Bobby Bare Jr (Chris Gray)

ACL Dudefest: M. Ward, David Byrne, Bobby Bare Jr. and Ryan Bingham

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea for Austin City Limits to put acoustic singer-songwriter M. Ward a few hundred yards away from boisterous gypsy-punks Gogol Bordello in the WaMu tent. (On a side not, I guess this year is the WaMu tent's last ACL hurrah. Sponsorship, anyone). Nevertheless, the Portlander's dusky death-blues more than held their own; amazingly enough, Gogol was hardly audible as the well-miced Ward came through loud and clear. Eventually aided by a full band, Ward shone on several cuts from 2006's stellar Post-War, particularly the strummy REM-ish rocker “Right In the Head,” beautiful sad-eyed country ballad “Pieces of a Broken Heart” and fuzz-clouded uplifter “He Was a Good Man.” He can pick like Chet Atkins (or not far off) if he's a mind to, too. Click here for more...

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