New taping: James Taylor

photo by Timothy White

For the first time in our 40+year history, Grammy-Award winner James Taylor is set to take the ACL stage, making his Austin City Limits debut on October 1st, 2015.  (The show airs on PBS on Nov. 14.) The American icon will perform songs from his acclaimed new release Before This World, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and is his first collection of original music in 13 years, as well as fan favorites from throughout his storied career.

James Taylor is the quintessential singer/songwriter. His warm baritone is among the most recognized voices in popular music, and his distinctive style of guitar playing has been enormously influential. Taylor is a master at describing specific, even autobiographical situations in a way that resonates with people everywhere.

Taylor has sold over 100 million albums and earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970’s Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning efforts Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002). He has received numerous honors, including the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine’s highest accolade, and inductions into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2000.  In 2012, Taylor was awarded the distinguished Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government and in 2011, was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House. Both medals are their nation’s highest honors for artistic excellence recognizing “outstanding achievements and support of the arts.”

2015 brings the release of Before This World, Taylor’s first new album of original material in over 13 years. Produced by Dave O’Donnell, Before This World features ten songs, nine of which are brand new compositions in which Taylor continues to explore many of the themes that have absorbed him throughout his recording career. “The themes that really engage me keep pulling me back again and again,” says Taylor. “For instance, on the new album there’s a recovery song called “Watchin’ Over Me.” I’ve written many recovery songs that are almost spiritual and based on personal experience.  There’s a love song on this album (“You And I Again”) – a couple actually – a traveling song (“Stretch of the Highway”), there’s a song about working (“Today Today Today”) and another of my hymns for agnostics I tend to write (“Before This World”).  My sort of self-expression and the autobiographical aspect of my work is a thru-line that links all my albums together. I think I have grown musically, and I think people can hear it in what I played in ‘68, and you can hear it in what I’m singing about now. It is ongoing, it’s still me, but it’s still evolving.”

Witness the evolution for yourself when James Taylor makes his ACL debut on October 1st.

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.

ACL announces Season 41 broadcast schedule

photo by Gary Miller

Following four decades as a music institution with more unforgettable performances as it gets ready to write its next illustrious chapter. Providing viewers with a front-row seat to the best in live music, ACL unveils Season 41’s stellar line-up of legendary artists, trend-setting innovators and many highly-anticipated debuts. ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings for times) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at http://video.pbs.org/program/austin-city-limits/ immediately following the initial broadcast. Select tapings are also live streamed to enable music fans everywhere to experience the performances as they happen, live and unedited. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding future tapings, episode schedules and live stream updates. The show’s official hashtag is #acltv.

The program returns on October 3rd with the 2015 ACL Hall of Fame Special, a special hour showcasing unique collaborations and tributes from this year’s induction ceremony and celebration, held June 18, 2015. Artists Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Gillian Welch, Jason Isbell and more perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Asleep at the Wheel, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez, Loretta Lynn and Townes Van Zandt.  

The upcoming season is filled with musical highlights, as a number of acts make their long-awaited ACL debuts. Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson appears for the first time in a dazzling hour featuring the songs of Billie Holiday. Music legend Don Henley makes his ACL debut, armed with his first solo release in 15 years. Iconic singer-songwriter James Taylor is also set to make his Austin City Limits debut in a career-spanning, hour long showcase that will feature songs from his latest release, his first collection of original music in 13 years.

Country music’s range is exemplified in a double-bill with modern country rebel Sturgill Simpson making his full set debut and Western swing veterans Asleep at the Wheel returning for their 11th appearance. Asleep at the Wheel, newly-minted ACL Hall of Fame members, are joined by guest stars The Avett Brothers and Amos Lee in a special tribute to forebear Bob Wills, the original Texas Playboy.  

Hometown hero Gary Clark Jr., now a Grammy-winning global sensation, returns to the program for his second headline appearance, in support of a highly anticipated new release. A number of genre-bending rock acts make their ACL debuts this year: indie rock breakout star Courtney Barnett showcases her compelling live set, while left-of-the-dial faves The War on Drugs and TV On The Radio split an episode, both gracing the ACL stage for the first time.

“With our 40th anniversary in our rearview mirror, we’re back to doing what we do best: showcasing awesome music whether it’s classic or contemporary, familiar or groundbreaking,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “As usual, we’ll give our viewers the chance to rediscover old favorites or discover new artists who are making their own mark.”

Season 41 Fall Broadcast Schedule (additional episodes to be announced)

October 3 2015 Hall of Fame Special

October 10 Cassandra Wilson

October 17 Sturgill Simpson / Asleep at the Wheel

October 24 Don Henley

October 31 Gary Clark Jr. / Courtney Barnett

November 7 TV On The Radio / The War on Drugs

November 14 James Taylor

November 21 ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2015

The complete line-up for the full 14-week season, including seven new episodes to air beginning January 2016, will be announced at a later date. Check the news section of acltv.com for additional episode updates.

