Updated Fri, Mar 28, 2014 10:58 am
Saturday, April 19 • 10 p.m.
The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers join Austin City Limits for a night of intimate and supremely talented performances. With zero percussion assistance for each performance, one acquires a clear picture of the depth of musicianship and delicately crafted songs that both of these artists brought to the stage. What is found from both artists is nothing short of moving, inspiring and wildly intriguing.
With open arms and a bare stage, ACL welcomed the Civil Wars. The Grammy Award-winners proved to be a perfect start to the season on so many levels. Their minimalist set with the ever-so perpetual Austin skyline in the background highlighted the voices of Joy Williams and John Paul White as they played hits off their Grammy-winning 2011 release “Barton Hollow.”
Included in this performance are two very intense, but true to the original spirit, renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.” At one moment Williams and White had the entire audience in their hands when Williams remarked about how quiet and attentive the audience was reacting. It’s true – at many points during this episode the audience becomes so captivated by Joy’s sashaying and John’s guitar playing that it appears they have forgotten where they are and viewers immediately realize why these two are garnering the much-deserved appraisal they’ve gotten in the last year.
Chris Thile, who is no stranger to the ACL stage, debuts his all-star band that formed back in 2006 in this episode. Again there is no percussion, but unlike the simple quietness of The Civil Wars earlier, there is an influx of sound from the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar and bass. The progressive rock stars of the bluegrass world take the audience through their 2012 release of “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” with a few sprinkles of the 2010 album “Antifogmatic.”