Residente showcase his own kind of world music in ACL’s 44th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an extraordinary hour with Puerto Rican rap superstar Residente. The record-breaking Grammy Award-winning artist makes his ACL debut in a vibrant eight-song set showcasing his whipsmart rap and powerful message of social justice.

Rene Pérez Joglar, aka Residente, has earned a staggering 28 Grammy Awards (more than any other Latin artist) as a solo artist and co-founder of the trailblazing alternative rap duo Calle 13. The superstar also received the prestigious Nobel Peace Summit Award in 2015 for his efforts to promote social awareness and peace. In an impassioned, thought-provoking debut, Residente takes the ACL audience on a journey around the world, exploring his globe-spanning roots through music, and sharing the stories behind many of his songs. The rapper showcases highlights from his 2018 Grammy Award-winning, DNA-test inspired, self-titled solo debut. Finding he had roots all over the world, Residente traveled to many of the places that formed parts of his genetic makeup, from Serbia to Africa.

Backed by a commanding seven-piece band of global musicians hailing from Columbia to Morocco, the charismatic rapper opens with the explosive “Somos Anormales.” Residente preaches a message of unity, vowing “We include people, we don’t exclude people,” and speaking bilingual English and Spanish throughout. This inclusiveness translates to his musical vision as he dazzles on “Dagombas en Tamale,” a song based around the vocal and percussion styles of the Dagombas tribes of the African nation of Ghana. The politically-charged rapper shouts out for resistance, relaying a call to peace through the rapid-fire “Guerra.” Residente drives his message of love home with the gorgeous “Latinoamérica,” telling the roaring crowd, “America is the whole continent. This is for everyone.”

photo by Scott Newton

“At a time when Latin music is exploding worldwide, Residente stands out among his contemporaries,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “His raps are powerful and soul-searching, his music always inspiring, always true to his Puerto Rican roots.”

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 British rockers Arctic Monkeys and Austin favorites Wild Child.

Trombone Shorty and Cyril Neville bring New Orleans funk to Season 44

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases Trombone Shorty & his 10-piece band Orleans Avenue in an electrifying hour with the New Orleans funk shooting stars.

“What’s up, ACL? We meet again!” proclaims Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, in his second appearance on the ACL stage. The celebrated singer/songwriter/trombone sensation made his ACL debut in 2010 and has become New Orlean’s biggest musical ambassador, channeling his hometown’s rich cultural heritage of soul, funk, jazz, rock and hip-hop to audiences worldwide. The bandleader and his band of aces, including horns, guitar and percussion, show off their bona fides on the instrumental opener “Buckjump,” before easing into the brass-band funk of the Allen Toussaint classic “On Your Way Down.” The non-stop party features selections from Shorty’s catalog, including funky rocker “Where It At?” and the show-stopping “Here Come the Girls” from 2017’s acclaimed Parking Lot Symphony, along with numbers from 2011’s For True and 2010’s Backatown.

In a show full of musical highlights, Shorty takes the mood even higher, announcing “We about to take you to uptown New Orleans right now,” introducing a very special guest, ACL Hall of Famer Cyril Neville, “from the mighty, mighty Neville Brothers.” In an exhilarating performance, the beloved showman reaches back to the Nevilles’ origins, burning through the legendary Meters’ “No More Okey Doke” and “Fiyo On the Bayou,” certified Big Easy classics that have the Austin crowd on their feet for a glorious finale.

photo by Scott Newton

“The music of New Orleans has been a part of Austin City Limits’ legacy since the beginning,” according to executive producer Terry Lickona. “The two cities are kindred spirits in so many ways. Virtually every major artist from The Big Easy has played ACL over the years, and Trombone Shorty is the music of New Orleans today.”

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 Latin superstar Residente.

Khalid and Mac DeMarco showcase original visions in ACL’s 44th season

Khalid on Austin City Limits ©️KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases two originals: breakout R&B/pop star Khalid and indie rocker Mac DeMarco make their ACL debuts in a new installment premiering this weekend. Khalid performs songs from his Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum debut American Teen. Mac DeMarco delivers soft jams from his acclaimed This Old Dog.

