A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story makes its broadcast debut on KLRU-TV

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce that A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story will make its broadcast debut on KLRU-TV in Austin on Sept. 29 at 8:00 p.m.

Featuring a bevy of pivotal performances by everyone from Willie Nelson and Beck to Ray Charles and Radiohead, A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story is the ultimate backstage pass to the longest-running music show in television history, recounting ACL’s 40-year evolution from local outlaw country Texas 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 ACL 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. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Keith Maitland, named one of Variety‘s “10 Documakers to Watch,” the documentary premiered at SXSW to 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. Decider calls A Song For You a lovingly made tribute to one of the nation’s most important cultural institutions.

A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story is also available to fans outside the KLRU viewing area through VOD. Watch the trailer below.   

ACL’s 43rd season closes out with country rockers Chris Stapleton and Turnpike Troubadours

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits closes out Season 43 with a scorcher: country superstar Chris Stapleton, riding country’s hottest hand with a trio of acclaimed, chart-topping albums and a trio of newly-minted 2018 Grammy Awards, sharing an episode with one of roots music’s most revered acts, red-dirt country-rockers Turnpike Troubadours.

After years penning hits for some of Nashville’s biggest acts, singer, songwriter and guitarist Chris Stapleton took the country world by storm in 2015 with his multi-platinum, double Grammy-winning debut Traveller. Just three years later, Stapleton is the reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and a five-time Grammy winner, taking a trio of top honors at this year’s ceremony, including Album of the Year for From A Room: Volume 1. The Kentucky native delivers a powerhouse ACL debut with a blistering six-song set fueled by his show-stopping voice, searing guitar and stellar songwriting. Opening with “Hard Livin’,” from his latest, the companion album From A Room: Volume 2, Stapleton follows with an early hit, the crowd-favorite folk-rambler “Traveller.” Joined by wife Morgane on harmony vocals, the couple wrap their voices around each other for the spellbinding gut-punch “Fire Away,” revealing a powerful onstage intimacy, and the pair dazzle on blowtorch stunner “Second One To Know.” Standing solo and acoustic for “Whiskey and You,” the country outlier brings the room to hushed silence pierced only by scattered whoops from the audience between verses. Stapleton closes out the masterful set with the breakout hit from his debut, Southern soul-burner “Tennessee Whiskey,” unleashing the full power of his scorching vocals and earning multiple standing ovations from the can’t-get-enough crowd.

Road-tested country rockers Turnpike Troubadours topped the red-dirt touring circuit this past decade, earning legions of fans the old-fashioned way, through word-of-mouth for their rousing live shows anchored by frontman Evan Felker’s singular songwriting. Their acclaimed new release A Long Way From Your Heart has launched the Oklahoma sextet onto the national stage, and the band opens their ACL debut with the album’s lead song “The Housefire.” The Troubadours perform a six-song, career-spanning set with Felker’s trademark character-driven tunes exploding behind rowdy strings. Throughout their four albums, the band has used a running cast of characters to weave a narrative for their dedicated fans with songs that chronicle the highs, hangovers and heartbreaks of Middle America. “Tell everyone in Austin I love y’all to death” yells Felker during the blazing crowd-pleaser “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead.” Steel guitarist Hank Early switches to a Dobro for an acoustic duet with Felker on “Diamonds and Gasoline.” Felker calls out to bring the band back for set-closer “Something To Hold Onto,” as the ace musicians ignite in a three-way solo blaze of glory with Early, lead guitarist Ryan Engleman and fiddler Kyle Nix.

photo by Scott Newton

“We take pride in bringing the best of the best of every genre to our audience, and Chris Stapleton is at the top of his game right now,” said ACL executive producer, Terry Lickona. “Few bands on the scene, if any, deliver a better live experience than Turnpike Troubadours, and this show makes you feel like you’re right on the front line.”

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 a special encore episode, featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill.

Dan Auerbach and Shinyribs bring unique roots rock to ACL’s 43rd season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a feel-good hour featuring Black Keys superstar Dan Auerbach, performing songs from his acclaimed solo album and joined by a stellar band of legendary Nashville musicians, in a double-bill with Austin’s country-soul juggernaut Shinyribs.

Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach takes a break from his main outfit, the eight-time Grammy-winning Black Keys, and returns to the ACL stage to showcase songs from his radiant solo release Waiting On A Song. Conceived in his adopted hometown of Nashville with an all-star cast of Music Row’s finest musicians, NPR raves “Each track on Waiting On A Song sparkles like a long-lost gem of early-’70s AM radio.” The restless creative and his ace seven-piece backing crew, featuring many of the record’s legendary silver-haired sidemen, perform a blissed-out seven-song ACL set.  Highlights include a pair of timeless tunes co-written with songwriting icon John Prine: the buoyant set-opening title track and an unrecorded gem, “Somewhere Between Eau Claire and East Moline.” In old-school soul revue style, Auerbach introduces his own Easy Eye Sound label signee, 63-year old soul singer Robert Finley, who takes center stage to deliver a dose of his show-stopping “Medicine Woman.” Auerbach closes out the sparkling set with the sunny, melodic delight “Shine On Me” and the crowd is happy to sing-along.

Swamp-pop band Shinyribs keep the party going, delivering a high-energy, full-throttle four-song tour de force in one of the most entertaining performances on the ACL stage. Flamboyant frontman Kevin Russell, aka the “shaman of soul,” is no stranger to legions of music fans as the former leader of beloved Austin band The Gourds (who appeared on ACL in 2007). Russell has ramped up the showmanship in Shinyribs, and the East Texas rockers have become one of Austin’s favorite live acts since forming in 2010. The eight-piece outfit is a party machine, complete with horns, back-up singers and dancers. Performing songs from across their four albums, powerhouse singer Russell is a bigger-than-life force of nature with stage theatrics as lively as the music, delivering delightful repartee, guitar solos, enviable dance moves, call-and-response with back-up singers the Shiny Soul Sisters, all while whipping up a brew of Texas country soul with a side of hip-shaking swamp-funk. The band’s trio of onstage dancers –  dubbed the “Riblets” – drape the frontman in a glittery silver robe tricked-out with colorful flashing lights for the roof-raising set-closer “East Texas Rust” as Russell wails on electric guitar. You in Texas baby.

photo by Scott Newton

“You can’t not watch this show without feeling good afterwards,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Dan Auerbach has five times more creative energy than anyone with half his credits! And ‘seeing is believing’ with Shinyribs. Kevin Russell goes above-and-beyond to ‘Keep Austin Weird’!”

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 brand new episode, featuring the ACL debut of country superstar Chris Stapleton and Americana powerhouse Turnpike Troubadours.

 

LCD Soundsystem thrills ACL’s 43rd season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases one of today’s most thrilling live acts, LCD Soundsystem, for an electrifying hour. The dance-rock band make their first-ever appearance on the program with a victory lap of beloved hits alongside new classics.

LCD Soundsystem perform songs from American Dream, its first new release after a five-year hiatus and the first #1 album in their decade-long run. Called “a party album for the end of the world or an apocalypse album for the end of the party,” by Rolling Stone, the album earned wide acclaim and landed on many “best of 2017” lists. The New York City band, formed by leader James Murphy in 2002, launches a spectral Austin City Limits set with a pair of songs from their acclaimed comeback: the synth-popping beat of album-opener “Oh Baby” and charging bass and cathartic guitar of dance-floor magnet “Call the Police.” Murphy clutches his signature retro mic and promises the audience a mix of songs old and new as they kick into fan-favorite “I Can Change,” a perfect balance of romantic woe, disco rhythm and pop melody from 2010’s This Is Happening. Murphy’s lyrical wit and soaring vocal is the band’s trademarks and together they dive into the wry melancholy of “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” from 2007’s Sound Of Silver.  LCD’s penchant for mixing rock anthems with dance rhythms is in full force on the rock ‘n’ roll disco opus “Tonite,” the newly-minted 2018 Grammy-winner for Best Dance Recording, the band’s first career Grammy win. The fascinating hour allows viewers an immersive glimpse into LCD’s artistry, with seven band members onstage to recreate the electronic-based parts of their catalog, layering a potent mix of sounds with free-wheeling electro-pulse synth. A staccato piano riff signals “All My Friends,” an endorphin rush ode to slowing down time that closes out the hour as Murphy gets into the spirit, stepping into the crowd to shake hands with all his new best friends in the front row.

“When LCD played their ‘last show’ at Madison Square Garden in 2011, I thought we’d missed our chance,” explained ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Then I was excited to hear James had decided to revive the band, make a new record and hit the road again. They were a must-get for ACL! LCD’s sound has a way of washing over you and carrying you away. They make music like nobody else can!”

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 brand new episode, featuring the solo ACL debut of Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and the debut of former Gourds member Kevin Russell’s party favorite Shinyribs.

 

Herbie Hancock brings jazz mastery to ACL Season 43

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a series highlight: a career-spanning hour with one of the world’s most celebrated artists, jazz legend Herbie Hancock, in his first-ever appearance on the program.  

Hancock opens the hour with an early gem, “Cantaloupe Island,” from his 1964 album Empyrean Isles.  Originally composed during his time in Miles Davis’ second great quintet of the Sixties, Hancock thrills with a new take on a modern standard, showcasing his remarkable touch on the piano, anchored by the number’s iconic riffs.  Playing with a palpable pure joy, the Grammy-lauded giant is exhilarating to watch, ageless six decades into an extraordinary career.  The bandleader shares the ACL stage with a seasoned jazz combo comprised of bassist James Genus, saxophonist/keyboardist Terrace Martin, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta.  Hancock pivots to his Korg Kronos synthesizer for the futuristic, ambient opening of “Overture,” before spotlighting his band of aces as each player answers the call with elastic, playful chemistry. He takes the mic to say, “We like to go a little crazy up here sometimes,” to the crowd’s delight, before launching into “Secret Sauce,” a new composition that begins with him on vocoder and a thrusting synth and bass groove, breaks down to near-silence, then slowly simmers to a boil, with  Hancock masterfully commanding his synth and piano simultaneously. The band closes out the stunning set with the funk classic “Chameleon,” from 1973’s landmark album Head Hunters, as Hancock takes center stage with his white keytar, dazzling with jaw-dropping solos as the crowd responds in rapt appreciation.

photo by Scott Newton

“Jazz doesn’t often find its way onto the ACL stage, so when it does it’s always something special,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “In my humble opinion, this is one of the most historic shows we’ve ever done, so that – among many other reasons – makes it must-see TV!”

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 brand new episode, featuring hip-hop superstars Run the Jewels.

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2017 debuts on New Year’s Eve

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits rings in the new year with a special broadcast, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration. The all-star celebration features music luminaries Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty and more sharing the stage for one epic night to perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers. This special hour, taped in Austin, Texas October 25, 2017 at ACL’s studio home ACL Live at The Moody Theater, honors the musicians who have played an instrumental role in helping the 43-year-old series become the longest-running music television program in history.

The special kicks off with a three-song musical salute to pioneering rocker Roy Orbison. Master of ceremonies Chris Isaak honors the Texas native, who made a memorable ACL appearance in 1983, calling him “an angel” and singling out his unique baritone-to-tenor range, while sharing personal stories of his own friendship with the late rock ‘n’ roll legend before launching into a show-stopping “Only the Lonely.” Guest performers Brandi Carlile and Raul Malo each pay vocal tribute to the music giant before joining Isaak in unison for a joyous rendition of Orbison’s signature “Oh, Pretty Woman”.

photo by Scott Newton

Elvis Costello inducts his longtime friend, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, who made the first of her seven ACL appearances in 1983, and performs a powerful “April 5th,” a song originally co-written and performed with Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Neko Case salutes Cash with a radiant “What We Really Want,” before the honoree herself takes the stage, joined by guitar great Ry Cooder and her husband and collaborator John Leventhal for a stirring version of her acclaimed two-time 2015 Grammy-winning song “A Feather’s Not a Bird.” Case and Costello return to join forces with Cash on stage, trading verses on her early chart-topping anthem “Seven Year Ache”.

photo by Scott Newton

New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty signals the induction of The Neville Brothers, the “first family of funk” who made the first of three unforgettable ACL appearances starting in 1979. Piano legend Dr. John performs alongside Shorty and members of the Nevilles Band (featuring many of the mothership’s offspring), for a scorching NOLA-style tribute to the influential funk ‘n’ soul collective. Elvis Costello joins in for the soaring grand finale “Down By the Riverside” and the live music beacon’s celebration of music comes in for an epic landing complete with fireworks, as the all-star cast returns to ring in the new year with the inspirational “Amen”.

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve Setlist:
Chris Isaak “Only the Lonely”
Brandi Carlile “It’s Over”
Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile and Raul Malo “Oh, Pretty Woman”
Elvis Costello: “April 5th”
Neko Case: “What We Really Want Is Love”
Rosanne Cash, Ry Cooder and John Leventhal: “A Feather’s Not A Bird”
Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello and Neko Case: “Seven Year Ache”
The Nevilles Band “Meet De Boys On the Battlefront”
All-Star Finale “Down By the Riverside”/”Amen”

In what has become an ACL holiday tradition, the program will encore Tom Waits legendary December 1978 performance, one of the most requested episodes in ACL’s 40+ year archive. Tune-in on December 23rd to see this classic Christmas episode.

ACL’s Season 43 returns in January with many recent Grammy-nominees, all new to the ACL stage, including indie-rock provocateur Father John Misty, powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels, dance-rock band LCD Soundsystem and country phenom Chris Stapleton. Husband and wife team Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires unite for a special double-bill as Americana star Isbell returns to the ACL stage to share an episode with his partner and creative collaborator Amanda Shires. A season highlight is the first-ever appearance of jazz trailblazer Herbie Hancock in a thrilling hour of classics and new songs. Black Keys superstar and ACL veteran Dan Auerbach makes his solo debut showcasing new music from his first solo release in 8 years. The extended line-up features breakout red-dirt country band Turnpike Troubadours and Austin favorites Shinyribs in first-time ACL appearances, as well as the return of a standout, acclaimed Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels.

Season 43 | 2018 Broadcast Schedule

January 6 Father John Misty | The Black Angels
January 13 Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit | Amanda Shires
January 20 Herbie Hancock
January 27 Run the Jewels
February 3 LCD Soundsystem
February 10 Dan Auerbach | Shinyribs
February 17 Chris Stapleton | Turnpike Troubadours

ACL announces the second half of its Season 43 broadcast schedule

photo by Scott Newton

The iconic television music series Austin City Limits announces the second half of Season 43, with seven all-new shows to begin airing January 6 as part of the program’s fourteen-episode season. The stellar slate of broadcast episodes features highly-anticipated debuts from today’s most talked-about live acts, continuing Austin City Limits’ run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance for over 40 years.  

The season returns in January with many recent Grammy-nominees, all new to the ACL stage, including indie-rock provocateur Father John Misty, powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels, dance-rock band LCD Soundsystem and country phenom Chris Stapleton.  Father John Misty delivers an epic performance backed by a 16-piece orchestra; Run the Jewels ignite the ACL stage in a rapid-fire, riveting showcase; LCD Soundsystem perform a career-spanning set for the ages; and country superstar Chris Stapleton, the reigning CMA Awards Male Vocalist of the Year, makes a stunning ACL debut, joined by his wife, singer Morgane Stapleton. Husband and wife team Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires unite for a special double-bill as Americana star Isbell returns to the ACL stage to share an episode with his partner and creative collaborator Amanda Shires, making her ACL debut.  A season highlight is the first-ever appearance of jazz trailblazer Herbie Hancock in a thrilling hour of classics and new songs.  Black Keys superstar and ACL veteran Dan Auerbach makes his solo debut showcasing new music from his first solo release in 8 years.  The extended line-up features breakout red-dirt country band Turnpike Troubadours and Austin favorites Shinyribs in first-time ACL appearances, as well as the return of a standout, acclaimed Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels.

“As always, expect the unexpected as we deliver something for everybody – from psych-rock to Americana, modern jazz to hip hop and electronica,” says longtime ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “This is one of the most exciting collection of shows we’ve ever presented.”

Go behind the scenes with ACL Backstage, a new 10-part virtual reality video series, offering viewers immersive only-in-VR moments straight from the current season.  The series premiered in November on the ACLTV YouTube Channel and continues to debut new installments to coincide with the Season 43 line-up, including Father John Misty, Run the Jewels, Dan Auerbach and Shinyribs.  ACL Backstage offers viewers a chance to hang backstage with favorite artists and join them onstage with closer-than-front-row seats.  The series was developed with Google’s Daydream team and in partnership with SubVRsive Media.

“In a season when we’re celebrating a significant milestone of longevity, I think it’s great that we’re staying on the cutting edge of technology and bringing ACL fans new and exciting  ways to experience live music,” says ACL GM Tom Gimbel.

Season 43 | 2018 Broadcast Schedule

January 6 Father John Misty | The Black Angels

January 13 Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit | Amanda Shires

January 20 Herbie Hancock

January 27 Run the Jewels

February 3 LCD Soundsystem

February 10 Dan Auerbach | Shinyribs

February 17 Chris Stapleton | Turnpike Troubadours

ACL’s Season 43 premiered in October with unforgettable performances from Ed Sheeran, Miranda Lambert, Angel Olsen, The Pretenders, Zac Brown Band, Norah Jones, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart and more.  The award-winning series will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes through the end of 2017. In what has become an ACL holiday tradition, the program will encore Tom Waits legendary December 1978 performance, one of the most requested episodes in ACL’s 40+ year archive. Tune-in on December 23rd to see this classic Christmas episode.  

A special broadcast of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve airs Sunday, December 31 at 10pm CT/11pm ET.  Austin City Limits rings in the new year with the star-studded celebration, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the 2017 ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  Performers include ACL royalty Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and more.

Episode recap: Miranda Lambert

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a Season 43 highlight, a brand new hour with one of country music’s most celebrated entertainers, Miranda Lambert. The multi-platinum, award-winning singer-songwriter is at the top of her game in a 13-song tour de force.

For her third appearance on Austin City Limits, Lambert delivers a magnetic performance and proves why she’s the reigning queen of country, leading the pack with 5 nominations for this year’s 51st CMA Awards (on November 8) and being named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music for a record-breaking 8th year in a row. The native Texan performs songs from her sixth album, The Weight of These Wings, sharing many of the personal stories behind the songs in a sparkling set. Lambert and her 8-piece band open with a fire-starter, “Kerosene,” the title track to her 2005 breakout debut. The country star’s relaxed persona charms and disarms the Austin crowd: “So that’s what we’re gonna do here tonight, as a big family…we’re just gonna be us, and own it…all the good, and all the bad. Are y’all in?” The crowd’s definitely in as she shines on new songs ““Vice,” and “We Should Be Friends,” road-tested fan-favorites, and a show-stopping cover of Little Feat’s classic “Willin’” that she makes her own.

A solo acoustic rendition of her new marvel “Tin Man” (nominated for two 2017 CMA Awards, including Song of the Year) is a set highlight, showcasing the vulnerable, open-hearted lyrics and grit that are her trademark; Lambert explains that she wants to perform the number alone because “That’s where it starts—with a song and a guitar and a girl and some emotions.” The stunner demonstrates her vast emotional range with the blistering set-closer “Gunpowder and Lead,” turning her hell-bent on revenge fantasy’s razor sharp lyrics into magic.

“Miranda is one of Country music’s brightest stars,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “but she’s a quintessential Texas singer-songwriter at heart. True to her roots, she writes powerful songs that leave no stone unturned.”

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 a brand new episode, featuring the return of indie rockers The Head and The Heart and the debut of rocking soul man Benjamin Booker.