Encore: Phoenix

photo by Scott Newton

French band Phoenix celebrates their ACL debut with an epic, career-spanning full-hour episode that showcases their impeccably crafted rock. “We are Phoenix from Paris, France,” announces frontman Thomas Mars as they open a stellar performance, although no introduction is necessary for the rapturous Austin crowd.  French alternative rockers whose music resonates around the world, Phoenix kick off with a blistering rendition of “Entertainment” from their latest release Bankrupt! The band segue into the massive hit “Lisztomania” off their 2009 breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album. Called “one of the most influential post-millennial acts” by the NY Times, Phoenix earned headlining spots at 2013′s Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals. As the group connects the dots of its decade-plus career in their ACL outing, they pair older tunes with newer material: “Too Young” from their 2000 debut is woven into a seamless melody with the more recent “Girlfriend.” The opening synth notes of the intro to their smash “1901” draws raves from the audience as Phoenix cap a glorious set, with Mars calling the ACL appearance “a pinnacle moment” for the band.

“Phoenix has been on my hit list since they won their Best Alternative Album Grammy three years ago, but it’s been well worth the wait,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Their new music shows remarkable growth, and their live shows are always electrifying. Their songs transcend geographical and musical borders.”

photo by Scott Newton

Check out the episode details here and tune in this Saturday to see the show for yourself. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: Jim James and The Black Angels.

photo by Scott Newton

Encore: Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids

photo by Scott Newton

Join us this weekend as we present Americana music originals Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids in a brand new episode. Both artists showcase their bona fides in an all acoustic hour with roots/folk singer-songwriter Jarosz making a return appearance on the ACL stage and newcomers The Milk Carton Kids in their ACL debut. The episode showcases the young folk acts who were both nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Pushing the limits of Americana with her own distinctive style, multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz takes the ACL stage for her second appearance performing highlights from her album Build Me Up From Bones. The incredibly talented Jarosz has already released three albums at the age of 22. With her two-piece band featuring a fiddle player and cello, Jarosz begins a stellar set with the Grammy-nominated title track in an acoustic performance that showcases her musicianship and songwriting. Switching between mandolin and banjo, Jarosz also dips into the songbooks of others, treating the audience to an accessible take on Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right On” and a solo rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Kathy’s Song”. She invites The Milk Carton Kids out to join her and the band for “Annabelle Lee” (based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem), displaying their complementary visions of contemporary folk music.

“We are so proud of Sarah, we feel like she’s part of the family,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “The last time she graced our stage she was on her way to college, now she’s graduated with honors and her remarkable talent has grown exponentially. We couldn’t resist having her back!”

photo by Scott Newton

The Milk Carton Kids, the L.A. acoustic folk duo consisting of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, make their ACL debut playing songs from their critically-acclaimed  album The Ash & Clay. The besuited pair “play a sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals, part Simon and Garfunkel and part Everly Brothers” (LA Times) for a sound NPR calls “gorgeous contemporary folk.” With flat-picking, harmonies and a touch of twisted humor, the duo play purely acoustically on the ACL stage—no guitar amplification and one vocal mic—to beautiful effect. In a skillful performance infused with their signature wit, the Kids charm the Austin crowd with their playful, deadpan banter, exquisite guitar work, rich harmonies and timeless folk.

“I first saw Kenneth and Joey perform on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium last September, and it was obvious that they are world-class entertainers beyond their years,” says Lickona. “They are traditionalists with a modern spin and a mischievous sense of humor.”

photo by Scott Newton

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 goodness. Next week: Phoenix.

 

Encore: Randy Newman

photo by Scott Newton

It’s no secret that Austin City Limits makes a habit of showcasing musical legends. Merle Haggard, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Loretta Lynn, Bonnie Raitt – the archives are packed with the best of the best. This Saturday, we encore an episode featuring another musician’s musician: the great Randy Newman.

Both a tender balladeer and a master satirist, Newman’s songs have spanned the length and breadth of popular music for the past five decades. Three Dog Night took “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” into the top 10 in 1970, Newman scored his own #2 hit with the infamous “Short People” and hooked another, younger generation as the composer of Pixar film music, like Toy Story’s beloved “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” In between chart milestones he’s scattered brilliant tunes like “Sail Away,” “Feels Like Home,” “Harps and Angels,” “Political Science,” “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and “Louisiana 1927” across the pop culture landscape like a farmer planting seeds in the field. And you get all of these and more in this show.

ACL producer Terry Lickona chased the Oscar-winning Newman for nearly three decades, and this episode proves it was worth the wait. Is it too early to call it a classic? Nope – we’re callin’ it.

Click here for more info on this episode, and don’t forget to tune in Saturday night to watch it yourself. As always, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages or subscribe to our newsletter for more ACL magic. Next week: Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids.

Encore: Queens of the Stone Age

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits creates fireworks with an electrifying hour from rock innovators Queens of the Stone Age. Recently nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album, QOTSA prove they’re undeniably one of the best rock bands today in a dynamic performance.

Queens’ frontman Josh Homme appeared on ACL back in 2009 as part of the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures along with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones, but in this appearance he makes his long-awaited ACL debut with QOTSA, the band he’s led for nearly two decades. QOTSA released …Like Clockwork, their first disc in six years, in 2013, debuting at #1 on Billboard‘s 200 and earning unanimous raves on critic’s Year-End Best Albums of 2013 lists, including Spin, Rolling Stone, Alternative Press and NPR. QOTSA’s ACL performance includes songs from the new record and hits from throughout their storied career. The scorching eleven-song set opens with signature tracks from their 2002 breakthrough Songs for the Deaf blasted out on head-banging drums and Homme’s trademark guitar tone. The band combine metal, blues, thrash, punk and psychedelia into a sound that’s both classic and unique. Ringleader Homme leads the band through songs from their latest release along with seminal records Rated R and Era Vulgaris, complete with grinding riffs, menace and muscle, sex and swagger, in an addictive performance that is a master class in rock’n'roll.

photo by Scott Newton

“Josh Homme is a genius, and he’s made Queens of the Stone Age one of the best rock bands of our time,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They make some serious rock and roll, but without taking themselves too seriously.”

Find out more about this week’s episode here. Keep up with ACL happenings via our Facebook and Twitter pages, or our newsletter. Next week: songwriting legend Randy Newman.

 

Encore: Wilco

photo by Scott Newton

“When people ask what kind of music Austin City Limits stands for,” executive producer Terry Lickona says, “there’s one band that sums it up better than any other – Wilco!” Encoring this weekend, our fourth episode featuring this veteran modern rock band shows exactly why ACL holds Jeff Tweedy and company in such high esteem. Concentrating on its latest release The Whole Love, the Chicago sextet puts such stellar tracks as “Art of Almost,” “One Wing” and “Dawned On Me” through their paces with near-perfect poise. It’s not all the new album, of course, as the band also drops a few deep cuts like “Bull Black Nova” and “War On War” into the set. And as the icing on an already delicious cake, Wilco tour mate Nick Lowe drops by with his classic “Cruel to Be Kind,” backed by the boys themselves.

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this Saturday, June 28, to catch all the Wilco action for yourself. Hit the episode page  for more info, and your local listings for exact airtimes. Keep up with your favorite music television show with Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Next week: Queens of the Stone Age.

 

Encore: Raphael Saadiq and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

photo by Scott Newton

WARNING:  This Saturday’s encore episode may induce the following behavior: dancing/booty shaking, laughter, uncontrollable smiling, clapping, soulful singing, and bass throwing (if you have one nearby).

What are we talking about? This week’s episode featuring multi-instrumentalist and R&B veteran Raphael Saadiq and Austin’s own Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, of course.

Referring to journalists as “lazy” when they try to fit his musical style under genre specific labels (such as neo-soul), it’s clear from this performance and his albums that Raphael Saadiq draws inspiration from a wide array of artists. Featuring special guest Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Saadiq covers hits from his 2011 album Stone Rollin’. Watch when Saadiq performs the title track, a song he initially wrote when he was 11 about a “full-figured, bluesy woman,” as his background vocalists show as much energy as Saadiq himself.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears have been such an Austin favorite and “must-see” over the years that it wasn’t a shock when the group starting gaining national attention. In this performance you see the group at its finest, performing a mix of songs from its 2009 debut Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! and their 2011 release Scandalous. This performance is brimming with energy, soul and flying instruments, and hits its peak at the end, when the group is joined by Dallas gospel group the Relatives for the fervid hit and crowd favorite “You Been Lyin’.”

photo by Scott Newton

Check your local listings for showtimes to see this episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hook up with our newsletter to keep up with updates on tapings and airings! Oh, and please watch out for the bass. Austin City Limits does not condone anyone throwing instruments in the living room, but if you do, let us know because that would be an awesome story worth sharing. Next week: Wilco with special guest Nick Lowe.