New taping: TV on the Radio

photo by JUCO

Austin City Limits is proud to announce a new Season 41 taping – TV on the Radio on March 16th, making their ACL debut. The Brooklyn-based quartet has been called  ”one of the most compelling American rock and roll stories of the modern age” by the BBC, “the most innovative band on the planet” by AV Club and “the most vital, current band in America” by the Associated Press.  Their critically-acclaimed latest release Seeds topped 2014 Year-End Best lists including capturing the top spot on respected critic Jon Pareles’ New York Times’ Best Albums of 2014 list.  The influential band stole the hearts of fans and critics with its 2004 LP Desperate Hearts, Blood Thirsty Babes. By the time 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain took Spin’s album of the year honors, the band’s eclectic musical spirit – encompassing rock, soul, psychedelia and electronica –  had made it one of the most esteemed acts in the world, with collaborations featuring David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on its resumé. With a live show described as  ”sexy nerdiness letting go in a controlled blast of unleashed energy” (The Boston Globe), TV on the Radio will give Austin City Limits a stunning show.

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: Norah Jones and Kat Edmonson

photo by Scott Newton

There are so many genres of music in the world, and so many artists who embody them. But it’s nice to hear singers and songwriters who defy categorization, mixing parts from different traditions into their own distinctive blend. We’re proud to feature two of those performers: Norah Jones and Kat Edmonson.

ACL fans certainly aren’t strangers to Norah Jones, who’s been on the show twice before. She’s back to demonstrate her continued evolution as a vocalist, writer and musician. Showcasing Little Broken Hearts, her latest album produced by Danger Mouse, Jones and her new band take her previous mix of jazz, pop and torch songs and put it through a funky psychedelic filter, giving the sprightly kiss-off “Say Goodbye” and the nonchalant murder confession “Miriam” a rich, spacey allure. Jones also visits her acclaimed record The Fall, closing the show with the luminous “Stuck” (co-written by Will Sheff, of fellow ACL alumni Okkervil River). Watch and listen as Jones takes the next step in her evolution.

Kat Edmonson makes her ACL debut on the strength of her second album Way Down Low, a record that lifts her away from the jazz traditionalism of her debut. Though still rooted in jazz, Edmonson and her band don’t stick to formalities, letting as much pop melody and singer/songwriter intimacy into her music as improvisation and harmonic complexity. The catchy pop of “I Don’t Know,” the sly jazz of “Lucky” and the beautiful torch balladry of “Nobody Knows That” showcase a stunning young talent that commands the stage with understated grace. Edmonson may have been an unfamiliar face to many ACL fans, but they’ve been searching their local record stores and streaming sites for her music since they’ve seen this episode.

photo by Scott Newton

You can find more information on this episode here, but the best way to experience these singers is to tune in to your local PBS station and watch for yourself. Don’t forget that you can find more info on the comings and goings of ACL on our Facebook page, Twitter feed and news page. Next week: fun. and Dawes.

 

Encore: Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, ACL presents two game-changers bringing modern blues and soul to a new generation: Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes. The power of live performance is front and center as Austin’s own rock ‘n’ soul phenomenon Clark and soulful rockers Alabama Shakes take the ACL stage in separate showcases.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for sixteen years” says a stoked Gary Clark Jr. from the stage. “It feels so good to be here right now.” Long Austin’s favorite son, the twenty-eight year old bluesman exploded onto the international music scene when he delivered an incredible performance at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Born and raised in Austin, Clark began playing guitar at age 12, tearing up hometown stages since he was a teenager. He made a name for himself across the globe with the release of his critically-acclaimed 2012 major label debut Blak and Blu, and kicked off 2013 with a performance for President and Mrs. Obama at The White House. Clark has earned across-the-board raves for his singular talent, with The New York Times hailing Clark as “a guitarist of deep magnetism and tremendous feel.” The guitar virtuoso flaunts his six-string chops in his ACL appearance, thrilling the audience with a bold mix of blues, rock, soul and funk. Clark made his auspicious ACL debut back in Season 33 as part of the Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed, with Jimmie Vaughan and Omar Dykes, and with his own set Clark proves he’s the one to watch.

“He’s already shared the stage with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton, but Gary is the essence of what his hometown Austin’s music is all about,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “He learned from the best in every genre from the age of 12, and remains true to his heart and his roots. He’s our pride and joy.”

photo by Scott Newton

Raucous newcomers Alabama Shakes combine the old and the new to create gritty, joyous and soulfully raw music. Muscle Shoals-inspired and hailing from Athens, Alabama, the foursome enthusiastically blend rock with soul, country, blues and roots. The rock quartet has attracted widespread praise, including their recent Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.  Alabama Shakes’ style is marked by lead singer Brittany Howard’s powerful vocals—which have been compared to those of Janis Joplin and Otis Redding—and the group’s irresistible energy. Performing tracks from their breakthrough release Boys & Girls, the band open their ACL debut with the breakout hit “Hold On,” and launch into an ecstatic, transcendent, rafter-shaking set.

“There’s a reason Grammy voters nominated them for Best New Artist of the Year, the same reason we taped this show before they had even released their first record,” declares Lickona.  “Raw talent is hard to miss, and a vocal talent like Brittany Howard comes along once in a decade – if that.”

Check out the episode page for more info on this great show. You can keep up with ACL events via our Facebook and Twitter pages and our newsletter. Next week: Norah Jones and Kat Edmonson.

 

Live Stream our taping with Asleep at the Wheel and special guests

Live stream Asleep At The Wheel

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce a live stream of Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel joined by special guests The Avett Brothers and Amos Lee, in a special tribute to the late Bob Wills, King of Western swing. The taping, Tuesday, February 24th @ 9pm ET/ 8pm CT, is the first of ACL’s new season, and will be live streamed worldwide directly from ACL’s stage via the show’s YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/austincitylimitstv. Fans can log on to watch the entire taping as it happens live from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. The broadcast episode will air on PBS this fall as part of the legendary music series upcoming Season 41. The show’s hashtag is #acltv. The live stream is powered by ACL underwriter Dell Computers.

Asleep at the Wheel were featured in ACL’s first official episode in 1976 along with The Texas Playboys, and their return marks an incredible eleventh appearance on the program. Asleep at the Wheel are also the newest members of the ACL Hall of Fame, and will be inducted at a ceremony to be held in Austin later this year. The legendary band releases their highly-anticipated new Bob Wills tribute album Still The King: Celebrating The Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys on March 3rd, featuring an all-star line-up of special guests, including ACL veterans Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, The Avett Brothers, George Strait, Kat Edmonson and Merle Haggard.  Founded in 1970 and based in Austin, TX, Asleep at the Wheel, lead by founder Ray Benson, has won nine GRAMMY awards, released more than 20 studio albums and charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard charts. For over 40 years, Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel have been the chief practitioners, conspirators and caretakers of Western swing, carrying Bob Wills’ traditions well into the 21st century, reaching both their contemporaries and the next generation of artists inspired by the great bandleader.

ACL recently announced the inductees for its second annual ACL Hall of Fame and the first round of tapings for the series’ upcoming Season 41, which also include the Grammy nominated country rebel Sturgill Simpson and acclaimed rock outfit The War on Drugs.

ACL Hall of Fame Special features Willie Nelson, Double Trouble and more

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits celebrates 40 years on television with a grand finale featuring musical highlights and inductions from the first-ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation. Hosted by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, this never-before-broadcast special showcases outstanding performances and collaborations from the ACL Hall of Fame ceremony held April 26, 2014, including Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph and more. The program also honors the inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees, featuring legendary music acts Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and a pair of individuals who played an invaluable role in the genesis of the series: show creator Bill Arhos and Texas Longhorns football head coach and ACL supporter Darrell Royal.