A highlight of 2018’s namesake ACL Festival, Khalid’s meteoric rise to fame launched when he released his first single right before his high school graduation. The El Paso native took the years he spent in high school in the Texan border town as inspiration for a series of hits and his double-platinum debut LP American Teen. The 20-year old has struck a chord with his legions of fans with insightful songs that resonate about modern youth culture—Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling songs about smartphones and being young that audiences relate to. Flashing a wide smile throughout his soaring ACL debut, Khalid showcases songs from his smash American Teen in a soulful, seven-song set as the stoked crowd sings along to every word of his lyrics. Set highlights include the anthem “American Teen,” multi-platinum smash “Young Dumb & Broke” and the four-times platinum single that started it all, “Location.”

The New York Times calls Mac DeMarco “a trendsetting merrymaker” with a “surprising career built on seeming like an affable deadbeat.” The irreverent prankster is known to share wine and cake with fans during his live shows. The Edmonton native promises to keep it smooth at the top of his ACL debut, and he makes good on the pledge in a five-song interactive set of his distinctive laid-back rock. The singer-songwriter-guitarist and his four-piece band spotlight songs from his fourth and best-selling LP This Old Dog, taking a stage set as an unconventional version of an Italian restaurant: checkered tablecloths, fake fruit, plenty of red wine and dollhead masks. Launching into the smoothly flowing set-opener “On the Level,” the creamy sound of an electric grand piano signals the drift into “For the First Time,” an ‘80s-sounding soft rocker with a melody that thrills the ACL audience. The gap-toothed rocker shows off his guitar skills on songs from his 2014 breakthrough, the lo-fi gem Salad Days, including the mellow pop of “Brother” and “Chamber of Reflection.” DeMarco throws a slice of pound cake to the willing audience and closes out the set directing the crowd in a little clapping “classic rock-style” before ditching the guitar for a glass of red wine (“It’s Cab-Sav. It’s French.”) to toast the crowd.

Mac DeMarco on Austin City Limits ©️KLRU photo by Scott Newton

“Khalid and Mac DeMarco are very different, but what they have in common are millions of passionate young music fans who adore them,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Their songs resonate with twentysomethings (and younger) because they relate to their everyday lives in ways that are insightful and friendly, and even a little bit comical.”

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 a classic encore episode from 1979, featuring the legendary Tom Waits.

Janelle Monáe delivers a show-stopping Season 44 episode

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents one of today’s most celebrated artists, Janelle Monáe, in a thrilling new hour of euphoric funk.  The award-winning singer, songwriter, performer, producer, activist and actor showcases songs from her widely acclaimed Dirty Computer in a must-see episode.

Monáe stole the show at this year’s namesake ACL Festival; now the visionary funk songstress delivers a show-stopping master class for her Austin City Limits debut, featuring songs from her third solo album, Dirty Computer, one of 2018’s most lauded releases.  Performing with a predominantly female ensemble, including a four-woman dance team, the Kansas City native slays in a breathtaking, eight-song set packed with exuberant choreography and elaborate costumes.  “I come in peace, but I mean business,” the powerhouse proclaims to the Austin audience. She performs Dirty Computer gems, singing the funky “Django Jane” refrain “Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it,” atop a golden throne; the sizzling “Pynk,” a cleverly costumed celebration of female empowerment, and the sensual “Make Me Feel,” opening in silhouette to showcase her Michael Jackson and James Brown-inspired dance moves.  Saying “We love you, Prince,” Monáe pays tribute to her late mentor and collaborator with “Primetime,” from 2013’s The Electric Lady, as her guitarist evokes the unmistakable coda of the icon’s “Purple Rain.” She dazzles with back-to-back highlights from her Grammy-nominated 2010 debut The ArchAndroid, including her smash “Tightrope,” then wraps up her stunning ACL debut with a climactic “Come Alive.”

“The artistry of Janelle Monáe is stunning,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “She can do it all. There’s nobody else out there like her. I’ve never seen anybody like her on Austin City Limits – in over three decades, and that says a lot!”

photo by Scott Newton

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 featuring singer/songwriters James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens.

The modern Americana of Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real on ACL 44

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases left-of-center country with Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real in a new episode. Two-time Grammy Award-winning Kacey Musgraves returns for the first time since her 2014 appearance and roots rocker Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real make their ACL debut.

One of country music’s most critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, Kacey Musgraves returns to the ACL stage with songs from Golden Hour, her third album, and a career highlight. The release has generated glowing reviews and recently earned a coveted Album of the Year nomination from the Country Music Association for the upcoming CMA Awards (on November 14), along with a nod for Musgraves as Female Vocalist of the Year. With a sequin-studded saddle suspended over the stage, the boundary-pushing country artist delivers a radiant seven-song set showcasing Golden Hour, opening with the lush “Slow Burn,” an introspective stunner reflecting the more personal direction of her latest collection. The East Texas native made a name for herself with her piercing observations and irreverent brand of country and reaches back to her 2013 breakthrough for the fan-favorite “Follow Your Arrow,” letting the crowd take over on the final verse. “Get on your roller skates Austin,” she instructs the rapt audience for the disco-fied set-closer “High Horse,” as Musgraves treats the crowd to some smooth moves, turning the ACL stage into her very own dance floor.

After more than a decade on the road barnstorming across the U.S.A. and around the world, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have developed into one of music’s most impressive live acts, earning a 2018 Group of the Year nomination from the Americana Music Awards. The band’s sound draws on many of Nelson’s influences including his own father, outlaw country icon Willie Nelson, and Neil Young, with whom the band has regularly toured and recorded in recent years. In their ACL debut, the six-piece outfit delivers on their promise with a powerhouse set filled with songs from their acclaimed self-titled album. Opening with the fierce rocker “Something Real,” the band showcase their bona fides segueing seamlessly into country heartbreaker “(Forget About) Georgia.” The Austin-born Nelson performs a sterling solo acoustic “Just Outside of Austin,” a crowd-pleaser steeped in the Texas singer-songwriter tradition, before closing out the set with the stirring social anthem “Turn Off the News” for a memorable ACL debut.

photo by Scott Newton

“Both Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real represent the new generation of Country and Americana music,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “but their talents really transcend those traditional labels. What they both have in common is attitude – and lots of it!”

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 a brand new episode featuring progressive soul artist Janelle Monáe.

Miguel and Alessia Cara spotlight contemporary R&B and pop in ACL’s 44th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an uplifting hour showcasing two standouts from the worlds of contemporary R&B and pop: Grammy Award-winning R&B phenom Miguel and hitmaker Alessia Cara in their ACL debuts. Miguel performs cuts from his acclaimed album War & Leisure and Alessia Cara, the 2018 Grammy Award-winning Best New Artist, shines with mega-hits and new songs.  

“I’ve watched many episodes of ACL and to be on this stage, this legendary stage, and share it with you tonight means the world to me,” says Miguel from behind his fringe-covered mic stand.  Los Angeles-raised, with black and Latino roots, the singer-songwriter—born Miguel Jontel Pimentel—is one of the most adventurous voices in contemporary R&B. A magnetic performer, he sends a message of love through a soaring set that inspires sing-alongs to his biggest hits.   Opening with fan-favorite “How Many Drinks?” from his 2012 breakthrough Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel moves across the stage with style, showcasing his signature falsetto.  He delivers a solo acoustic version of the social consciousness anthem “Now,” saying, “I can’t think of a better time or more fitting place to sing this song…now is the time when we have to stop looking at other people for the answers and every day take a moment to do something ourselves to move things in a positive direction.”  Miguel closes out the thrilling set with his euphoric smash “Sky Walker,” chanting the refrain “You gotta stay up!” as the willing Austin audience is on their feet.

22-year-old pop breakout star Alessia Cara earned the coveted Grammy Award for Best New Artist this year,  and delivers a crowd-pleasing set of her irresistible songs in a sparkling ACL debut. The Toronto native catapulted onto the charts in late 2015 with her spellbinding smash “Here,” from her platinum debut album KNOW-IT-ALL.  Cara performs the number in her ACL set, saying “This is the first song I ever released, and it changed my life, so sing along,” even dropping a bonus new verse on the eager audience.  The vocal stunner performs show-stopping versions of the mega-hits that have earned her legions of fans, including her emotional ode to self-love, “Scars To Your Beautiful,” and “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney blockbuster Moana.  Her band exits the stage as she dons an acoustic guitar for a soulful solo performance of her new song “A Little More”.  With smoke effects and flying confetti, Cara closes the set with an ecstatic rendition of her #1 pop collaboration with renowned DJ/producer Zedd, “Stay,” sparking an instant crowd sing-along as she playfully urges the enthralled ACL crowd to jump along.

photo by Scott Newton

“Miguel and Alessia Cara represent the best of a new generation of contemporary singer-songwriters,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Rather than wallow in self-pity or self-indulgence, their songs aren’t afraid to confront the challenges and realities of life today, but always with hope for a better world.”

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 a brand new episode featuring Americana stars Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

Brandi Carlile brings uplift to ACL Season 44

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents acclaimed singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile in a sparkling new hour. Carlile showcases her acclaimed By The Way, I Forgive You, her sixth studio album and a career high point, which has earned “Best of 2018” raves at NPR, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard and more.  The Seattle area native delivers a radiant performance marking her first return to the ACL stage since her 2010 debut in Season 36.  An outspoken social activist, Carlile dedicates her hit anthem “The Joke” to the marginalized, saying “This is a song for anybody that feels unloved or unaccepted or unnatural or illegal.” Joined by her longtime bandmates and songwriting partners Tim and Phil Hanseroth—twin brothers on guitar and bass—and augmented by a string quartet, the hour is an emotional tour de force.  She introduces “Most Of All” saying “We’re gonna sing you a song about your first love—your parents,” in a gorgeous salute to acceptance in family dynamics.  A set highlight is a solo acoustic version of “The Mother,” a poignant song that grapples with her recent entry into motherhood with signature frankness, featuring a surprise onstage visit from her 4-year-old daughter.  Carlile closes the cathartic hour on piano with the declaration of love, “Party Of One;” a blissful show stopper as the strings play her offstage.

“Brandi Carlile has that uncanny ability to channel universal emotions that are part of life’s highs and lows into a song,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Her voice alone is like a salve that soothes. Her performance on this show is nothing short of uplifting!”

photo by Scott Newton

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 a brand new episode featuring contemporary R&B artists Miguel and Alessia Cara.

Sam Smith and Anderson East sing blue-eyed soul on ACL’s 44th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits has all the feels in a soulful new installment showcasing two gifted vocalists: worldwide superstar Sam Smith and emerging singer-songwriter Anderson East.  

The multi-platinum, four-time GRAMMY ® award-winning Sam Smith wowed ACL audiences with his 2014 debut during the program’s milestone Season 40, and the British native returns with songs from his chart-topping, acclaimed sophomore album The Thrill Of It All.  Smith turns his songs about heartbreak into anthems of strength in a sparkling performance, backed by gospel-style vocalists. Smith proudly tells the Austin crowd he wrote “HIM,” the powerful same-sex anthem, “as a message that love is love,” inspiring the crowd to join on the soaring chorus. He performs a thrilling version of his smash “Pray” and delivers the stirring “Palace” as a passionate duet joined by his backing singer, displaying the full range of his vocal prowess.  The magnetic star closes out the set with the mega-hit “Too Good At Goodbyes,” with Smith gamely instructing the Austin crowd to “sing this to your ex.”

Alabama rock-and-soul singer Anderson East dazzles with his staggering vocal power and a firestorm of songs blending rock, blues, country and soul for a mighty ACL debut.  The singer-songwriter performs songs from his acclaimed Encore, produced by longtime collaborator, Nashville it-producer Dave Cobb.  The album’s title is derived from East’s steadfast belief that every song on his new album must be worthy of closing out one of his notoriously epic live shows.  East brings the fireworks for set-opener “Surrender” with his hard-charging eight-piece band, complete with joyous horns and backup singers, laying down the driving beat.  He introduces the tender charmer “King For A Day” saying “here’s a song about how I’m feeling.” The swaggering “Girlfriend” segues directly into the sultry declaration of desire “All On My Mind” for a one-two gut-punch.  Vintage Southern soul-burner “Satisfy Me,” a Stax-worthy R&B gem from his 2015 debut Delilah, has the crowd on their feet and East saves the finest moment for last—bringing the house down with the powerhouse vocal climax of rousing set-closer “House Is A Building.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Sam Smith and Anderson East bare their souls in totally different ways,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “Sam starts with a whisper, then soars; Anderson starts with fireworks. What they have in common is their unabashed honesty and ability to make a powerful emotional connection with their audience.”

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 a brand new episode featuring rocking singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile.