Congratulations to ACL’s winners at the 61st annual Grammy Awards

Austin City Limits wishes to congratulate our Season 44 ACL guests for their wins at the 61st annual Grammy Awards.

Kacey Musgraves went home with the prestigious Album of the Year award for her LP Golden Hour, which she radiantly showcased on her recent episode. The Texas native also won Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance for “Butterflies,” and Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy.” Americana powerhouse Brandi Carlile won her first-ever Grammys, sweeping her category, as her song “The Joke” won both Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance, and her album By the Way, I Forgive You, which got big play during her Season 44 appearance, won Best Americana Album. The mighty St. Vincent, who kicked off our season premiere with a powerful hour-length episode, won the Best Rock Song award for her tune “Masseduction,” as well as Best Recording Package for her album of the same name.

Other Season 44 guests who took home trophies include Willie Nelson, who won Best Traditional Pop Album for his Frank Sinatra tribute My Way, and Buddy Guy, who won Best Traditional Blues Album for his LP The Blues is Alive and Well. Our distinguished alumni Beck also Best Alternative Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, while Kendrick Lamar tied for Best Rap Performance, Leon Bridges tied for Best Traditional R&B Performance and Punch Brothers won for Best Folk Album. Congratulations to them and to all the other Grammy winners.

ACL presents the 17th Annual Americana Honors & Awards

Austin City Limits returns to Nashville for a special broadcast offering performance highlights from the 17th Annual Americana Honors & Awards. The new installment features a stunning revue of unforgettable performances celebrating the finest artists in American roots music. The hour is filled with musical highlights from Americana mainstays and next-generation stars, including many of the night’s award-winners and honorees, among them (in order of appearance): Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Fantastic Negrito, Brandi Carlile, Tyler Childers, Margo Price, I’m With Her featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, Buddy Guy, Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, k.d. lang, Irma Thomas and John Prine. The special will be available to music fans everywhere to stream online beginning Sunday, February 10th @12 ET at pbs.org/austincitylimits and the broadcast premiere will launch February 9th on PBS and vary by market (check local listings for times).

For the eighth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with producers Martin Fischer, Michelle Aquilato, Edie Hoback and the Americana Music Association, are proud to present a special ACL Presents to close out Season 44. Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on September 12, 2018, The Americana Music Association’s 17th Annual Honors & Awards ceremony is a celebration of the diverse sounds of roots music, from folk, bluegrass and alt-country to R&B and the blues.

The show opens with a scorcher: a spirited cover of “Fortunate Son” featuring two of the night’s honorees, Nathaniel Rateliff and Lukas Nelson, joined by blues standout Fantastic Negrito, trading verses on the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, augmented by the stellar vocals of famed gospel group The McCrary Sisters. Multiple nominee Brandi Carlile hits the stage with her band and a six-piece string section for an epic performance of “The Joke,” nominated for Song of the Year. The year’s Emerging Artist Award-winner Tyler Childers performs a gripping, acoustic “Nose on the Grindstone” detailing the perils of coal country and opioids. Artist of the Year nominee Margo Price thrills the Ryman crowd with a walk into the audience during her performance of “A Little Pain,” a Song of the Year nominee. Group of the Year nominees showcase their bona fides: Nathaniel Rateliff returns with his band The Night Sweats for a rousing “Hey Mama”; Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real deliver a passionate “Forget About Georgia”; and super-trio I’m With Her (featuring folk mavericks Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan) perform acoustic in gorgeous, three-part vocal harmony. One of the genre’s top stars, Jason Isbell, sweeping the night’s top honors for Artist, Album and Group of the Year (with his band the 400 Unit), performs the riveting social gut-punch “White Man’s World” from his award-winning album The Nashville Sound. Songwriting marvel John Prine is honored with Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year, and plays a captivating new gem, “Summer’s End,” from his acclaimed latest release The Tree of Forgiveness.

NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Fantastic Negrito, Nathaniel Rateliff and Lukas Nelson perform onstage during the 2018 Americana Music Honors and Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 12, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees take the stage to showcase their talents: Trailblazer honoree k.d. lang performs her phenomenal “Trail of Broken Hearts”; New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas, the year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree for Performance, delivers an electrifying version of her iconic “Time Is On My Side” to a standing ovation; Blues legend Buddy Guy earns a Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist, and rocks a blistering rendition of one of his signature six-string numbers, “Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues.” Rosanne Cash, the recipient of the Spirit of Americana “Free Speech” Award, whose late father Johnny Cash was the inaugural recipient of the award, takes the stage to perform a heartbreaking new song, “Everyone But Me,” reminiscing about lost loved ones, including her late parents.

A show-closing tribute is paid to a game-changer in American roots music, the late, great Aretha Franklin, as all-stars Brandi Carlile, Irma Thomas, rising Americana stars Courtney Marie Andrews and husband and wife blues/soul duo The War and Treaty, along with gospel great Ann McCrary come together for the finale to sing “Chain Of Fools,” bringing the audience to their feet.

NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 12: (L-R) Brandi Carlile, Irma Thomas, Courtney Marie Andrews, Tanya Blount and Michael Trotter Jr. of The War and Treaty perform onstage during the 2018 Americana Music Honors and Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 12, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Buddy Miller returns as reigning musical director with an Americana All-Star Band featuring Don Was, Jerry Pentecost, Joe Pisapia, Ian Fitchuk, Lillie Mae, Joshua Grange, Jim Hoke, and The McCrary Sisters backing many of the night’s performers.

Episode setlist:

Nathaniel Rateliff, Fantastic Negrito, Lukas Nelson “Fortunate Son”

Brandi Carlile “The Joke”

Tyler Childers “Nose On The Grindstone”

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “Hey Mama”

Margo Price “A Little Pain”

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real “Forget About Georgia”

I’m With Her (featuring Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan) “Overland”

Buddy Guy “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues”

Rosanne Cash “Everyone But Me”

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit “White Man’s World”

k.d. lang “Trail Of Broken Hearts”

Irma Thomas “Time Is On My Side”

John Prine “Summer’s End”

Finale featuring Brandi Carlile, Irma Thomas, Courtney Marie Andrews, The War and Treaty, McCrary Sisters “Chain of Fools”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for an encore episode, starring pop superstar Ed Sheeran.

New tapings: Kane Brown, Gary Clark Jr., the Revivalists and Rainbow Kitten Surprise

Austin City Limits is elated to announce the first tapings of our new Season 45: rising country star Kane Brown on March 3, Austin’s favorite son, Gary Clark Jr., on March 5, New Orleans rock band The Revivalists on April 9 and North Carolina alternative rockers Rainbow Kitten Surprise on May 6.

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of Nashville’s most promising young stars and also one of its most flexible,” three-time American Music Award-winner Kane Brown earned accolades throughout a milestone 2018, including his selection by the Associated Press as one of 2018’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year, and landed a No. 1 album with his sophomore release, Experiment. With that chart-topping debut, the Georgia native became the only male country artist in more than twenty-four years to debut at the top of the Billboard 200, and one of only three country artists to top the Billboard 200 chart in all of 2018. He first made history by becoming the first-ever artist to top all five Billboard Country charts with his 2016 breakthrough self-titled debut.  Brown recently topped the airplay charts with his third consecutive No. 1 single at country radio, “Lose It,” following chart-topping hits “What Ifs” and “Heaven.” His boundary-pushing musical style, undeniable fan connection, and trailblazing path have earned him accolades as as the “the future of country music” (Billboard).  ‘I’m just a guy who wants to make people realize you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” says Brown.  “I’m just somebody who’s wanting, no matter what race you are, if you like country music, if you want to be in country music, then you can be. Just look at me, and come on.”

photo by Frank Maddocks

Grammy Award-winning Gary Clark Jr. hits the ACL stage for his third headliner show, on the heels of the release of his highly-anticipated This Land, his third studio album for Warner Bros. Records, out February 22.  The charged songs on This Land offer a rich window into the afro-cosmic musical soul of Clark, with themes that reflect introspective intimacy and unapologetic cultural consciousness. The sonic canvas of his rhythms, beats, melodies and ever-present guitar virtuosity on this album are his most ambitious work to date.  Rarely has an artist alchemized the sounds of the great African-American music forms into one genre-defying statement of unique power, craft and social significance, as Clark has done. As Clark himself puts it: “This album was meant to sound like D’Angelo, Parliament Funkadelic and Cream. Someone asked me why I made such an expansive album. I said, if I didn’t get it out of me, I was going to explode. It’s all just soul music.”  In a relatively short period of time, Clark has made an indelible mark for himself in the music world. He has been called “the chosen one” by Rolling Stone, and “the future of music” by President Barack Obama.  Clark is a rare artist, a genre-bender who transcends sound, style, race, gender, and age; his prowess has been witnessed on the world stage from Bonnaroo to Jay-Z’s Made In America, to Coachella, to the Roots Picnic, to Glastonbury, and many more.  We’re thrilled to welcome this hometown hero back to the ACL stage.

photo by Zackery Michael

We also welcome, for the first time, chart-topping rock band The Revivalists. On their fourth studio album Take Good Care (Loma Vista Recordings), the New Orleans rising stars deliver a bevy of anthems marked by moments of sonic complexity, celebration, and catharsis, chronicling an unbelievable ride that unassumingly commenced in 2008 with hundreds of underground shows yearly. Ten years of tireless hard work would be unexpectedly revved up by the success of the platinum-selling number one smash “Wish I Knew You,” and like any enduring band worth its salt, the octet buckled down and turned up with an album chock full of tunes worthy of even greater success, such as the #1 Triple A and Top 5 Alternative single “All My Friends”and new hit single “Change.” The Revivalists – David Shaw [lead vocals, guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Girardot [keyboard, trumpet], and PJ Howard [drums, percussion]— have garnered more than 300 million total streams, have drawn praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Alternative Press, Uproxx, Flaunt, Nylon, and more, and have performed on The Late Show with StephenColbert, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Ellen, TODAY and Conan. They were nominated for a Billboard Music Award and two iHeartRadio Music Awards, were named Billboard’s Top New Rock Artist of 2017 and have three years of back-to-back sold out headline tours in their biggest venues to date. In the end, The Revivalists welcome listeners on this journey with them as they set out with a newfound depth and ambition. “We’re in this together,” says Shaw. “We love to take people on an emotional rollercoaster with us. That’s what this record is. It’s who we are. There’s some real magic in that.”

