Encore: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros/tUnE-yArDs

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits is proud to present the encore of an inspired double-bill featuring the experimental sounds of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and tUnE-yArDs.

The psychedelic folk troupe Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros bring their shared spirit to the ACL stage in their debut appearance on the show. Equipped with infectious melodies, catchy sing-a-longs and a free-spirited frontman, the 12-piece ensemble have gained fans all over the world. With two critically-acclaimed albums and a widespread reputation for energetic performances, the down-home outfit create what NPR calls a “gloriously uplifting ruckus.” The Los Angeles-based group draws inspiration from the communal musical communities that peppered Southern California with positive vibrations during the ’60s and early ’70s. The gang of animated musicians perform their bright music and homespun harmonies on ACL complete with spontaneous dancing, bare feet and bared souls.

“This is a band that loves to make music, pure and simple,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “They may look and sound like they came straight out of the 60’s, but there is a joy to their music that is infectious – onstage or off. In fact, frontman Alex Ebert had a hard time staying ON our stage during the show, and to everyone’s delight he plunged into the crowd more than once.”

Next up is the bold, uncompromising music of tUnE-yArDs, performing tracks from the critically-acclaimed opus whokill. The brainchild of indie singer-songwriter Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs have fashioned an expansive sound incorporating layered ukulele, voice, electric bass and drum loops into an eclectic DIY aesthetic. Technology meets primal in the music of Garbus, who The New York Times describes as “somewhere between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono.” She showcases her striking sound for her first appearance on the ACL stage. With a bassist and two sax players joining Garbus’ frontline of drums, amplified ukelele and looping technology, tUnE-yArDs put on a show unlike any other.

photo by Scott Newton

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an act quite like Merrill Garbus and tUnE-yArDs on ACL,” says Lickona. “But don’t be fooled…just when her music seems to veer off in a strange direction, Merrill brings it all back home with the raw power of her voice and those loopy rhythms.”

Check out the episode page for more details on this remarkable show. We also hope you’ll visit us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter. Next week: Ed Sheeran and Valerie June.

 

Encore: Tim McGraw

photo by Scott Newton

“This is a special night for us. We’re very excited!” ” proclaims Tim McGraw during his debut ACL performance. So are we to welcome one of contemporary country’s biggest stars.

In a dynamic performance, McGraw takes the ACL stage armed with both his greatest hits and brand new songs. Performing tracks from his 2013 record Two Lanes of Freedom, McGraw blazes through an hour-long set of his distinctive brand of rockin’ country music.

Launching into a set that has the audience on its feet from the first note, the country kingpin has his engines revving and thrills the crowd in a visceral, moving performance. From his hard-driving new single “One of Those Nights” to the feel-good hangover of “Mexicoma,” the energy level is at 11 when McGraw sings his massive career-defining anthem “Live Like You Were Dying.” He brings the show to a close and a smile to every face with the good-natured hillbilly humor of his recent huge hit “Truck Yeah,” a singalong anthem if there ever was one.

“Country Music has plenty of superstars to go around, but Tim has that special ability to make an emotional connection with his audience that is rare in any genre,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “His first ACL appearance meant a lot to him – he told me it made him feel ‘like a real musician – not just sort of smoke and mirrors.’”

photo by Scott Newton

Check out the episode page for more info on this exciting show. Keep up with other ACL goings-on through our Facebook and Twitter pages and our newsletter. Next week: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and tUnE-yArDs.

 

Encore: The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers

photo by Scott Newton

Join us this weekend for a night of intimate and supremely talented performances from The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers. With zero percussion assistance for each performance, one acquires a clear picture of the depth of musicianship and delicately crafted songs that both of these artists brought to our stage. What you’ll find from both artists is nothing short of moving, inspiring, and wildly intriguing.

With open arms and a bare stage, we welcomed The Civil Wars back in February 2012 as the first taping that year. The Grammy Award-winners proved to be a perfect start to the newest season on so many levels. Their minimalist set with the ever-so perpetual Austin skyline in the background highlighted the voices of Joy Williams and John Paul White as they played hits off their 2011 release Barton Hollow. Included in this performance are two very intense, but true to the original spirit, renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.” At one moment you realize that Williams and White had the entire audience in their hand when Williams remarked about how quiet and attentive the audience was reacting. It’s true – at many points during this episode you become so captivated by Joy’s sashaying and John’s guitar playing that you forget where you are and immediately realize why these two have garnered their much-deserved praise.

“When you start a band, this is all you ever really want to do – play Austin City Limits,” mentioned Chris Thile in the middle of Punch Brothers’ set. Thile, who is no stranger to ACL (this is his third appearance), brings his all-star band that formed back in 2006 to the show. Again there is no percussion, but unlike the simple quietness that we get from The Civil Wars earlier, we get an influx of sound from the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass. The progressive rock stars of the bluegrass world take us through their 2012 release of Who’s Feeling Young Now? with a few sprinkles of the 2010 album Antifogmatic. This group’s genre-jumping and incredible musicianship will have you tapping your toes and wishing you had taken up banjo back in 10th grade.

photo by Scott Newton

This is something you will not want to miss, but don’t take our word for it – see it for yourself! You can preview the episode and get more information here; check here for local listings and times in your area. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for all things Austin City Limits, and sign up for our newsletter for further info. Next week: Tim McGraw.

 

Encore: fun. and Dawes

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents multiple Grammy Award-winning band fun. and folk-rockers Dawes making their ACL debuts in a new episode showcasing their distinctive brands of modern rock.

Opening the episode, fun. takes to the ACL stage for the first time to perform their epic hits, including “We Are Young”, “Some Nights” and “Carry On” from the landmark album Some Nights. The breakthrough band was awarded Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for “We Are Young”, their best-selling single and one of the year’s most memorable tracks) at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Despite fun.’s seemingly overnight success, it’s been a slow and steady build of over a decade for frontman Nate Ruess, who joined forces with bandmates Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff to create the melodic anthems that connected with audiences everywhere and propelled the indie rockers to international success. “Something feels really special about tonight,” says Ruess from the ACL stage, engaging the Austin audience in a dynamic, energetic performance complete with sing-alongs. The acclaimed band delivers an uplifting, memorable debut, closing out the set with their modern classic “Some Nights”, with the Austin crowd providing the “whoa-oh-oh’s.”

“As expected, fun. lives up to its name, but their music has a depth that goes beyond their Broadway-like showmanship,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “Nate is a 21st century rock star.”

The Los Angeles rock quartet known as Dawes share the bill, performing songs that span their three critically-acclaimed albums, including the latest, Stories Don’t End, which hit the Top 5 on Billboard’s independent albums chart. The band made waves with its 2009 debut and gained a reputation for their impressive classic rock-infused songs that evoke the past while embracing the present. The LA Times raves of the new release, “Dawes strums and shuffles its way through a dozen handcrafted folk-rock tunes that sound as if they were nourished on classics such as Jackson Browne’s self-titled debut and the Band’s Music From Big Pink.” Having already toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson and Mumford & Sons, and gracing the stages of music’s most prestigious festivals, Dawes’ appeal crosses all age barriers and has no boundaries.  In their ACL debut, Dawes delivers a raw and glorious set, highlighted by rich harmonies, for a crowd-pleasing performance.

photo by Scott Newton

“Despite all the references to their California folk-rock sound, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith writes songs that sometimes cut to the bone,” Lickona says. “You’ll be replaying these songs in your head for days.”

Check out the episode page for more details. Be sure and visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL goodies. Next week: The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers.

 

Encore: Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, ACL presents two game-changers bringing modern blues and soul to a new generation: Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes. The power of live performance is front and center as Austin’s own rock ‘n’ soul phenomenon Clark and soulful rockers Alabama Shakes take the ACL stage in separate showcases.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for sixteen years” says a stoked Gary Clark Jr. from the stage. “It feels so good to be here right now.” Long Austin’s favorite son, the twenty-eight year old bluesman exploded onto the international music scene when he delivered an incredible performance at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Born and raised in Austin, Clark began playing guitar at age 12, tearing up hometown stages since he was a teenager. He made a name for himself across the globe with the release of his critically-acclaimed 2012 major label debut Blak and Blu, and kicked off 2013 with a performance for President and Mrs. Obama at The White House. Clark has earned across-the-board raves for his singular talent, with The New York Times hailing Clark as “a guitarist of deep magnetism and tremendous feel.” The guitar virtuoso flaunts his six-string chops in his ACL appearance, thrilling the audience with a bold mix of blues, rock, soul and funk. Clark made his auspicious ACL debut back in Season 33 as part of the Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed, with Jimmie Vaughan and Omar Dykes, and with his own set Clark proves he’s the one to watch.

“He’s already shared the stage with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton, but Gary is the essence of what his hometown Austin’s music is all about,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “He learned from the best in every genre from the age of 12, and remains true to his heart and his roots. He’s our pride and joy.”

photo by Scott Newton

Raucous newcomers Alabama Shakes combine the old and the new to create gritty, joyous and soulfully raw music. Muscle Shoals-inspired and hailing from Athens, Alabama, the foursome enthusiastically blend rock with soul, country, blues and roots. The rock quartet has attracted widespread praise, including their recent Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.  Alabama Shakes’ style is marked by lead singer Brittany Howard’s powerful vocals—which have been compared to those of Janis Joplin and Otis Redding—and the group’s irresistible energy. Performing tracks from their breakthrough release Boys & Girls, the band open their ACL debut with the breakout hit “Hold On,” and launch into an ecstatic, transcendent, rafter-shaking set.

