Robert Plant returns to Austin City Limits for Season 42

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a thrilling hour with Robert Plant in an unforgettable performance marking the legendary frontman’s return to the ACL stage for the first time in more than a decade. The career-spanning set features Led Zeppelin classics alongside more recent songs in an episode that will delight die-hard fans and music fans everywhere.  

From the opening riffs of Led Zeppelin staple “The Lemon Song,” Plant commands the stage with his dynamic presence and iconic vocals. Backed by his world-class six-piece band the Sensational Shape Shifters, the rock superstar performs Zeppelin classics, including “Black Dog,” and an electrifying version of “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” Plant artfully mixes new and old, captivating the audience with songs from throughout his fascinating musical journey, including the blissed-out reverie of early solo smash “In The Mood” and recent standout “Rainbow” from 2014’s acclaimed lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar. With his multi-cultural, diverse band, the icon explores the connection between rock ‘n’ roll and traditional African music, revitalizing fan favorites with West African instruments to glorious effect. Closing out the set with an explosive performance of the face-melter “Whole Lotta Love,” Plant weaves blues standards “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and “Hey! Bo Diddley” into the classic, demonstrating the epic scope of his illustrious career.

“Robert Plant is one of the few artists from any generation who can stand the test of time while always exploring, experimenting, and expanding his musical horizons,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Yet there’s a common thread of genius through all his music, from the earliest Zeppelin tunes to his newest work. Then there’s that voice! We are truly honored to have such a legend return to our stage for a second time.”

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. Tune in next week for another brand new episode featuring the return of Florence + the Machine and the debut of Andra Day.

James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens debut in ACL Season 42

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits features two breakout talents making their ACL debuts—James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens—in a highly-anticipated new installment.  

UK sensation James Bay opens the hour with a stunning, soulful performance featuring songs from his global chart-topping debut Chaos and the Calm.  The 26-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist has had a banner year earning multiple 2016 Grammy nominations, a BRIT Award win for Best Male Solo Artist, and landing on festival stages including Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and namesake ACL Festival.  In his Austin City Limits debut Bay proves why he is one of today’s biggest live acts, delivering a stellar four-song set highlighted by a powerfully acoustic, stirring rendition of his standout “Let It Go,” and breakthough smash “Hold Back the River.”

Americana sensation Rhiannon Giddens gives a spellbinding performance in her ACL debut, with selections from her widely-acclaimed 2016 Grammy-nominated release Tomorrow Is My Turn.  The album marks Giddens’ solo debut after a decade as a founding member and leader of the award-winning string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops.   Taking the stage barefoot, Giddens dons a banjo to open her dazzling set with “Spanish Mary” (lyrics by Bob Dylan).  The North Carolina native’s canon includes songs that deal with the struggles of slaves in the 19th century, including the Odetta classic “Waterboy” and the chilling “At the Purchaser’s Option,” a Giddens-penned number inspired by a 19th century advertisement for a slave and her baby.  She then enlists guitarist and fellow Drops’ bandmate Hubby Jenkins to join her on vocals for the gospel classic “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” before closing out the powerful set playfully with the romantic putdown “Louisiana Man.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Fans have been telling us for years they love to tune in to discover new talent they’ve never seen or heard before,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “This show offers a double-bonus for fans of deeply personal, heartfelt songs and singers who possess a distinctive voice.  James and Rhiannon may come from cultures an ocean apart, but their music resonates with audiences worldwide.”

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 another brand new episode featuring the return of Robert Plant.

Paul Simon shines in first episode of ACL Season 42

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits launches a new season of must-see performances from music’s finest with an icon of American popular music, Paul Simon, in his first-ever appearance on the ACL stage. The living legend shines in a sublime, career-spanning hour featuring beloved classics and new songs from his acclaimed recent album, Stranger to Stranger.

Making a rare television appearance, Simon sparkles in an irresistible performance filled with career highlights from his over five-decade strong musical legacy. Backed by a world-class nine-piece band, the music legend opens an eleven-song set with selections from Graceland, his landmark 1986 album that brought African rhythms to mainstream American radio. A lifelong sonic adventurer, Simon takes viewers to Louisiana Cajun country for a joyful performance of “That Was Your Mother.” Simon also showcases new classics from 2016’s acclaimed Stranger to Stranger, his 13th solo album, including standouts “Wristband” and “The Werewolf.” Simon’s showmanship is on full display throughout as he dazzles the ACL audience with non-stop gems from his extensive catalog, including early solo hit “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and a stripped-down, countrified “Homeward Bound.” He dips back into his Graceland songbook for “Diamonds On the Soles Of Her Shoes,” and a show-stopping “You Can Call Me Al,” engaging the crowd in hand-clapped rhythm. Simon closes with one last classic, “The Sound of Silence,” in a potent solo acoustic rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel standard that first introduced his immense talent to the world a half-century ago.

