My Morning Jacket and Ben Harper bring big rock to ACL’s Season 42

Austin City Limits showcases two of modern rock’s best live acts: My Morning Jacket and Ben Harper.  The longtime fan favorites make return appearances armed with new material in a must-see installment as part of ACL’s Season 42.

My Morning Jacket return for the first time in nearly a decade for their third Austin City Limits appearance, highlighting songs from their last two studio albums, The Waterfall and Circuital.  The Kentucky indie-rockers, five-time Grammy Award-winners, kick off a blissed-out 4-song set with the title track to 2011’s Circuital.  Charismatic leader Jim James dazzles in a colorful kimono and big sunglasses as the band builds their signature soundscapes, including a tune from The Waterfall, a 2016 Grammy nominee for Best Alternative Album.  Their psychedelic textures expand into a glorious wall of sound for the set-closer “Victory Dance,” as the shape-shifting James prowls the stage with a towel on his head and an electronic sampler around his neck for an epic close.

Ben Harper reunites with his longtime backing band the Innocent Criminals after a seven-year hiatus for his first ACL appearance since Season 35.  Harper and crew deliver a powerful, six-song set featuring classics and new songs from 2016’s acclaimed Call It What It Is.  Opening with the ever-catchy “Steal My Kisses,” the frontman gets the crowd on its feet, then segues into soulful new gems, showcasing his trademark lap steel guitar bona fides.  The socially-charged title track from his latest release has Harper reciting the names of gone-too-soon young black men.  Harper’s show-stopping performance of the take-us-to-church gospel burner “Where Could I Go” leaves both singer and audience overcome from the power of the moment, exposing the painfully honest and self-reflective lyrics that have made Harper a fan-favorite for 20-plus years.

photo by Scott Newton

“Jim James has appeared on the ACL stage in many musical guises, as befits his wildly eclectic virtuosity,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “But My Morning Jacket brings him back to ground zero where he is most at home. He’s one of the best at engaging a live audience, and it shows.  Ben Harper is another perennial favorite, always in tune with the times, his fans and his musical muse.  It’s very much like a homecoming for both of them, but more akin to two old friends coming home from long musical journeys to show us what they’ve learned.”

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. Tune in next week for an ACL Presents special, featuring the Americana Music Festival 2016.

My Morning Jacket’s epic performance

The last time My Morning Jacket appeared on Austin City Limits, in 2008, we were still in our original studio on the UT campus. So we were thrilled to welcome the Kentucky quintet to what’s been our home stage for the past five years for its third taping and first to be streamed live around the world. Concentrating on its most recent albums Circuital and The Waterfall, the band turned in a trademark epic performance.

After some brief pre-taped intro music, the band took the stage to the folk rocking strains of “Circuital.” Resplendent in his swirled kimono and big sunglasses, leader Jim James strapped on his Gibson for the neo-classic rock anthemry of “Believe (Nobody Knows),” segueing almost immediately into the similarly-inclined but pedal steel-laced “Outta My System.” Bo Koster’s buzzing synths and a midtempo stomp powered “Spring (Among the Living),” with James and fellow axeperson Carl Broemel alternating meaty solos. The band didn’t have to tell the audience that it would slow things down, instead jumping right into the self-explanatory “Slow Slow Tune” to bring on a mellow mood. The Jacket then did something we love: debuted a new song, entitled “Throwback (When We Were Young),” and driven by dueling riffs and a singalong chorus.

Band and audience paused for breath, before James and Broemel began the fingerpicked guitar web that introduces the epic “Tropics (Erase Traces).” After that storm of guitars and fire, the group brought the mood back down with the languid, soulful “Only Memories Remain,” on which James showed off his vocal range and took a dynamic guitar solo that went from jazzy to jagged. After eight songs drawing from Circuital and The Waterfall, the band reached back to its 2003 classic It Still Moves for the crunchy “Masterplan,” six-strings a-blazing. MMJ dipped back into The WaterfalI for “In Its Infancy,” which shifted from keyboard-led grooves to powerhouse arena rock at will. The band segued immediately into It Still Moves fan favorite “I Will Sing You Songs,” ending the main set on an unhurried note that eased the audience into the break.

Returning for a generous five-song encore, James, Broemel and Koster took the stage for the lovely “Wonderful (The Way I Feel),” with bassist Tom Blankenship and drummer Patrick Hallahan joining halfway through to transform it from folk to country. “Get the Point” aimed for an even more mellow target, the better to clear the palette for “Victory Dance.” Donning a towel on his head and a sampler around his neck, James strolled the stage as Koster’s clavinet roiled behind him and the band built up to its proggiest crescendoes yet. A galloping Hallahan beat announced the widescreen groover “Compound Fracture,” which stretched out without zoning out. The band brought the show to a close with It Still Moves’ upbeat rocker/statement of purpose “Mahgeetah,” bringing it all home with James and Broemel’s dueling guitar solos. The audience made its appreciation known loud and long. It was a fitting end to a spectacular show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall as part of our Season 42 on your local PBS station.

