Encore: TV on the Radio and The War On Drugs

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases left of the dial faves TV On The Radio and The War On Drugs, splitting the bill in a brand new installment. Two of today’s most critically-acclaimed indie rock bands, both acts make powerful debuts in their first appearance on the ACL stage.  

First up is TV On The Radio, formed in Brooklyn in 2001 and considered one of the most influential bands of the decade. The quartet showcase tracks from their latest and widely-acclaimed album Seeds. TVOTR’s originality and eclectic musical spirit—encompassing psychedelia, soul, electronica and urgent punk rock—is evident in their masterful five-song set, opening with the hard-driving “Lazerray” and grappling with pain and loss in the soulful, emotional closer “Trouble.” Witness an act that continues to make music boldly on their own terms, always pushing forward to become one of the best bands of its generation.

Philadelphia band The War On Drugs perform songs from their 2014 breakthrough Lost in the Dream, which earned widespread praise and landed the top spot on many critics’ album-of-the-year lists. Kicking off a gorgeous set with “Under the Pressure”, the song Spin declared record of the year, the rock outfit build momentum creating lush soundscapes filled with musical craft and intricate instrumentation. Bandleader Adam Granduciel’s Dylanesque vocals, cathartic lyrics and grand-scale guitar solos unfold to reveal expansive, dreamy atmospherics for a memorable debut.

The War on Drugs ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

photo by Scott Newton

“Indie music has been an important part of ACL’s musical legacy over the past two decades, but it’s a big umbrella that covers a vast musical landscape,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Both TV On The Radio and The War On Drugs stand out as virtuoso live musicians, but their songs and vocals are what caught my ear. They are personal yet accessible to anyone who is a fan of great music.”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. This episode will also make its debut on American Airlines’ in-flight entertainment channel in June. 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 an hour with global pop star Ed Sheeran.


New tapings: John Prine, Kacey Musgraves, Wild Child and Anderson East

photo by Danny Clinch

Austin City Limits announces four new Season 44 tapings to kick off the summer of 2018: legendary songwriter John Prine on June 5, contemporary country queen Kacey Musgraves on June 6, Austin indie rockers Wild Child on June 21 and soulful singer/songwriter Anderson East on June 22.

Hailed “the Mark Twain of American songwriting” by Rolling Stone, John Prine (who made his ACL debut on Season 3 in 1978) makes his highly-anticipated eighth appearance on ACL with a new batch of songs from his just-released The Tree of Forgiveness, his first album of originals in thirteen years, and the highest-charting album of his 47-year career, debuting at #5 on the Billboard 200.  Produced by Dave Cobb in Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, Tree features guest appearances by Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires and Brandi Carlile, as well as co-writes with Dan Auerbach, Pat McLaughlin and Phil Spector. But it’s Prine and his distinctive vision that hold the spotlight, what the New York Times calls “a handful of folky chords, a melody that sounds like it’s always been around, a grainy and understated vocal and lyrics that summon complex emotions in a rigorous minimum of syllables.” Pitchfork praises the “virtuoso at understatement” for “finding the joy in the mundane, and writing about what it means to be alive,” trying, as the Nashville Scene notes, to help us “tolerate the bitter taste left by bewildering, painful experiences like death and love.” “Prine’s heart is all human,” says The Tennessean, “It beats in every song on The Tree of Forgiveness …the most personal record of his 47-year recording career.” He may be singing about going to heaven,” proclaims NPR Fresh Air, “but his earthiness keeps his music alive.”

photo by Jaime Nelson

Kacey Musgraves dazzled in a standout ACL debut in 2014, and the now two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter makes her return appearance celebrating her acclaimed third album Golden Hour.  The new album is generating glowing reviews, with NPR stating, “she’s relaxed into the sound she’s already designed, going deeper beneath its sparkly, vintage-tinted surface and further cultivating her innate commitment to clarity and craft,” and Noisey proclaims “it’s clear that the Texan is still the most talented songwriter in mainstream pop-county.” Co-writing and producing with Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, the Golden, Texas native created an album that marks a more personal, emotional chapter for a songwriter who has been celebrated for her piercing observations and finely-hewn storytelling. “I had a different mindset this time, which was feeling rather than thinking— leading heart first, rather than brain first,” the newly-married artist says. “I was feeling genuinely happy for the first time in a long time, and it started pouring out in ideas and songs.” In this window of creative exploration, she and her collaborators offer strikingly new musical directions, with inspirations ranging from Neil Young to Sade, even dipping lightly into disco. “You won’t find anybody on this earth more inspired by traditional country music more than me,” she says, “but there are all these other facets of music that inspire me, too. I was wondering what it would sound like if those influences could live cohesively.” Pitchfork calls the record “an assured, artful snapshot of a particular rush of feelings, but its wisdom speaks volumes to Musgraves’ ongoing evolution.” Consequence of Sound calls Golden Hour “an honest, cohesive musical experience that will linger in your mind and heart long after the final notes have faded.

photo by Sean Daigle

Austin’s Wild Child make their ACL debut in support of Expectations, the band’s most creative, colorful and intellectually engaging album to date.  The Austin-American Statesman raves, “Four albums in, the Austin indie-folk band-that-could has become increasingly confident without losing the sense of childlike wonder that’s so central to the spirit of their music.”  The septet’s new release rose out of a desire to take a multispectral approach to writing and recording that went beyond simply trying to engineer success. The band made a list of their favorite musicians who were also producers, choosing ones they thought would shine a new light on specific compositions, and then set about chasing their album from studio to studio all over the world. That route took them to Chris Walla’s (Death Cab For Cutie) studio in Tromsø, Norway, to a home-built warehouse studio in Philadelphia with Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken, and back to Wimberley, Texas, as Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit) set up a makeshift studio in Wild Child lead singer and violinist Kelsey Wilson’s childhood home. The group also tapped the talents of frequent tour mate Chris Boosahda (Shakey Graves), Atlantic Records recording artist Max Frost, and Grammy-winning producer Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas, Brownout). The result is a theater of possibilities, with arrangements that reflect the range of tastes of the producers, from scruffy lo-fi tape hiss to smoothed out precision-cut electronic pop sounds. “Without sacrificing Wild Child’s signature pop swell, Expectations emerges soulful and serious,” says the Austin Chronicle.

photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

Called “an exciting singer-songwriter effortlessly able to blend elements of rock, blues, country and soul” by Associated Press, Anderson East steps on our stage for the first time with his latest album Encore, produced by longtime collaborator Dave Cobb.  The album’s title is derived from East’s steadfast belief: that every song on his new album must be worthy of closing out one of his notoriously epic live shows. The Athens, Alabama native broke onto the music scene with “Satisfy Me” from his 2015 major label debut Delilah, followed by a breakout series of years that included appearances on Cobb’s Southern Family compilation, Brandi Carlile’s Cover Stories benefit LP and the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, as well as spending much of 2017 on the road with Chris and Morgane Stapleton as part of their All-American Road Show.  The New York Times calls Encore “an often lustrous revisiting of raucous Southern soul, rousingly delivered and pinpoint precise,” with NPR Music claiming that it “draw[s] inspiration from the sophistication of Donny Hathaway’s compositions and arrangements, the grandness of Van Morrison’s Caledonia Soul Orchestra and the dashing song interpretation of Joe Cocker.” American Songwriter says, “This remains a sharp, soul-drenched, organically based set that solidifies the R&B roots at the heart of East’s talents,” adding that it’s “poised to push the talented singer-songwriter over the top and into the mainstream.”

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast versions will air on PBS later this year as part of our Season 44.

Chris Isaak returns as host of 2018 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 10/25/18


Austin City Limits announces the fifth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction & Celebration will take place on Thursday, October 25, 2018, with music great Chris Isaak returning as host of the celebratory evening.  Save the date for one of the year’s highlights, a star-studded night filled with performances and collaborations from music’s finest.  The announcement was made by ACL executive producer Terry Lickona at tonight’s Brandi Carlile taping.

A new class of inductees will be announced at a later date, and will be saluted at the ceremony to be held at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater.  The event will be open to the public and ticket onsale information will be announced at a later date. Sponsor packages are available now at www.acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. All proceeds benefit KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. More information about performances, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.

photo by Gary Miller

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.  Last year’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

Austin City Limits to stream Brandi Carlile taping live on 4/10

photo by Alysse Gafkjenh

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce that we will be livestreaming the return of standout singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile to our stage on Tuesday, April 10. We’ll be beaming live directly from the ACL stage at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel.

Having first appeared on ACL in 2010 and most recently paid tribute to Roy Orbison in the 2017 ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve celebration, Brandi Carlile comes back in celebration of her seventh album, By The Way, I Forgive You, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb and acclaimed musician Shooter Jennings.  One of 2018’s most anticipated albums, Rolling Stone hails the release “an Adele-meets Joni Mitchell tour de force,” and “a moving and righteous piece of Americana-infused pop.”  NPR Music’s Ann Powers asserts, “By The Way, I Forgive You takes Carlile and her longtime bandmates, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, into a new space of risk-taking—as well as the emotional stratosphere. A country-rock aria dedicated to the delicate boys and striving girls born into—and, Carlile insists, destined to triumph over—this divisive time, ‘The Joke’ offers a stunning vocal performance from Carlile, swathed in warm piano, big drums and a perfect string arrangement.” Additionally, The New York Times praises, “Motherhood is disruptive, messy, inconvenient, enlightening and triumphant in ‘The Mother’…Its fingerpicking folk-rock unfurls from a blurry awakening to unabashed pride and joy.”  Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, By The Way, I Forgive You includes ten new songs written by Carlile and longtime collaborators, twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth. Of their close relationship, Carlile comments, “The Twins and I have been in a band for so long now. And not just a band, we are literally a family. When you create art with twins, it becomes unclear when I end and where they begin.” Over the course of their acclaimed career, the band has released six albums, including 2015’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter, which garnered a Grammy nomination for “Best Americana Album.”

Join us on April 10 for this full-set livestream on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Encore: Band of Horses and Parker Millsap

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases modern roots rock with two American originals: indie favorites Band of Horses and acclaimed singer-songwriter Parker Millsap.

South Carolina indie-folk rockers Band of Horses made their ACL debut in 2010 and return to perform time-honed classics alongside new gems from their fifth studio album Why Are You Ok? The Charleston-based quintet, led by dynamic frontman Ben Bridwell, kick off the upbeat seven-song set with the classic, “Is There A Ghost” from their 2007 album Cease To Begin. The band strips down to an acoustic trio for the early career hit “Part One,” circling a single microphone to capture their lush three-part harmonies. New songs “Throw My Mess,” “Hag” and “In A Drawer,” showcase the band’s melodic range, and lead into the raucous set-closing anthem, fan favorite “The General Specific.”

Oklahoman singer-songwriter Parker Millsap has set the Americana world on fire with his songs, his voice and his impassioned live show. Raised in the Pentecostal church, Millsap is filled with a fire-and-brimstone fervor that fuels his gospel-tinged lyrics and gives way to Buddy Holly-esque rockabilly ravers. The 23-year-old rising star opens his ACL debut with the apocalyptic title track from his sophomore album The Very Last Day. Millsap’s “talent for bringing convincing, complex characters to life” (NPR) is evident in the set’s centerpiece, “Heaven Sent,” which has the singer taking on the role of a gay son searching for his preacher father’s acceptance. Millsap closes out the standout performance with a soaring, fiddle-accompanied take on the blues classic “You Gotta Move,” then concludes with a howling, impassioned performance of his own hard-hitting “Hades Pleads,” which gets the appreciative ACL audience on their feet for a well-deserved ovation.

photo by Scott Newton

“Their songs are at the heart of what makes both Band of Horses and Parker Millsap so special,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Band of Horses are at the top of their game, lyrically and melodically, and Parker Millsap’s songwriting is story-telling at its very best. This is a show you where you should turn off the lights and turn up the volume.”

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 an encore episode from the one and only Cyndi Lauper.  

