New taping: Ryan Adams Oct. 22

photo by Julia Brokaw

Ryan Adams is no stranger to ACL, having appeared on the show in various phases of his career as far back as the late ‘90s and as recently as 2006. The multiple-Grammy-nominated singer / songwriter from Jacksonville, NC has released such critically acclaimed and commercially successful LPs as Heartbreaker (2000), Gold (2001), Love Is Hell (2004), Cold Roses (2005), Easy Tiger (2007), Ashes & Fire (2011) and his self-produced, self-titled 14th album, recently released on his own Pax Am label in cooperation with Blue Note. Adams returns to ACL in support of that eponymous disc, which has been generating arguably the best critical notices of his prolific career. Featuring the singles “Gimme Something Good” and “My Wrecking Ball,” Ryan Adams has moved Entertainment Weekly to hail its namesake as “one of the truly great roots-rock troubadours left.” On Oct. 22, the ACL TV audience will see why.

 

Giveaway: Future Islands 9/25

photo by Tim Saccenti

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Future Islands on Thursday, Sept. 25th, 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 September 22nd. 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.

Eric Church livestream on 9/23

photo by John Peets

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our taping with Eric Church live on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

North Carolina native Church got his start playing Jimmy Buffett covers in hometown bars, but quickly transitioned to original material. After graduating from college with a marketing degree, Church moved to Nashville, recording demos and placing songs with other singers before releasing his debut Sinners Like Me in 2006. His second release Carolina included “Love to Love You the Most” and “Hell On the Heart,” his first top 10 country hits. That set the stage for the platinum-selling Chief, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and boasted the massive hits “Drink in My Hand” and “Springsteen,” his first single to cross over to the pop chart. This year’s follow-up The Outsiders also debuted at No. 1, throwing “Give Me Back My Hometown” and the title track up the charts. Church’s distinctively hard-rocking brand of country, influenced as much by AC/DC and Metallica as Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, has earned him a huge audience outside the confines of country radio, prompting him to tell CMT, “I think genres are dead. There’s good music. There’s bad music.” Eric Church does not play bad music, as you’ll find out at his debut ACL taping on 9/23.

The broadcast version of this show will air this fall on PBS as part of ACL’s 40th anniversary season. Join us for this live webcast of the Austin City Limits debut of Eric Church.

 

New tapings: Jenny Lewis, Sam Smith, The Avett Brothers and Spoon

photo by Autumn De Wilde

Austin City Limits is excited to announce new tapings for our landmark Season 40: Jenny Lewis on October 1, Sam Smith on October 2, The Avett Brothers on October 6 and Spoon on October 9th.

Jenny Lewis last appeared on our stage in 2005 as part of the now-defunct Rilo Kiley. Prior to her success with that band, she had been an actress from a young age, appearing in films and TV shows until 1998. That year she and Blake Sennett started indie rockers Rilo Kiley, who went on to success with four LPs, the last of which was 2007’s acclaimed Under the Blacklight. Lewis had already begun her solo career by that time, starting with 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat, which found her working in a rootsier vein. The classy pop of Acid Tongue arrived in 2008, followed by 2010’s I’m Having Fun Now, a duet album with singer/songwriter Johnathan Rice under the name Jenny & Jonny. This year she released The Voyager, a Ryan Adams-produced LP about which Drowned in Sound remarked, “[The] balance of frothiness and fearless introspection make it something pretty special.” Join us Oct.1 as Lewis preps for her ACL Festival appearance with her solo ACL debut.

This year Sam Smith came seeming out of nowhere with his massive hit single “Stay With Me.” The London native is an alumnus of the program Youth Music Theatre UK, having studied under British jazz musician Joanna Eden. He made his musical and chart debut singing lead on electronic group Disclosure’s U.K. hit single “Latch,” following up with a featured appearance on English DJ/producer Naughty Boy’s “La La La,” which hit #1 on the British charts. In between those hits Smith launched his solo career with “Lay Me Down,” but it was his post-”La La La” followup “Money On My Mind” that pushed him to the #1 slot on his own. In the Lonely Hour, his debut LP of danceable pop/soul, arrived in the spring, along with his third single. “Stay With Me” broke Smith wide open on an international scale, earning him a third charttopper in the U.K. and a No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200. Now, in anticipation of his debut at ACL Fest, Smith makes his debut Oct. 2 on our show as well.

The Avett Brothers last joined us in 2010, appearing in support of their breakthrough album I and Love and You. The North Carolina roots rockers haven’t been idle in the five years between slots, however. In 2012 the quartet released its Rick Rubin-produced The Carpenter, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The LP found the Avetts expanding their sound beyond their folk and bluegrass roots, with Rolling Stone calling it the “sound of a band pushing past an old identity and toward something bigger.” The band quickly followed The Carpenter with 2013’s Magpie and the Dandelion, a record made mostly of songs recorded during the previous LP’s sessions that hit No. 5 on the Billboard charts. Under the Radar wrote that the band “have filled Magpie and the Dandelion with taut, unaffected verses that dredge the past, weigh damage against possibility, and seek emergence through selflessness and emotional responsibility,” while American Songwriter remarked, “The Avett Brothers are (very wisely) growing their sound, while remaining true to their core principles and what listeners like about them to begin with.” Join us on Oct. 6 as we welcome back The Avett Brothers.

photo by Tom Hines

The Austin band Spoon is certainly no unknown quantity for Austin City Limits – the modern rock act has been on the show three times, in 2003, 2005 and 2010. The last time they were here was in support of their hit album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and its hit single “The Underdog.” The band followed up with the equally popular Transference, after which Spoon took an extended break, allowing leader Britt Daniel to work with the group Divine Fits and drummer Jim Eno to produce albums for the Heartless Bastards, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and Phosphorescent. But now Spoon is back with They Want My Soul, a record that proves the extended time off did nothing to diminish their power. Rolling Stone described it as “an immediate grabber on par with the group’s best work to date,” while Exclaim called it “a bold and swaggering declaration that Spoon have undoubtedly still got it – in spades.” We’re thrilled to welcome Spoon back to the ACL stage Oct. 9.

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.

 

Encore: Kacey Musgraves and Dale Watson

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a spectacular hour of country music, Texas-style, featuring the ACL debuts of Grammy Award-winning Texas native Kacey Musgraves and Austin’s own country icon Dale Watson.

Breakout country artist Kacey Musgraves walked away with two trophies for Best Country Album and Best Country Song at this year’s Grammy Awards for her critically-acclaimed major label debut Same Trailer Different Park. The release produced the hit singles “Follow Your Arrow” and the Grammy-winning “Merry Go ‘Round” and topped many critics’ 2013 year-end best lists including Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Country Weekly, Spin and The New York Times, with Rolling Stone calling her “the gen aught Loretta Lynn…ballsy, unsentimental, thoroughly pop and yet totally in the (country) tradition.” Viewers will want to pull up a chair for a front row seat to one of the most arresting ACL debuts of the season. “Welcome to our little trailer park,” says the twenty-five year old singer-songwriter, kicking off her radiant performance surrounded by a white picket fence and porch lights. Musgrave’s honest, effortless vocals shine on songs that demonstrate her witty knack for storytelling in a bold, irresistible ACL set.

“If you didn’t know much about Kacey Musgraves before her triumph at the Grammys, you’ll really know what the buzz is all about after seeing her ACL performance,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “She’s a remarkable songwriter and all-around talent who is blazing new trails for women in country music.”

photo by Scott Newton

Next up is Austin’s king of country music: Dale Watson. Called “the silver pompadoured, baritone beltin’, Lone Star beer drinkin’, honky-tonk hellraiser” by The Austin Chronicle, the hometown hero has flown the flag for classic honky-tonk for over two decades and twenty albums. His latest album, El Rancho Azul, continues his work as one of the world’s finest C&W singers and songwriters, and ACL is thrilled to present Austin’s favorite son in his first feature performance. For Watson’s set, the ACL studio is transformed into a substitute for his regular Austin haunt Ginny’s Little Longhorn, with a room full of dancers two-stepping in the time-honored manner and he gets the ATX audience fired up with “Honkiest, Tonkiest Beer Joint,” his paean to the legendary saloon. Watson turns on the Texas charm as he performs a career-spanning, crowd-pleasing set, turning ACL into a full-on honky-tonk complete with Texas shuffles, closing out the season in good fun on a glorious high note.

“Dale is the real deal. Nobody else is making country music like this today,” Lickona says. “It’s time for the rest of the world to discover why he’s so special to us in Austin.”

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 news and happenings. Next week: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell.

 

Encore: Jason Isbell and Neko Case

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend ACL features two powerful singer-songwriters: Jason Isbell and Neko Case, each possessing a distinctive style and voice.

Hailed as “one of America’s thoroughbred songwriters” by The New York Times, Jason Isbell opens the episode, making his ACL debut. The Nashville-via-Mussel Shoals, Alabama singer/songwriter’s 2013 album Southeastern scored a Top 25 on the Billboard 200, and critical raves, including topping many critic’s year-end best lists. The New York Times Magazine declared, “the record is a breakthrough for Isbell—prickly with loss, forgiveness, newfound sobriety and second chances.” Rolling Stone calls it “one of the year’s best in any genre,” and Pitchfork raves “Southeastern is easily Isbell’s best solo album.” A former member of acclaimed Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, Isbell launched a solo career in 2007. Backed by his band the 400 Unit, including his wife, fiddler Amanda Shires, and with a rawness and honesty that’s rare in contemporary songwriting, Isbell gives a stunning must-see performance on the ACL stage.

“It doesn’t happen very often,” said executive producer Terry Lickona, “but when Jason sang ‘Elephant,’ it literally gave me chills. That’s the kind of writer he is, and that’s the kind of performer he is.”

Neko Case makes a thunderous return to ACL (she first appeared in 2003) performing songs from her acclaimed 2013 release The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, her sixth studio album.  Case emerges from a three-year period the artist describes as full of “grief and mourning,” in the wake of the deaths of not just both her parents, but several intimates as well. With her fearless songwriting and musical curiosity, Neko Case captures fans with “one of the most memorable and seductive voices in music” (NPR).  Pitchfork says The Worse Things Get… “is the most potent album of her career,” and Rolling Stone raves that Case is “one of America’s best and most ambitious songwriters.” Case performs a captivating set of songs from the new record, and a few gems from her recent releases.

photo by Scott Newton

“There’s something about that voice, but it’s also about the delivery – which makes this performance that much more special,” said Lickona. “Her television performances are few and far between, so this is one that’s not to be missed!”

Check out the episode page for more details. Don’t forget, you can click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL goodies. Next week: Kacey Musgraves and Dale Watson.