New tapings: Ed Sheeran and White Denim

photo by Christie Goodwin

ACL is pleased to announce a June 11 taping with Ed Sheeran. The British folk-pop singer/songwriter started his music career while still a teenager, signing to Atlantic Records, winning multiple Brit Awards and conquering his homeland by the time he was 20.  His landmark debut album hit the top five stateside and produced the Grammy-nominated breakout track “The A Team”.  Sheeran performed on the 2013 Grammy telecast accompanied by Elton John, and toured this past year with superfan Taylor Swift, in addition to co-writing their chart-topping duet “Everything Has Changed”. Now, in anticipation of his forthcoming Rick Rubin-produced sophomore album to be released later this year, he makes his ACL debut. Please join us in welcoming Ed Sheeran for our 40th Anniversary Season.

We’re also thrilled to announce Austin’s own White Denim will be taping a show on Aug. 4. The eclectic rock group has steadily expanded its sound since forming in 2005, becoming a music festival attraction and touring regularly.  Q Magazine calls their latest release Corsicana Lemonade, “a staggering, intoxicating record.” While singer James Petralli has graced the ACL stage before as a guest singer with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in 2011, this will be his band’s debut on ACL. Join us in welcoming White Denim.

photo by Mark Seliger

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.

 

Nine Inch Nails previews ACL’s new season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an epic hour with Nine Inch Nails. The special broadcast airs as a preview of our upcoming milestone 40th Anniversary Season.  NIN’s arena-worthy ACL debut showcases ten songs, and will encore during the program’s Season 40, launching in the fall of 2014.

“We’ve waited a long time to do anything like this,” says Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor from the ACL stage. This rare hour of television with the legendary industrial rock band offers a fascinating look at their artistry in a flawless performance filled with unparalleled intensity. NIN’s Reznor and the seven-piece band—Alessandro Cortini, Josh Eustis, Robin Finck, Lisa Fischer, Sharlotte Gibson, Pino Palladino and Ilan Rubin—deliver an electrifying set that is a masterpiece of tension and release. Opening with the sultry “All Time Low” from the critically-acclaimed Hesitation Marks, their first album in five years, the band perform tracks from the recent release as well as earlier works, including 1999′s The Fragile. NIN segue into a revamped version of “Sanctified” from the 1989 debut Pretty Hate Machine, with the vocal duo of Fischer and Gibson adding soaring depth and texture to the pummeling rhythms throughout the riveting hourlong debut. The cathartic performance comes to a close with a redemptive take on the NIN classic “Hurt”, with Reznor gripping the microphone while howling the confessional lyrics as the Austin audience begs for more.

photo by Scott Newton

“We never thought we’d see the day when Nine Inch Nails would set foot on the ACL stage,” says Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “I mean, they never did television for 25 years! I came away from this show having the greatest respect for Trent Reznor. He’s one of the most focused, intense and creative artists I’ve ever worked with.”

Encore: Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, ACL brings you Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt, two legends and soul sisters with the perfect combination of soul, R&B, blues, and gospel.  “We come this evening to bring you some joy, some happiness, inspiration and some positive vibrations,” declared Miss Staples back in June 2012 during the taping, and boy, did they deliver! This was a night full of smoky voices, sassy guitar playing, audience hooplah and ardent exhibition.

This episode marks Bonnie Raitt’s third appearance on Austin City Limits. The audience greets the nine-time Grammy Award-winner and bestselling artist with much love and admiration. She predominantly plays off of her 2012 album Slipstream, including “Down to You,” “Used to Rule the World” and a bluesy take on the Bob Dylan song “One Million Miles.” She finally exclaims, “Awww man! I love John Hiatt!” before ending with her Nick of Time hit “Thing Called Love.”

photo by Scott Newton

Mavis Staples is a clearly a legend. This lady has seen it all from singing songs on the forefront of the Civil Rights movement to being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joined onstage with three backup singers and a backing band, Mavis’ energy and famous low register voice charm the audience like we’ve never seen on classics like “Creep Along Moses” and “Freedom Highway.” At the end of the set, Mavis invites her lovingly coined “baby sister” Bonnie Raitt onstage for a couple of songs. On the emotional duet “Losing You,” dedicated to their fathers, Mavis and Bonnie share a moment where they hold hands and look at each other – it’s one of the incredibly touching moments of the evening. They end the night with a rendition of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” that had the entire audience clapping and dancing.

photo by Scott Newton

Don’t miss this inspiring and heartfelt episode – you won’t regret it. To find out when and where you can catch this episode check here for local listings. Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter, for more ACL news and info. Next week: a brand new episode featuring Nine Inch Nails.

 

New taping: Beck

photo by Peter Hapak

We’re pleased to announce the return of Beck to Austin City Limits on Apr. 27.

Beck is back with the release of Morning Phase, already one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of the year, being hailed as a companion piece to his 2002 gem Sea Change. In fact, the trailblazing singer and songwriter last visited the show in 2002, hot on the heels of Sea Change. Beck’s recent live performances have earned raves as some of the very best of his storied career, and we’re thrilled to have him return for our 40th season.

Please join us in welcoming Beck back to the ACL stage.

Information about how to get tickets to this taping will be posted in April.

 

Encore: Esperanza Spalding

photo by Scott Newton

Triple Grammy-winning artist Esperanza Spalding makes her return to Austin City Limits  this weekend with a mesmerizing performance that transcends jazz. In a touching tribute Spalding dedicates the episode to legendary guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, who passed away January 28, 2013. The appearance marks their final performance together.

Joined by a stellar 11-piece band, Spalding performs songs from her latest release Radio Music Society, which scored two 2013 Grammy Awards, including Best Jazz Vocal Album. The album represents a celebratory vision of the artists who helped cultivate and inspire Spalding’s career throughout the years. Radio Music Society has received high praise from critics, who hail the album’s “journey through soul, gospel, balladry and big-band swing” [The New York Times] and “torchy swaggers, world-jazzy guitar grooves propelling smoky saxes, and political songs with only a Hammond organ for company” [The Guardian].

Spalding made her ACL debut back in Season 35, performing tracks from her 2008 breakthrough Esperanza, and wowed an audience largely unfamiliar with her music. Her appearance continues to be one of ACL’s most popular encore episodes. She has since gone on to capture the attention of audiences around the globe, leading to her stunning 2011 Grammy win as the first jazz musician to win for Best New Artist. Spalding’s dynamic relationship with her acoustic double bass has cemented her presence in musical history as a modern jazz virtuoso with “a light, fizzy, optimistic drive that’s in her melodic bass playing and her elastic, small-voiced singing” [The Times].

photo by Scott Newton

“The first time Esperanza appeared on ACL, she was a best-kept secret,” admits ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “But now the word is out, and the world is her stage. This time she also brings a stage full of incredible jazz musicians, and an hour full of new music. People will be writing about this show 50 years from now.”

Check out the episode page for more information. Don’t forget to keep up with ACL goings-on on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or via our newsletter. Next week: Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples.

 

Happy birthday to Townes Van Zandt

townes fetured

Happy birthday to Townes Van Zandt, who would have been 70 today. One of the Lone Star State’s greatest songwriters, the Fort Worth native has an inestimable legacy – a few of his classic tunes include “Pancho & Lefty,” “To Live is To Fly,” “If I Needed You,” “Tecumseh Valley,” “Waitin’ Round to Die,” “Lungs” and “A Song For.”

Van Zandt appeared in a memorable episode in the very first season of Austin City Limits in 1976, as well as joining Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and David Halley in a songwriters special in 1983. In 1998 ACL presented a tribute show led by his longtime friend Guy Clark and his son John T. Van Zandt that was so popular it was represented in 2000 as an ACL Classic. Please join us in wishing happy birthday to the late, great Townes Van Zandt.