Encore: The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers

photo by Scott Newton

Join us this weekend for a night of intimate and supremely talented performances from The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers. With zero percussion assistance for each performance, one acquires a clear picture of the depth of musicianship and delicately crafted songs that both of these artists brought to our stage. What you’ll find from both artists is nothing short of moving, inspiring, and wildly intriguing.

With open arms and a bare stage, we welcomed The Civil Wars back in February 2012 as the first taping that year. The Grammy Award-winners proved to be a perfect start to the newest season on so many levels. Their minimalist set with the ever-so perpetual Austin skyline in the background highlighted the voices of Joy Williams and John Paul White as they played hits off their 2011 release Barton Hollow. Included in this performance are two very intense, but true to the original spirit, renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.” At one moment you realize that Williams and White had the entire audience in their hand when Williams remarked about how quiet and attentive the audience was reacting. It’s true – at many points during this episode you become so captivated by Joy’s sashaying and John’s guitar playing that you forget where you are and immediately realize why these two have garnered their much-deserved praise.

“When you start a band, this is all you ever really want to do – play Austin City Limits,” mentioned Chris Thile in the middle of Punch Brothers’ set. Thile, who is no stranger to ACL (this is his third appearance), brings his all-star band that formed back in 2006 to the show. Again there is no percussion, but unlike the simple quietness that we get from The Civil Wars earlier, we get an influx of sound from the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass. The progressive rock stars of the bluegrass world take us through their 2012 release of Who’s Feeling Young Now? with a few sprinkles of the 2010 album Antifogmatic. This group’s genre-jumping and incredible musicianship will have you tapping your toes and wishing you had taken up banjo back in 10th grade.

photo by Scott Newton

This is something you will not want to miss, but don’t take our word for it – see it for yourself! You can preview the episode and get more information here; check here for local listings and times in your area. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for all things Austin City Limits, and sign up for our newsletter for further info. Next week: Tim McGraw.

 

Live stream our taping with TV on the Radio Mar. 16

TVontheRadio_square

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our debut taping with TV on the Radio live on Monday, Mar. 16, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

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.

The broadcast version of this show will air this fall on PBS.  Join us for this live webcast of the Austin City Limits debut of TV on the Radio.

 

New tapings: Sleater-Kinney, Cassandra Wilson and Shakey Graves

photo by Brigitte Sire

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new Season 41 tapings with Sleater-Kinney, Cassandra Wilson and Shakey Graves, all coming to our stage for the first time.

On April 15 we welcome acclaimed rock band Sleater-Kinney, out supporting their first new album in a decade, No Cities To Love (Sub Pop), which New York Times critic Jon Pareles called “the first great album of 2015.” Consisting of guitarists/vocalists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (also the co-creator/star of Portlandia), and drummer Janet Weiss, the powerhouse trio came crashing out of the Pacific Northwest, setting a new bar for punk’s political insight and emotional impact. Hailed as “America’s best rock band” by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and as “America’s best punk band ever. EVER” by Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone, the band put out seven searing albums in 10 years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006. Almost a decade later, the trio has come back together with the surprise announcement of No Cities To Love, which Pareles described as full of “hurtling, bristling, densely packed, white-knuckled songs that are all taut construction and raw nerve.” Can’t join us in the studio for this taping? Join us online on our  Austin City Limits YouTube channel where you will be able to watch the entire taping as it happens live on April 15 starting at 8 pm CT.

photo by Mark Seliger

Grammy-winning American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Cassandra Wilson makes her ACL debut on April 28, armed with her new LP Coming Forth by Day, an homage dedicated to the beauty, power, and genius of Billie Holiday. Jazz critic Gary Giddins describes Wilson as “a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field” by incorporating blues, country and folk music into her work.  A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Wilson moved to New York City in the early 80s, met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released the landmark album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn, which paved the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook.

On May 6 we open the stage to Austin-based singer/songwriter Shakey Graves, playing songs from his acclaimed 2014 LP And the War Came. An actor who had a recurring role on Friday Night Lights and appeared in several Robert Rodriguez films, the erstwhile Alejandro Rose-Garcia started making music as part of New York City’s “anti-folk” scene. Since returning to Austin, Shakey Graves has become so closely associated with his hometown that for the last three years, Austin has celebrated “Shakey Graves Day” by mayoral proclamation. With And the War Came, he extends the ground emotionally and sonically broken by his 2011 self-released debut Roll the Bones, which still ranks near the top of Bandcamp’s digital best-seller charts. As noted by Exclaim, And the War Came “displays remarkable growth as a songwriter, guitar player and arranger without entirely leaving behind the one-man-band, lo-fi aesthetic that made his debut such a captivating listen.” Please join us for the ACL debut of Shakey Graves. Watch KLRU’s Arts In Context documentary on Shakey Graves now

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: fun. and Dawes

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents multiple Grammy Award-winning band fun. and folk-rockers Dawes making their ACL debuts in a new episode showcasing their distinctive brands of modern rock.

Opening the episode, fun. takes to the ACL stage for the first time to perform their epic hits, including “We Are Young”, “Some Nights” and “Carry On” from the landmark album Some Nights. The breakthrough band was awarded Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for “We Are Young”, their best-selling single and one of the year’s most memorable tracks) at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Despite fun.’s seemingly overnight success, it’s been a slow and steady build of over a decade for frontman Nate Ruess, who joined forces with bandmates Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff to create the melodic anthems that connected with audiences everywhere and propelled the indie rockers to international success. “Something feels really special about tonight,” says Ruess from the ACL stage, engaging the Austin audience in a dynamic, energetic performance complete with sing-alongs. The acclaimed band delivers an uplifting, memorable debut, closing out the set with their modern classic “Some Nights”, with the Austin crowd providing the “whoa-oh-oh’s.”

“As expected, fun. lives up to its name, but their music has a depth that goes beyond their Broadway-like showmanship,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “Nate is a 21st century rock star.”

The Los Angeles rock quartet known as Dawes share the bill, performing songs that span their three critically-acclaimed albums, including the latest, Stories Don’t End, which hit the Top 5 on Billboard’s independent albums chart. The band made waves with its 2009 debut and gained a reputation for their impressive classic rock-infused songs that evoke the past while embracing the present. The LA Times raves of the new release, “Dawes strums and shuffles its way through a dozen handcrafted folk-rock tunes that sound as if they were nourished on classics such as Jackson Browne’s self-titled debut and the Band’s Music From Big Pink.” Having already toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson and Mumford & Sons, and gracing the stages of music’s most prestigious festivals, Dawes’ appeal crosses all age barriers and has no boundaries.  In their ACL debut, Dawes delivers a raw and glorious set, highlighted by rich harmonies, for a crowd-pleasing performance.

photo by Scott Newton

“Despite all the references to their California folk-rock sound, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith writes songs that sometimes cut to the bone,” Lickona says. “You’ll be replaying these songs in your head for days.”

Check out the episode page for more details. Be sure and visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL goodies. Next week: The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers.

 

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.