For the fifth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with High 5 Productions, and the Americana Music Association, are proud to present a special ACL Presents—featuring the best music performances from this year’s Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Ceremony held September 16th at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Gary Clark Jr. taping livestreams on 8/24

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Austin City Limits will livestream the highly-anticipated taping with Grammy-winning songwriter, vocalist and virtuoso guitarist Gary Clark Jr. on Monday, August 24, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety directly from ACL’s stage via the program’s YouTube Channel and the broadcast episode will air during ACL’s upcoming Season 41, which premieres in October on PBS stations.

Austin’s shining star Gary Clark Jr. arrives on ACL’s stage for his second headline performance at the top of his game and in advance of his homegrown new record The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, set for release on Sept. 11.  Self-produced at Austin’s Arlyn Studios, Clark’s latest LP reflects his singular visionary landscape as an ever-evolving artist. Relying on the simple tools of his trade – voice, guitar, rhythm and song – Clark firmly establishes himself as a sonic expressionist who has absorbed classic forms of the past while forging his own path.

Clark Jr. has a long history with ACL, going back to his debut in Season 33 as part of the Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed, through his Season 38 solo episode, a 2014 show-stopping appearance as part of ACL’s 40th anniversary celebration and a cameo with the Foo Fighters that same year.

Join us for this live webcast of the return of Gary Clark Jr.  ACL’s 41st Season premieres in October.  The new season line-up will be announced shortly, stay tuned to acltv for episode updates.  

New taping: Don Henley

photo by Danny Clinch

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a new taping with music legend Don Henley for our upcoming Season 41.

Don Henley’s career, both solo and with the Eagles, has been critically and commercially acclaimed, and we’re thrilled the American icon will soon be making his highly-anticipated ACL debut.  The Texas native arrives with Cass County, his first solo album in 15 years.  Produced by Don Henley and Stan Lynch, who also co-wrote 11 of the songs on the album, the LP  Cass County represents both Henley’s roots and the next stop on his creative journey. “I was born and raised in Texas. I’m a Southerner and a Texan,” says Henley. “So this is a natural progression for me. It’s who I am and where I come from.” Recorded primarily in Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas, Texas, the album includes all-star guest appearances from Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Mick Jagger, Martina McBride, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton. When asked about making the album, Henley reveals, “I can truthfully say, I enjoyed making this record more than any record I’ve made in my career.”

Find out why when Henley takes our stage on Sept. 1.

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.

New taping: Alabama Shakes

photo by Brantley Gutierrez

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce a new taping with Alabama Shakes on Oct. 2.

We are thrilled to welcome back Alabama Shakes for their third appearance on the ACL stage. The Athens, AL quartet has been tearing up festival stages this year including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza in support of Sound & Color, the chart-topping  follow-up to their Grammy-nominated debut Boys & Girls. The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences, from the bluesy groove of “Shoegaze” and the garage-rock freak-out on “The Greatest” to the psychedelic space jam “Gemini” and the urgent, tightly-coiled funk of “Don’t Wanna Fight.” Long instrumental intros and passages create hazy atmosphere, while the intensity of Howard’s vocals snaps everything back into riveting focus. Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, the Shakes defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. We’ll join them on this new journey on Oct. 2.

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.

New taping: Gary Clark Jr.

photo by Frank Maddocks

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a new taping with Grammy Award-winning songwriter, vocalist & virtuoso guitarist Gary Clark Jr. on Aug. 24.

Austin native Gary Clark Jr. has a long history with ACL, going back to his debut in Season 33 as part of the Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed, through his Season 38 solo episode and his appearance as part of our 40th anniversary celebration and a show-stopping guest spot with the Foo Fighters that same year. He arrives on our stage for his second headline performance at the top of his game and in advance of his homegrown new record The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, set for release on Sept. 11. Self-produced at Austin’s Arlyn Studios, Clark’s latest LP reflects his singular visionary landscape as an ever-evolving artist. Relying on the simple tools of his trade – voice, guitar, rhythm and song – Clark firmly establishes himself as a sonic expressionist who has absorbed classic forms of the past while forging his own path. Baked from a batter of blues, R&B and rock, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim is music aimed for the heart, soul and guts, that defies categorization. Join us on Aug. 24 to experience it for yourself.

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: 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 this year’s 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 recent 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 new 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: Kacey Musgraves and Dale Watson.

Encore: Eric Church

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.”

photo by Scott Newton

“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.”

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: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell.