Buddy Guy gives ACL the blues

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits has been privileged to host many music legends on our stage, and we were thrilled to welcome back another: blues titan Buddy Guy. The Chicago bluesman has headlined twice before, bringing his signature guitar style and bottomless catalog for a pair of landmark episodes. This evening Guy returned to one of his favorite cities to show off those strengths once again, including songs from his latest LP The Blues is Alive and Well with a taping we live streamed around the world.

Taking the stage in his trademark polkadots, signature drill-through-a-concrete-slab Strat tone and no setlist, Guy and his four-piece Damn Right Blues Band took the stage with the classic “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues,” a statement of purpose if there ever was one. The 82-year-old then brought out “Hoochie Coochie Man,” from the repertoire of his old employer Muddy Waters, engaging in some playful call-and-response with both the audience and keyboardist Marty Sammon. He stayed with the Waters catalog by segueing into “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” adding a snippet of “Somebody Done Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man” at the end in tribute to his late partner Junior Wells. Clearly just warming up, Guy sampled his latest record with “Cognac,” a savage blues celebrating the titular beverage in lyric and the British blues rockers Guy inspired in music, calling out Keith Richards and Jeff Beck in particular. He revisited his Grammy-winning 2015 album Born to Play Guitar for the title track, before indulging in some more blues history with Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Nine Below Zero.”

That didn’t last long, however, as he jumped back into his own catalog for his modern blues classic “Somebody Else is Steppin’ Out (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In),” for which he took his traditional walk into the audience, mic and stinging guitar solos in hand. That would be a hard song for anyone to follow, but Guy knew what to do, going back to 1992 and the elegiac John Hiatt-penned title track to Feels Like Rain, joined by his 19-year-old six-string protegeé Quinn Sullivan. As with “Steppin’ Out,” Guy invited – nay, expected – the crowd to sing the chorus, even requesting the house lights come up so he could playfully keep the people in line. His mentor egging him on, Sullivan stayed onstage for covers of Cream’s “Strange Brew” and Jimi Hendrix’ “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” the latter run straight into Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.” Guy then decided to survey the guitar players that influenced him, touching on B.B. King’s “Sweet Sixteen” and John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom,” thanking the audience and joining them to pass picks out while the Damn Right Blues Band vamped behind him. Guy retook the stage for a couple of verses of his own “Meet Me in Chicago,” before ceding it back to Sullivan and the band for a couple of instrumental choruses of “Black Magic Woman” – proof you never know what to expect with a veteran artist working without a net. But Buddy Guy has earned the right to follow his muse into whichever corner it wants to explore. We can’t wait for you to see this remarkable show when it airs early next year on your local PBS station.    

Buddy Guy to live stream 9/17 ACL taping

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Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce that we will be live streaming Buddy Guy’s taping on September 17 here on the ACL TV YouTube channel.  This will be the blues titan’s third headlining appearance on the ACL stage.

Buddy Guy’s astounding career spans over fifty years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Grammy Awards, 37 Blues Music Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to name a few. The veteran bluesman recently released his eighteenth solo LP, The Blues is Alive and Well, the acclaimed follow-up to his 2015 album Born To Play Guitar, which received “Best Blues Album” honors at the 2016 Grammy Awards, and debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Album charts.  Produced by Guy’s longtime partner Tom Hambridge and featuring special guests Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and James Bay, the new album is hailed “a heart-warming set from a cultural treasure” by Mojo. Rolling Stone raves, “Buddy Guy proves blues is alive and well,” while Uncut notes, “[Guy] stretches out into these songs, inhabiting them comfortably and casually, almost always finding a way to make the familiar sound fresh.” Guy will be the recipient of this year’s Americana Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Honor, and at 82 years young, proves unstoppable as he continues to record and tour around the world.

Join us on Sept. 17 for this full set live stream of Buddy Guy’s return taping here on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Giveaway: Buddy Guy

photo by Paul Natkin

UPDATE giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Buddy Guy on Monday, September 17th at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd). We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by noon on September 13th.

Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pick up tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required. No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio. No cameras computers or recording devices allowed in venue.

New tapings: Buddy Guy and Trombone Shorty

photo by Paul Natkin

Austin City Limits welcomes back a pair of singular artists with their own spins on traditional American musical forms: legendary blues guitarist/singer Buddy Guy on September 17, making his fifth appearance on the ACL stage, and soul/funk singer/horn player Trombone Shorty on September 26, making his third.

Buddy Guy’s astounding career spans over fifty years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Grammy Awards, 37 Blues Music Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to name a few. The blues titan recently released his eighteenth solo LP, The Blues is Alive and Well, the acclaimed follow-up to his 2015 album Born To Play Guitar, which received “Best Blues Album” honors at the 2016 Grammy Awards, and debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Album charts.  Produced by Guy’s longtime partner Tom Hambridge and featuring special guests Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck and James Bay, the new album is hailed “a heart-warming set from a cultural treasure” by Mojo. Rolling Stone raves, “Buddy Guy proves blues is alive and well,” while Uncut notes, “[Guy] stretches out into these songs, inhabiting them comfortably and casually, almost always finding a way to make the familiar sound fresh.” Guy will be the recipient of this year’s Americana Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Honor, and at 82 years young, proves unstoppable as he continues to record and tour around the world.

photo by Mathieu Bitton

Part Jimi Hendrix, part James Brown and all New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is the bandleader and frontman of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, a hard-edged funk band that employs brass-band beats, rock dynamics and improvisation in a jazz tradition. NPR hailed him as “New Orleans’ brightest new star in a generation,” and New York Magazine wrote that “Trombone Shorty takes in a century-plus worth of sounds—ragtime and jazz and gospel and soul and R&B and hip-hop—and attacks everything he plays with festive fervor.” His 2017 Blue Note Records debut Parking Lot Symphony contains multitudes of sound—from brass band blare and deep-groove funk to bluesy beauty and hip-hop/pop swagger—and plenty of emotion all anchored by stellar playing and the idea that, even in the toughest of times, as Shorty says, “Music brings unity.” OffBeat wrote that “Parking Lot Symphony continues Trombone Shorty’s personal tradition of stunningly good musicianship, crowd-pleasing good material and just plain good fun,” adding that “Andrews keeps the music close to his heart and his hometown.” To celebrate that hometown’s 300th birthday, its rich cultural heritage, and the bright future of its music, Trombone Shorty, Orleans Avenue and handpicked special guests are touring the nation as Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown. “New Orleans is the best place in the world,” says Shorty. “With this show, my friends and I want to spotlight New Orleans, bring joy and fun and partying to the nation, because that’s what New Orleans creates. That’s what our music is about.”

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Congratulations to ACL artists on their 2016 Grammy wins

photo by Scott Newtong

Austin City Limits congratulates our many distinguished alumni on their Grammy wins this past Monday.

A highlight of our Season 41, rap superstar Kendrick Lamar swept the Grammy’s Rap categories, winning for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Album for his landmark To Pimp A Butterfly. Alabama Shakes, who also lit up the ACL stage this season, took home three trophies for their acclaimed Sound & Color, including Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. Season 40 alum Ed Sheeran won his first-ever Grammys in two top categories, Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance. Jason Isbell, an ACL favorite who gave a standout performance in our Americana Music special this season, won big for his Something More Than Free, including Best Americana Album and American Roots Song. World music queen Angelique Kidjo, who made an unforgettable full-hour ACL debut this season, went home with the Grammy for Best World Music Album.

Shout-outs as well to Mavis Staples, Buddy Guy, Bela Fleck,Glen Campbell, John Legend and Asleep at the Wheel, who each took home a trophy apiece. Well-done! Also congrats to Natalia Lafourcade on her Grammy for Best Latin Rock album – we look forward to her debut ACL taping this May.

Gary Clark Jr. and recently-announced 2016 ACL Hall of Fame inductee Bonnie Raitt paid tribute to the one and only B.B. King, who will also be inducted into ACL’s Hall of Fame this October. And recognizing our incredible legacy, we were proud to see ACL’s esteemed founder Bill Arhos (1934-2015) receive special mention during the In Memoriam segment.

Kudos to these and all the other winners as well – you can find a complete list here. See you next year!

A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story to premiere at SXSW 2016

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce the worldwide debut of A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story at the 2016 South By Southwest Film Festival.

A Song for You tells the inside story of the creation, evolution and staying power of the Peabody Award-winning Austin City Limits. Featuring interviews with producers, creators and artists, the film also showcases plenty of ACL’s chief calling card: incredible performances from across the musical spectrum, many of which have not been seen in decades. Interviewees and performers include Willie Nelson, Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy, the Pixies, Loretta Lynn, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Townes Van Zandt, Buddy Guy, Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, Marcia Ball and many, many more.

From Willie Nelson to Wilco, Ray Charles to Radiohead, A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story offers the ultimate backstage pass to 40 years of incredible music from the longest running music show in American television history. Stay tuned for more information or visit the official website here

ACL artists at the 2016 Grammys

photo by Scott Newton

The nominations for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards are out now, and we’re pleased to see that a number of Austin City Limits’ distinguished guests have received top honors. Congratulations to Kendrick Lamar with eleven nominations: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song (twice), Best Rap Album, Best Pop/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Dance Recording and Best Music Video (twice!). Also shout-outs to a number of Season 41 performers receiving well-deserved nominations, including Alabama Shakes, nominated for Album of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; Courtney Barnett, for Best New Artist, Angélique Kidjo, for Best World Music Album, Leon Bridges, for Best R&B Album, Don Henley, for Best American Roots Song and James Taylor, for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Kudos as well to the following ACL veterans who landed nominations: Florence + the Machine, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Punch Brothers, Foo Fighters, Buddy Guy, Bela Fleck, the Mavericks, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Jason Isbell, Death Cab For Cutie, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, The Milk Carton Kids, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, Lee Ann Womack, Hayes Carll, Ralph Stanley, Shemekia Copeland, Bettye LaVette, Patty Griffin, Glen Hansard of the Swell Season, Rhiannon Giddens and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Congratulations to them all.

Go here to see in what categories all these artists are nominated, as well as all the nominees.

Stay tuned to ACL to catch stellar performances from some of these fine folks in action in the coming weeks – Alabama Shakes kick off the second half of our Season 41 with a return appearance on January 2, Kendrick Lamar on January 9, Angélique Kidjo on January 23, Leon Bridges on February 6 and Ed Sheeran on February 27.

And don’t forget – our own executive producer Terry Lickona is also co-producer of the Grammy telecast, as well as the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy, the Grammys’ parent organization. The Grammy Awards broadcast on February 15th – Good luck to Terry and all the nominees!

ACL Hall of Fame Special features Willie Nelson, Double Trouble and more

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits celebrates 40 years on television with a grand finale featuring musical highlights and inductions from the first-ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation. Hosted by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, this never-before-broadcast special showcases outstanding performances and collaborations from the ACL Hall of Fame ceremony held April 26, 2014, including Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph and more. The program also honors the inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees, featuring legendary music acts Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and a pair of individuals who played an invaluable role in the genesis of the series: show creator Bill Arhos and Texas Longhorns football head coach and ACL supporter Darrell Royal.

For this extraordinary occasion ACL returns to its original Studio 6A, where the series taped its first episode in 1974—featuring Willie Nelson—to honor the artists and individuals who have inspired the iconic television series throughout its four decade run. The intimate performances include inductee Willie Nelson, joined by Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris for stunning readings of Nelson-penned classics including “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Crazy” and “On the Road Again.” Matthew McConaughey inducts his friend and fellow Texan, saying “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson.”

photo by Scott Newton

Austin blues-rock giants Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble are honored with a stirring tribute and their signature songs are performed by special guests backed by Double Trouble’s Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans. Guitar ace Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Grammy-winning singer Mike Farris perform a scorching rendition of “The House Is Rockin’,” a song Vaughan made iconic. Blues titan and ACL veteran Buddy Guy says, “I wasn’t here when Willie started, but I came soon after,” then demonstrates his incredible guitar prowess with an electrifying take on “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Steel guitar dynamo Robert Randolph performs a fiery version of “Give Me Back My Wig” joined by Doyle Bramhall II. The special comes to an epic close with an all-star reading of a Lone Star classic as a stellar lineup of guitar slingers blaze through the Stevie Ray Vaughan standard “Texas Flood.”

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this weekend for this stellar special, 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. Next week: Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes.