New tapings: Ed Sheeran, Father John Misty and Herbie Hancock

photo by Greg Williams

Austin City Limits is excited to announce upcoming tapings with a trio of music’s finest.  UK superstar Ed Sheeran returns on August 20 for his second Austin City Limits appearance, supporting his chart-topping new album ÷. Indie rock star Father John Misty arrives on August 22 making his ACL debut, in support of his third album Pure Comedy and iconic Herbie Hancock makes his long-awaited ACL debut on October 12.

Ed Sheeran – an eleven-time Grammy nominee and multiple Grammy winner – has quickly established himself as one of music’s biggest acts with over 22 million albums sold and 4.7 billion Spotify streams. His latest release ÷ (pronounced “divide”) debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and finds the 26-year-old sensation in his finest form yet. Drawing inspiration from a wide array of experiences and subjects, Sheeran takes us through a hugely personal journey by reflecting on past relationships, family memories, his musical career and his time off traveling the world in 2016. Musically, ÷ is a varied collection of beautifully orchestrated and emotive ballads, impassioned raps laid over hip hop beats, timeless acoustic guitar masterpieces, and innovative, idiosyncratic pop music. Rolling Stone notes that “Sheeran’s musical history lesson is both well-timed and rip-roaringly fun,” while The New York Times calls it “a batteries-fully-charged assault on the pop charts from a performer skilled in musical osmosis.” Sheeran made chart history this year with the first two singles from ÷, “Shape Of You” and “Castle On The Hill,” debuting at #1 and #6 respectively on Billboard’s Hot 100, making him the first artist in the chart’s 58-year history ever to debut two singles in the top 10 simultaneously.  Sheeran continues to break records, with lead single “Shape Of You” recently becoming the third song ever to hit an incredible 1 billion streams on Spotify.  His follow-up single “Castle On The Hill” has logged over 185 million views on YouTube and has already begun its ascent up the charts.  This June, Sheeran received the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.  

photo by Guy Lowndes

photo by Guy Lowndes

The erstwhile Josh Tillman (under which name he first appeared on ACL in 2012 as drummer for Fleet Foxes) grew up in Rockville, Maryland. Discovered in Seattle by singer/songwriter Damien Jurado, he began touring and making records, releasing eight under his own name and joining Fleet Foxes for the recording and touring cycle of 2011’s Helplessness Blues. As Father John Misty, he gained immediate attention with 2012’s Fear Fun, solidifying the status of his lyric-heavy, melodic folk rock with 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear. Misty’s artistry comes to a head on the madly ambitious new album Pure Comedy. Inspired by the chaos and uncertainty of modern life, Misty writes “about the dubious privilege of being here, the elusiveness of meaning, true love and its habitual absence, random euphoria and the inexplicable misery of others, truth and its more alluring counterfeits, the sophistication of answers that don’t make any sense, the barbarism of our appetites, lucky breaks and injustice, faith and ignorance, crippling, mind-numbing boredom, and the terror of it all ending too soon.” Heady stuff, wrapped in lyrical wit and the kind of melodies Harry Nilsson would’ve killed to write. “This is a big-idea album in a way none of his work was before,” notes Paste, while Exclaim says that it’s “packed with so much meaning and complexity, it feels as overwhelmingly absurd, joyous, curious, tragic, extraordinary and contradictory as life itself.” Under the Radar puts it far more simply: “Pure Comedy is big and clever, and oh so very brilliant.”

Herbie Hancock for blogSix decades into an extraordinary career, 14-time GRAMMY Award winner Herbie Hancock remains at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, the ardent music ambassador has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet, he pioneered a groundbreaking sound in jazz. He also developed new approaches on his own classic ‘60s recordings like Maiden Voyage, followed by his work in the ‘70s with record-breaking albums such as Head Hunters, combining electric jazz with funk and rock in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music. His trailblazing 1983 cross-over smash “Rockit,” an early hip-hop touchstone, is considered one of the first songs to feature “scratching,” and with the album Future Shock marked Hancock’s foray into electronic dance sounds; during the same period he also continued to work in an acoustic setting with V.S.O.P., which included ex-Miles Davis bandmates Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Hancock received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and fourteen Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year for River: The Joni Letters – only the second jazz album in the Recording Academy’s history to ever receive that award – and two Grammy Awards for 2011’s globally collaborative CD The Imagine Project. He was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 2013, published his memoir Herbie Hancock: Possibilities in 2014 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Many of his compositions, including “Cantaloupe Island,” “Maiden Voyage,” “Watermelon Man” (a tune from his first album that has been recorded over 200 times) and “Chameleon,” are modern standards. Hancock will be touring across the globe this summer and fall and is currently at work on a new studio album.

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.

ACL Hall of Fame 2017 announces guest performances by Brandi Carlile, Neko Case and Trombone Shorty

Brandi Carlile

Austin City Limits announces an all-star line-up of guest performers for the 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 25th, 2017.  Acclaimed singer-songwriters Neko Case and Brandi Carlile and music phenom Trombone Shorty are slated to perform in tribute to the latest class of inductees.  These special guests join host Chris Isaak, along with previously announced performers Raul Malo and Ry Cooder, in a celebratory evening filled with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes as three American music legends are inducted into the fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: pioneering rocker Roy Orbison, Americana original Rosanne Cash and New Orleans icons The Neville Brothers.

All-star guest performers will handle induction honors for an epic night: Neko Case will honor Rosanne Cash, along with guitar great Ry Cooder.  Brandi Carlile will perform in tribute to Roy Orbison, joining Mavericks’ leader Raul Malo and singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, who will host the ceremony and also handle induction honors for his musical idol.  New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty will salute the iconic Neville Brothers along with members of The Nevilles band for a New Orleans-style tribute to the funk & soul first family.  Additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.  

Neko Case

Neko Case

The concert event is open to the public and takes place at Austin City Limit’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater, in downtown Austin. A limited number of tickets are available at acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will be broadcast in a special New Year’s Eve episode of Austin City Limits as part of the program’s Season 43 which premieres in the fall on PBS.

The 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is presented by NetApp and is sponsored in part by Dell, Stratus Properties and Texas Monthly. For sponsorship opportunities contact Amanda Hutchins at ahutchins@klru.org.

Trombone Shorty by Matthieu Bitton

Trombone Shorty by Matthieu Bitton

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to recognize the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. KLRU is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming. Net proceeds from this event benefit KLRU.

R.I.P. Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman performs on ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2011

Austin City Limits was saddened to learn of the death of Gregg Allman from liver cancer on May 27, 2017 at the age of 69. The singer, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist appeared on ACL with the Allman Brothers Band in 1996.

Though born in Nashville, Allman came of musical age in Florida in the mid-sixties, forming the Allman Joys with his guitarist brother Duane. The Joys evolved into the Hour Glass, which in turn morphed into the Allman Brothers Band. Based out of Macon, Georgia, the Allmans used their instrumental firepower and improvisational spirit to push the blues further than it had ever gone before. After Duane died in 1971, Gregg continued with the band, but also began striking out on his own, recording several LPS over the years both solo and with the Gregg Allman Band, and scoring hits with “Midnight Rider” (originally recorded by the Allmans) and “I’m No Angel.” He continued touring with the Allman Brothers Band until its dissolution in 2014.

In 2011 Allman released Low Country Blues and received a lifetime achievement award from the Americana Music Association. The next year saw the publication of his memoir My Cross to Bear. Before his death, Allman completed the Don Was-produced album Southern Blood, scheduled for release later this year. As he wrote in his book, “Music is my life’s blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it’s all said and done, I’ll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, ‘Nice work, little brother—you did all right.’ I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I have had me a blast.”

Below, the Allman Brothers Band performs Gregg’s signature song “Midnight Rider” during Season 21 of the show in 1996.

 

R.I.P. Jimmy LaFave

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits was saddened to learn of the death of singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave at the age of 61 after a yearlong battle with spindle cell sarcoma. The longtime Austin mainstay appeared on the show in 1996 as part of our Season 21.

Born in Wills Point, Texas, LaFave came of musical age in Stillwater, Oklahoma as part of a collective of songwriters who helped develop what’s now known as “Red Dirt music.” After relocating to Austin in the early 90s, LaFave became known for a sound the magazine Folk and Music Exchange rightly called “reminiscent of the Dust Bowl heritage of Woody Guthrie, the early rock of Chuck Berry, the quiet folk reflections of Bob Dylan, and the rock anthems of Bruce Springsteen.” He recorded several albums featuring his gritty voice and poignant songs over the course of his two-plus decades in Austin, including Austin Skyline, Highway Trance, Buffalo Return to the Plains, Depending On the Distance and his most recent LP The Night Tribe, named after his long-running band. LaFave gave an emotional farewell concert at Austin’s Paramount Theater on May 18, surrounded by his friends, family and peers, passing peacefully at home three days later. May he rest in peace.

You can watch his episode of Austin City Limits below.

ACL to livestream tapings from The Head and the Heart and The Black Angels

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce a pair of back-to-back livestreams with two of today’s most thrilling live acts. We will be streaming the upcoming tapings of Seattle’s The Head and the Heart on May 22 and Austin’s own The Black Angels on May 23, live and in their entirety, directly from the Austin City Limits stage at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel.  Both acts are making return appearances to the ACL stage armed with acclaimed new albums.

When Seattle band, The Head and the Heart, who first appeared on ACL in Season 37, regrouped in 2016 to start writing together again after a sabbatical, “it almost felt like we were a new band, trying things we hadn’t tried,” bassist  Chris Zasche recalls. “We stayed at a bungalow on the beach. We’d wake up, have coffee and go boogie boarding. We were ready and excited to be back together.” That renewed sense of purpose can be felt throughout their major label debut, Signs of Light, the group’s third album and first release for Warner Bros. Records. “This album isn’t about us now having achieved our dreams,” says vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Charity Rose Thielen. “The day we started being able to live off our art was the day we achieved our dreams, in my mind. This is the album where we really fell into our true voices as those artists.” Recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage The Elephant), Signs of Light crackles with the upbeat, singalong energy of the band’s finest work. Throughout, the colors are brighter, the electric guitars are louder and the musical touchstones more universal. Lead single “All We Ever Knew,” written during the Let’s Be Still era but never captured to the band’s satisfaction until now, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, while “Turn It Around” seems primed to be a future concert staple, matching its inspirational message with a lush and multi-layered soundscape. Blurt say the album “fulfills the aim the band’s handle appears to indicate. This is after all, music that connects with the head and the heart, and imparts a dual sense of resilience and delight in its wake.” Join us on May 22nd for The Head and the Heart’s highly-anticipated second ACL taping.

BlackAngels_Livestream_43_squareAustin psych rock masters The Black Angels appear with charged new songs from Death Song, their first full-length release in four years, and their debut for Partisan Records. NPR raves, “The Black Angels have delivered an enormous and frighteningly timely fifth album full of uniquely trippy anthems to oblivion.”  Written and recorded in large part during the recent election cycle, the music serves as part protest, part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, the eleven-track collection offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound – menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream. Since forming in Austin in 2004, The Black Angels have become standard-bearers for modern psych-rock, and the New York Times has said they “play psychedelic rock as if the 1960s never ended, and they are absolute masters of it.” The Black Angels made a stellar ACL debut in 2013 and we look forward to their return.

Please join us May 22 and May 23 for these full-set livestreams on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast versions will air on PBS later this year as part of Season 43.

New taping: The Black Angels

photo by Sandy Carson

Austin City Limits is thrilled to welcome back hometown heroes The Black Angels on May 23rd for their second ACL taping, armed with a powerful new record Death Song.

Death Song is the Austin psych rock masters’ first full-length release in four years, and their debut for Partisan Records. NPR raves, “The Black Angels have delivered an enormous and frighteningly timely fifth album full of uniquely trippy anthems to oblivion.”  Written and recorded in large part during the recent election cycle, the music serves as part protest, part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease. “Currency,” a strong contender for the heaviest song the band has ever put to wax, meditates on the governing role the monetary system plays in our lives.  Album highlight “Half Believing,” the track Texas Monthly calls “a turning point for the band,” is a slow-building stunner that questions the nature and confusing realities of devotion. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, ‘Death Song’ features production from Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins). The eleven-track collection offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound – menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream.  Classic Rock says Death Song “is their heaviest to date, a toxic draught of garage-rock and booming psychedelia that buzzes with echo and reverb,” while A.V. Club claims “confirms there’s no end to the kinds of hurt and frustration that can be channeled into its cathartic music.”

Since forming in Austin in 2004, The Black Angels have become standard-bearers for modern psych-rock, and the New York Times has said they “play psychedelic rock as if the 1960s never ended, and they are absolute masters of it.” The band’s 2010 breakthrough Phosphene Dream launched the Austin collective onto the world stage, drawing massive audiences for their scorched earth live shows and touring with Queens of the Stone Age, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Black Keys and more, and landing on festival stages including Glastonbury, Fuji Rock, Primavera, Harvest Fest, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Fun Fun Fun Fest and, of course, Austin City Limits Music Festival. Two of the band members co-founded Levitation Festival (formerly Austin Psych Fest) in 2008, which has since grown into one of the best-reviewed and expertly-curated festivals in the country. The Black Angels made a stellar ACL debut in 2013 and we look forward to their return.

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.

ACL to stream Benjamin Booker taping live

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce a livestream featuring red-hot rocker Benjamin Booker, taping April 27 as part of our 43rd season. The taping will be streamed live in its entirety directly from the Austin City Limits stage, and fans worldwide can watch the concert Thursday, April 27 at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel as it happens.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and rocker Benjamin Booker comes to ACL in advance of his greatly anticipated sophomore platter Witness, out in June. With Witness, the New Orleans-based Booker has created his most ambitious work yet by digging deep into his passion for eccentric soul, R&B, and blues – drawing on everything from William Onyeabor’s 70s African psych-rock to Freddie Gibbs and Pusha T, while never straying too far from the garage-punk intensity that made his self-titled 2014 debut such a creative breakthrough. Born in Virginia Beach and raised in Tampa, Booker attended a magnet school for the arts before matriculating at the University of Florida, studying music journalism. After self-releasing his 2012 EP Waiting Ones, he signed to ATO, who released his eponymous debut in 2014. “Singing with a maturity beyond his years,” said The Guardian about the critically-adored LP, “he crafts hooks that pay homage to Robert Johnson, Sam Cooke and the shambolic punk he grew up listening to.” Following the album’s release, Booker hit the road and the festival circuit, touring with Jack White and Courtney Barnett and playing the Austin City Limits Music Festival and Lollapalooza. Now Booker is ready to unleash Witness on the world, preceded by the title track, released as a single and featuring gospel legend and ACL alum Mavis Staples.

Please join us April 27 for this full-set livestream on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of Season 43.

ACL Hall of Fame 2017 to induct Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash, Neville Brothers

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce the newest class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees: pioneering rocker Roy Orbison, Americana legend Rosanne Cash and New Orleans icons The Neville Brothers. The 2017 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be saluted at a ceremony with all-star music performances to be held October 25, 2017 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Renowned singer-songwriter Chris Isaak will induct his idol and host the celebratory evening, which features an all-star line-up of guest performers including Grammy-winning legends Raul Malo and Ry Cooder.

The event will be open to the public and tickets are on sale starting April 21st at http://acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. More information about performances, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.

The latest class of inductees features music legends who have given timeless performances on the ACL stage. Roy Orbison’s legendary appearance on ACL in 1983 is long considered one of the show’s undeniable classics. With a setlist of indelible hits — “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” “Blue Bayou,” and “Pretty Woman” — Orbison performed his greatest hits with all the emotional power that made him an icon. Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash debuted on ACL the same season as Roy Orbison in 1983 and has gone on to make seven standout appearances, each showcasing her artistic evolution as a songwriter. The Nevilles appeared on the show in 1979, 1986 and 1995, raising the bar on funk and soul with each appearance.

“Our annual Hall of Fame Induction and Celebration has become one of the highlights of the year,” says Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “This year’s honorees represent historic milestones in ACL’s early years. Roy Orbison gave the audience collective goosebumps when he hit those highest notes; Rosanne was a trailblazer among female country singers; and The Neville Brothers were the first major New Orleans band to play the show. Even in those early days, they represented the diversity that has been the hallmark of Austin City Limits down through the decades.”

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the contributions of those legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in creating the legacy of what has become the longest-running music series in television history (43 years). The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.

About the 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductees:

Roy Orbison:

photo by Scott Newton

Roy Orbison possessed one of the most remarkable and recognizable voices in all of music; combined with his easy facility for writing memorable pop songs, it led to superstardom. The Vernon, Texas native’s first success came as a songwriter in the ‘50s, when the Everly Brothers recorded his “Claudette.” But he became a major star starting in 1960 with “Only the Lonely,” beginning a string of hits including “Crying,” “In Dreams,” “Running Scared” and the immortal “Oh, Pretty Woman.” After several years out of the spotlight, Orbison made a comeback in the late ‘80s as part of supergroup the Traveling Wilburys and with his final solo album Mystery Girl. His melodic gifts, well-timed sense of drama and magnificent voice spoke to generations of music fans – he remains one of the most beloved musical artists of the 20th century.

Rosanne Cash:

photo by Clay Patrick McBride

One of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned multiple Grammy Awards and 11 nominations, as well as 21 Top 40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. Her restless musical journey spans nearly four decades and includes a recent career triumph: three 2015 Grammy Awards for her widely-acclaimed album, The River & the Thread. Cash took top honors for the American roots travelogue, including Best Americana Album, and the Awards testify to her enduring talent as she won her original Grammy thirty years earlier. A collaboration with husband/co-writer/producer and arranger John Leventhal, The River & the Thread evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South and achieved the highest Billboard album debut of Cash’s career. The soul-searching trailblazer has been winning over audiences since she debuted on Austin City Limits in 1983. Cash went on to make six more appearances on the ACL stage, with each performance offering new insight into her creative process. A longtime arts advocate, Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, San Francisco Jazz, Minnesota Orchestra and The Library of Congress. Country royalty, Cash has carved out her own powerful legacy and continues at the peak of her artistic powers and in full command of her singing and songwriting talent.

The Neville Brothers:

The first family of New Orleans music, the Neville Brothers have been world ambassadors for their city’s distinctive style of funk, soul and R&B for four decades. Though Art, Aaron, Cyril and Charles first began performing as a unit in 1977, their musically legacy goes back much further, with Aaron’s 1966 hit “Tell It Like It Is” and Art’s work with the Meters starting in the mid-60s. The family band made its recorded debut in 1978 and has been unstoppable ever since, amassing a catalog of classic, rumpshaking albums like Fiyo On the Bayou and Yellow Moon and hits “Brother John/Iko Iko,” “Yellow Moon” and their inimitable take on Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On a Wire.” A mainstay of New Orleans stages and a huge influence on the musicians who followed them, the beloved band took its party around the world. The Nevilles’ three appearances on the show in 1979, 1986 and 1995, continued to get groovier, greasier and more funky with age.

photo by Scott Newton

The 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is brought to you by NetApp and also sponsored in part by Stratus Properties, Dell, HomeAway, Miller Imaging & Digital Solutions, Tracey & Bill Marshall, Asian American Cultural Center, The Capital Grille, Catherine L. Robb, Bruce Stuckman, Ph.D. and Nona Niland. For sponsorship opportunities contact Amanda Hutchins at ahutchins@klru.org.