Spoon featured in ACL: Backstage


The final installment of Season 1 of our new virtual reality series ACL: Backstage, starring Austin superstars Spoon, is out now.  The ACL four-timers (that’s Seasons 28, 31, 36 and 40 for you trainspotters) and ACL Festival favorites have been a mainstay of our fair city’s music scene for a quarter of a century, and this episode illustrates why they’re one of today’s biggest live acts.  ACL: Backstage offers viewers amazing, only-in-VR moments, taking fans behind the scenes for a conversation with Britt Daniel & co. and closer than front row seats to Spoon’s sold-out show at Austin’s legendary Stubb’s venue.  Check it, and the entire 10-episode series, out here.  Season 1 features a stellar slate of superstars straight from Austin City Limits’ Season 43, including Run the Jewels, Ed Sheeran, Father John Misty, Dan Auerbach, Zac Brown Band and more.  Watch ACL: Backstage on YouTube, and the content is even more immersive when viewed in Daydream or Cardboard.

ACL: Backstage is presented by ACL and SubVRsive, an Emmy-nominated XR company based in Austin, TX that focuses on creating impactful 360 Video, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality experiences.

Encore: Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a Season 42 highlight: an hour with the one and only Iggy Pop. The larger than life icon gives a king-sized performance in his first-ever ACL appearance, with a mix of classics and songs from his acclaimed 2016 release Post Pop Depression, his first career solo #1 album.  

Bringing new songs to life alongside classics that bookend his storied career, Iggy is joined by the all-star team behind Post Pop Depression: Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Dean Fertita and the Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders, augmented for the stage with Queens’ Troy Van Leeuwen and indie-rock mainstay Matt Sweeney. Hurtling onstage to open the eleven-song set with “Lust For Life,” the godfather of punk bares his soul and torso in this memorable hour. Shirtless by the second song, the Detroit native performs selections from his first two solo albums, the late 1970s pair of collaborations with David Bowie, The Idiot and Lust for Life, including rarely performed gems “Some Weird Sin” and “China Girl.” A raucous “Funtime” features Josh Homme taking the vocal sung by co-writer Bowie on the original version. Iggy launches into new classics fitting perfectly into his solo catalog, featuring tight, punchy marvels that embellish his earlier work. Displaying his uniquely animated stage presence, the veteran rock ‘n’ roll warrior thrills with several forays deep into the crowd, saying “This is a pretty good job.”

“There’s never been another show quite like this one, and that’s saying a lot!” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Iggy is an ageless, timeless, human dynamo, and he took command of the stage, the cameras, the whole building. This show captures the essence of what makes Iggy Pop the godfather of punk rockers.”

photo by Scott Newton

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. Join us next week for another encore episode, starring Band of Horses and Parker Millsap.

A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story now available via VOD

thom+on+cam for blog

The acclaimed documentary A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story is now available to buy or rent online and across the country on Cable Video On-Demand!

Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Keith Maitland (Tower), A Song For You is a must-see for music fans everywhere. Featuring pivotal performances by everyone from Willie Nelson and Beck to Ray Charles and Radiohead, this is the ultimate backstage pass to the longest-running music show in television history, recounting Austin City Limits’  40-year evolution from local outlaw-country showcase to a required stopping point for superstars, cult bands, and up-and-comers from just about every corner of popular music. The film gives an inside look at the people who built the series into the institution it is today and features interviews with many of the music innovators and legends who have made history on the storied stage. Set against the colorful backdrop of Austin, Texas, A Song for You provides a candid look at central moments in the program’s four decades, including the challenges and highlights in the evolution of the Peabody Award-winning series.

After a world premiere at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival, A Song for You has been a favorite on the festival circuit, earning widespread critical acclaim, with Variety hailing, “There is, quite simply, nothing else like Austin City Limits on American broadcast television right now.”  Paste magazine raves, “There’s no question the show has a place in history,” with Rolling Stone citing the film’s “…concert footage guaranteed to make you salivate.”  

Watch it now via the following services:



Amazon Prime Video



Google Play




Fandango Now

Cable VOD:



Direct TV




Verizon FIOS