“There’s a reason Grammy voters nominated them for Best New Artist of the Year, the same reason we taped this show before they had even released their first record,” declares Lickona.  “Raw talent is hard to miss, and a vocal talent like Brittany Howard comes along once in a decade – if that.”

Check out the episode page for more info on this great show. You can keep up with ACL events via our Facebook and Twitter pages and our newsletter. Next week: Norah Jones and Kat Edmonson.

 

Encore: Radiohead

photo by Scott Newton

The day after we recorded Radiohead  back in March 2012, our reaction was, “Radiohead taped Austin City Limits last night. It almost feels like that’s all we need to say.” Even now we still feel the same sense of met anticipation. It was a happening that fans and we had personally been waiting for and it finally came to fruition. A band like Radiohead, (well, let’s be honest – there really isn’t a band out there like Radiohead) that can constantly challenge themselves and evolve to change their sound to continue to make beautiful and inspiring music is a rare gift. We are incredibly grateful to encore an episode featuring such progressive rock icons and modern day musical legends.

Radiohead open their set with “Bloom,” the busy and fitting song for the occasion that opens their 2011 self-released album The King of Limbs. From there the group goes to the piano-heavy and melodic “Daily Mail,” another new song from that year. The rest of the set features a collective mix of tracks from TKOL, Hail to the Thief, Kid A, OK Computer, and new singles. One highlight of the night is when they played a forgotten B-side, “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy.” Of course the essence of the night was captured at the very end when the band played the big hits and crowd favorites, “Idioteque” and “Paranoid Android.”

For those that missed seeing the taping live or the original broadcast, this is your opportunity to see what many described as being a passionate and “life-changing” performance. You can truly feel the energy of the band and the audience in this episode, and Thom Yorke’s dancing may even inspire you to flail around in your living room. (Seriously, if you don’t dance during “Idioteque” then there may be something wrong with your well-being.)

photo by Scott Newton

Don’t miss this weekend’s episode with Radiohead! And don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for updates about ACL. Next week: the second half of Season 40 begins with the Avett Brothers and Nickel Creek.

 

Encore: Tom Waits

photo by Scott Newton

The Tom Waits episode of Austin City Limits is one of the most requested shows in our 40-year archive. Recorded in December 1978, the show features the iconoclastic singer/songwriter supporting his classic LP Blue Valentine and deep in the transitional phase of his career, evolving out of the jazzy beat poetry of his early work (“I Wish I Was in New Orleans”) and into the bluesier, more dissonant sounds (“Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Blue Gun”) for which he became known in the 80s and beyond. He acknowledged the season with the streetwise but lovely “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,” which incorporates a few bars of a better-known Xmas hymn. And he debuted “On the Nickel,” one of his greatest ballads, and which wouldn’t be released on record until Heartattack and Vine in 1980.

You can check out the episode page for pics, the set list and the original liner notes for the episode. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and/or sign up for our newsletter for the latest news on ACL happenings. Next week: Radiohead.

 

Encore: Rodrigo y Gabriela with C.U.B.A.

photo by Scott Newton

For guitar fans, Austin City Limits has been home to legions of blues and country-soaked guitar slingers, from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Eric Johnson to Jerry Reed. This week, however, we feature the dazzling skills of Rodrigo y Gabriela. Joined by Cuban orchestra C.U.B.A., the Mexican duo puts its patented blend of flamenco, jazz and rock through its paces for a thrilling 60 minutes.

Driven by C.U.B.A.’s infectious accompaniment, the pair rockets through “Santa Domingo,” “11:11” and “Tamacun,” with their impressive guitar work riding the lush Cuban motion of their collaborative album Area 52. Gabriela’s traditional flamenco technique, often augmented by a wah-wah pedal, keeps time as much as the drums and percussion, while Rodrigo’s fleet-fingered leads head to the stratosphere – he even pays tribute to his heavy metal roots by strapping on an electric guitar for “Hanuman” and cranks some distortion on “Diablo Rojo.” Longtime fans wanting to hear the duo’s talent unadorned will be thrilled by the middle segment, as C.U.B.A. takes a break to allow Rodrigo y Gabriela to showcase what they are known for: two guitars, chemistry and flying fingers. Each picker takes the spotlight solo as well, in which Rodrigo zooms up and down his fretboard with sizzling leads and Gabriela proves herself as much percussionist as guitarist.

photo by Scott Newton

You can get a sample of Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A.’s danceable virtuosity by visiting the episode page, which should be enough to entice to check your local listings for the broadcast time on your PBS station. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL info. Next week: Tom Waits.