“Paul Simon is one of those rarities among the icons of contemporary music: he just keeps getting better,” says Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona. “He continues to amaze with new songs that display his musical curiosity and sense of adventure, while bringing a fresh energy to songs that have been such a big part of the American songbook for so many decades. As an admitted long-time ACL fan, he was perfectly at home on our stage, and it shows!”

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 another brand new episode featuring James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens.

New taping: St. Paul and the Broken Bones 11/20

photo by David McClister

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce a new taping with rising soul/rock stars St. Paul and the Broken Bones on November 20.    

Formed in 2012 in Birmingham, Alabama, the sextet hits the ACL stage in support of its new album Sea of Noise. Recorded in Nashville with producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart), the LP is a successor to the Broken Bones’ 2013 debut album Half the City, which introduced the group’s blazing mating of ‘60s soul fire – daubed with latter-day influences like Sly Stone, David Bowie, and Prince — to frontman Paul Janeway’s impassioned singing and writing. The new album witnesses a deepening and broadening of the unit’s musical reach and lyrical concerns, including strings arranged by legendary Stax Records arranger Lester Snell and words influenced by Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy. The album’s lyrical and emotional richness is heard loudly in stunning new compositions like “Burning Rome” (which Janeway describes as “a letter to God, if I could write it”) and the startling “I’ll Be Your Woman,” which knocks traditional soul music gender roles on their heads. Of the finished work, Janeway says, “Sea of Noise is not quite a full-blown concept record. It is focused in terms of subject matter – finding redemption and salvation and hope.” Hot off gigs opening for the Rolling Stones and a slot at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival, St. Paul and the Broken Bones brings their take-no-prisoners live show to our studio for what promises to be a memorable ACL debut.

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 Hall of Fame 2016: ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, B.B. King’s Blues Band and Eve Monsees Added to Line-Up

Blog-HOF-500x500

Austin City Limits proudly announces additional guests for its sold-out 2016 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 12th. Two Texas natives, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and blues standout Eve Monsees, along with B.B. King’s Blues Band, the late bluesman’s touring band, join previously announced performers: Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell, Gary Clark Jr. and Taj Mahal. The celebration will feature one-of- a-kind music performances and tributes, as three giants of American music are inducted into the third annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson. Comedy super couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally will co-host the celebratory evening. Joining the superstar line-up will be honorees Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt, who will also perform. Sponsorships are still available.

All-star guest performers will handle induction honors in what is sure to be a historic night: ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons will induct the late, great blues titan B.B. King, and will be joined by B.B. King’s Blues Band, featuring some of the original bandmembers who performed alongside King on his infamous 1983 ACL debut. Joining the musical tribute will be current blues sensation Gary Clark Jr. and longtime friend, guitarist Eve Monsees, along with ACL Hall of Fame honorees Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt. Country music trailblazer Rodney Crowell will induct singer-songwriter icon Kris Kristofferson, and Crowell will perform in tribute joined by Willie Nelson. Gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples, appearing on stage with blues kingpin Taj Mahal and Willie Nelson, inducts the legendary Bonnie Raitt.

Lloyd Maines returns as Music Director, leading an all-star house band. In addition to being one of the most respected music producers and musicians in Texas and beyond, and an Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductee, Maines has performed on more ACL shows than any other single musician.

The sold-out event will take place Wednesday, October 12 at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will be broadcast in a special New Year’s Eve episode to air as part of ACL’s Season 42 which premieres October 1st on PBS.

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.

ACL continues its mission of producing great television with the debut of its 42nd season October 1, 2016 featuring a special hour with music legend Paul Simon in his ACL debut. The upcoming Season 42 is filled with musical highlights, including the first-ever appearance by punk-rock forefather Iggy Pop, ACL debuts from acclaimed singer-songwriters James Bay, Rhiannon Giddens, Andra Day and Latin Grammy-winner Natalia Lafourcade and highly-anticipated return appearances from music giant Robert Plant, My Morning Jacket, Florence + The Machine, Ben Harper and Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma.

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 the October 12 event benefit KLRU.

The 2016 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is sponsored in part by SanDisk, Stratus Properties, Heritage Title Company of Austin, Dell and Cousins Properties.

Ms. Lauryn Hill’s ACL debut and a Season 42 preview

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a rare hour of television with hip-hop/R&B icon Ms. Lauryn Hill.  The special broadcast airs as a preview of the iconic PBS music series’ upcoming Season 42, which premieres October 1st with an hourlong episode featuring the legendary Paul Simon in his ACL debut. Ms. Lauryn Hill’s episode will encore in January during the second half of ACL’s new broadcast season.  

In a performance for the ages, the trailblazing Ms. Lauryn Hill dazzles the Austin crowd with a career-spanning  set culled from her landmark release The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and her pioneering work with the Fugees, one of the best-selling hip-hop acts of all time. Opening the emotional set with her solo hit “Ex-Factor,” the multiple Grammy-winning singer and songwriter performs stunning versions of her biggest hits and fan favorites. One of the greatest MCs of all time, Hill has the crowd on their feet with the opening notes of “Fu-Gee-La” for an explosive take on the Fugees classic, weaving “Austin, I love you like no other before” into the lyric. Hill commands the stage, backed by a 12-piece band and performs a gorgeous cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” before closing out her unforgettable performance with the crowd-pleaser “Doo Wop (That Thing),” proving she’s still one of the most powerful artists in music today.  

“Every Lauryn Hill performance is special,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and an hour of Ms. Hill on the ACL stage is nothing less than historic. She pours her heart and soul and every ounce of energy into every minute, and it shows. There’s nobody else quite her!”

photo by Scott Newton

The upcoming Season 42 is filled with musical highlights, including the first-ever appearance by punk icon Iggy Pop, ACL debuts from acclaimed singer-songwriters James Bay, Rhiannon Giddens, Andra Day and Latin Grammy-winner Natalia Lafourcade and highly-anticipated return appearances from music giant Robert Plant, My Morning Jacket, Florence + The Machine, Ben Harper and Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma.  

Ms. Lauryn Hill Episode Setlist:

EX-FACTOR

FINAL HOUR

LOST ONES

FU-GEE-LA

HOW MANY MICS

READY OR NOT

KILLING ME SOFTLY

FEELING GOOD

DOO WOP (THAT THING)

 

Season 42 | 2016 Fall Broadcast Schedule (seven additional shows to be announced)

Oct. 1   Paul Simon

Oct. 8   James Bay / Rhiannon Giddens

Oct. 15    Robert Plant

Oct. 22   Florence + The Machine / Andra Day

Oct. 29    Iggy Pop

Nov. 5     Natalia Lafourcade / Grupo Fantasma

Nov. 12   My Morning Jacket / Ben Harper

The complete line-up for the full 14-week season, including seven new episodes to air beginning January 2017, will be announced at a later date. Check the news section of acltv.com for additional episode updates.

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 featuring Los Lobos and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.

New taping: Cyndi Lauper

photo by Chapman Baehler

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce a new taping with a pop culture icon: the one and only Cyndi Lauper. We’ll be taping this special performance on Friday, Sept. 9th.

The New York native scarcely needs any introduction. She’s a two-time Grammy-winning, multi-platinum selling singer and songwriter with a string of instantly recognizable hits: “True Colors,” “She Bop,” “I Drove All Night,” “Change of Heart,” “Time After Time” and, of course, the immortal “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” She’s also a recent Tony-winning Broadway composer for the smash musical Kinky Boots as well as an Emmy-winning actress for her role on Mad About You. Her current project, however, blazes a new trail. Detour, her eleventh album, takes an unexpected Southern turn, as Lauper puts her signature spin on a dozen country classics. Detour showcases Lauper’s unmistakable voice on tunes from the 40s, 50s and 60s, and features guest performances from some of country music’s finest: Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson. She recorded the album in Nashville alongside a band comprised of the city’s top session players. “When I was a really young kid, country music was pop music, so this is what we grew up listening to,” Lauper says. “These songs are part of some of my earliest memories.” Magnet calls the record “a great showcase for Lauper’s vocal range and prowess,” while Uncut asserts that “she flexes both empathy and interpretive might.” People says “that New Yawk spunk and those frisky, agelessly girlish vocals are…even more charming when paired with a steel guitar’s whine.” Lauper will showcase both Detour and her catalog of hits in an ACL performance sure to be one for the ages.

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: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

photo by Danny Clinch

Austin City Limits is delighted to announce the return of an ACL favorite: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals. Revered singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Harper is set to return to the ACL stage on Thursday, September 1st, 2016. Harper will be joined by The Innocent Criminals, who recently teamed with Harper to release, Call It What It Is, their first record together in nine years.

Since his 1994 debut, Ben Harper has amassed worldwide acclaim as a genre-spanning singular talent with an unmatched ability to blend the personal and political. The Innocent Criminals – percussionist Leon Mobley, bassist Juan Nelson, drummer Oliver Charles and keyboardist Jason Yates – reunited with Harper for a tour in 2015, but quickly discovered that he had more in mind than simply revisiting the group’s prodigious collection of hits. In fact, Harper had been quietly amassing material for a new record with his long-time band mates. “I thought we would be more energized and revitalized by thinking outside the box and starting with new material in the studio before we dug into the old stuff,” explains Harper. “It was meant to be a signpost that we’re here to forge new ground musically and personally. Because of that, the older material started to sound brand new too.”

Released via the legendary Stax Records in April 2016, Call It What It Is explores themes of deep cultural and emotional resonance. Plaudits have poured in from around the world. Uncut called the album “a well-honed primer in what Harper does best, fusing blues, rock, folk, country, R&B, gospel and reggae with politically conscious lyrics into a dynamic stew.” And Entertainment Weekly raved, “A welcome homecoming…his most diverse collection in years. Grade: A-.”

“I gave everything I could to it,” says Harper. “To be able to say that we’ve left no stone unturned just feels great.”

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.