For this extraordinary occasion ACL returns to its original Studio 6A, where the series taped its first episode in 1974—featuring Willie Nelson—to honor the artists and individuals who have inspired the iconic television series throughout its four decade run. The intimate performances include inductee Willie Nelson, joined by Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris for stunning readings of Nelson-penned classics including “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Crazy” and “On the Road Again.” Matthew McConaughey inducts his friend and fellow Texan, saying “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson.”

photo by Scott Newton

Austin blues-rock giants Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble are honored with a stirring tribute and their signature songs are performed by special guests backed by Double Trouble’s Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans. Guitar ace Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Grammy-winning singer Mike Farris perform a scorching rendition of “The House Is Rockin’,” a song Vaughan made iconic. Blues titan and ACL veteran Buddy Guy says, “I wasn’t here when Willie started, but I came soon after,” then demonstrates his incredible guitar prowess with an electrifying take on “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Steel guitar dynamo Robert Randolph performs a fiery version of “Give Me Back My Wig” joined by Doyle Bramhall II. The special comes to an epic close with an all-star reading of a Lone Star classic as a stellar lineup of guitar slingers blaze through the Stevie Ray Vaughan standard “Texas Flood.”

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this weekend for this stellar special, 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: Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes.

ACL Season 40 crashes to a close with Foo Fighters

photo by Scott Newton

Get your lighters out for one of the most riotous, epic, joyous episodes in the four-decade history of Austin City Limits as the Foo Fighters return for the head-banging blowout of ACL’s milestone anniversary season. In an installment destined to be a future classic, this superstar-caliber performance serves as a colossal closeout to the program’s celebratory Season 40. Dave Grohl & company bring the rock in a non-stop, incredible hour of music that will have viewers on their feet and pledging allegiance to the Foo.

2015 marks the Foo Fighters’ 20th Anniversary, and while the 25-million-record-selling, eleven-time GRAMMY-winning band play sold-out arenas and stadiums across the globe, the modern rock superstars return to ACL’s humble stage on this special occasion. The Foos first appeared during Season 34 in 2008 and recently immortalized Austin and ACL’s executive producer Terry Lickona in an installment of their HBO series Sonic Highways, even recording a song in ACL’s historic, original Studio 6A for the companion audio release.

“Here’s what I think we should do,” says Foo leader Dave Grohl at the outset. “We should play some old songs, we should play some new songs, we should have some guests.” The band stays true to their word, launching into a blistering nine-song attack, performing fan favorites and standout tracks from their acclaimed new release Sonic Highways. The crowd goes wild when Austin guitar great Gary Clark Jr. joins the band for “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness,” the song originally recorded in the Austin episode of the HBO series. Hometown hero and blues guitar legend Jimmie Vaughan joins Clark Jr. and the band onstage for “Tuff Enuff,” the signature song of Vaughan’s Fabulous Thunderbirds, with Grohl on vocals and Vaughan adding his distinctive guitar riffs. The audience is on their feet for the entire hour, pumping their fists in the air and singing along as Foo Fighters make a believer out of everyone, in one of the most entertaining hours of music in ACL history. On the closing anthem “Best of You” Grohl sings, “I’ve got another confession to make/I’m your fool.” So is the Austin audience in a performance that is the ultimate highlight of ACL’s 40th season.

photo by Scott Newton

ACL executive producer Terry Lickona says, “We love us some Foo Fighters!! They are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet right now, and Dave Grohl is a renaissance rock and roll man. He showed us their love on the HBO Sonic Highways series, and this ACL episode is the first major TV showcase for their new music. Ours is a unique relationship, to say the least!”

 

The Black Keys and J. Roddy Walston & the Business get loud on ACL’s 40th season

photo by Scott Newton

It might get loud when two of contemporary rock’s best live bands hit the Austin City Limits stage with the return of six-time GRAMMY winners The Black Keys and the debut of rowdy southern rockers J. Roddy Walston & The Business.

