R.I.P. Glen Campbell

photo by Scott Newton

We at Austin City Limits were saddened to learn of the death of country pop great Glen Campbell at age 81.

The Arkansas native began his career as a first-call session guitarist in Los Angeles, playing as part of the infamous Wrecking Crew and adding licks to a staggering array of hits records: the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas,” Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” and singles by everyone from Jan & Dean and the Monkees to Frank Sinatra and Nat “King” Cole. In 1964, he subbed for the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson on tour and in 1967 sang uncredited lead vocals for the cult sunshine pop group Sagittarius.

Campbell scored his first solo hit on the country charts in 1966 with “Burning Bridges,” but it was in 1967 that he became a household name with “Gentle On My Mind.” He followed that with even bigger hits, forging a special bond with songwriter Jimmy Webb via “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston,” “Where’s the Playground Susie” and “Wichita Lineman,” which became his signature song. He parlayed his musical stardom into a major acting gig in the 1969 John Wayne vehicle True Grit, for which he also performed the title tune, and the host job on the popular TV show The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from 1969-1972.

Refocusing on music, Campbell earned some of his biggest hits in the 1970s, including the #1 pop smashes “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” and the top 20 hit “Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.).” While his pop stardom faded, he remained a major force on the country charts for years, also expanding into gospel and Christian music. In 2008, he released Meet Glen Campbell, an album featuring covers of songs by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Replacements, Green Day and the Foo Fighters. His 2010 follow-up Ghost On the Canvas followed a similar vein, and was intended as a farewell LP. But his 2011 diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease led him to one final album (Adios, recorded in 2012-13 but released in 2017), a farewell tour and a documentary, 2014’s award-winning Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. His final recording, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” was released in 2014, by which time he was living in a Nashville memory care facility. He died in Nashville on August 8, 2017.

Campbell appeared on Austin City Limits during Season 10 in 1985. Here he is on the show performing his signature hit “Wichita Lineman.”

New taping: Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

photo by Danny Clinch

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a rare double shoot on August 21, featuring top-notch Americana with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Amanda Shires.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s acclaimed new album, The Nashville Sound, is a beautiful piece of American music-making. As with Isbell’s 2013 breakthrough, Southeastern (which Isbell showcased on his debut ACL appearance in Season 39) and his double-Grammy-winning follow up, 2015’s Something More Than Free, The Nashville Sound was produced by Dave Cobb. Isbell says that he and Cobb created a simple litmus test for the decisions they made in the two weeks they spent at RCA Studios (which was known as “The home of the Nashville Sound” back in the ’60’s and ’70s): they only made sonic moves that their heroes from back in the day could’ve made, but simply never did. It’s a shrewd approach—an honest way to keep the wiz-bang of modern recording technology at arm’s length, while also leaving the old bag of retro rock ’n’ roll tricks un-rummaged. It’s also the best way to keep the spotlight on Isbell’s stock-in-trade: great songs. Simply put, Isbell has a gift for taking big, messy human experiences and compressing them into badass little combustible packages made of rhythm, melody and madly efficient language. The songs are full of little hooks—it could be guitar line that catches one listener, or a quick lyric that strikes to the heart of another—and an act of transference takes place. The stories Isbell tells become our own. The music is coming not from Jason and the band, but from within us. Lyrically, The Nashville Sound is timely. Musically, it is timeless.

photo by Josh Wool

photo by Josh Wool

Texas native Amanda Shires began her career as a teenager playing fiddle with the Texas Playboys. Since then, she’s toured and recorded with John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver, Todd Snider, Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope, and most recently her husband and creative collaborator Jason Isbell, with whom she first-appeared on ACL in 2013. Along the way she’s made three solo albums, each serving to document a particular period in her life while improving on the perceptive qualities of the previous record. The songs on her latest My Piece Of Land deal with family, anxiety, and the phases of one young woman’s life, but the primary focus is the concept of home. Shires addresses the similarities and differences between the home she was born into, the two homes she was eventually split between, and the home she has finally made for herself. She recorded the album under the guidance of producer Dave Cobb at his Low Country Sound studio. Cobb believes in the spontaneity of early takes, and with the proficient rhythm section of Paul Slivka and Paul Griffith, the studio band was able to record the album in a relatively short amount of time without sacrificing performance quality. This approach gives each song on the album emotional urgency along with a groove that’s loose and effortless. With My Piece Of Land, Amanda Shires has reached a personal pinnacle. This album is the creative milestone suited to accompany the recent milestones in her life: becoming a mother, developing into a true artist, and finally finding a home.

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.

ACL to livestream Angel Olsen’s July 25th taping

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce that we will be streaming the upcoming taping of Angel Olsen on July 25, live and in its entirety, directly from the Austin City Limits stage at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel.  

An artist who reigns over the land between being an elliptical outsider and a pop personality with a haunting obliqueness and sophisticated grace, Angel Olsen hits our stage in celebration of her third LP My Woman, which Uncut calls “another giant progression in an already distinguished career.” The St. Louis native began her journey in Chicago as a backing vocalist for Bonnie Prince Billy, but her talent soon manifested in her first EP Strange Cacti and album Half Way Home in 2012. Signing to respected indie Jagjaguwar, Olsen released 2014’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness to great fanfare, setting the stage for My Woman. Recorded with producer Justin Raisen (Charlie XCX, Santigold) after her relocation to Asheville, NC, the record expands on the reverb-shrouded poetic swoons, shadowy folk and grunge-pop workouts of her previous work via 70s country rock, vintage electronic pop and languid psychedelic soul. “These are controlled, tempered, well-steered songs, capable of navigating genres,” notes Q. An intuitively smart, warmly communicative and fearlessly generous record, My Woman speaks to everyone. “Contradictory, complex, and worthy of endless re-listens,” says DIY, “Angel Olsen has crafted her most compelling record to date.”

Please join us July 25 for this full-set livestream on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of Season 43.

New tapings: Ed Sheeran, Father John Misty and Herbie Hancock

photo by Greg Williams

Austin City Limits is excited to announce upcoming tapings with a trio of music’s finest.  UK superstar Ed Sheeran returns on August 20 for his second Austin City Limits appearance, supporting his chart-topping new album ÷. Indie rock star Father John Misty arrives on August 22 making his ACL debut, in support of his third album Pure Comedy and iconic Herbie Hancock makes his long-awaited ACL debut on October 12.

Ed Sheeran – an eleven-time Grammy nominee and multiple Grammy winner – has quickly established himself as one of music’s biggest acts with over 22 million albums sold and 4.7 billion Spotify streams. His latest release ÷ (pronounced “divide”) debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and finds the 26-year-old sensation in his finest form yet. Drawing inspiration from a wide array of experiences and subjects, Sheeran takes us through a hugely personal journey by reflecting on past relationships, family memories, his musical career and his time off traveling the world in 2016. Musically, ÷ is a varied collection of beautifully orchestrated and emotive ballads, impassioned raps laid over hip hop beats, timeless acoustic guitar masterpieces, and innovative, idiosyncratic pop music. Rolling Stone notes that “Sheeran’s musical history lesson is both well-timed and rip-roaringly fun,” while The New York Times calls it “a batteries-fully-charged assault on the pop charts from a performer skilled in musical osmosis.” Sheeran made chart history this year with the first two singles from ÷, “Shape Of You” and “Castle On The Hill,” debuting at #1 and #6 respectively on Billboard’s Hot 100, making him the first artist in the chart’s 58-year history ever to debut two singles in the top 10 simultaneously.  Sheeran continues to break records, with lead single “Shape Of You” recently becoming the third song ever to hit an incredible 1 billion streams on Spotify.  His follow-up single “Castle On The Hill” has logged over 185 million views on YouTube and has already begun its ascent up the charts.  This June, Sheeran received the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.  

photo by Guy Lowndes

photo by Guy Lowndes

The erstwhile Josh Tillman (under which name he first appeared on ACL in 2012 as drummer for Fleet Foxes) grew up in Rockville, Maryland. Discovered in Seattle by singer/songwriter Damien Jurado, he began touring and making records, releasing eight under his own name and joining Fleet Foxes for the recording and touring cycle of 2011’s Helplessness Blues. As Father John Misty, he gained immediate attention with 2012’s Fear Fun, solidifying the status of his lyric-heavy, melodic folk rock with 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear. Misty’s artistry comes to a head on the madly ambitious new album Pure Comedy. Inspired by the chaos and uncertainty of modern life, Misty writes “about the dubious privilege of being here, the elusiveness of meaning, true love and its habitual absence, random euphoria and the inexplicable misery of others, truth and its more alluring counterfeits, the sophistication of answers that don’t make any sense, the barbarism of our appetites, lucky breaks and injustice, faith and ignorance, crippling, mind-numbing boredom, and the terror of it all ending too soon.” Heady stuff, wrapped in lyrical wit and the kind of melodies Harry Nilsson would’ve killed to write. “This is a big-idea album in a way none of his work was before,” notes Paste, while Exclaim says that it’s “packed with so much meaning and complexity, it feels as overwhelmingly absurd, joyous, curious, tragic, extraordinary and contradictory as life itself.” Under the Radar puts it far more simply: “Pure Comedy is big and clever, and oh so very brilliant.”

Herbie Hancock for blogSix decades into an extraordinary career, 14-time GRAMMY Award winner Herbie Hancock remains at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, the ardent music ambassador has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet, he pioneered a groundbreaking sound in jazz. He also developed new approaches on his own classic ‘60s recordings like Maiden Voyage, followed by his work in the ‘70s with record-breaking albums such as Head Hunters, combining electric jazz with funk and rock in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music. His trailblazing 1983 cross-over smash “Rockit,” an early hip-hop touchstone, is considered one of the first songs to feature “scratching,” and with the album Future Shock marked Hancock’s foray into electronic dance sounds; during the same period he also continued to work in an acoustic setting with V.S.O.P., which included ex-Miles Davis bandmates Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Hancock received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and fourteen Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year for River: The Joni Letters – only the second jazz album in the Recording Academy’s history to ever receive that award – and two Grammy Awards for 2011’s globally collaborative CD The Imagine Project. He was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 2013, published his memoir Herbie Hancock: Possibilities in 2014 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Many of his compositions, including “Cantaloupe Island,” “Maiden Voyage,” “Watermelon Man” (a tune from his first album that has been recorded over 200 times) and “Chameleon,” are modern standards. Hancock will be touring across the globe this summer and fall and is currently at work on a new studio album.

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.

ACL Hall of Fame 2017 announces guest performances by Brandi Carlile, Neko Case and Trombone Shorty

Brandi Carlile

Austin City Limits announces an all-star line-up of guest performers for the 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 25th, 2017.  Acclaimed singer-songwriters Neko Case and Brandi Carlile and music phenom Trombone Shorty are slated to perform in tribute to the latest class of inductees.  These special guests join host Chris Isaak, along with previously announced performers Raul Malo and Ry Cooder, in a celebratory evening filled with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes as three American music legends are inducted into the fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: pioneering rocker Roy Orbison, Americana original Rosanne Cash and New Orleans icons The Neville Brothers.

All-star guest performers will handle induction honors for an epic night: Neko Case will honor Rosanne Cash, along with guitar great Ry Cooder.  Brandi Carlile will perform in tribute to Roy Orbison, joining Mavericks’ leader Raul Malo and singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, who will host the ceremony and also handle induction honors for his musical idol.  New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty will salute the iconic Neville Brothers along with members of The Nevilles band for a New Orleans-style tribute to the funk & soul first family.  Additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.  

Neko Case

Neko Case

The concert event is open to the public and takes place at Austin City Limit’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater, in downtown Austin. A limited number of tickets are available at acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will be broadcast in a special New Year’s Eve episode of Austin City Limits as part of the program’s Season 43 which premieres in the fall on PBS.

The 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is presented by NetApp and is sponsored in part by Dell, Stratus Properties and Texas Monthly. For sponsorship opportunities contact Amanda Hutchins at ahutchins@klru.org.

Trombone Shorty by Matthieu Bitton

Trombone Shorty by Matthieu Bitton

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to recognize 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.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. KLRU is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming. Net proceeds from this event benefit KLRU.

R.I.P. Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman performs on ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2011

Austin City Limits was saddened to learn of the death of Gregg Allman from liver cancer on May 27, 2017 at the age of 69. The singer, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist appeared on ACL with the Allman Brothers Band in 1996.

Though born in Nashville, Allman came of musical age in Florida in the mid-sixties, forming the Allman Joys with his guitarist brother Duane. The Joys evolved into the Hour Glass, which in turn morphed into the Allman Brothers Band. Based out of Macon, Georgia, the Allmans used their instrumental firepower and improvisational spirit to push the blues further than it had ever gone before. After Duane died in 1971, Gregg continued with the band, but also began striking out on his own, recording several LPS over the years both solo and with the Gregg Allman Band, and scoring hits with “Midnight Rider” (originally recorded by the Allmans) and “I’m No Angel.” He continued touring with the Allman Brothers Band until its dissolution in 2014.

In 2011 Allman released Low Country Blues and received a lifetime achievement award from the Americana Music Association. The next year saw the publication of his memoir My Cross to Bear. Before his death, Allman completed the Don Was-produced album Southern Blood, scheduled for release later this year. As he wrote in his book, “Music is my life’s blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it’s all said and done, I’ll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, ‘Nice work, little brother—you did all right.’ I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I have had me a blast.”

Below, the Allman Brothers Band performs Gregg’s signature song “Midnight Rider” during Season 21 of the show in 1996.

 

R.I.P. Jimmy LaFave

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits was saddened to learn of the death of singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave at the age of 61 after a yearlong battle with spindle cell sarcoma. The longtime Austin mainstay appeared on the show in 1996 as part of our Season 21.

Born in Wills Point, Texas, LaFave came of musical age in Stillwater, Oklahoma as part of a collective of songwriters who helped develop what’s now known as “Red Dirt music.” After relocating to Austin in the early 90s, LaFave became known for a sound the magazine Folk and Music Exchange rightly called “reminiscent of the Dust Bowl heritage of Woody Guthrie, the early rock of Chuck Berry, the quiet folk reflections of Bob Dylan, and the rock anthems of Bruce Springsteen.” He recorded several albums featuring his gritty voice and poignant songs over the course of his two-plus decades in Austin, including Austin Skyline, Highway Trance, Buffalo Return to the Plains, Depending On the Distance and his most recent LP The Night Tribe, named after his long-running band. LaFave gave an emotional farewell concert at Austin’s Paramount Theater on May 18, surrounded by his friends, family and peers, passing peacefully at home three days later. May he rest in peace.

You can watch his episode of Austin City Limits below.

ACL to livestream tapings from The Head and the Heart and The Black Angels

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce a pair of back-to-back livestreams with two of today’s most thrilling live acts. We will be streaming the upcoming tapings of Seattle’s The Head and the Heart on May 22 and Austin’s own The Black Angels on May 23, live and in their entirety, directly from the Austin City Limits stage at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel.  Both acts are making return appearances to the ACL stage armed with acclaimed new albums.

When Seattle band, The Head and the Heart, who first appeared on ACL in Season 37, regrouped in 2016 to start writing together again after a sabbatical, “it almost felt like we were a new band, trying things we hadn’t tried,” bassist  Chris Zasche recalls. “We stayed at a bungalow on the beach. We’d wake up, have coffee and go boogie boarding. We were ready and excited to be back together.” That renewed sense of purpose can be felt throughout their major label debut, Signs of Light, the group’s third album and first release for Warner Bros. Records. “This album isn’t about us now having achieved our dreams,” says vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Charity Rose Thielen. “The day we started being able to live off our art was the day we achieved our dreams, in my mind. This is the album where we really fell into our true voices as those artists.” Recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage The Elephant), Signs of Light crackles with the upbeat, singalong energy of the band’s finest work. Throughout, the colors are brighter, the electric guitars are louder and the musical touchstones more universal. Lead single “All We Ever Knew,” written during the Let’s Be Still era but never captured to the band’s satisfaction until now, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, while “Turn It Around” seems primed to be a future concert staple, matching its inspirational message with a lush and multi-layered soundscape. Blurt say the album “fulfills the aim the band’s handle appears to indicate. This is after all, music that connects with the head and the heart, and imparts a dual sense of resilience and delight in its wake.” Join us on May 22nd for The Head and the Heart’s highly-anticipated second ACL taping.

BlackAngels_Livestream_43_squareAustin psych rock masters The Black Angels appear with charged new songs from Death Song, their first full-length release in four years, and their debut for Partisan Records. NPR raves, “The Black Angels have delivered an enormous and frighteningly timely fifth album full of uniquely trippy anthems to oblivion.”  Written and recorded in large part during the recent election cycle, the music serves as part protest, part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, the eleven-track collection offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound – menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream. Since forming in Austin in 2004, The Black Angels have become standard-bearers for modern psych-rock, and the New York Times has said they “play psychedelic rock as if the 1960s never ended, and they are absolute masters of it.” The Black Angels made a stellar ACL debut in 2013 and we look forward to their return.

Please join us May 22 and May 23 for these full-set livestreams on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast versions will air on PBS later this year as part of Season 43.