Austin City Limits Music Festival: Live From Austin, Texas

In just a few short years, the Austin City Limits Music Festival (based on the long-lived TV show of the same name) has become a powerhouse music event, which this live CD from last year's fest aptly

In just a few short years, the Austin City Limits Music Festival (based on the long-lived TV show of the same name) has become a powerhouse music event, which this live CD from last year's fest aptly demonstrates. Performances are eclectic, electric and inspired, ranging from R.E.M.'s hard-charging "Bad Day" to the acoustic gymnastics of "Smoothie Song" from Nickel Creek. Highlights are many, including a Band-esque "Diamonds on the Inside" from Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals and an inspired rendition of "The March" from Robert Randolph & the Family Band. Of course, being live, the collection has its fair share of lesser moments, too: Steve Earle's vocals are cringe-worthy on the nevertheless stirring "Jerusalem." But the Drive-By Truckers out-Earle Earle with the powerful Southern life manual "Outfit," and Kings of Leon turn in a fierce and fiery "Molly's Chambers." Like the show that inspired it, this festival focuses on acts that can really play.—RW