Day Three of Austin City Limits '11: Dallas-Born Ruby Jane Kicks Thing Off and The Sun is Back

After a lackluster Saturday, things are already heating up on Sunday afternoon at Zilker Park. Actually, they were plenty hot in the morning, too: Temperatures soared into the '90s, but, more important, the sun has returned from its gray Saturday slumber .

And it started its beating early: By the time 16-year-old, Dallas-born fiddle prodigy Ruby Jane Smith took the stage to kick off the final day of the 2011 Austin City Limits Festival at 11:20 a.m., lines had already filled at the Camelbak-sponsored water filling stations scattered around the park.

People seemed thirsty for Ruby Jane's own first attempt at a new, grown-up sound, too.

Her new lineup has only been assembled for the past two or so, but its arrangement is all intentional: Jane, backed by three members now whereas her traditional bluegrass set featured four, is trying to grow past the reputation she's built over the past few years of performing C3-promoted festivals. She's aiming for a more rock-oriented sound these days, the former C3 client revealed after he performance. She no longer wants to be seen as "a novelty."

It seemed to go over pretty well -- from the jump, even, as her band, first set up on stage, offered an almost stoner-rock jam to welcome their leader before the crowd.

The young girls dressed in shirts announcing affiliations to various fiddle camps and classes may have been miffed; Smith now performs as much on her acoustic guitar as she does the instrument with which she first made her name. But the does still fiddle -- plenty, in each and every song -- and she does still shred when she gets going. Charlie Daniels would approve.

Her songwriting at the moment is a tad middle-of-the-road -- but that, no doubt whatsoever, will change. Girl's a talent, an entertainer beyond just a fiddle player. Have we mentioned that she's 16?

Plenty of time left -- both for Ruby Jane and our final day here at Zilker. Coming up? The Walkmen, AWOLNATION, Ryan Bingham, Nick 13, Broken Social Scene, Death From Above 1979, Elbow, Fleet Foxes, Manu Chao, Hayes Carll, Social Distortion, Randy Newman, Empire of the Sun and Arcade Fire.


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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman

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