Patty Griffin and The Revivalists sing from their souls in ACL’s Season 45

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases American roots music with Texas singer-songwriter Patty Griffin and New Orleans rockers The Revivalists in a new installment as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45. Griffin performs an intimate, stripped-down set highlighting songs from her recent self-titled release and The Revivalists play crowd-pleasing anthems from their latest Take Good Care.

Patty Griffin delivers a powerful performance with songs from her new self-titled release, her tenth studio album — the first after a four-year hiatus. The Austin favorite first appeared on ACL in a songwriters’ special in 2000, and she returns for her sixth appearance on our stage, adding another extraordinary chapter to her storied two-decade career. Accompanied by guitarist David Pulkingham and percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Conrad Choucroun, Griffin performs highlights from her latest, including the new single “The Wheel”, along with “Luminous Places” and “Hourglass”. The Austin-based musician introduces “Boys From Tralee,” a Celtic-folk stunner that tells the story of her Irish ancestors’ emigration to the United States. Griffin dips back to 2004’s Impossible Dream for the bluesy gut-punch “Standing”, showcasing her rich vocals and love of gospel. 

“We take great pride in claiming Patty as one of our own here in Austin,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “ but the truth is that her songs have captured the hearts and souls of millions of fans the world over.”

Chart-topping New Orleans brass-rockers The Revivalists perform an irresistible set filled with get-up-and-dance gems from their acclaimed 2018 album Take Good Care. The road-tested band, who’ve perfected their energetic live show with over a decade of non-stop touring, take the crowd on an emotional rollercoaster with infectious slow-build numbers that escalate to anthems. The eight-piece outfit open with their platinum-selling 2015 breakthrough, “Wish I Knew You,” the nostalgic funk jam that became a Number One Billboard smash. Lead singer David Shaw strikes a chord with his signature soulful howl and the group showcase their love for old-school soul on set-closer “Got Love.”

photo by Scott Newton

“The Revivalists won me over the day I saw them play at New Orleans’ Jazzfest,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They may not have that typical New Orleans sound that comes to mind, but they have the grit, the funk, and the spice to create their own special kind of musical gumbo.”

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, a special hour featuring the return of indie rock favorites Vampire Weekend

RIP Joe Sun

JoeSun_screenshot_512_2

We here at Austin City Limits pay our respects to country singer Joe Sun, who passed away of natural causes Oct. 25 at his home in Florida. He was 76. 

After a stint in the Air Force and as a radio DJ, the Minnesota native went to Nashville in the seventies in hopes of becoming a country singer, scoring a hit in 1978 with “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You.” Over the next few years Sun earned seven more top 40 country hits, before turning his attention to Europe. He also recorded ads for Budweiser and Timberline Boots, and appeared in the 1985 film Marie with Sissy Spacek, Jeff Daniels and Morgan Freeman. His rich, bluesy voice and rootsy honkytonk sound will be missed. 

Sun appeared on ACL in Season 5, 1980, paired with Carl Perkins. Here he is with his biggest hit, “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You.” 

Austin City Limits #512: Joe Sun – “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

RIP Paul Barrere of Little Feat

Little Feat on ACL, 1991 - Paul Barrere, center. Photo by Scott Newton

We here at Austin City Limits are saddened by the passing of Little Feat singer, songwriter and guitarist Paul Barrere on Oct. 26. He was 71. No cause of death has been announced, but Barrere was undergoing treatment for liver cancer. 

The Burbank native joined Little Feat in 1972, just in time to record the band’s classic LP Dixie Chicken. Besides serving as an alternate singer and skilled guitar foil to bandleader Lowell George, Barrere wrote or co-wrote several Feat classics in its repertoire, including “Time Loves a Hero,” “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now,” “Old Folks Boogie,” “Down on the Farm,” “Skin It Back” and “All That You Dream.” When the band reconvened in 1988 following George’s death, Barrere assumed the frontman position, leading the Feat through a further nine albums, including the gold-selling Let It Roll and its most recent LP Rooster Rag. Barrere also played live and in the studio with Taj Mahal, Jack Bruce, Carly Simon, Chico Hamilton and Nicolette Larson, among others. In between the two eras of Little Feat, he recorded two solo albums and led the band the Bluesbusters. He will be missed by bandmates and fans alike. 

Little Feat performed on Austin City Limits in 1991. Here they are with the Barrere-led “Old Folks Boogie.”

Austin City Limits 1611: Little Feat – "Old Folks Boogie" from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

Edie Brickell Joins ACL Hall of Fame All-Star Line-up

photo by Todd Crusham

We are celebrating our sold-out sixth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame this Thursday, October 24, honoring three music greats: Buddy Guy, Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett. We have a few last-minute changes to our guest performers line-up: we are thrilled to announce that singer/songwriter Edie Brickell will be joining the all-star line-up featuring Jackson Browne, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmie Vaughan, Sarah Jarosz, Willis Alan Ramsey, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and host Robert Earl Keen for an evening of one-of-a-kind performances, unannounced surprises and collaborations from music’s finest.  

We also regret to announce that Bruce Hornsby will not be able to join us due to a family illness.  

The ACL Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration will be held at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin on October 24 at 7:30pm.  Musical highlights and inductions from the celebration will air on PBS as a special Austin City Limits New Year’s broadcast.

Following the multi-platinum success of her landmark debut album with New Bohemians, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, and the follow-up Ghost of a Dog, Edie Brickell went on to a flourishing solo writing and recording career. The title track from Brickell’s 13-song collaboration with Steve Martin, Love Has Come For You, won a 2014 Grammy® Award for Best American Roots Song, the inaugural award in its category. The pair went on to write the acclaimed Tony-nominated Broadway musical, Bright Star. In 2017, Brickell reunited with her longtime bandmates, and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ most recent album, Rocket, was released in 2018. We’re thrilled to welcome the Dallas native to our ACL stage. 

Steve Earle and friends bring Guy Clark tribute to ACL Season 45

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a Season 45 highlight: Steve Earle & The Dukes spotlighting the songwriting legacy of the legendary Guy Clark. Americana stalwart Earle makes his fifth appearance on the ACL stage paying tribute to his mentor, the late Texas singer-songwriter and ACL Hall of Fame legend Guy Clark, in a heartwarming hour filled with choice classics and personal anecdotes.  Performing a collection of gems from his acclaimed Clark tribute album Guy, Earle is accompanied by his five-piece band The Dukes, and special guests including Rodney Crowell, Joe Ely, Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen. The episode is capped with vintage clips from Clark’s own ACL appearances, including his 1977 debut.  

Steve Earle kicks off the hour appropriately singing “I wish I was in Austin…,” the infamous opening of Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues.”  In his signature bandana, the Americana maverick Earle showcases a true Texas icon in this moving hour, filled with entertaining stories and personal tales from Earle’s longtime relationship with one of his main songwriting influences.  Earle explains how he, at 19, first met Guy after hitchhiking from Texas to Tennessee, eventually playing bass in Clark’s band “until Guy needed a better bass player.” Earle shares the stage with special guests: Texas legend Joe Ely joins Earle for the beloved Clark signature “Desperados Waiting For A Train”; and Rodney Crowell collaborates on a rousing duet of “Heartbroke”, an early nugget Crowell first recorded in 1980.  Earle performs a stunning solo acoustic reading of “Randall Knife,” adding his own powerful take on a Clark classic.  “I guess I should play a couple of songs of mine so y’all won’t think Guy didn’t teach me anything,” quips Earle before launching into gorgeous renditions of a pair of his own: “Guitar Town,” the 1986 track that introduced Earle’s talents to the world, and “Copperhead Road”. “That’s what I learned from Guy Clark,” asserts Earle before bringing Ely and Crowell back, joined by Lubbock legends Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen, saying “Everyone here loved Guy Clark.” The Texas natives close out the hour together with a poignant rendition of the Clark gem, “Old Friends,” as each artist takes a turn at the mic: “...Old friends they shine like diamonds.”  Earle leads the audience in a final round of the chorus, before calling out directly to his songwriting hero at the close: “Guy Charles Clark—see you when I get there, maestro.” 

photo by Scott Newton

“There’s nobody better suited personally, musically, or emotionally to bring new life to the songs of Guy Clark than Steve Earle,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Guy’s songs are timeless, but Steve makes sure that nobody will forget why he will always be considered the Dean of Texas songwriters.” 

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 rising  R&B star H.E.R.

New taping: Tank and the Bangas

photo by Alex Marks

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a final taping for our current Season 45.   Breakout New Orleans act Tank and The Bangas make their ACL debut on November 18.

“There’s no record quite like Green Balloon, and no band quite like Tank and The Bangas,” raves NPR Music. The New Orleans five-piece R&B, funk and hip-hop outfit, featuring vocalist Tank Ball, bassist Norman Spence, drummer Joshua Johnson, saxophonist Albert Allenback and keyboardist Merell Burkett is earning numerous shout-outs from national press: “There’s no leaving a Tank and The Bangas performance in a bad mood” (The New Yorker); “Lead singer Tank has an elastic, surprising voice that oozes energy, turning simple lyrics into full stories just with a twist of the syllables”  (Time Magazine). Simply put, Tank and The Bangas are a beacon of life. And it’s that life that you hear in their music. That’s what makes them one of the most thrilling, unpredictable and sonically diverse bands on the planet; a unit where jazz meets hip-hop, soul meets rock, and funk is the beating heart of everything they do. Their new album Green Balloon is their first release with major label Verve Forecast – a deal that came together after their standout live performance unanimously won NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, beating out hundreds of other acts. That moment changed their lives, catapulting the hard-working band into the national spotlight.

Since 2017, the band has toured non-stop selling out venues both stateside and abroad including festival appearances at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival and more. They earned a spot Rolling Stone’s list of the “10 Artists You Need To Know,” who called them, “A secular church experience, with freewheeling improvisational chops and positive vibes.” “We’re really vibe-y as a band,” says the act who came together in 2011 at a NOLA open mic. They’d arrive at sessions with an idea of what they wanted, but it was never strict enough to derail them from jamming and going with the flow. It’s purely organic. “It’s a puzzle and everybody needs to be there to solve it,” says former slam poet and lead singer Tank Ball. They don’t connect with the idea of genre, which is thoroughly modern in itself. “Everything we’re influenced by we don’t have a problem putting on a record because we don’t feel like we’re stuck in one lane. When we’re creating, we are creating. We never say: that sounded too blues-y, that sounded too country, that’s too hip-hop. It’s just that’s what this feels like, so let’s push that feeling to its completion, make it feel good.” 

Despite their newfound global focus, Tank and The Bangas remain a New Orleans band at heart. ”You don’t need to do a certain type of music to be connected to New Orleans,” says Tank. “It’s in the culture, it’s in the people, it’s in the fact that we can all find so many common things in the streets.” New Orleans champions its own, which allowed Tank and The Bangas to grow their fanbase by word of mouth and community. “That’s more New Orleans than anything I’ve ever heard. The music in New Orleans isn’t technical, it’s not a bunch of fancy-ass notes. It’s felt and it’s very passionate. It’s real. That’s what people get to take home.” 

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week prior to the taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air on PBS early next year as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45.

Taping recap: Billie Eilish

photo by Scott Newton

Few artists have hit the superstar stratosphere as fast as Billie Eilish. The 17-year-old L.A. native’s 2019 debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, and has thus far spawned five top 10 singles, including the #1 “Bad Guy,” making her officially the first artist born this millennium to achieve both a No. 1 album and single. With a packed house primed and ready, we were thrilled to welcome this young artist for her ACL debut. 

The show began with a darkened stage, atmospheric electronics and cries of “We love you, Billie” from the audience. Multi-instrumentalist (and her brother and primary collaborator) Finneas and drummer Andrew took the stage first, before Eilish herself sauntered onstage as the electronic pulse of her dark-pop smash “Bad Guy” began. The audience sang the lyrics louder than she did as she bounced around the stage in a chartreuse Rob Zombie shirt. “My Strange Addiction” followed, with Eilish directing the enthusiastic call and response. Though keeping to her minimalist sound, “You Should See Me in a Crown” added a harder pound to the rhythm, giving both star and crowd a reason to jump. “Scream as loud as you possibly can!” she commanded, and the audience obliged. “Idontwannabeyouanymore” proved she could handle a ballad, before “Copycat” pumped the beat back up. “Everybody go as low as you can go,” Eilish asked, so the audience could explode back up, feeding the energy back to her. The misty “When I Was Older” filled the theater with mystery and magic, belying her post-performance claim that people don’t like the tune (but that she does and will continue playing it anyway). The sprightly, sardonic “Wish You Were Gay” changed the tone in any case.

The dramatic pop song “Xanny” served as a showcase for her lush singing, though the worshipping crowd shadowed nearly every note. The big beats returned for the cheeky “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” which found brother Finneas joining her at the front of the stage. The shimmering “Ilomilo” followed, leading into the acoustic guitar-driven “Bellyache,” which once again turned into a spirited duet with the crowd. Eilish and company brought the pathos for “Ocean Eyes,” her 2015 breakout single and a fan favorite, judging from the waves. “I have only two more songs to do, and then you guys get to go home,” she said following that triumph, and clearly the audience wasn’t ready to oblige. She introduced her accompaniests and reminded the audience to be in the moment for the next song. Sitting on a stool, Eilish delivered “When the Party’s Over” with absolute conviction matched only by the young women in the front row. Barely a second passed before a glam rock gea introduced the singalong thrum of “Bury a Friend,” ending with a crowd-sung shout of the album title: “When we go to sleep, where do we go?” As a quiet outro played, the teenage megastar hopped offstage to give as many people hugs as she could, before leaving the stage. It was a show unlike any other we’ve presented, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs early next year on your local PBS station as part of our Season 45. 

Maggie Rogers brings her effervescent pop to ACL Season 45

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases acclaimed artist Maggie Rogers in a sparkling hour premiering as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45.

Maggie Rogers makes her ACL debut in an irresistible hour showcasing songs from her Capitol Records debut album Heard It In A Past Life.  Raised in rural Easton, Maryland, the 25-year-old phenom delivers a captivating rendition of “Alaska,” the breakout song that became a viral sensation and introduced her talents as a songwriter and producer to the world.  Heard It In  Past Life entered Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart at No. 1 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Chart.  The album sold over 200,000 album adjusted units, amassed over 500 million combined streams and received widespread critical praise from NPR, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, TIME Magazine, Billboard and many more. 

Her buoyant 11-song set is filled with open-hearted anthems about love and relationships, including chart-topping fan-favorites “Light On” and “Fallingwater.”  Rogers dances ecstatically across the stage, glowing as she moves with her music’s creative beats. With barefaced honesty, she inspires a genuine connection with her audience, and the admiring Austin crowd sings along passionately on the choruses. The magnetic artist closes out the standout hour alone on the stage for a gorgeous a cappella performance of “Color Song,” signaling an enduring new talent has arrived.

“Maggie’s music is 100% emotion,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and her live performances are exuberant and unfettered in a way you seldom see on a stage. Her music celebrates life, and Maggie Rogers is a gift to us all.”

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 veteran singer/songwriter Steve Earle’s tribute to his mentor Guy Clark.