New tapings: Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo and The Vanguard


UPDATE: Austin City Limits and KLRU regret to inform you that the ACL taping with D’Angelo and The Vanguard, scheduled for Saturday, November 7th, has been cancelled. Thank you for your understanding.

Austin City Limits is proud to announce two new tapings as part of our upcoming Season 41: the ACL debuts of Kendrick Lamar on Oct. 30 and D’Angelo and The Vanguard on Nov. 7.

Perhaps the most acclaimed rapper on the planet, Kendrick Lamar comes to our stage on Oct. 30. The Compton native – born a year before the genre-defining N.W.A. LP Straight Outta Compton – began writing rhymes when he was 13. The young rapper would become an underground phenomenon, releasing mixtapes and independent albums that made him one of the top-selling digital artists. In 2012 he signed with Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope and released the landmark, platinum-selling good kid, m.A.A.d city. The LP debuted at #2 on the Billboard album chart, garnered seven Grammy nominations and spun off multiple top 40 singles, including “Swimming Pools (Drank”) and “Poetic Justice.” After touring with Kanye West, appearing on Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and performing a packed set at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lamar followed up with the smash single “i,” which won Grammys for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 2015 ceremony. The hit also set the stage for Lamar’s widely acclaimed latest LP To Pimp a Butterfly, which Rolling Stone called “a masterpiece of fiery outrage, deep jazz and ruthless self-critique” and Spin named the “Great American Hip-Hop Album.” The record debuted at #1 on Billboard’s chart, firmly establishing Lamar as one of the biggest hip-hop artists in the world. We’re thrilled to welcome Kendrick Lamar to be part of ACL history.

On Nov. 7 we welcome musical genius D’Angelo and his band The Vanguard. Born in Richmond, Virginia, D’Angelo migrated to New York City at 18 to develop his skills as a singer, songwriter, musician and producer.  After signing a publishing deal in 1991 and a record contract in 1993, his 1995 debut Brown Sugar breathed new life into R&B and yielded gems including the title track, “Lady,” “Cruisin’,” and more. Its 2000 follow-up Voodoo received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, while the single “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” earned the Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. After a silence of over a decade, broken only by the release of 2008’s compilation The Best So Far…, D’Angelo and The Vanguard delivered Black Messiah to the unsuspecting, yet receptive, masses on December 15, 2014. Reaffirming the need for raw, righteous, and real soul, its impact could immediately be felt when it landed at #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart and #5 on the Top 200. The critics spoke as well, with The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, NPR, and countless others extolling the album for both its music and message, thus usurping countless “Best of 2014” music lists. D’Angelo and The Vanguard hit the road, earning rave reviews for live shows Rolling Stone called “ a master class in soul” and Wall Street Journal described as “rendering a strain of soul music reminiscent of Sly Stone in the ‘60s, George Clinton in the ‘70s or 1980s Prince, onstage D’Angelo is a dynamo of the James Brown variety.” We’re excited to experience the same magic as we welcome D’Angelo and The Vanguard to the ACL stage for the first time.

In addition to performing at ACLTV D’Angelo and The Vanguard will also headline the Fun Fun Fun Fest Orange Stage on Sunday, November 8th. USP, 3 Day, and Single Day Passes for the festival are available for purchase at
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: Vampire Weekend/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.”

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.  

photo by Scott Newton

“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: the 2015 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame special.

New taping: Vintage Trouble

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce the taping debut of Vintage Trouble.

The California quartet – comprising Ty Taylor (vocals), Nalle Colt (guitar), Richard Danielson (drums) and Rick Barrio Dill (bass) – play live-wired, straight-shootin’, dirty-mouth’d, pelvis-pushing juke music. Or, as Rolling Stone put it, “imagine James Brown singing lead for Led Zeppelin and you’ll get an idea of Vintage Trouble’s muscular, in the pocket sound.” The New York Times noted, “Like Otis Redding, Vintage Trouble makes music that is a little bit of everything…you can slow dance, groove, rock and let it all go.”

Following the release of its 2011 debut album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, the band was soon selling out headline shows worldwide, opening for The Rolling Stones and touring with The Who, and performing on virtually every late night show, including Later…with Jools Holland and Late Show with David Letterman – all before the band had even signed to a major label. Signing to Blue Note Records, home of Norah Jones, Van Morrison, Al Green and countless jazz titans, the quartet released 1 Hopeful Rd., produced by label president Don Was and featuring the singles “Doin’ What You’re Doin’” and “Run Like the River.” Paste raves, “Doin’ What You’re Doin’” grooves like Al Green with background doo-wops. Taylor’s falsetto range stars in ‘Shows What You Know’ and the band could convincingly resurrect the blues-infused power ballad with songs like ‘If You Loved Me.’” Vintage Trouble followed up the release of its major label debut by touring with AC./DC in Europe and the U.S., before hitting the road for its own headlining shows.

Classic Rock notes, “You want the real vintage rock’n’soul deal? Look this way, and then make sure you catch them live.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, and it underlines how thrilled we are to welcome Vintage Trouble to the ACL stage.

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: Sam Smith and Future Islands

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an hour of soulful music from breakout sensations Sam Smith and Future Islands.

Chart-topping British soul singer and songwriter Sam Smith topped off a whirlwind 2014 with an astonishing six major Grammy nominations. There is virtually no contemporary vocalist as stylish and elegant as Smith, a throwback to an elite crew of singers from an earlier generation. A beautifully soulful singer, the 22-year old London native makes a stunning ACL debut performing the songs of unrequited love and heartbreak that drive his landmark platinum album In the Lonely Hour. Like soul singers of yore, Smith takes to the ACL stage as his eight-piece band is already a minute into the show-opener “Nirvana,” the title track of his early EP. The vocal stunner pays tribute to one of his idols with an aching piano rendition of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know”. Smith demonstrates his considerable range with an inspired mashup of his “Money On My Mind” fused with 90’s club anthem “Finally”. Bringing the gorgeous set to a rapturous close with his signature song, the double-platinum “Stay With Me”, Smith bares his soul with the Austin audience in the palm of his hand.

“Sam told me after the show that it was probably the best performance he’s given in America so far,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “This show deserves to be seen and heard by fans of great music and great singers everywhere!”

Baltimore’s Future Islands share the episode, also making an epic ACL debut. Having steadily built a fan base since their first album in 2006, the synth-pop trio became a breakthrough smash in 2014 with the critically acclaimed Singles, landing on top of many year-end best lists including Pitchfork, Stereogum, Spin, Rolling Stone and NPR. Dynamic live shows featuring charismatic frontman Samuel T. Herring’s hip-swiveling swagger and dramatic chest-beating have inspired their own internet memes. Spin raves “Calling on his Sam Cooke-meets-Tom Jones growl, Herring charges into every song, roaring with impassioned heart and soul.” As the band bound into their six-song set, Herring commands the ACL stage, delivering song after song of glistening pop while creating an emotional narrative of love, loss and inspiration. It’s a transfixing debut, highlighted by a performance of their dazzling hit “Seasons (Waiting On You)”, crowned Song of the Year in the influential year-end Village Voice Pazz + Jop critics poll.

photo by Scott Newton


“I was mesmerized the first time I saw Sam Herring onstage, and booked him on the spot!” ACL executive producer Terry Lickona exclaimed. “In fact, I’ve never seen anybody put so much of himself into a performance. He’s like a man possessed!”

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: Foo Fighters.

New tapings: Leon Bridges and Angelique Kidjo

photo by Rambo

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new tapings for the month of October: Leon Bridges on Oct. 8 and Angélique Kidjo on Oct. 17, both making their ACL debuts.

Rising star Leon Bridges makes his first ACL appearance on Oct. 8. The river of soul music flows on deep and strong, and the 26-year-old Forth Worth native is immersed in its lifegiving current. “As a kid I grew fascinated with modern R&B. In high school I’d try singing songs by Ginuwine and Usher,” he explains, “and I thought well, maybe they weren’t in my range.” With a few early compositions tucked under his belt, a seeming dichotomy surfaced: Bridges’ tunes sounded less like the modern R&B he’d grown up loving than classic soul. He began a period of apprenticeship playing coffeehouses in and around Fort Worth, slowly finding and refining his voice. After Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block from White Denim saw Bridges performing, they insisted Leon enter the studio to cut a few tracks. That initial three-day session yielded the recordings that led Bridges to ink with Columbia Records, who released his debut album Coming Home, featuring its title track as the lead single, in June of 2015 to critical and public acclaim. “I’m not saying I can hold a candle to any soul musician from the ’50s and ’60s,” Bridges says, “but I want to carry the torch.” Join us on Oct. 8 to watch his flame burn bright.

On Oct. 17, we welcome Angélique Kidjo, dubbed “Africa’s premier diva” by Time and “the undisputed queen of African music” by the London Telegraph. The Benin native’s accolades span a 20-year discography and thousands of concerts around the world. She has won Grammys for her 2008 album Djin Djin and her 2014 album EVE, and enjoyed a long history of notable collaborations with greats like Carlos Santana, Bono, John Legend, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel and more. On her new album Sings, recorded with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, Kidjo re-imagines nine classic songs from her expansive repertoire and two new songs, blending European classical traditions with the powerful rhythmic sounds of her native West Africa. “I love the challenge of doing new things,” explains Kidjo. “I never want to get too comfortable with what I’m doing, and I love my work too much to repeat myself.” Having already appeared on PBS in the concert documentary Lightning in a Bottle: One Night in the History of the Blues, we’re proud to welcome Angélique Kidjo to the ACL stage.

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: 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 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 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 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


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.