B.B. King 1925-2015

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits is saddened to learn of the passing of B.B. King. Not only did the King of the Blues visit Studio 6A for two classic performances in 1983 and 1996 (the latter recorded on his 70th birthday), but the man born Riley B. King made a massive contribution to American culture. The blues would not have been the same without BB’s hits: “Three O’Clock Blues,” “Sweet Little Angel,” “How Blue Can You Get,” “Nobody Loves Me But My Mother,” “Paying the Cost to Be the Boss,” “Playing With My Friends,” the titanic hit “The Thrill is Gone.” The world will be a sadder place without the creator of those classics in it.

“B.B. King personified blues music for the whole world,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “but when he first appeared on Austin City Limits in 1983 it was rare for a blues artist to command a full hour on national television. He was larger than life, but a gentle man with a kind soul and big heart. His ACL performance ranks as one of my personal favorites, and I was never more proud than when he somehow slipped ‘Austin City Limits’ into the lyric of his classic rendition of Willie Nelson’s ‘Night Life.’ We’ve lost a giant.”

May he rest in peace.

 

Encore: Bon Iver

photo by Scott Newton

In a few short years, the world watched Bon Iver’s progression from the “bare boned” yet profound debut For Emma, Forever Ago in 2007, to 2011’s lush self-titled LP. Justin Vernon came a long way from writing in total seclusion in a cabin in the mountains to collaborating with artists such as Kanye West and winning Grammys. When the group recorded this episode in April 2012, we were eager to see how this progression and critical acclaim would manifest in the performance. The result is a passionate, meticulously layered display of talent and musical tranquility.

In this episode, Bon Iver draws mostly from the eponymous album, starting with the opening track, “Perth,” and seamlessly leading into the next tune, “Minnesota, WI.” From there we get “Brackett, WI,” a beautifully-written track that appeared on the 2009 Dark Was the Night compilation album that raised funds and awareness about HIV and AIDS. Audience favorites included a more fleshed-out version of “Blood Bank,” complete with various horns, and of course the hits from For Emma, “Skinny Love” and “For Emma.”

photo by Scott Newton

Go here for more information on this episode, and check here to see where/when you can catch it. Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest ACL update, and subscribe to our newsletter for even more info. Next week: The Lumineers and Shovels & Rope.

 

ACL announces additional performers for 2015 Hall of Fame

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Austin City Limits announces additional guest performers for the 2015 ACL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, June 18th.  Americana original Lyle Lovett and acoustic duo Gillian Welch join previously announced performers: country legend Vince Gill, acclaimed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, multi-platinum country artist Patty Loveless, British singer-songwriter Laura Marling, Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo, GRAMMY-winning conjunto band Los Texmaniacs and Texas singer-songwriter JT Van Zandt. Hosted by multiple GRAMMY Award-winning country star Dwight Yoakam, who will also perform, the celebration honors the second class of inductees with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes, as five trailblazing artists are inducted: Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt.

All-star guest presenters will handle induction honors in what is sure to be a memorable night: Vince Gill will induct Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel, Lyle Lovett inducts fellow Texan Guy Clark, Dwight Yoakam inducts master Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jiménez, and Gillian Welch is set to honor songwriting hero Townes Van Zandt.  Country icon Loretta Lynn will accept her honor in a special video for the occasion.  Inductees Asleep at the Wheel and Flaco Jiménez will also perform at the ceremony. Renowned steel guitarist and producer Lloyd Maines, inducted last year into the ACL Hall of Fame, returns as Music Director, leading an Austin all-star house band.

photo by Mark Seliger

The event is open to the public this year and will take place at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theater. 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 episode as part of ACL’s Season 41 which premieres in the fall on PBS.

 

Johnny Gimble 1926-2015

photo by Scott Newton

We here at Austin City Limits were saddened to learn of the passing of the great Johnny Gimble, Texas swing and C&W fiddler extraordinaire. The Tyler, Texas native and Dripping Springs resident was 88.

Following a stint in the army, Gimble played with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in the late 40s, appearing on the classic 1950 recording of “Faded Love.” After spending a few years in Waco working as a barber and raising a family, the fiddle virtuoso moved to Nashville and became a first-call session musician. Gimble appeared on recordings by Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Ray Price and his longtime musical running buddy Willie Nelson, with whom he toured in the late ‘70s. Gimble was also recruited for Nashville session supergroups the Million Dollar Band (frequent performers on Hee Haw) and the Superpickers, and backed Carrie Underwood at the Grammy Awards in 2007. He also scored a country hit of his own in 1983 with “One Fiddle, Two Fiddle,” featuring Ray Price, and appeared in Clint Eastwood’s film Honkytonk Man as his old boss Bob Wills. His most recent album is 2010’s Ray Benson-produced Celebrating With Friends, recorded in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame. That album also includes performances with his singer/pianist daughter Emily, who makes her ACL debut later this year as a member of Asleep at the Wheel.

Gimble was also a frequent guest on Austin City Limits, appearing numerous times with Willie Nelson, as well as making memorable appearances with the Superpickers in Season 4 and on the Season 6 Mandolin Special, on which he demonstrated his expertise on his other instrument, the electric mandolin. Gimble fronted a double-header episode in Season 5, headlining the first half and leading the Texas Swing Pioneers in the second half.

“Aside from being a Texas Playboy, he was the most renowned Country and Western Swing fiddler – ever!” remarked ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He played with heart and soul and had an infectious spirit and sense of adventure – in both his music and personality. Before Lloyd Maines set the current record, Johnny played more times on ACL than any other musician. There was a time when everybody wanted Johnny Gimble to play on their show.”

Our condolences go out to his family and friends, of which he had hundreds. May he rest in peace.

 

Encore: Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples

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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: Bon Iver.

 

Austin City Limits Announces Performers for 2015 ACL Hall of Fame

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Austin City Limits announces guest performers for the 2015 ACL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, June 18th: country legend Vince Gill, acclaimed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, multi-platinum country artist Patty Loveless, British singer-songwriter Laura Marling, Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo, Grammy-winning conjunto band Los Texmaniacs and Texas singer-songwriter JT Van Zandt.

Hosted by multiple GRAMMY Award-winning country star Dwight Yoakam, who will also perform, the celebration honors the second class of inductees with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes, as five trailblazing artists are inducted: Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt. The event is open to the public this year and will take place at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. 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 episode as part of ACL’s Season 41 which premieres in the fall on PBS.

More information about performances and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event. Inductees Asleep at the Wheel and Flaco Jiménez will also perform at the ceremony and country icon Loretta Lynn will accept her honor in a special video for the occasion. Renowned steel guitarist and producer Lloyd Maines, inducted last year into the ACL Hall of Fame, returns as Music Director, leading an Austin all-star house band.

The newest class of inductees also recognizes—in the non-performer category—the original ACL crew, who will be honored at the event, and who played an important role in the launch and continuing success of the influential series and some of whom are still part of the crew today. The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame celebrates the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have been instrumental in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as an American music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony took place April 26, 2014 and honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Bill Arhos, Darrell Royal and Lloyd Maines. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is an annual event, honoring a new class of inductees each year.

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.

Encore: Beck

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, Beck rocks ACL with an epic, career-spanning full-hour performance. One of the most creative artists of his generation, Beck shines in an exceptionally entertaining hour, showcasing a mix of vintage fan favorites and more recent gems. Promoting his mightily acclaimed LP Morning Phase, Beck and his crack band of longtime friends and collaborators shift from quiet contemplation to rousing party jams with chameleonic skill and unabashed enthusiasm. The L.A. native goes into troubadour mode for the beautiful, emotional “Blue Moon,” “Waking Light” and “Let It Go,” showcasing his depth as a songwriter. But he also blows the doors off with the dynamic, houseshaking hits “Loser” and an epic blast through his anthem “Where It’s At.”

Tune in this Saturday for this soon to be classic episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Click over to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL goodies. Next week: Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples.

photo by Scott Newton

 

Shakey Graves taping livestreams on May 6

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Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our taping with Shakey Graves live on Wednesday, May 6, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

Austin-based singer/songwriter Shakey Graves will be playing songs from his acclaimed 2014 LP And the War Came. An actor who had a recurring role on Friday Night Lights and appeared in several Robert Rodriguez films, the erstwhile Alejandro Rose-Garcia started making music as part of New York City’s “anti-folk” scene. Since returning to Austin, Shakey Graves has become so closely associated with his hometown that for the last three years, Austin has celebrated “Shakey Graves Day” by mayoral proclamation. With And the War Came, he extends the ground emotionally and sonically broken by his 2011 self-released debut Roll the Bones, which still ranks near the top of Bandcamp’s digital best-seller charts. As noted by Exclaim, And the War Came “displays remarkable growth as a songwriter, guitar player and arranger without entirely leaving behind the one-man-band, lo-fi aesthetic that made his debut such a captivating listen.”

The broadcast version of this show will air this fall on PBS.  Join us for this live webcast of the Austin City Limits debut of Shakey Graves.