photo by Matthew Salacuse

Nearly every song from ACL first-timers Rainbow Kitten Surprise unfolds in a dizzying rush of feverish yet finespun lyrics that feel both intimate and mythic. Throughout their third album How To: Friend, Love, Freefall, the Boone, North Carolina five-piece sets those lyrics to a thrillingly unpredictable sound that transcends all genre convention, endlessly changing form to accommodate shifts in mood and spirit. But while Rainbow Kitten Surprise push into some complex emotional terrain, the band’s joyful vitality ultimately makes for an album that’s deeply cathartic and undeniably life-affirming. Produced by Grammy Award-winner Jay Joyce and recorded in Nashville, How To: Friend, Love, Freefall marks Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s debut release for Elektra Records. In creating the album, the band immersed themselves in a deliberate sonic exploration, infusing their music with the kinetic energy of discovery. In sculpting the inventive arrangements and textures, Rainbow Kitten Surprise embedded each track with indelible melody and chilling harmonies with a long-lingering power. The quintet moves gracefully through infinite sounds and tones: the energetic R&B of “Fever Pitch,” the haunting a cappella harmonies of “Pacific Love,” the full-throttle frenzy of “Matchbox,” the tender psychedelia of “Moody Orange,” the tumbling folk of “Painkillers.” In working through such a kaleidoscopic sonic palette, Rainbow Kitten Surprise show the sharp musicianship and powerful camaraderie they’ve developed since forming at Appalachian State University in 2013. It wasn’t long before they’d gained a devoted following – amassing over a million streams on each song from their self-released catalog – and word spread about their unforgettable live show: a blissed-out free-for-all that typically finds frontman Sam Melo jumping right into the audience, building an unbreakable connection with the crowd, as delivered during stand-out sets at major festivals like Bonnaroo, Firefly, Sasquatch, and Austin City Limits.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

Buddy Guy and August Greene close out ACL’s season 44 with blues and grooves

Austin City Limits presents a thrilling hour of blues and hip-hop in a new installment featuring legendary bluesman Buddy Guy and August Greene, the all-star collaboration featuring Grammy-, Emmy- and Oscar-winning Common, and renowned modern jazz greats Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins.

Blues-great Buddy Guy throws down in an entertaining performance of classics and new songs from his Grammy-nominated album The Blues Is Alive and Well. The living legend has played and sang the blues for over half a century, and he proudly flaunts his fretboard expertise and bottomless catalog during his fifth ACL appearance. Guy and his four-piece Damn Right Blues Band take the stage appropriately with the classic “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues.” Working without a set list, Guy pays tribute to fellow Chicago bluesmen on the Junior Wells classic “Hoodoo Man Blues” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Nine Below Zero” then revisits his Grammy-winning 2015 album Born to Play Guitar for the blistering title track. He thrills the ACL audience with the roof-raising “Slippin’ In,” from his Grammy-winning 1994 album of the same name and takes a string-bending, guitar-solo-ing stroll through the captivated crowd as living proof that the blues is, indeed, alive and well.

The dynamic hip-hop collective known as August Greene take us for a beautiful ride, performing numbers from their acclaimed self-titled debut. This supergroup, featuring veteran rapper Common, four-time Grammy-winning keyboardist/producer Robert Glasper and celebrated jazz drummer/producer Karriem Riggins, lay down a sublime groove overlaid by Common’s socially conscious and empowering narrative. Joined by four backing musicians, the group opens with its hit “Black Kennedy,” a hard look at post-Obama America, deftly adding the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” to this celebration of black excellence. Backing vocalist Samora Pinderhughes delivers a spellbinding hook, joining Common at center stage for the urgent “Let Go,” as the rapper encourages the crowd to release any negative energy. The group segues directly into the buoyant “Geto Heaven,” from Common’s 2000 breakthrough classic Like Water For Chocolate, honoring many of the fallen from the civil rights era along with the black victims of contemporary gun violence. “I feel like you all let go right there,” smiles a beaming Common as he champions the excellence of all the musicians onstage and the set closes with dazzling solos from Riggins and Glasper.

photo by Scott Newton

“Buddy Guy is the last living blues legend, and he shows no sign of slowing down,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He’s inspired generations of blues guitarists, and his live shows are always mesmerizing. Austin City Limits has a tradition of pushing the limits to showcase music you’ll probably never see anywhere else on TV. August Greene is an amazing collaboration of jazz, rap and soul that’s pure creative genius.”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for another brand new episode, featuring the Americana Music Festival’s seventeenth annual honors and awards program.