New taping: James Taylor

photo by Timothy White

For the first time in our 40+year history, Grammy-Award winner James Taylor is set to take the ACL stage, making his Austin City Limits debut on October 1st, 2015.  (The show airs on PBS on Nov. 14.) The American icon will perform songs from his acclaimed new release Before This World, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and is his first collection of original music in 13 years, as well as fan favorites from throughout his storied career.

James Taylor is the quintessential singer/songwriter. His warm baritone is among the most recognized voices in popular music, and his distinctive style of guitar playing has been enormously influential. Taylor is a master at describing specific, even autobiographical situations in a way that resonates with people everywhere.

Taylor has sold over 100 million albums and earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for a catalog running from 1970’s Sweet Baby James to his Grammy Award-winning efforts Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002). He has received numerous honors, including the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine’s highest accolade, and inductions into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2000.  In 2012, Taylor was awarded the distinguished Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government and in 2011, was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the White House. Both medals are their nation’s highest honors for artistic excellence recognizing “outstanding achievements and support of the arts.”

2015 brings the release of Before This World, Taylor’s first new album of original material in over 13 years. Produced by Dave O’Donnell, Before This World features ten songs, nine of which are brand new compositions in which Taylor continues to explore many of the themes that have absorbed him throughout his recording career. “The themes that really engage me keep pulling me back again and again,” says Taylor. “For instance, on the new album there’s a recovery song called “Watchin’ Over Me.” I’ve written many recovery songs that are almost spiritual and based on personal experience.  There’s a love song on this album (“You And I Again”) – a couple actually – a traveling song (“Stretch of the Highway”), there’s a song about working (“Today Today Today”) and another of my hymns for agnostics I tend to write (“Before This World”).  My sort of self-expression and the autobiographical aspect of my work is a thru-line that links all my albums together. I think I have grown musically, and I think people can hear it in what I played in ‘68, and you can hear it in what I’m singing about now. It is ongoing, it’s still me, but it’s still evolving.”

Witness the evolution for yourself when James Taylor makes his ACL debut on October 1st.

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: Don Henley

photo by Danny Clinch

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a new taping with music legend Don Henley for our upcoming Season 41.

Don Henley’s career, both solo and with the Eagles, has been critically and commercially acclaimed, and we’re thrilled the American icon will soon be making his highly-anticipated ACL debut.  The Texas native arrives with Cass County, his first solo album in 15 years.  Produced by Don Henley and Stan Lynch, who also co-wrote 11 of the songs on the album, the LP  Cass County represents both Henley’s roots and the next stop on his creative journey. “I was born and raised in Texas. I’m a Southerner and a Texan,” says Henley. “So this is a natural progression for me. It’s who I am and where I come from.” Recorded primarily in Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas, Texas, the album includes all-star guest appearances from Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Mick Jagger, Martina McBride, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton. When asked about making the album, Henley reveals, “I can truthfully say, I enjoyed making this record more than any record I’ve made in my career.”

Find out why when Henley takes our stage on Sept. 1.

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: Alabama Shakes

photo by Brantley Gutierrez

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce a new taping with Alabama Shakes on Oct. 2.

We are thrilled to welcome back Alabama Shakes for their third appearance on the ACL stage. The Athens, AL quartet has been tearing up festival stages this year including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza in support of Sound & Color, the chart-topping  follow-up to their Grammy-nominated debut Boys & Girls. The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences, from the bluesy groove of “Shoegaze” and the garage-rock freak-out on “The Greatest” to the psychedelic space jam “Gemini” and the urgent, tightly-coiled funk of “Don’t Wanna Fight.” Long instrumental intros and passages create hazy atmosphere, while the intensity of Howard’s vocals snaps everything back into riveting focus. Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, the Shakes defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. We’ll join them on this new journey on Oct. 2.

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: Gary Clark Jr.

photo by Frank Maddocks

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a new taping with Grammy Award-winning songwriter, vocalist & virtuoso guitarist Gary Clark Jr. on Aug. 24.

Austin native Gary Clark Jr. has a long history with ACL, going back to his debut in Season 33 as part of the Tribute to Bluesman Jimmy Reed, through his Season 38 solo episode and his appearance as part of our 40th anniversary celebration and a show-stopping guest spot with the Foo Fighters that same year. He arrives on our stage for his second headline performance at the top of his game and in advance of his homegrown new record The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, set for release on Sept. 11. Self-produced at Austin’s Arlyn Studios, Clark’s latest LP reflects his singular visionary landscape as an ever-evolving artist. Relying on the simple tools of his trade – voice, guitar, rhythm and song – Clark firmly establishes himself as a sonic expressionist who has absorbed classic forms of the past while forging his own path. Baked from a batter of blues, R&B and rock, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim is music aimed for the heart, soul and guts, that defies categorization. Join us on Aug. 24 to experience it for yourself.

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: Courtney Barnett

photo by Mia Mala McDonald

Austin City Limits is happy to announce the ACL taping debut of Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett on June 4th.

Mixing witty, often hilarious, occasionally even heartbreaking observations with devastating self-assessment, Courtney Barnett’s debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, cements her standing as one of the most distinctive and compelling new voices in indie rock. After leaving art-school in Hobart, Tasmania, Barnett moved to Melbourne and became a mainstay of the local scene. She paid her dues and honed her chops in short-lived garage outfits before playing lead guitar in the twang-psych band Immigrant Union. When she went solo, Barnett launched her own label, which she dubbed Milk! Records, to release her own material as well as music by some of Melbourne’s finest singers and songwriters. With the 2013 release of The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (which combined her first two self-released EPs), she embarked on an almost never-ending tour that took her to North America and Europe, barely stopping long enough to record her first true album. Sometimes I Sit and Think is a beguiling collection of songs that reveals her as an ambitious writer with an ear for clever turns of phrase and an eye for story-song details that are literate without being pretentious – Barnett even did the artwork and hand lettering for the liner notes. The Guardian calls the record “fun, intelligent and sets up Barnett as a voice who can tread between both high and low culture and treat them the same.”

“There’s something about the way she sings where I feel like I know that person,” says Britt Daniel of Spoon, who have invited her to play a show with them and the Decemberists at Red Rocks. “Her songs are fairly simple in their construction, and they’re carried by her lyrics, the way she finds humor in the mundane.” We’re thrilled to host this rocking singer and songwriter. Please join us in welcoming for the first time: Courtney Barnett.

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 tapings: Sleater-Kinney, Cassandra Wilson and Shakey Graves

photo by Brigitte Sire

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new Season 41 tapings with Sleater-Kinney, Cassandra Wilson and Shakey Graves, all coming to our stage for the first time.

On April 15 we welcome acclaimed rock band Sleater-Kinney, out supporting their first new album in a decade, No Cities To Love (Sub Pop), which New York Times critic Jon Pareles called “the first great album of 2015.” Consisting of guitarists/vocalists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (also the co-creator/star of Portlandia), and drummer Janet Weiss, the powerhouse trio came crashing out of the Pacific Northwest, setting a new bar for punk’s political insight and emotional impact. Hailed as “America’s best rock band” by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and as “America’s best punk band ever. EVER” by Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone, the band put out seven searing albums in 10 years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006. Almost a decade later, the trio has come back together with the surprise announcement of No Cities To Love, which Pareles described as full of “hurtling, bristling, densely packed, white-knuckled songs that are all taut construction and raw nerve.” Can’t join us in the studio for this taping? Join us online on our  Austin City Limits YouTube channel where you will be able to watch the entire taping as it happens live on April 15 starting at 8 pm CT.

photo by Mark Seliger

Grammy-winning American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Cassandra Wilson makes her ACL debut on April 28, armed with her new LP Coming Forth by Day, an homage dedicated to the beauty, power, and genius of Billie Holiday. Jazz critic Gary Giddins describes Wilson as “a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field” by incorporating blues, country and folk music into her work.  A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Wilson moved to New York City in the early 80s, met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released the landmark album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn, which paved the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook.

On May 6 we open the stage to Austin-based singer/songwriter Shakey Graves, 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.” Please join us for the ACL debut of Shakey Graves. Watch KLRU’s Arts In Context documentary on Shakey Graves now

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: TV on the Radio

photo by JUCO

Austin City Limits is proud to announce a new Season 41 taping – TV on the Radio on March 16th, making their ACL debut. The Brooklyn-based quartet has been called  “one of the most compelling American rock and roll stories of the modern age” by the BBC, “the most innovative band on the planet” by AV Club and “the most vital, current band in America” by the Associated Press.  Their critically-acclaimed latest release Seeds topped 2014 Year-End Best lists including capturing the top spot on respected critic Jon Pareles’ New York Times’ Best Albums of 2014 list.  The influential band stole the hearts of fans and critics with its 2004 LP Desperate Hearts, Blood Thirsty Babes. By the time 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain took Spin’s album of the year honors, the band’s eclectic musical spirit – encompassing rock, soul, psychedelia and electronica –  had made it one of the most esteemed acts in the world, with collaborations featuring David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on its resumé. With a live show described as  “sexy nerdiness letting go in a controlled blast of unleashed energy” (The Boston Globe), TV on the Radio will give Austin City Limits a stunning show.

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 Tapings: Asleep at the Wheel, Sturgill Simpson & The War on Drugs

photo by Crackerfarm

Austin City Limits announced the first round of new tapings for the series upcoming Season 41!

Feb. 24 sees the return of Austin City Limits veteran and new Hall of Fame inductee Asleep at the Wheel. The premier Western swing band not only of Texas but of the United States, the Wheel first appeared on the show in Season 1, way back in 1976, and most recently in Season 35 with Willie Nelson. Now leader Ray Benson and company return in support of the upcoming Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, with special guests Amos Lee and The Avett Brothers in tow. We’re happy to welcome Asleep at the Wheel back for its eleventh taping.

On April 1st, we welcome acclaimed country singer Sturgill Simpson to the Austin City Limits stage. The Kentucky native released his first album High Top Mountain in 2013, establishing his philosophical brand of outlaw country. He broke out with his second LP Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, which earned Simpson national press coverage and the Emerging Artist of the Year Award at the 2014 Americana Music Awards & Honors. We’re proud to welcome Simpson for his ACL debut.

photo by Dusdin Condren

April also brings another Austin City Limits debut for the much-lauded rock band The War On Drugs. Following the Philadelphia group’s breakout with 2011’s Slave Ambient and two years of non-stop touring, TWOD – led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Adam Granduciel – reached a new peak with the celebrated Lost in the Dream. Pitchfork calls it a record “loaded with songs whose greatness is revealed slowly, where the simplest, most understated chord change can blow a track wide open and elevate it from simply pretty to absolutely devastating.” We’re thrilled to bring the shimmering indie rock of The War On Drugs to the ACL stage for the first time on April 6th.

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.