Review: Austin City Limits "Sharon Jones/Carolyn Wonderland"

Program: Austin City Limits
Date: Saturday, Nov. 8
Time: 7 p.m.
Also Airs: Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 10 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 14, at 11 p.m.
Preview the show: AustinCityLimits.org

With all due respect to contemporary R&B, there’s a hunger for the old-fashioned, sweat-drenched, digitally unenchanced soul sounds of the 60s and 70s. Enter Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the New York-based collective at the forefront of the soul revivalist movement. Influenced by Ike & Tina Turner, Otis Redding and especially James Brown, Jones spent years in the Big Apple doing session work and the occasional single, supporting herself by working as a corrections officer and armored car guard. By 2000, she hooked up with Daptone Records and its house band the Dap-Kings, a group made up of veterans of NYC soul/funk outfits Antibalas, the Soul Providers and the Mighty Imperials. She and the band have since released three albums and done numerous tours to great acclaim. In addition to their own work, the Dap-Kings provided much of the backup for Amy Winehouse on her album Back in Black, while Jones appeared in Denzil Washington’s film The Great Debaters. However, it’s tunes like “100 Days, 100 Nights?” and “How Do I Let a Good Man Down?” that best tell the band’s story.

Following the Austin City Limits debut of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings will be Carolyn Wonderland. She may not be a nationally-known figure (yet), but Carolyn is a bona-fide star in her home state of Texas. The Houston-bred, Austin-based triple threat – soulful singer, diverse songwriter, fiery guitarist – has been tearing up the stages and roadhouses of the Lone Star state and beyond for well over a decade. In that time she’s taken her flexible blues rock sound on the road with Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter, sat in with Los Lobos and Robert Earl Keen and jammed with Bob Dylan and mentor Ray Benson. The Asleep at the Wheel leader also produced and released Miss Understood, the latest of her seven CDs. We’re proud to help vault a Texas treasure into the national spotlight with the ACL debut of Carolyn Wonderland.

-Michael Toland

About the reviewer: Michael Toland is manager of national productions for KLRU and contributes music reviews to several online and print publications.