Encore: Randy Newman

photo by Scott Newton

It’s no secret that Austin City Limits makes a habit of showcasing musical legends. Merle Haggard, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Loretta Lynn, Bonnie Raitt – the archives are packed with the best of the best. This Saturday, we encore an episode featuring another musician’s musician: the great Randy Newman.

Both a tender balladeer and a master satirist, Newman’s songs have spanned the length and breadth of popular music for the past five decades. Three Dog Night took “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” into the top 10 in 1970, Newman scored his own #2 hit with the infamous “Short People” and hooked another, younger generation as the composer of Pixar film music, like Toy Story’s beloved “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” In between chart milestones he’s scattered brilliant tunes like “Sail Away,” “Feels Like Home,” “Harps and Angels,” “Political Science,” “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and “Louisiana 1927” across the pop culture landscape like a farmer planting seeds in the field. And you get all of these and more in this show.

ACL producer Terry Lickona chased the Oscar-winning Newman for nearly three decades, and this episode proves it was worth the wait. Is it too early to call it a classic? Nope – we’re callin’ it.

Click here for more info on this episode, and don’t forget to tune in Saturday night to watch it yourself. As always, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages or subscribe to our newsletter for more ACL magic. Next week: Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids.

Encore: Queens of the Stone Age

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits creates fireworks with an electrifying hour from rock innovators Queens of the Stone Age. Recently nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album, QOTSA prove they’re undeniably one of the best rock bands today in a dynamic performance.

Queens’ frontman Josh Homme appeared on ACL back in 2009 as part of the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures along with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones, but in this appearance he makes his long-awaited ACL debut with QOTSA, the band he’s led for nearly two decades. QOTSA released …Like Clockwork, their first disc in six years, in 2013, debuting at #1 on Billboard‘s 200 and earning unanimous raves on critic’s Year-End Best Albums of 2013 lists, including Spin, Rolling Stone, Alternative Press and NPR. QOTSA’s ACL performance includes songs from the new record and hits from throughout their storied career. The scorching eleven-song set opens with signature tracks from their 2002 breakthrough Songs for the Deaf blasted out on head-banging drums and Homme’s trademark guitar tone. The band combine metal, blues, thrash, punk and psychedelia into a sound that’s both classic and unique. Ringleader Homme leads the band through songs from their latest release along with seminal records Rated R and Era Vulgaris, complete with grinding riffs, menace and muscle, sex and swagger, in an addictive performance that is a master class in rock’n'roll.

photo by Scott Newton

“Josh Homme is a genius, and he’s made Queens of the Stone Age one of the best rock bands of our time,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They make some serious rock and roll, but without taking themselves too seriously.”

Find out more about this week’s episode here. Keep up with ACL happenings via our Facebook and Twitter pages, or our newsletter. Next week: songwriting legend Randy Newman.

 

New tapings: J. Roddy Walston & the Business and Future Islands

photo by Robin Laanane

ACL’s 40th anniversary season continues to heat up with a pair of new tapings in September: J. Roddy Walston and the Business on 9/2 and Future Islands on 9/25.

J. Roddy Walston and the Business exploded out of their hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee on the strength of a demo that won a showcase for a national festival. Self-releasing their debut EP, the singer/songwriter and his trio relocated to Baltimore, releasing two more EPs and the full-length Hail Mega Boys. A couple of years’ hard touring led to the band signing with taste-making indie label Vagrant Records for 2010’s self-titled album, which City Paper called “what would happen if Queen and Black Oak Arkansas birthed four boys in the backwoods and let them listen to nothing but Cheap Trick and showtunes.” National tours with the Drive-By Truckers, Shovels & Rope and others followed, as well as appearances at the SXSW, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits music festivals. In 2013 the group signed to ATO Records and released Essential Tremors, described by All Music Guide as “a fine outing from a versatile band that knows what they do best, and man, they can rock.” Experience them for yourself on Sept. 2 when J. Roddy Walston and the Business make their ACL debut.

Also coming to our stage from, coincidentally, Baltimore are Future Islands. The members of the synth-pop oriented trio convened in 2006 in Greenville, North Carolina. Having worked with Thrill Jockey and Upset The Rhythm previously, their new album Singles marks the start of their new relationship with legendary label 4AD. The band won the Grulke Prize for best developing US act at this year’s SXSW; of their performance, Pitchfork raved “this is the kind of band that makes you wish other bands tried harder.” NPR hails Singles “extremely catchy, well-constructed classic pop,” while Stereogum  “an absolute and unqualified triumph.” Future Islands made its network television debut performing its single “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on The Late Show With David Letterman to much acclaim, and now comes to our stage. Please join us on Sept. 25 for the ACL debut of Future Islands.

photo by Tim Saccenti

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information about how to get free passes about a week before each taping right here on our site.

 

Encore: Wilco

photo by Scott Newton

“When people ask what kind of music Austin City Limits stands for,” executive producer Terry Lickona says, “there’s one band that sums it up better than any other – Wilco!” Encoring this weekend, our fourth episode featuring this veteran modern rock band shows exactly why ACL holds Jeff Tweedy and company in such high esteem. Concentrating on its latest release The Whole Love, the Chicago sextet puts such stellar tracks as “Art of Almost,” “One Wing” and “Dawned On Me” through their paces with near-perfect poise. It’s not all the new album, of course, as the band also drops a few deep cuts like “Bull Black Nova” and “War On War” into the set. And as the icing on an already delicious cake, Wilco tour mate Nick Lowe drops by with his classic “Cruel to Be Kind,” backed by the boys themselves.

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this Saturday, June 28, to catch all the Wilco action for yourself. Hit the episode page  for more info, and your local listings for exact airtimes. Keep up with your favorite music television show with Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Next week: Queens of the Stone Age.

 

Encore: Raphael Saadiq and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

photo by Scott Newton

WARNING:  This Saturday’s encore episode may induce the following behavior: dancing/booty shaking, laughter, uncontrollable smiling, clapping, soulful singing, and bass throwing (if you have one nearby).

What are we talking about? This week’s episode featuring multi-instrumentalist and R&B veteran Raphael Saadiq and Austin’s own Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, of course.

Referring to journalists as “lazy” when they try to fit his musical style under genre specific labels (such as neo-soul), it’s clear from this performance and his albums that Raphael Saadiq draws inspiration from a wide array of artists. Featuring special guest Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Saadiq covers hits from his 2011 album Stone Rollin’. Watch when Saadiq performs the title track, a song he initially wrote when he was 11 about a “full-figured, bluesy woman,” as his background vocalists show as much energy as Saadiq himself.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears have been such an Austin favorite and “must-see” over the years that it wasn’t a shock when the group starting gaining national attention. In this performance you see the group at its finest, performing a mix of songs from its 2009 debut Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! and their 2011 release Scandalous. This performance is brimming with energy, soul and flying instruments, and hits its peak at the end, when the group is joined by Dallas gospel group the Relatives for the fervid hit and crowd favorite “You Been Lyin’.”

photo by Scott Newton

Check your local listings for showtimes to see this episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or hook up with our newsletter to keep up with updates on tapings and airings! Oh, and please watch out for the bass. Austin City Limits does not condone anyone throwing instruments in the living room, but if you do, let us know because that would be an awesome story worth sharing. Next week: Wilco with special guest Nick Lowe.

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.