, “Loner”
  • Midland, “On the Rocks”
  • Ruthie Foster, “Joy Comes Back”
  • Dale Watson & Ray Benson, “Dale & Ray”
  • Sweet Spirit, “St. Mojo”
  • A Giant Dog, “Toy”
  • Black Angels, “Death Song”
  • Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, “Backlash”
  • BoDeans, “Thirteen”
  • Sunny Sweeney, “Trophy”
  • Milligan Vaughan Project, “MVP”
  • Bill Carter, self-titled
  • Darden Smith, “Everything”
  • Whitney Rose, “Rule 62”
  • Carolyn Wonderland, “Moon Goes Missing”
  • Matthew Logan Vasquez, “Does What He Wants”
  • Gurf Morlix, “The Soul & the Heal”
  • Will Johnson, “Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm”
  • Band of Heathens, “Duende”


  • Digital Wild, “Tall As Trees”
  • Christina Cavazos, “Cold”
  • Little Mazarn, self-titled


  • Jimmie Vaughan Trio featuring Mike Flanigin, “Live at C-Boy’s”
  • Gary Clark Jr., “Live/North America 2016”
  • Ray Prim, “Live at Strange Brew Lounge Side”


  • LeRoi Brothers, “Check This Action”
  • Tim Henderson, “The Legacy Collection”
  • Johnny Nicholas & Friends, “Too Many Bad Habits”

No New Year’s Eve plans? No money? Kick it with Kool Keith, Bushwick Bill in South Austin

Courtesy of the Little Darlin’

If you procrastinated on making New Year’s Eve plans and blew your entertainment budget on holiday shopping, the Little Darlin’ just unveiled an appealing alternative to sitting at home with a TV countdown.

The South Austin bar has announced a free performance by oddball rap sensation Kool Keith and Houston rap legend Bushwick Bill. The club didn’t include many details about Black Elvis’ appearance in a Facebook post about the show, but urged guests to bundle up and leave their cars at home.

Free Week 2018: Get ready for your annual Austin music binge

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Over a decade ago, Margin Walker’s Graham Williams, then a booker for the downtown Emo’s location, conceptualized Free Week as a way to bring warm bodies into the club during one of the slowest weeks of the year. The philosophy is simple: throw open the doors, drop the cover charge and invite folks to come experience Austin music. The event has grown into a vibrant mini-festival, a free local music binge with events all over town geared to all sorts of music enthusiasts. After several years of expansion that made the better part of January a musical free-for-all, most Austin clubs have contracted back to one week in 2018.

The Riverboat Gamblers play SXSW 2017. Dave Creaney/AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Every year there are contentious conversations about whether the event devalues Austin music in the eyes of stingy local music fans who already tend to balk about reasonable cover charges. It’s debatable, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love the way the event generates serious excitement about local music.

A few things to remember: Some Free Week bands are getting paid. Some play for free as a favor to venues that support them year round. All of them would like you to spend some of the money you save at the door at the merch table, or drop it into the tip jar. Also, part of the reason artists play Free Week is exposure, so expose the beejeebers out of any bands you see. Post photos and videos to your socials and tell all your friends. Go ahead and tag the clubs in those posts too.

Ambassador for the excitement of local music is a great look, and let’s all start 2018 by wearing it well.


Peelander Z 2011 Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Monday, Jan 1: Peelander-Z, Dead Music Capital Band, Drakulas at Empire. From the Japanese action comic antics of the Peelander punks to DIY marching zombies, this unpretentious hair-of-the-dog throwdown indulges in the best of new school Austin weird.

Thursday, Jan. 4:

Whiskey Shivers, Sailor Poon, Booher at Empire. Rollicking rebel bluegrass? Check. Feminist art punk with songs about “Boobies”? Check. Emotionally literate rock ‘n’ roll? Yep. What else do you need, people?


Jackie Venson, Mobley, Mélat at Stubb’sThree of Austin’s brightest rising stars on the same bill. Venson is Austin’s next great electric blues guitarist who recently did a high profile road stint with Gary Clark Jr. Mobley has a catalog loaded with catchy pop songs and an electrifying stage show and Mélat sings dreamy R&B for the lover in all of us.

Riverboat Gamblers, American Sharks, Eagle Claw at Barracuda. Oh, you like it rough? The Gamblers’ rowdy bash is a perennial Free Week fave.

Friday, Jan 5: Los Coast, Emily Wolfe, Otis the Destroyer at MohawkAfter a year spent building a reputation as one of the hottest live acts in Austin, rock ‘n’ soul outfit, Los Coast promises “a slew of album releases” in 2018. Emily Wolfe spent the year writing and plotting her debut full-length debut and in November, she teased us with “Holy Roller,” a blistering single with stormy melodies that swirl around muscular guitar riffs. Otis the Destroyer also performs. This is a solid opportunity to catch a few winners before they blow up. 

Saturday, Jan. 6: Applied Pressure Orchestra at Empire. A one-off performance from the live band version of the excellent DJ/Electronic music collective that includes Hobo D, Kid Slyce and Boombaptist. The evening will also include a performance from Vapor Caves, the new project from Keeper’s Yadira Brown and Boombaptist, and a rare return to the turntables by DJ Tats, best known these days as a local ramen kingpin.


Annabelle Chairlegs. There is no Annabelle (as far as we know) but singer and guitarist Lindsey Mackin is one of Austin’s most captivating leads.  The band spent a good portion of 2017 on the road, enchanting audiences around the country with their trippy garage rock and we suspect 2018 will be a big year for them. Playing: Jan. 2 at Mohawk; Jan. 6 at Hotel Vegas.

Blastfamous USA. The raucous rap-rock project fronted by Zeale, one of Austin’s fiercest rhymeslingers, unleashes a seething cauldron righteous rage. Playing: Jan 2 at Cheer Up Charlies; Jan. 5 at Empire.

Go Fever. Their self-titled album built around Aussie ex-pat Acey Monaro’s solid songwriting was one of 2017 strongest debuts. Playing: Jan 2 at Swan Dive; Jan. 6 at Valhalla.   

Alesia Lani. Her warm and wonderful 2017 release “Resilient,” a rich platter of R&B, provided a much-needed salve to our city’s soul this year.  Playing: Jan. 4 at Cheer Up Charlie’s

Darkbird. Go on with your “Bad Self” and indulge in some furious rock ‘n’ roll.  Jan. 3 at Hotel Vegas; Jan 6 at Mohawk; Jan. 7 at Empire.


Jan. 1

Mayeux and Brossard, Jane Ellen Bryant at Stubb’s

Marmalakes, Get a Life at Barracuda

Migrant Kids, the Canvas People at Mohawk

Duncan Fellowes, Delmar Dennis at Hotel Vegas

Mode Dodeca at Cheer Up Charlie’s

The Cover Letter at the Swan Dive

Jan. 2

Whiite Walls, Slomo Drags at Barracuda

Good Field, Blastfamous U.S. at Cheer Up Charlie’s

White Dog, Think No Think at the Volstead

The Wild Now, Tinnarose at Stubb’s

Jeff Plankenhorn, Peterson Brothers at Empire

Vampire, The Millbrook Estates at Mohawk

Pretty (Expletive) at Beerland

Sailor Poon, Big Bill at Hotel Vegas

Go Fever at the Swan Dive

Jan. 3

Ringo Deathstarr, The Halfways at Empire

The Well, the Ghost Wolves at Barracuda

Tinnarose, Otis the Destroyer, Darkbird at Hotel Vegas

Smiile, Thor and Friends at Mohawk

The Zoltars at Spiderhouse

Jimmy Eat Wednesday at Barbarella

Stretch Panic at Beerland

Jan. 4

Riverboat Gamblers, American Sharks at Barracuda

Wood & Wire, the Deer at Mohawk

Otis the Destroyer, Megafauna at Empire

Stoner Jam with Amplified Heat, more at Swan Dive

Leopold & His Fiction at the Belmont

Trouble in the Streets, Alesia Lani at Cheer Up Charlies

Borzoi, USA/Mexico at Beerland

Continental Drift, Deny Our Salvation at Elysium

The Lagoons, Groovethink at the Blackheart

Jan. 5

Holy Wave, the Diamond Center at Cheer Up Charlie’s

Ringo Deathstarr, the Reputations at Hotel Vegas

Netherfriends, Corduroi at Empire

Cloudchord, Sphynx at Stubb’s

Trouble in the Streets, Blastfamous US at Empire

Marmalakes, Growl at Mohawk

Tinnarose, Abram Shook at Barracuda

Honey & Salt, Seafire 3 at the Sidewinder

Roxy Roca, the Crack Pipes at Hotel Vegas

Blxpltn, Major Grizz, Como Las Movies at Sahara Lounge

Timberos del Norte, Zoumountchi at Flamingo

99 Crimes EP release at Dirty Dog

The Watters, Memphis Strange at the Blackheart

Jan. 6

Moving Panoramas, Lowin, Go Fever at Valhalla

Roadkill Ghost Choir, Calliope Musicals, Darkbird at Mohawk

Quiet Company, Dayshifters at Barracuda

A. Sinclair, Megafauna at Mohawk

Knifight, Light Wheel at Stubb’s

Annabelle Chairlegs, Deep Time at Hotel Vegas

Leche, High at Beerland

Andy, Starfruit at Cheer Up Charlie’s

Knife in the Water, Croy and the Boys at Hotel Vegas

Melat, Shy Beast at Empire

Lincoln Durham, Altamesa at the Belmont

Primo, Reagan Jones at Elysium

Crypt Trip, Transit Method at Sidewinder

The Big News, Los Kurados at Flamingo

The Canvas People & the Matters at the Blackheart

Jan. 7

The Zoltars, the Borzoi at Hotel Vegas

Tomar & the FCs, Honey Made at Stubb’s

Zeale & the Nght Hcklrs at Empire

Smiile, Batty Jr. at Cheer Up Charlies

Wonderbitch, Darkbird at Empire

Weekend music picks: Our favorite New Year’s Eve shows in Austin


Willie Nelson hosts three nights of revelry at ACL Live. Suzanne Cordeiro/For American-Statesman

Friday-Sunday: Willie Nelson & Family New Year at ACL Live. This one’s too big for a single night. After Nelson began playing New Year’s Eve at this marquee downtown venue when it opened in 2011 (his statue presides out front), the event quickly grew into a two-night, and now three-night, affair. His sister Bobbie has always been in the band on piano, but this year it’s an even broader family affair: Willie’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson open all three shows with their Promise of the Real and Particle Kid bands, respectively. The focus is fitting given this fall’s release of “Willie Nelson and the Boys,” which featured Willie, Lukas and Micah joining voices on a dozen country classics. $99-$157. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 9 p.m. Sunday (with Blackberry Smoke added to the bill). 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. acl-live. — P.B.

Sunday: Austin’s New Year at Auditorium Shores. Pop quiz: Where in town can you ring celebrate the end of 2017 to the sounds of, not one or two, but four Austin360 Artist of the Month alums? Latin funk powerhouse Brownout takes top billing at this family-friendly (and alcohol free) bash. Soul dynamo Tomar & the FCs, fierce full-band hip-hop act Magna Carda and indie-pop breakout Mobley will all put in sets. Also on the bill are Seattle-via-Austin blues-rocker Ian Moore plus Charlie Faye & the Fayettes, Jane Ellen Bryant and many more great local artists. If your New Year’s resolution is to spend more time listening to Austin bands, this party is just the ticket. Free. 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. 900 W. Riverside Drive. austinsnewyear.com. — D.S.S.

RELATED: Ring in 2018 with music at these Austin shows

Sunday: Doyle Bramhall II, Emily Gimble, Lou Ann Barton at Antone’s. Bramhall left Austin for Los Angeles many years ago, but he’s still so connected to the city that any trip home is a celebration. Last year’s “Rich Man,” his first album in 15 years, included the song “November,” a tribute to his late father, one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s close friends and writing partners. Helping to spark the countdown party will be two of Austin’s best female blues acts spanning a couple of generations, with Barton representing vintage Antone’s history and Gimble proving that younger singers can still get the blues big-time. DJ Mahealani spins records upstairs after Bramhall’s set, with complimentary breakfast tacos. $75. 9 p.m. 305 E. Fifth St. antonesnightclub.com. — P.B.

Sunday: Grupo Fantasma, Capyac at Empire. Oh, you’re into dancing? Austin’s world class cumbia ensemble has the hip-switching grooves to make you move, and electro funk duo Capyac spent the year destroying dancefloors around the country. Capyac served pancakes on stage at their Austin City Limits Music Festival set this year, so who knows what they’ll cook up for New Year’s Eve. Superfónicos, Trouble in the Streets and Continental Drift also play the two-stage bash. $31.56-$43.56. — D.S.S.

Sunday: NYE 1976 at Hotel Vegas. Each year, club owner Jason McNeely leads the artists who play his east side dive on a journey back in time. This year the club will embody the spirit of 1976 with members of Sweet Spirit and Digital Wild playing the Bee Gees, Leo Rondeau and Mike & the Moonpies flying like the Eagles, and Moving Panoramas taking on Blondie. The evening also includes tributes to the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Abba, Fleetwood Mac, Queen and many more. 7 p.m. 1502 E. Sixth St. texashotelvegas.com. — D.S.S.



Mike Flanigin Trio with Jimmie Vaughan and George Rains at C-Boy’s


Neon Indian, Slugbug, New Rebecca at Mohawk outdoor

Reverend Horton Heat, Jesse Dayton, Rosie Flores at 3Ten

Jonathan Tyler, Texas Gentlemen at Sam’s Town Point

Greyhounds, Tameca Jones, Jai Malano at Scoot Inn

Songs of Paul Simon with Will Taylor & Strings Attached at Townsend

Milligan Vaughan Project at El Mercado Backstage

Wagoneers, Two Tons of Steel, Blues Specialists at Continental Club

Linda Gail Lewis, Danny B. Harvey, Roger Wallace, Missy Beth at White Horse

Jackie Venson at Radio Coffee & Beer

Mike Zito & Jim Suhler, Dylan Bishop Band at Antone’s

Latin at Heart, Denny Freeman at Saxon Pub

Two Hoots & a Holler at ABGB

Rubilators at Guero’s

Adrian Ruiz Quintet at Elephant Room

Sobscene Indie Disco, Sideways Grimace at Hotel Vegas

Hamilton Loomis CD release, Leeann Atherton at One-2-One Bar


Reckless Kelly’s Heartbreakers Ball: A Tribute to Tom Petty at Antone’s (sold out)

Suffers, Money Chicha at 3Ten

Los Atzex at One-2-One Bar

Jackie Venson at Geraldine’s

South Austin Moonlighters, Mandy Rowden at Saxon Pub

Booze Weasels, Redd Volkaert at Continental Club

Dale Watson at Broken Spoke

Cornell Hurd Band at Driskill Bar

Ali Holder Band, Christy Hays at Radio Coffee & Beer

Strahan & the Good Neighbors, Ricky Stein, Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers at White Horse

Rachel Reese, Grace Pettis at El Mercado Backstage

Frank Hannon, Jo Hell at Townsend

Rich Hands, Bad Lovers, Borzoi, Brother Sports at Hotel Vegas

Zoomountchi, Executive Steel Band, Afro Jazz at Sahara Lounge

Samiyam, Wallaby & Bobbes, Casey Cuts, Deli at North Door


Bob Schneider at Paramount Theatre

Ghostland Observatory’s New Year’s Eve 2017: A Space Oddity at Mohawk

Golden Dawn Arkestra, Holy Wave, Daikaiju at Barracuda

Peterson Brothers, Tomar & the FCs at Continental Club

Party for the People with Summer Salt, Ghost Wolves, Big Bill, etc. at Spider House Ballroom

NYE Reset with Henry + the Invisibles, Bishops, more at Parish

Body Rock ATX Moon Masquerade at Sahara Lounge

Chromeo DJ Set, Harry Paradise at Emo’s

Silent Disglo at Scoot Inn

Keep it Quiet 2017 at Fair Market with DJ Mel

Nightowls, Kev Bev & the Woodland Creatures at Stubb’s indoor

Saved by the Ball with Go Fever, Gentlemen Rogues, more at Cheer Up Charlie’s

Jimmy LaFave tribute with John Inmon Group & Jaimee Harris at Threadgill’s North

Deadeye (Grateful Dead tribute) at One-2-One Bar

Heart Byrne (Talking Heads tribute) at 3Ten

Reggae Ball with the Mau Mau Chaplains at Flamingo Cantina

Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys at Geraldine’s

Carolyn Wonderland at Saxon Pub

Ephraim Owens at Elephant Room

Eastern Sea and friends at Friends & Allies Brewing

Goblin King’s NYE Ball at Elysium

Headbangers Glitter Ball at Indian Roller

Dirty Charley and Pals at Beerland

Gary P. Nunn at Poodie’s Hilltop Tavern

Alvin Crow at Broken Spoke

Donn & the Station Masters at Donn’s Depot

Josh Lightnin’ Band, Jake Penrod at Little Longhorn Saloon

Ruby Dee & the Snakehandlers, Just If at Driskill Bar

Mayeux & Broussard, Silo Road, Armadillo Road at White Horse

Ty Gavin, Eric Hisaw, Differentials, Steve McCarthy at Carousel Lounge

Dave Biller Trio, Lo Jinx Orchestra at Continental Gallery

Flow Tribe at Lamberts

This week’s music picks: Tex-Mex Christmas at Antone’s, Ozomatli and more

Monday: Blue Christmas Tex-Mex Dance Party with Flaco Jimenez and Los Pinkys at Antone’s. If you didn’t catch the big Tex-Mex Fiesta at ACL Live on the Friday before Christmas, here’s another chance for a sampling with a similar flavor. San Antonio’s Grammy-winning accordion legend Jimenez, who took part in that show, will be part of this one too, along with Austin conjunto faves Los Pinkys. $10-$15. 8 p.m. 305 E. Fifth St. antonesnightclub.com. — P.B.

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Wednesday: Jackie Venson and Ray Prim live tapings at One-2-One Bar. It’s been a big year for both of these local artists. Venson got some prime national gigs opening tour dates for Austin guitar great Gary Clark Jr., and she played to a big crowd in Zilker Park as part of KGSR’s Blues on the Green summer series. Prim released a live record in the spring and followed it this fall with “To Whom It May Concern,” which earned him Austin360 Artist of the Month honors in September. Both artists will be recording their shows on this night in one of the city’s best-sounding rooms. Venson plays at 8:30 p.m., with Prim at 7 p.m.; each show carries a separate $10 admission. 1509 S. Lamar Blvd. one2onebar.com. — P.B.

Thursday: Ozomatli at the Mohawk. For almost 20 years the L.A.-based collective has been liberally mixing various Latin styles into their signature blend of exuberant Chicano rock and resistance rap. For the latest release, “Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica” they dig deep into reggae and dub styles to create feel-good grooves that will chase the post-holiday doldrums away. Hard Proof opens. $25.-$30. 7 p.m. doors. 912 Red River St. mohawkaustin.com — D.S.S.

Billy Gibbons (center), Jimmie Vaughan (right) and Mike Flanigin (left) team up for two sold-out shows at Antone’s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Erika Rich for American-Statesman 2016



  • Dale Watson’s annual Christmas show & dance at Continental Club
  • Jonesin’, Presto Chango at C-Boy’s
  • Marmalakes at Hole in the Wall
  • George Devore at Saxon Pub


  • Robynn Shayne, David Grissom at Saxon Pub
  • Ephraim Owens Experience, James McMurtry at Continental Gallery
  • Whitney Rose at Continental Club
  • Dylan Bishop 8-½ Souvenirs at C-Boy’s
  • Kate Priestley Duo at Geraldine’s



  • James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham, William Harries Graham at Continental Club
  • Michael Fracasso, Blue Moon Jazz Quartet with Rosie Flores at Continental Gallery
  • Suzanna Choffel at Geraldine’s
  • Croy & the Boys, David Touchton, Thrift Set Orchestra at White Horse
  • Walt Wilkins, Johnny Nicholas at Saxon Pub
  • Warren Hood at ABGB
  • Matt Hubbard Trio, David Young at C-Boy’s
  • Chris Gage & friends at El Mercado Backstage
  • Craig Marshall at Threadgill’s North


  • Savage Poor, Tom & Us (Tom Petty tribute) at One-2-One Bar
  • Bonnie Whitmore, Monte Warden & the Dangerous Few at Continental Gallery
  • Aaron Stephens, Emily Gimble, Paul Oscher at C-Boy’s
  • Soul Man Sam & the SMS Band, Red Young & His Hot Horns at Antone’s
  • Shawn Pander, Love & Chaos at Saxon Pub

Old Settler’s Fest adds acts, releases partial day-by-day schedule

The War & Treaty will perform at the Old Settler’s Music Festival in April 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

More details are taking shape for the Old Settler’s Music Festival, which moves to a new home near Lockhart in April 2018. New additions to the lineup include J.D. McPherson, Will Hoge, California Honeydrops and the War & Treaty, and a partial day-by-day lineup has been set.

The announcements follow a turbulent stretch marked by a split between Old Settler’s board members and two former colleagues who had sought to launch a competing event the same weekend at the fest’s previous site. A judge issued an injunction against the Driftwood Music Festival in November, at least temporarily quelling the conflict.

Tickets, ranging from $35 to $75 for single-day passes and $130 to $500 for weekend-long packages, are on sale now via the festival’s website.

Here’s the lineup as it stands so far:

Grateful Ball featuring Travelin’ McCourys & Jeff Austin Band
Donna the Buffalo
We Banjo 3

Greensky Bluegrass
Balsam Range
Donna the Buffalo
Billy Strings
Jeff Austin Band
Front Country
Sophie Scott (2017 Youth Talent Competition winner)

I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan)
Railroad Earth
J.D. McPherson
California Honeydrops
Will Hoge
Colter Wall
Steve Poltz
War & Treaty
Billy Strings
Balsam Range
Peterson Brothers
Jon Stickley Trio

Ray Wylie Hubbard
Balsam Range
Steve Poltz

Austin360 On The Record: Russell Haight, Bob Livingston and more


Russell Haight, “Destination.” A saxophonist who plays with several local jazz acts and is an assistant professor with Texas State University’s jazz program, Haight steps out on his own for this hourlong, 10-track instrumental set that spotlights his fluid playing and his natural talent as a composer. Two tracks here are covers of classics (“Tenderly” and “Moonlight in Vermont”), but the rest are Haight originals, ranging from the upbeat and swinging “State Bird” to the exquisitely moody “Wind Through the Pines” to the sweetly lyrical “Song for A.” The quartet arrangements feature bassist Daniel Durham, drummer Wayne Salzmann II and keyboardist Sean Giddings. Release show Dec. 21 at Elephant Room. Here’s the opening track, “First Light”:


Bob Livingston, “Up The Flatland Stairs.” Livingston’s place in Austin’s left-of-center country history looms large, so much so that he was an obvious choice as emcee of the SIMS Foundation’s recent cosmic-cowboy-themed benefit gala. A key figure in the early-1970s bands of Michael Martin Murphey and Jerry Jeff Walker, Livingston makes a nod to the latter on this album’s opening track, “Shell Game,” a Walker composition from those halcyon days. Livingston also gives props to other fellow travelers, covering the title track to David Halley’s recent disc “A Month of Somedays” and the late Walter Hyatt’s “The Early Days” which fittingly features fiddler Warren Hood (son of Hyatt’s longtime bandmate Champ Hood). But the real story here is Livingston’s own material, 13 tracks (plus “Public Domain,” a co-write with Gary P. Nunn) that affirm his talent extends well beyond the supporting roles for which he’s long been known. Of particular note is “That’s the Way Things Go” (written with Laurie Turner), an instantly memorable country-folk-pop number that features backing vocals by Eliza Gilkyson. Other contributors include multi-instrumentalist/co-producer Don Richmond, vocalist Kelley Mickwee, guitarist Bradley Kopp, drummer John Michel and pianist Jimmy Stadler. “Up the Flatland Stairs” is set for release next month, but Livingston may have them for sale at when his trio plays the next two Fridays (Dec. 22 and Dec. 29) at the Luckenbach Dance Hall in Luckenbach.


Lisa Mednick, “Blue Book.” A keyboardist who toured with indie acts Juliana Hatfield, the Chills and others, Mednick lived in Austin for most of the 1990s. Writing about her 1994 debut album “Artifacts of Love,” former Statesman writer Don McLeese cited “some of the most gorgeously bittersweet piano I’ve heard since James Booker.” She’s since released one other record, 2002’s “Semaphore,” while spending time in upstate New York, New Mexico and, currently, the Joshua Tree desert in California. Along the way, she added the surname Powell — her husband Kip, who plays bass and co-wrote three songs here. On “Blue Book,” some familiar voices arise: The too-infrequently-heard Victoria Williams sings on a couple of tracks, while major-league multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz (who produced “Artifacts of Love”) helps make both “Checkpoint” and “Smoke Over Carolina” shine. Echoes of her 1980s New Orleans days appear as well: Former Song Dogs bandmate Alison Young sings on two cuts, and Subdudes co-leader Tommy Malone is on three (two of which he co-wrote). The vulnerable quaver that lends emotional resonance to Mednick’s vocal delivery balances against the incisiveness of her lyrics, which hit close to the heart on “Pieces of Your Soul” and “I Am Not Gold.” Elsewhere, she pulls no punches on sociopolitical subjects: “Give the Guns to the Girls” is a 21st-century anthem waiting to happen: “Let them hunt down the hunter till he has nowhere to run.” But like most of Mednick’s material, that song can’t be easily pigeonholed. It’s a fascinatingly multilayered work that reveals the panoramic vision of her creative spirit:


  • JAN. 10: John Mills Times Ten, “Flying Blind,” release show Jan. 10 at Elephant Room.
  • JAN. 12: Wide Open, “Long Road Home.”
  • JAN. 18: Summer Fires, “Without a Word” EP, release show Jan. 18 at Stubb’s indoor.
  • JAN. 19: Johnny Dango, “Dear Everybody, I Love You.”
  • JAN. 26: Lew Card, “Takeouts Vol. 1.”
  • FEB. 1: Good Field, “Surface Tension.”
  • FEB. 2: Mike & the Moonpies, “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose,” playing Jan. 27 at Sam’s Town Point.
  • FEB. 9: Wild Child, “Expectations” (Dualtone), release show Feb. 10 at Empire.
  • FEB. 9: Jerry David DeCicca, “Time the Teacher” (Impossible Ark), release show Feb. 10 at Beerland.
  • FEBRUARY: Sharks in the Deep End, EP.

READ MORE: Check out our full Austin360 On The Record archive