Encore: Tim McGraw

photo by Scott Newton

“This is a special night for us. We’re very excited!” ” proclaims Tim McGraw during his debut ACL performance. So are we to welcome one of contemporary country’s biggest stars. In a dynamic performance, McGraw takes the ACL stage armed with both his greatest hits and brand new songs. Performing tracks from his record Two Lanes of Freedom, McGraw blazes through an hour-long set of his distinctive brand of rockin’ country music.

Launching into a set that has the audience on its feet from the first note, the country kingpin has his engines revving and thrills the crowd in a visceral, moving performance. From his hard-driving new single “One of Those Nights” to the feel-good hangover of “Mexicoma,” the energy level is at 11 when McGraw sings his massive career-defining anthem “Live Like You Were Dying.” He brings the show to a close and a smile to every face with the good-natured hillbilly humor of his recent huge hit “Truck Yeah,” a singalong anthem if there ever was one.

“Country Music has plenty of superstars to go around, but Tim has that special ability to make an emotional connection with his audience that is rare in any genre,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “His first ACL appearance meant a lot to him – he told me it made him feel ‘like a real musician – not just sort of smoke and mirrors.’”

photo by Scott Newton

Check out the episode page for more info on this exciting show. Keep up with other ACL goings-on through our Facebook and Twitter pages and our newsletter. Next week: The Lumineers and Shovels & Rope.


Encore: Miranda Lambert and Jeff Bridges

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend Austin City Limits is bringing you some southern twang, pink guitars, shotgun mic stands and serious country with this encore episode featuring Miranda Lambert and Jeff Bridges.

Miranda Lambert has become a household name since her appearance on Nashville Star back in 2003 and is now, undoubtedly, one of country music’s biggest names. Miranda, whose father is a singer/songwriter, admits that she wasn’t always keen on singing growing up, but once she turned 17 she realized that music was the most natural way for her to express herself. Since then Miranda has released five studio albums, won a Grammy for her song “The House That Built Me” and now has a side project with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley called Pistol Annies, who join Lambert to sing “Hell On Heels,”  their biggest hit of their album by the same name.

The highly acclaimed actor/singer Jeff Bridges also appears in this episode, singing hits from the Grammy-winning Crazy Heart soundtrack as well as songs from his 2011 self-titled debut. Known for his prolific acting career, the Oscar-winning Bridges shows fans a different side, displaying his singing and songwriting ability. While shooting Crazy Heart, Bridges realized that he was a bit tired of the “acting thing” and wanted to go back to his original interest: music. Highlights of the performance include the songs, “Somebody Else” and “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do,” written by beloved Austin musician Stephen Bruton.

photo by Scott Newton

So sit back and relax this Saturday with two of country music’s most famous and talented names. Be sure to check your local listings for showtimes to see this episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or through our newsletter to keep up with updates on tapings and airings. Next week: Tim McGraw.

New taping: Jeff Tweedy

photo by Zoran Orlic

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce the return of one of our favorite sons, Jeff Tweedy, on June 20 as part of the upcoming milestone 40th season.  After two decades leading his main outfit Wilco, the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter’s ACL appearance sets the stage for the release of a highly-anticipated solo album later this year.  Backed by a newly-formed band including his 18-year old son Spencer Tweedy on drums, expect new material in addition to a solo acoustic set of Wilco and pioneering alt.country band Uncle Tupelo favorites.  ACL veteran Tweedy has made four memorable appearances with Wilco, so welcoming him once again to our stage is like welcoming an old friend.

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.


Valerie June livestream on 5/28

valerie june   2

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our taping with Valerie June live on May 28, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

The daughter of a music promoter, Tennessee native Valerie June grew up exposed to gospel and soul music. She moved to Memphis in 2000 as part of the group Bella Sun; after the band ended, she began incorporating blues and Appalachian folk into her gospel-soaked sounds. Dubbing the blend “organic moonshine roots music,” she self-released three albums, including a collaboration with Old Crow Medicine Show, and appeared on the MTV online series $5 Cover. By 2011, she had attracted the attention of the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who co-produced and co-wrote 2013’s acclaimed Pushin’ Against a Stone, which Spin hailed for its “poise and clarity of vision,” Blurt proclaimed was “an impressive calling card to the rest of the world” and Rolling Stone named one of the 50 Best Albums of 2013. Now she brings that vision to the Moody Theater for her first ACL taping.

