ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014

Americana Music Festival & Conference Award Show - Show, Audience & Backstage

Austin City Limits heads to Nashville for a special broadcast featuring performance highlights from this year’s Americana Honors & Awards. ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014 premieres this weekend on PBS and delivers a stellar line-up of artists celebrating the best of Americana music today. Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium in September, The Americana Music Association’s 13th Annual Honors & Awards ceremony, hosted by Americana stalwart Jim Lauderdale is a star-studded affair reflecting the magnitude of the genre’s reach. The performance-filled episode features the night’s Lifetime Achievement Honorees, award-winners, Americana’s rising stars and icons who helped define the genre; among them: Loretta Lynn, Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell, Rosanne Cash, Sturgill Simpson, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant, Flaco Jimenez, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal.

Country legend Loretta Lynn, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Honor for Songwriter, performs her signature “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on the same stage where she made her Ryman debut in 1962. Veteran singer/songwriter/activist Jackson Browne, recipient of a Spirit of Americana award, performs a new song, the social wake-up call “The Long Way Around.” Tejano accordionist and Lifetime Achievement Honoree Flaco Jimenez dazzles with his trademark norteño music accompanied by longtime collaborator, guitarist extraordinaire Ry Cooder. Genre-defying bluesman Taj Mahal demonstrates how he earned a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance with a show-stopping “Statesboro Blues.”

Award-winners and nominees also perform, led by Jason Isbell, who took top honors with wins for Artist of the Year and Album of the Year; he gives a stunning reading of his Song of the Year “Cover Me Up” from 2013’s landmark album Southeastern. Duo/Group winners The Milk Carton Kids, a Los Angeles-based acoustic folk duo, delight with their signature two guitar style. Singer/songwriter and multiple nominee Rosanne Cash performs “A Feather’s Not a Bird” from her critically lauded recent release The River and The Thread. Americana veteran Patty Griffin gives a beautiful rendition of her hit “Ohio,” joined in blended harmony by music icon and frequent collaborator Robert Plant.

Inspired turns by some of the genre’s newest innovators include Oklahoman singer/songwriter Parker Millsap, blues shapeshifter and Tennessee native Valerie June and dynamic Alabama soul outfit St. Paul and The Broken Bones, who bring the Ryman audience to its feet with a roof-raising performance.  Emerging Artist winner and Nashville rebel Sturgill Simpson closes out the show with a standout rendition of his song “Life of Sin,” forecasting the future of American roots music.

Throughout the broadcast, the performers are backed by the Americana All-Stars, the evening’s ace house band. Led by musical director Buddy Miller, also named Instrumentalist of the Year, the ensemble features Don Was, Joachim Cooder, Tim Lauer, Nashville gospel group The McCrary Sisters and Americana trailblazer Ry Cooder. Viewers will find it hard to remain on their couches as the band heats up the Willie Dixon classic “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover,” joined by emcee Jim Lauderdale.

“If there was a heat sensor for creativity pointed at the planet earth, the Americana Honors & Awards would be RED HOT on the gradient chart,” says Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly, adding “it’s truly humbling to host this event and we are honored to partner with the best in the land, Austin City Limits, to present the program for PBS viewers.”

Eric Church makes his ACL Season 40 debut

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits proudly presents an hour with country sensation Eric Church. Church has blazed his own trail to superstardom and now makes his ACL debut with his signature brand of no-holds-barred country music.

Famous for a game-changing live show, Church performs songs from his critically-acclaimed, chart-topping 2014 album The Outsiders in his ACL debut.  The music rebel’s distinctively hard-rocking spin on 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.  Church appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone this year and was named one of their “50 Greatest Live Acts Right Now.” NPR raves, “Eric Church is working on a level that few other country artists of his generation can touch.”

“This is gonna be fun,” says the North Carolina native, clearly enjoying his first visit to the ACL stage. Church’s appearance is a twelve-song tour-de-force that presents the performer at the top of his game. Delivering a host of hits in his trademark aviators, Church’s crowd-pleasing set is filled with anthems about youth, family and outliers that ignite through songwriting skill, powerful riffs and energetic vocals. Highlights include the rebellious “The Outsiders”, the autobiographical title track “Sinners Like Me” from his 2006 debut and the Grammy-nominated anthem “Springsteen” from his 2011 breakthrough Chief, with the Austin audience providing the “whoa-ohs” of the chorus. Church brings it all home solo, showcasing his softer side with the heartfelt set-closing ballad “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.”

“Eric and his band know how to rock harder than many rock ‘n roll bands,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and his music and the words behind it have a way of reaching fans way beyond the usual borders of country music. He’s a perfect fit for ACL.”

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. Tune in next week as ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014.

 

Live Stream our taping with The Black Keys on November 17th

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Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our taping with The Black Keys live on Monday, November 17th, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

The powerhouse rock duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney make their second appearance on the ACL stage following their recent release Turn Blue, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s album chart. The acclaimed rockers made an epic ACL debut in Season 36 showcasing their 2010 breakout albumBrothers. The six-time Grammy winners have since gone on to achieve worldwide critical and commercial success with the landmark 2011 release El Camino and have been unstoppable ever since.

Los Lobos and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down continue Season 40

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents true American originals—the legendary Los Lobos and folk rock wonders Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Los Lobos return to the ACL stage for their fifth appearance, while innovator Thao Nguyen and her band The Get Down Stay Down make their ACL debut. Music mavericks with far-reaching influences, both acts exemplify ACL’s outstanding legacy of “Great Music, No Limits.”

More than forty years into their run, Los Lobos are one of America’s great rock ‘n roll bands. The influential and enduring East L.A. band return to the ACL stage celebrating their recent 40th anniversary alongside ACL’s. “Los Lobos are still one of America’s best, bravest, and most satisfying bands, and their skills and their instincts remain razor-sharp,” raves AllMusic. After four decades together the beloved band continue to create music that resonates with audiences around the world, and the three-time GRAMMY winning group will be honored this year with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Recording Academy. Opening their ACL set with the fan favorite “La Pistola y el Corazon”, the group perform highlights from their vast catalog. The crowd-pleasing performance displays their world-class musicianship, as the veteran rockers perform their signature style of “Chicano rock” with an eclectic set of rock ‘n roll, country, folk, R&B, blues and norteño music. The group close out the masterful set with “Mas y Mas”, joined by Austin’s own Grupo Fantasma on horns, showing great music is universal.

“Los Lobos and ACL have always felt like kindred spirits,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “We share the same impulse towards originality, experimentation and fun with music. They’re still one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands in America!”

photo by Scott Newton

Led by enigmatic singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen, the San Francisco-based Thao & the Get Down Stay Down have built a devoted following based on their spirited live shows and their catalog of smart, genre-blending indie rock. The band’s ACL debut features them performing songs from their 2013 release We the Common. The group’s blend of rhythms and Thao’s folk-influenced fingerpicking give the band a distinctive sound that truly makes it stand out from the pack. Bandleader Thao’s natural exuberance and wide-ranging songwriting acumen make for a joyful, must-see ACL appearance. The band close out the scorching set with the singalong folk pop of “We the Common,” with the Austin crowd happy to oblige.

“Thao is a true artist for the 21st century,” says Lickona. “Her influences are wide-ranging, and her live performances are mesmerizing and infectious!”

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. Next week: Eric Church.

 

Austin City Limits featured on Sonic Highways!

Foo Fighters © Ringo

The Foo Fighters’ critically-acclaimed HBO series Sonic Highways documents the band’s process of recording its new album in different cities across the country, with a focus on each city’s music scene. We hope you’ll tune in this Friday for the fourth installment, which features not only Austin but our own Austin City Limits – the band recorded a track in the historic Studio 6A and Dave Grohl sat down with ACL executive producer Terry Lickona for an extensive interview. The hourlong episode also features Austin favorites and ACL veterans including Willie Nelson, Jimmie Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr.  Grohl describes the series as a “Love Letter to American Music” and this episode is clearly a love letter to our beloved Austin—we’re thrilled to offer this exclusive clip from the upcoming program:

Tune-in Friday, November 8th at 11pm for this must-see broadcast!

 

New taping: Foo Fighters 11/20

photo by Steve Gullick

UPDATED POST:
Due to a family matter, Foo Fighters regrettably must postpone Friday’s appearance in Austin for their Sonic Highways screening and Austin City Limits taping.

The band sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience and promises to make it up when they return to Austin on Thursday, November 20th, 2014.  All passes for the original engagement will be honored.

Tonight’s Sonic Highways preview screening will go on as scheduled. 

Note: post is updated with new date

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce a new taping for Season 40, featuring the return of the Foo Fighters on Thursday, November 20th.

Foo Fighters have been busy since they last appeared on ACL in Season 34. Releasing the still-charting Greatest Hits in 2009, the band recorded and released the international #1 album Wasting Light in 2011, featuring the hits “Rope,” “Walk” and “These Days” and earning five Grammy Awards, including their fourth for Best Rock Album. FF founder Dave Grohl followed up that triumph by directing the acclaimed documentary Sound City. For the band’s eighth album, Sonic Highways, the band’s music and Grohl’s directorial skills resulted in both an amazing new album and the acclaimed HBO series, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, each episode featuring Grohl and bandmates Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear recording a song in one of eight U.S. music capitals and featuring luminaries from each city’s music scene. Austin was one of the cities, of course, with the Foos recording a track in ACL’s original Studio 6A (also the source of “Two Headed Dog [Red Temple Prayer],” the Roky Erickson cover the band contributed to our 40th anniversary special). We’re sure to hear new highlights from Sonic Highways and more when the Foo Fighters return to ACL once again.

As a special treat, we’ll present a preview screening of the Austin episode of Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, which premiers this week on HBO, before the taping begins.

Want to be part of our audience? Sign up in our upcoming tapings section

 

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds adds dark power to Season 40

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an electrifying hour with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, one of the most exhilarating live acts in music. The noir-rock outfit make their ACL debut in an hourlong performance offering a memorable career-wide set powered by dark songs of love, death, God and fate.

Nick Cave is one of contemporary music’s most powerful personalities, and the Australian-born iconoclast takes the ACL stage with his longtime band for a mesmerizing appearance. The masterful nine-song set features highlights from their 30-year career, spanning the 1984 debut to 2013′s universally-acclaimed Push the Sky Away, their fifteenth studio album.

The black-clad Cave stalks the ACL stage with primal energy and explores the thin line between light and darkness with selections from his fire-and-brimstone universe, spouting scripture-scaled narratives and anti-anthems from his rogue’s gallery of characters. “Tupelo,” a twisted take on the mythos surrounding Elvis Presley, has the singer-songwriter ranting like an evangelist fallen from grace and intent on clawing his way back. Cave looks directly into the heart of darkness with a piano-based rendition of the “The Mercy Seat,” a murderously powerful first-person account of execution by electric chair that progresses from the sinister to the sublime. The episode comes to a show-stopping end with the title track from their recent worldwide chart-topping release; as Cave sings the lyric “Some people say it’s just rock ‘n roll, ah, but it gets you right down to your soul,” the Austin crowd is rapt under his spell and ready to preach the gospel of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

“One of the most famous Austin City Limits episodes of all time was the Tom Waits show in 1978—people still talk about it,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Nick Cave is the Tom Waits show of the 21st century! You will absolutely tell your friends about this one. You’ve got to see it to believe it!”

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. Next week: Los Lobos and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.

 

New taping: The Black Keys

photo by Danny Clinch

Austin City Limits is proud to welcome back The Black Keys for our 40th anniversary season. The powerhouse rock duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney make their second appearance on the ACL stage on the heels of their recent release Turn Blue, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s album chart. The acclaimed rockers made an epic ACL debut in Season 36 around the release of their 2010 breakout album Brothers. The six-time Grammy winners have since gone on to achieve worldwide critical and commercial success with the landmark 2011 release El Camino and have been unstoppable ever since.

Currently in the midst of a North American tour, including an ATX date on December 19 at Frank Erwin Center, we’re thrilled to have The Black Keys join us on November 17 for the final taping of our milestone season.

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.