Encore: Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, ACL brings you Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt, two legends and soul sisters with the perfect combination of soul, R&B, blues, and gospel.  “We come this evening to bring you some joy, some happiness, inspiration and some positive vibrations,” declared Miss Staples back in June 2012 during the taping, and boy, did they deliver! This was a night full of smoky voices, sassy guitar playing, audience hooplah and ardent exhibition.

This episode marks Bonnie Raitt’s third appearance on Austin City Limits. The audience greets the nine-time Grammy Award-winner and bestselling artist with much love and admiration. She predominantly plays off of her 2012 album Slipstream, including “Down to You,” “Used to Rule the World” and a bluesy take on the Bob Dylan song “One Million Miles.” She finally exclaims, “Awww man! I love John Hiatt!” before ending with her Nick of Time hit “Thing Called Love.”

photo by Scott Newton

Mavis Staples is a clearly a legend. This lady has seen it all from singing songs on the forefront of the Civil Rights movement to being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joined onstage with three backup singers and a backing band, Mavis’ energy and famous low register voice charm the audience like we’ve never seen on classics like “Creep Along Moses” and “Freedom Highway.” At the end of the set, Mavis invites her lovingly coined “baby sister” Bonnie Raitt onstage for a couple of songs. On the emotional duet “Losing You,” dedicated to their fathers, Mavis and Bonnie share a moment where they hold hands and look at each other – it’s one of the incredibly touching moments of the evening. They end the night with a rendition of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” that had the entire audience clapping and dancing.

photo by Scott Newton

Don’t miss this inspiring and heartfelt episode – you won’t regret it. To find out when and where you can catch this episode check here for local listings. Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter, for more ACL news and info. Next week: a brand new episode featuring Nine Inch Nails.

 

New taping: Beck

photo by Peter Hapak

We’re pleased to announce the return of Beck to Austin City Limits on Apr. 27.

Beck is back with the release of Morning Phase, already one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of the year, being hailed as a companion piece to his 2002 gem Sea Change. In fact, the trailblazing singer and songwriter last visited the show in 2002, hot on the heels of Sea Change. Beck’s recent live performances have earned raves as some of the very best of his storied career, and we’re thrilled to have him return for our 40th season.

Please join us in welcoming Beck back to the ACL stage.

Information about how to get tickets to this taping will be posted in April.

 

Encore: Esperanza Spalding

photo by Scott Newton

Triple Grammy-winning artist Esperanza Spalding makes her return to Austin City Limits  this weekend with a mesmerizing performance that transcends jazz. In a touching tribute Spalding dedicates the episode to legendary guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, who passed away January 28, 2013. The appearance marks their final performance together.

Joined by a stellar 11-piece band, Spalding performs songs from her latest release Radio Music Society, which scored two 2013 Grammy Awards, including Best Jazz Vocal Album. The album represents a celebratory vision of the artists who helped cultivate and inspire Spalding’s career throughout the years. Radio Music Society has received high praise from critics, who hail the album’s “journey through soul, gospel, balladry and big-band swing” [The New York Times] and “torchy swaggers, world-jazzy guitar grooves propelling smoky saxes, and political songs with only a Hammond organ for company” [The Guardian].

Spalding made her ACL debut back in Season 35, performing tracks from her 2008 breakthrough Esperanza, and wowed an audience largely unfamiliar with her music. Her appearance continues to be one of ACL’s most popular encore episodes. She has since gone on to capture the attention of audiences around the globe, leading to her stunning 2011 Grammy win as the first jazz musician to win for Best New Artist. Spalding’s dynamic relationship with her acoustic double bass has cemented her presence in musical history as a modern jazz virtuoso with “a light, fizzy, optimistic drive that’s in her melodic bass playing and her elastic, small-voiced singing” [The Times].

photo by Scott Newton

“The first time Esperanza appeared on ACL, she was a best-kept secret,” admits ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “But now the word is out, and the world is her stage. This time she also brings a stage full of incredible jazz musicians, and an hour full of new music. People will be writing about this show 50 years from now.”

Check out the episode page for more information. Don’t forget to keep up with ACL goings-on on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or via our newsletter. Next week: Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples.

 

Happy birthday to Townes Van Zandt

townes fetured

Happy birthday to Townes Van Zandt, who would have been 70 today. One of the Lone Star State’s greatest songwriters, the Fort Worth native has an inestimable legacy – a few of his classic tunes include “Pancho & Lefty,” “To Live is To Fly,” “If I Needed You,” “Tecumseh Valley,” “Waitin’ Round to Die,” “Lungs” and “A Song For.”

Van Zandt appeared in a memorable episode in the very first season of Austin City Limits in 1976, as well as joining Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and David Halley in a songwriters special in 1983. In 1998 ACL presented a tribute show led by his longtime friend Guy Clark and his son John T. Van Zandt that was so popular it was represented in 2000 as an ACL Classic. Please join us in wishing happy birthday to the late, great Townes Van Zandt.

Encore: Bon Iver

photo by Scott Newton

In a few short years, the world watched Bon Iver’s progression from the “bare boned” yet profound debut For Emma, Forever Ago in 2008, to the lush self-titled LP. Justin Vernon came a long way from writing in total seclusion in a cabin in the mountains to collaborating with artists such as Kanye West and winning Grammys. When the group recorded this episode in April 2012, we were eager to see how this progression and critical acclaim would manifest in the performance. The result is a passionate, meticulously layered display of talent and musical tranquility.

In this episode, Bon Iver draws mostly from the eponymous 2011 album, starting with the opening track, “Perth,” and seamlessly leading into the next tune, “Minnesota, WI.” From there we get “Brackett, WI,” a beautifully-written track that appeared on the 2009 Dark Was the Night compilation album that raised funds and awareness about HIV and AIDS. Audience favorites included a more fleshed-out version of “Blood Bank,” complete with various horns, and of course the hits from For Emma, “Skinny Love” and “For Emma.”

photo by Scott Newton

Go here for more information on this episode, and check here to see where/when you can catch it. Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest ACL update, and subscribe to our newsletter for even more info. Next week: Florence + the Machine and Lykki Li.

 

Austin City Limits announces new tapings for 40th season

photo by Cat Stevens

Austin City Limits is excited to unveil more tapings for our upcoming 40th Season! It’s an eclectic line-up of music icons and innovators including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Valerie June, Eric Church and Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.

We’re thrilled to have the debut of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, taping their episode on July 20th. One of contemporary music’s most powerful personalities, the Australian-born singer-songwriter of dark songs and dark voice will take the ACL stage with his longtime band for what promises to be a mesmerizing performance.

Tennessee-to-New York transplant Valerie June makes her first appearance on the ACL stage on May 28th, performing songs from her luminous debut, hailed one of “the 50 Best Albums of 2013” by Rolling Stone.

San Francisco-based folk-rockers Thao & The Get Down Stay Down tape their ACL debut on August 14th.  Led by enigmatic singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen, the band has built a devoted following based on their spirited live shows.

Breakout country star Eric Church tapes his ACL debut on September 23rd, performing songs from his critically-acclaimed new album The Outsiders, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Top 200 and Country charts.  Spin  proclaimed Church “the most exciting, sonically fearless singer in Nashville.”

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Alternative ViewsAnd as previously mentioned the first taping of the new season features the return of music legends Los Lobos to the ACL stage on April 14th.

photo by Michael Weintrob

Broadcast episodes begin airing this fall as part of ACL’s Season 40. Select tapings will be live streamed so music lovers everywhere can experience the performances as they happen, live and unedited. Visit acltv.com for news regarding future tapings, episode schedules and 40th Anniversary updates.