There are just a few more days to familiarize yourself with all the unique local artists that are performing at Austin City Limits and with 23 local bands on the lineup, you've got your work cut out for you.
Out of the 203 shows that are planned across the festival, 23 artists call Austin home, which is more than 11% of the total lineup.
I've outlined my favorites with an *, so you can narrow down your playlist when it gets down to crunch time.
Aaron Stephens, Saturday, Oct. 2 at 12:05 p.m. on the VRBO stage
Chicago born, McAllen, Texas, raised and Austin-based, singer-songwriter Aaron Stephens is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in soulful guitar. His velvet voice moves in between genres, from gentle acoustics to funk. Listen to "Yesterday's Favorite (Old News)" and "Walkin'" to get yourself started.
*Asleep at the Wheel, Friday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. on the Honda stage
Now in its 50th year of keeping Austin country, Asleep at the Wheel has been performing western swing music with local legends like Willie Nelson and fellow ACL performer George Strait since before the festival even began. These nine-time Grammy winners have over 20 albums and will remind you what it means to be a Texan.
Audic Empire, Friday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. on the Tito's Vodka stage
Characterized by a unique blend of rock, reggae and blues, Audic Empire has been creating music in Austin for more than a decade. Their new release, "Head Change," combines psychedelic influences and "airtight" rhythm.
Blk Odyssy, Sunday, Oct. 10 at 12 p.m. on the VRBO stage
Hailing from New Jersey, Sam Houston of Blk Odyssy had Texan roots before he even knew it. Blk Odyssy is characterized by a lo-fi sound, comforting tunes and lyrics that confront pressing issues in American Culture.
*Black Pumas, both Fridays at 6 p.m. on the Lady Bird stage
The sound of Austin will be attending for both weekends of the festival with its infectious blues and notable Grammy nominations. If you do nothing else before you attend, make sure you listen to "Colors" and "Black Moon Rising" off the band's self-titled album.
Calder Allen, both Sundays at 1 p.m. on the Tito's Vodka stage
The youngest local artist in the lineup, Calder Allen graduated high school this past May and headed straight for the big time. From a legacy of musicians in his family, Allen has already played major venues like the Continental Club. Check out "Canon in D" and "Little Man" from his repertoire.
Charley Crockett, both Saturdays at 3:20 p.m. on the VRBO stage
The Americana Music Award's Emerging Act Of The Year is taking the stage for two weekends in a row. A born and raised Texan, Crockett's country blues sound shines through on his newest album, a pandemic release called "Welcome to Hard Times."
David Ramirez, Sunday, Oct.10 at 5:30 p.m. on the BMI stage
David Ramirez's most recent album, his sixth since he began making music, titled "My Love is a Hurricane" is a collection of love songs that will pull on your heartstrings. Impactful lyrics and slow tunes are in store on the new album, so check out the title track and "Easy Does It" before heading to the flags.
Dayglow, both Saturdays at 7:20 p.m. on the VRBO stage
An indie-pop project brought to life on UT's campus by Sloan Struble, Dayglow's trendy pop songs have won him spots on late-night TV shows at just 22 years old. Dayglow has two albums to share: "Fuzzybrain," the debut album, and "Harmony House."
Deezie Brown, Saturday, Oct. 3 at 12:15 on the Miller Lite stage
Growing up just 45 minutes away from the Live Music Capital of the World in Bastrop, Texas, Deezie Brown's Bastrop upbringing was full of music. Bonding with his family over hip-hop music influenced his sound in his most recently-dropped EP "Geto Gala."
Gina Chavez, Saturday, Oct. 2 at 5:20 p.m. on the BMI stage
A 2020 Latin Grammy nominee and proudly queer Austin native, Gina Chavez has won 12 Austin Music Awards and is well on her way to becoming a local icon. Chavez's newest album, titled "La Que Manda" or "The Woman in Charge" tells an all-Spanish story of a woman coming into her power.
*Jade Bird, Saturday, Oct. 9 at 12:05 p.m. on the T-Mobile stage
An English singer who recently made Austin her home, Jade Bird is a show in and of herself. With a softly raspy voice and an acoustic guitar in tow, Bird paints scenes in her songs. Listen to "Uh Huh," "Lottery" or her new album, "Different Kinds of Light."
Mike Melinoe, Saturday, Oct. 9 at 12:05 p.m. on the VRBO stage
Mike Melinoe hit rock bottom when he moved to Austin from Detroit, Michigan, in 2018 with only $8 in his pocket and became homeless. Just three years later Melinoe is a thriving artist with four albums, the most recent called "Puu," and is known for his energy on stage.
Missio, both Saturdays at 5:20 p.m. on the VRBO stage
Missio surged when their hit single "Middle Fingers" went live in 2017, hoisting them to national acclaim with their electronic alternative music. Their most popular songs, "Everybody Gets High" and "Twisted" come from their debut album "Loner."
*Nané, both Fridays at 1 p.m. on the Lady Bird stage
Dynamic and authentically Austin, Nané was born from drunken late nights with friends and University of Texas classmates Daniel Sahad and Ian Green. Nané's song "Blue Velvet" is an instant classic with its high-energy, funky beat.
Primo the Alien, Friday Oct. 1 at 1:45 p.m. on the T-Mobile stage
With a "dangerously sexy" style and a sharp sense of humor, Primo the Alien's retro synth-pop music is like riding a motorcycle covered in glitter. Her song "Sexual Safari" is out now on Spotify.
Riders Against the Storm, Friday, Oct. 8 at 1:30 on the Tito’s Vodka stage
This husband and wife duo, Chaka and Qi Dada, have been living in Austin since 2009 and thoroughly identified themselves with the city's robust music scene. Listen to Riders Against the Storm for bumping, rhythmic hip-hop in "Diggy Dah" and "Holy Water."
*Sir Woman, Saturday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. on the Tito's Vodka stage
Lead vocalist of the popular folk band Wild Child, Sir Woman is a solo project put on by singer and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Wilson. Sir Woman is more pop and has more vocals, plus a side of Wilson that has yet to be seen before. Her new single "Blame it on the Water" is casually entrancing and easy to listen to.
Superfónicos, Sunday, Oct. 10 at 3:30 p.m. on the BMI stage
A funky sound inspired by Indigenous and African roots of the band's Colombian heritage, Superfónicos is produced by Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas, so you can trust it will be catchy. The band asks only one thing: dance beyond your struggle.
TC Superstar, Sunday, Oct. 3 at 2:15 p.m. on the Tito's Vodka stage
An Austin grown solo project by Connor McCampbell, TC Superstar is a synth-wave, retro dance group. His new album, "As Seen on TV," is a nostalgic album that revolves around the idea and influence of television in and growing up in America.
The Teeta, Friday, Oct. 8 at 3:15 p.m. on the BMI stage
One of Austin's most forward-facing rappers, The Teeta is a highly prolific artist that has made a name for himself with the release of his fifth and newest album, "24."
The Tender Things, Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. on the Tito's Vodka stage
The "hippie country band" of Austin, singer Jesse Ebaugh was part of the popular rock band Heartless Bastards before committing to The Tender Things. Love ballads, a touch of twang and bluegrass touches make up his music.
Zach Person, Sunday, Oct. 10 at noon on the BMI stage
Last but not least, an indie-rocker with clear Texan influences, Zach Person's punchy riffs and catchy lyrics are worth a listen. He's got the discography too, with two albums ready to rock to.
Don't forget to listen local when you hit the flags this year!
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Rounding out the last-quarter corner of October, we are thrust toward the season of "the little death"—the sign of Scorpio—both inevitably transformational and potentially orgasmic.
This dying is simply a very natural and necessary process, as the year begins its closing. In Scorpio season, we are invited to look directly into our shadow and that of the world around us. This marks a significant end-of-a-cycle that began six months ago. This is the month of embracing the cycles of life, of looking death in the eyes, of embracing the very powerful process of transmutation and as we dive into it, remembering that rebirth is always imminent.
(*Note: When reading your monthly horoscope, it is always good to read not only your "SunSign" but also your "Ascendant"— referred to as your "Rising Sign".)
Aries: March 21-April 19
Arians, you may have felt like you have been on the stand the last months, and you have in many ways with so many planets in opposition to your Sun! Alas, you may feel emancipated from the resistance and this month return to your preferred state of passion and enthusiasm spurring new horizons of creative endeavors. Your flame may be burning so hot in fact, that you may well ignite a romantic interlude, however the dynamic may well end up requiring more than you are interested in investing. Your bigger picture continues to be on personal achievement, however this year you are learning that 'it takes a village'. The Nov. 19 full moon eclipse teaches you to let go of attachment, and the need to control all the strands of the web.
Taurus: April 20-May 20
Pleasure-seeking Taurus, Scorpio season is the double-edged sword for you. The Soul's 'urge to merge' entices you, while also eliciting apprehension as this level of union may open up the cellar doors. The Nov. 4 Scorpio new moon falls in your relationship sector this month, so just surrender to the pleasure principle as it allows and 'trust the process' that follows. Remember you are being activated this year to evolve, and getting our hands and hearts dirty is sometimes required. The Solar eclipse on Nov. 19 falls in your sign, which ignites a very karmic path that will unfold over the next year and a half in your favor. Your calm, steady, and creative demeanor and your gifts will be called to the front lines to bring a necessary balance to the world.
Gemini: May 21-June 20
Geminis, we love you for always 'keeping it light'. However, Scorpio season may require you to face some issues that have been boiling beneath the surface, especially in the workplace. Remember 'Twins', you are learning about duality this go-round, and that you can't have the 'light,' without also embracing the 'dark'. Freedom comes from this natural and necessary process of healing so sit back and learn something this month. The Taurus Solar eclipse Nov. 19 that falls in your 'house of The Mystic,' will reward you with a leap in your spiritual consciousness.
Cancer: June 21-July 22
Delicate Cancers, you have been forced out of your shell over and over, in the last year. The current evolutionary shift has so needed your gifts of love and compassion. Scorpio season for you may bring a wave of emotionality but nothing a good cry cannot navigate. This year your motherly gifts are called out of the house and into the larger community. At the Taurus solar eclipse, you may find yourself at the end or the beginning of the very significant community role. Remember that when one door closes, another opens, and that truly, 'home is where the heart is'.
Leo: July 23-Aug. 22
Bright-light-Leo's, Scorpio may not be your favorite season (except perhaps the costume party!) as the emerging shadows appear to be in contrast to your ever-lasting light! But relax and remember that 'dark', merely means 'hidden', and once revealed, gains access to more light! Hey Lions, the transformation for you this month, is with home and work. Change, healing, and progress are keywords, which may require fast decisions. The Nov. 19 Taurus lunar eclipse lands in your career sector, so the question to ask is…"is this really what I want to be doing?" Your exuberant playfulness, joy and creativity are your greatest gifts. Be sure they are intricately woven into your path.
Virgo: Aug. 23-Sept. 21
Creating order out of chaos is your specialty, vigilant Virgos. You welcome Scorpio season to clear out the cobwebs and get on with things. Do be careful not to become too focused on the distortions, remembering that 'what we focus on expands'. You are a pinnacle of this time of 'the Great Shift' and are upgrading quickly to meet the collective needs. The Scorpio new moon, and the Taurus lunar eclipse fall in your axis of 'information, knowledge, communication, and beliefs'. You are upgrading your mental circuitry. Don't hold onto anything, and trust that you will end up where you belong.
Libra: Sept. 22-Oct. 23
Love-hungry Libras, we know you always love Scorpio season because it means going deeper into the intimate realms and you are absolutely fine with whatever it takes! However, this month's Scorpio new moon invites a rebirth to your relationship with yourself, which is a reward after a long journey of introspection and growth. This journey brings you to a place of balance with self and others. This is your deepest work in this lifetime, so celebrate with an extra dose of self-care! There could be some financial upgrades this month. Consider partnering up, as a way of combining resources. Your gift of diplomacy may be called upon surrounding the Nov. 19 Taurus lunar eclipse.
Scorpio: Oct. 24-Nov. 21
This is your big month all-powerful Scorpios… Happiest Re-Birth-Day to you! This is your moment to push the 'reset' button, shed last year's skin, and embody the fullness of your passion and purpose! The Nov. 4 new moon, also in your sign, is the invitation to surrender any old emotional pain and story, and get clear about your higher mission—as your strength and depth are greatly needed at this evolutionary threshold. The Nov. 19 lunar eclipse may trigger relationship shifts, though exciting, may be fleeting, but remember every romantic soiree serves your evolution in some manner. Home and family continue to be a bit in flux, so live from the heart... while learning to let go and trust.
Sagittarius: Nov. 22-Dec. 21
Sagittarians, you are the leaders of great thought. You have been tested the last year to open your mind-horizons into areas that have brought discomfort. Sometimes you find it easier to hold onto old learned beliefs because the emerging new truths feel too destabilizing. The Nov. 4 New Moon awards you the opportunity to 'let go and trust' that all is going to be ok. You will continue to be tested in your capacity to 'listen' and communicate compassionately with others. The Nov. 19 lunar eclipse may trigger some chaos at the job site but observe it with a higher mind, relax into the process; this restructuring is necessary and of the highest order. A renewed self-care regime could be the missing component to the balance you seek.
Capricorn: Dec. 22-Jan. 19
Wise and focused Capricorns, this month you may find great fulfillment putting your hard work to good use within the community. Though not your initial intention, your industrial focus may also come with unexpected healing of a past hurt around the Nov. 4 new moon. This year has put focus on refining your character, and to reassess what you truly value. Finances have also been serious business with the need to balance your spending with saving. But the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse is begging for you to lighten up a bit and play. Do something spontaneous and be open to a little romance, expected or unexpected!
Aquarius: Jan. 20-Feb. 18
Revolutionary Aquarians! You were born for these times and find yourself on the front lines of this fast-moving evolutionary train! Though you might have hoped humanity would be further along by now, you must not lose heart and continue to fine-tune your mental channels in order to guide us into the future. The Nov. 4 new moon may offer a new direction in your career, while the Nov. 19 lunar eclipse may bring unexpected change in the home-front. You of all the signs understand that it is 'the storm' that precedes the greatest shifts... Keep holding the light and guiding with the certainty of your soul's light.
Pisces: Feb. 19-March 20
It's been rough waters for you this past year Pisces, as your empathic nature feels all the collective alchemical turmoil deep within. You are closing out some massive cycles requiring deep inquiry, surrender and trust. The Nov. 4 New Moon invites you to stretch your comfort zone and peer into the less pleasant aspects of life, in order to avoid bypassing and embody a balanced approach. You will be rewarded by the Lunar Eclipse Nov. 19 with an invitation to speak, write, teach, or perhaps just soul-enriching connections with others. Remember that your endless well of compassion is your greatest gift, and so needed on the planet at this time.
Shannon Gill is an Evolutionary Astrologer, Jungian Counselor, and the co-founder of 'The Shift Foundation' at Samadhi Retreat Center. To learn more about her work, or to schedule a personal session, you may contact her at shannonleigill.com.