“We’re The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio,” says frontman Dan Auerbach, but no introduction is needed. The powerhouse duo of singer/guitarist Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney have spent the better part of a decade building a huge following through relentless touring and word of mouth to become one of music’s biggest live acts, headlining festivals and arenas and earning worldwide acclaim for their irresistible rock and roll. They first appeared on ACL in Season 36 playing one of the last shows in ACL’s original, historic Studio 6A in support of their 2010 breakout album Brothers. The steel-belt rockers return for their second appearance with songs from the triple Grammy-nominated Turn Blue, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s album chart, was widely acclaimed as one of 2014′s best records and is a 2015 GRAMMY contender for Best Rock Album. The band reach back to their roots to kick things off in their blistering six-song ACL set, and proceed to tear through soulful tracks from Turn Blue including “Fever,” one of this year’s GRAMMY nominees for both Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. With their charged rock and unapologetic guitar riffs, The Black Keys command the ACL stage in a knockout performance.

“I remember seeing The Black Keys for the first time at ACL Fest and wondering, ‘how could just two guys make such great music?’” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They pour their heart and soul into it, that’s how, and they can excite a crowd more than most bands five times bigger.”

With a scrappy yet sublime sound that honors both their Southern roots and punk spirit, J. Roddy Walston & The Business deliver a must-see ACL debut, performing songs from their acclaimed LP Essential Tremors.  The Baltimore-based quartet’s high-intensity five-song set features singer/pianist/guitarist Walston tossing his long mane while headbanging out songs celebrating that great and terrible burden of being human.  Their anthems “Heavy Bells”, “Brave Man’s Death” and “Don’t Break the Needle” are some of the sweatiest, ballsiest rock ‘n’ roll ever featured on the ACL stage.  It’s all a warm-up, though, for the colossal closer “Used to Did,” on which the band pulls out all the stops for a piano-pounding, guitar-wailing, hair-whipping photo finish.

photo by Scott Newton

“J. Roddy Walston is the perfect warm up for the Keys,” Lickona added. “They are very old-school but also in-the-moment at the same time. Sometimes you just got to let it all hang out!”

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 for a brand new episode with the return of Foo Fighters.

 

New Tapings: Asleep at the Wheel, Sturgill Simpson & The War on Drugs

photo by Crackerfarm

Austin City Limits announced the first round of new tapings for the series upcoming Season 41!

Feb. 24 sees the return of Austin City Limits veteran and new Hall of Fame inductee Asleep at the Wheel. The premier Western swing band not only of Texas but of the United States, the Wheel first appeared on the show in Season 1, way back in 1976, and most recently in Season 35 with Willie Nelson. Now leader Ray Benson and company return in support of the upcoming Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, with special guests Amos Lee and The Avett Brothers in tow. We’re happy to welcome Asleep at the Wheel back for its eleventh taping.

On April 1st, we welcome acclaimed country singer Sturgill Simpson to the Austin City Limits stage. The Kentucky native released his first album High Top Mountain in 2013, establishing his philosophical brand of outlaw country. He broke out with his second LP Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, which earned Simpson national press coverage and the Emerging Artist of the Year Award at the 2014 Americana Music Awards & Honors. We’re proud to welcome Simpson for his ACL debut.

photo by Dusdin Condren

April also brings another Austin City Limits debut for the much-lauded rock band The War On Drugs. Following the Philadelphia group’s breakout with 2011’s Slave Ambient and two years of non-stop touring, TWOD – led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Adam Granduciel – reached a new peak with the celebrated Lost in the Dream. Pitchfork calls it a record “loaded with songs whose greatness is revealed slowly, where the simplest, most understated chord change can blow a track wide open and elevate it from simply pretty to absolutely devastating.” We’re thrilled to bring the shimmering indie rock of The War On Drugs to the ACL stage for the first time on April 6th.

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.