ACL to livestream My Morning Jacket taping on 5/2

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Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our third taping with My Morning Jacket live, powered by Dell, on May 2 at 8pm CT/9 pm ET. Fans around the world can watch the concert on  ACLTV’s  YouTube channel as it happens.

My Morning Jacket are old friends of Austin City Limits. Not only has the band been featured twice, in 2006 and 2008, but dynamic leader Jim James has appeared four additional times, as a solo headliner, with Monsters of Folk and as a special guest of Bright Eyes and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For their first collective appearance in eight years, the eclectic Kentucky group focus both on material recorded for their most recent album The Waterfall, which the New York Times called “a consolidation of the band’s strengths” and Salon hailed as “the Louisville band’s best, most ambitious and most nuanced effort in more than a decade,” and previews of its upcoming 2016 LP.  

Please join us on May 2 on our ACLTV YouTube channel as we welcome back My Morning Jacket.

My Morning Jacket 5/2

UPDATE: Ticket giveaway is no over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by MY MORNING JACKET on Monday, May 2nd, at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd). We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by 9 am on Thursday, April 28th. Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required.  No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio. No cameras or recording devices allowed in venue.

ACL announces a new season of tapings with Iggy Pop, Natalia Lafourcade and My Morning Jacket

Austin City Limits is proud to announce the first tapings of our upcoming Season 42 with three incredible artists taking the stage: rock & roll legend Iggy Pop in his long-awaited ACL debut, the debut of international sensation Natalia Lafourcade and the return of one of rock’s finest bands, My Morning Jacket.

The godfather of punk makes his inaugural appearance on the ACL stage March 15th on the eve of his surprise new release Post Pop Depression, out March 18th. Conceived in partnership with Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme, a two-time ACL veteran who also produced the album, Post Pop Depression was recorded in secret in Palm Desert, CA with a vibe described as “Detroit meets Palm Desert by way of old Berlin.” The result is the successor to the legacy of Iggy’s immortal 1977 double-shot of The Idiot and Lust For Life. In their first-ever full-set live performance, Iggy and Homme take the ACL stage ahead of a SXSW appearance and a select run of one-time-only live shows. Bringing the new songs to life alongside classics spanning Iggy’s storied career, the pair will be joined by the Homme-assembled powerhouse band that recorded Post Pop Depression – including Homme’s QOTSA bandmate and Dead Weather-man Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders – fleshed out with touring members QOTSA’s Troy Van Leeuwen and Chavez’ Matt Sweeney. We’re thrilled to welcome the one and only Iggy Pop on March 15, just three days before the release of Post Pop Depression.

Singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade is one of Mexico’s biggest music stars. Her infectious mix of pop, rock, folk and bossa nova has earned her multiple chart-topping albums and Grammy award nominations.  The daughter of French-Chilean musician Gastón Lafourcade, the Coatepec native began making music as a child. At the age of nineteen, she released her acclaimed self-titled debut which went to #1 on the Mexican charts and earned her first Latin Grammy nomination.  Her latest LP Hasta La Raíz, hailed “her most profound and enduring statement” by the Village Voice, also reached #1, thanks to what AllMusic calls “extremely well-written songs in the grand romantic Latin American tradition…but with a contemporary perspective.” The title track won three Latin Grammys for Record, Song and Alternative Song of the Year, and the album is currently nominated for a 2016 Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album.  Please welcome Natalia Lafourcade to her debut ACL performance on March 23.  

photo by Danny Clinch

My Morning Jacket are old friends of Austin City Limits. Not only has the band been featured twice, in 2006 and 2008, but dynamic leader Jim James has appeared four additional times, as a solo headliner, with Monsters of Folk and as a special guest of Bright Eyes and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For their first collective appearance in eight years, the eclectic Kentucky group focus on material recorded for their most recent album The Waterfall, which the New York Times called “a consolidation of the band’s strengths” and Salon hailed as “the Louisville band’s best, most ambitious and most nuanced effort in more than a decade.” Expect plenty of wide-ranging alternative rock from veterans My Morning Jacket on May 2.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before the taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings.

My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Throughout their 16 years, My Morning Jacket has always had a healthy respect for living in the moment and the inherent mysteries of creativity. That shows through on their latest release The Waterfall, which Rolling Stone said is “a fusion of synth-wrapped Eighties pop, prog-rock and Philly soul that still connects like a heady MMJ record.”

This eclectic Kentucky group are old friends of Austin City Limits. Not only has the band been featured twice, in 2005 and 2008, but dynamic leader Jim James has appeared four additional times: as a solo headliner, with Monsters of Folk, and as a special guest of Bright Eyes and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

For their first collective appearance in eight years, My Morning Jacket will focus on material recorded for their most recent albums Circuital and The Waterfall, which the New York Times called “a consolidation of the band’s strengths” and Salon hailed as “the Louisville band’s best, most ambitious and most nuanced effort in more than a decade.”

The Waterfall graced Best of 2015 lists from American Songwriter, Paste, American SongwriterToronto Sun and numerous other publications. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 2016. When writing about it, Pretty Much Amazing said, “Production has never been cleaner. Progressions have never been tighter. The adhesive has never been stronger. And Jim James has never been finer.”