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 Valerie June.


Encore: Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly

photo by Scott Newton

Mumford & Sons are This weekend’s encore presentation of Austin City Limits features a high-octane night of contemporary music’s best folk rock practitioners, including sets by British superstars Mumford & Sons and Celtic folk-punkers Flogging Molly.

The episode, which originally aired in October 2011, finds Mumford & Sons making their ACL debut and is a must-see for fans and a primer for those new to the band’s cathartic live shows. Blending acoustic instrumentation, vocal harmonies and a tireless work ethic, Mumford & Sons have earned an international reputation as one of the best live bands, winning over audiences with their masterful, melancholy voices and musical skills. Mumford & Sons’ inspired set features tracks from their career-making debut Sigh No More, and the blockbuster follow-up Babel. The energy on the night of the taping vibrated the walls at The Moody Theater, and it translates directly to the screen. The band perform fan favorites “The Cave” and “Roll Away Your Stone” and poignant ballads “Timshel” and “Awake My Soul.” A highlight is an early televised performance of “Lover of the Light,” previously unrecorded, and now featured on Babel.

“The first time this show aired, Mumford & Sons did not have the biggest-selling record in the world,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “But today they still capture the hearts and souls of young music fans better than anybody else around – and this amazing performance shows why. They do it the old-fashioned way, with authentic songs that speak to real life, and they play their asses off!”

photo by Scott Newton

Speaking of energy, Flogging Molly doesn’t disappoint in their ACL debut. The band storms the stage with tuneful melodies and puts on a magnificent show with their unique brand of Celtic folk/punk.  Tune in for lively renditions of “Requiem For A Dying Song,” “Tobacco Island,” and “Devil’s Dance Floor.”  Bandleader Dave King called their ACL taping “the most important live performance they’ve ever done.”

“A live Flogging Molly show is an experience as much as it is a show,” hints ACL’s Terry Lickona.  “When you’re watching, crank up the volume and buckle up for the ride!”

Check the episode page for more info, photos and clips. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for up-to-date news on all things Austin City Limits. Next week: Miranda Lambert and Jeff Bridges.


Encore: Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, Austin City Limits shines the spotlight on two of indie rock’s most innovative bands, with the ACL debuts of Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear.

Vampire Weekend kicks off an exuberant performance with “Diane Young” from their latest album, Modern Vampires of the City.  The band formed in 2006 at NY’s Columbia University and “quickly became one of the most important New York bands of this millennium” (NY Times). Vampire Weekend’s dynamic, high-energy performance offers a window into their unique sound. The group perform tracks from their three albums, including the massive hit “Cousins,” from their 2010 sophomore release Contra, which earned the band a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Album.  Displaying their impressive musicianship by playing the tricky polyrhythms and intricate melodies that are a hallmark of their sound, the four-piece band keeps their well-crafted choruses and melodies flowing throughout for a memorable debut.

“Vampire Weekend are festival favorites for good reason – everybody loves their music!” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They have an easy-going approach that almost makes it feel like they’re playing in somebody’s backyard instead of to thousands (or in this case, on national TV). Their songs are intoxicating.”

photo by Scott Newton

With their sweeping, psychedelic indie rock in full effect, Grizzly Bear turns in a stellar set as well. Grizzly Bear has been steadily ascending throughout their decade-long career, garnering raves for their special blend of visceral, majestic indie rock. Pitchfork says, “the Brooklyn four-piece make pop music for the ambient, asking us to notice the importance in detail, the beauty of texture, and the foregrounds that exist all across our spectrum of perception.” The band takes the ACL stage performing songs primarily from their acclaimed recent album Shields, which Rolling Stone named one of the year’s best. Grizzly Bear features two singers, Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, who are also the main songwriters, and the band’s emphasis on collaboration is front and center as they trade off vocals, delivering gorgeous, elaborate, haunting compositions.

“There’s almost something spiritual, or at least ethereal, about Grizzly Bear’s music,” says ACL’s Lickona. “Their sweet harmonies can be hypnotic, and overall there’s this low-key kind of excitement about them that just leaves you wanting more!”

Check out the episode page here and tune in this Saturday to see the show for yourself. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly.