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austin city limits!

March 30, 2010

So, here I am. Sitting on the floor of my apartment staring at the turntable I bought on Craig’s list today that apparently has a broken cueing control. I have a screwdriver, my laptop, a beer, the 3 watt flashlight I carry on my keychain and not a clue how to fix it. My evening is looking pre-tty grim. But Twitter is one of the 45 open internet tabs I’m trying to use to help find a solution, and what pops up but a Tweet by Austin City Limits saying the first 10 Austin-area people to send them a direct message get tickets to tonight’s taping. Salvation?! Done. I get a message back from them saying to be at the studio by 7:30. It’s 6:30. I grill the fastest cheese sandwich in history, and hoof it downtown.

Austin City Limits Sign

Outside the ACL studio, no pictures allowed inside.

Walking on to the set of Austin City Limits, which has been officially designated a Rock & Roll Landmark by the R&R Hall of Fame, is amazing enough for me. But then on my way in there’s a whole table of beers that are free for the taking. I look at the people around me who all seem to have somehow controlled or suppressed their own versions of the huge shit-eating grin that I cannot fight. The set is smaller than I imagined it, an insanely intimate venue to see the kind of performers ACL pulls in.

Roseanne Cash was up first and delivered a gorgeous set, mostly featuring songs off her new album The List. An album inspired by the list her father gave her of the 100 essential songs every country singer should know. The only glitch in her set came when her trademark “Cash” guitar strap mysteriously went missing. Things were halted as the search went out and it was eventually recovered. For having such royal roots, Roseanne Cash seems to be nothing but down to earth – sharing an easy rapport with the audience. She also laid down a version of “Long Black Veil” that gave me goosebumps.

ACL Stamp

Branded. Thinking of getting it tattooed on.

We took a short break and then Brandi Carlile and her band took the stage. And straight floored me. I admit, somewhat sheepishly, that before tonight the only song of Brandi’s that I was familiar with was a number called “What Can I Say” which somehow made it onto a break-up mix of mine many years ago. I love that song but for whatever reason never pursued more from her. Huge mistake. She hit the stage singing an acapella ballad that made your hair stand up, and just never relented. Her powerhouse voice and inspired songwriting are an unbeatable combination. I know that there will be songs she sang tonight that won’t make it to the TV version of the show, but I can’t think of a single one I would cut, so do yourself a favor and go see her live. I don’t want to say too much since you should all watch the show when it airs, but I will say that at one point she and the band did an acoustic version of a song called “Dying Day” off her most recent album that honestly made me teary eyed. It isn’t a sad song. That just happens to me sometimes. My ex-boyfriend used to say I was “getting overwhelmed.” It happened when I saw Bob Dylan’s guitar at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. It happened when Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood hit the first notes of their concert in DC. It actually happens every time I’m at a Dylan concert when he first steps on stage. And it happened when she did that song tonight. Before you go judging my weirdness let me say that I don’t actually cry, I just well up with feeling and some of it comes out my eyes. So sue me.

I will post the airing information once I have it, but in the meantime please go see Brandi Carlile. In a world of Miley Cyruses and Justin Beibers she will remind you what true talent sounds like.

What a wonderful, crazy, whirlwind of a night! I feel so lucky now to have picked up this lemon of a turntable that got me to Austin City Limits. But seriously y’all, if anyone knows how to fix a broken cueing control…..

musicnotes“Dying Day” Obviously.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 12:44 pm

    I got tix to a Gov’t Mule taping in the Sirius Jam On studios the same way. i blame them for my unhealthy twitter obsession.

  2. Carl Woideck permalink
    April 24, 2010 9:16 pm

    Turntable . . . turntable . . . that word doesn’t ring a bell. Were you having trouble turning your kitchen table?

    PS–I own a direct-drive Panasonic SL-1400MK2.

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