Austin’s ACL Music Festival provides attendees a unique opportunity for exposure to new bands inside the massive annual event’s setting.
Some of today’s hottest up and coming acts played in their early days on the smaller stages. Gary Clark Jr., Portugal. The Man and many others have worked their way up to the big stages and become fan favorites.
One rising band hoping to follow in big footsteps is Ley Line, featured in Tito’s Handmade Vodka tent during the last day of the 2019 festival. Ley Line first formed when Austinites Kate Robberson and Emilie Basez met twin sisters Maddy and Lydia Forncek at the 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Once the two different groups decided to join forces, they moved to Austin, which they now call home.
The Austin quartet brought their unique world folk music to the early afternoon crowd on Sunday of ACL weekend two. “It was so surreal to look out at the end of the set and see the entire Tito’s stage filled with people dancing to our music,” Robberson said fondly of their performance.
Brazil and Latin America take center stage in most of Ley Line’s music, while influences from West Africa can also be heard. On their travels, they have experienced many cultures and have incorporated those sounds into their own music. One of the countries that has had a profound influence is Brazil. In their 2016 album “Field Notes,” the band mixed their original work folk songs from Brazil.
The band views traveling as a way to grow both individually and collectively. “For us, it is a good way to learn more about one another and [this] influences how we write music. Then everyone has their stories to tell,” explained Lydia Forncek.
During a 2017 trip to Brazil, the band recorded their 3000-mile journey through the country. This trip to Brazil was their second self-managed trip there. During their travel time, the band played at venues ranging from bars to cultural centers, and even shows for children in private schools. This visual album will showcase the images they captured while spending time in Brazil.
One of the first songs inspired by the band’s three-month Brazilian journey is “Oxum,” which in Afro-Brazilian tradition describes the deity of fresh water. Basez says “Oxum” is their “song for fresh water.”
Ley Line is currently touring Texas, with upcoming stops in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Burnet and San Marcos. Watch for their new album, coming in spring 2020.
Cover photo courtesy Alfred Megally