ACL congratulates the 2020 Grammy nominees

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits congratulates all the nominees for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. But we’d like to shine a spotlight on the many nominees who appear on ACL in our current Season 45 as well as nominees from prior seasons. We’re especially proud to showcase five of this year’s Best New Artist nominees this season.

A hale and hearty congrats to the artists who contributed to our milestone season 45, including Billie Eilish, who scored top noms for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Engineered Album, while her brother Finneas, who produced the album and performed with her on her upcoming episode, earned a nod for Producer of the Year. Soul sensation H.E.R. also gathered a slew of nominations, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song, while Austin hero and ACL season 45 opener Gary Clark Jr. earned noms for Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Music Video. 

photo by Scott Newton

Indie rock gods Vampire Weekend clock in with nods for Album of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album, while Spanish superstar Rosalía clicks off the boxes for Best New Artist and Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album. Cage the Elephant was nominated for Best Rock Album and Patty Griffin for Best Folk Album. Plus Maggie Rogers, Black Pumas and Tank and The Bangas share the nominations with Eilish and Rosalía for Best New Artist. Sarah Jarosz was nominated for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song as part of I’m With Her, who appear in our upcoming special broadcast ACL Presents: Americana 18th Annual Honors. In addition, ACL vet Jimmie Vaughan and young blues guitar slinger Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, both of whom appear in our upcoming Hall of Fame special on Dec. 28, were each nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album.

“I think it’s pretty cool (and speaks well for us) that we’ve had so many nominees on the show this season,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “ including five of the Best New Artist nominees.”

photo by Scott Newton

Many of our distinguished alumni received nominations this year as well. Veteran country music queen Tanya Tucker, who appeared in Season 11, garnered noms for Song of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Country Song, and Best Country Solo Performance for the album While I’m Livin’, created in collaboration with Brandi Carlile. Indie rock icon Bon Iver got nominated for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Alternative Music Album, and Best Recording Package, while Dan Auerbach received a Producer of the Year nod. Our friends Esperanza Spalding, Dolly Parton, Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, Calexico and Iron & Wine got two nominations apiece (the latter two bands for a collaborative album), while Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Ed Sheeran, Rosanne Cash, Khalid, Reba McEntire, CeCe Winans, Rhiannon Giddens, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, Rodrigo y Gabriela, John Legend, Angelique Kidjo, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Andrew Bird, Pistol Annies, Keb’ Mo’, Delbert McClinton, and David Gray got one each.

A full list of all nominees can be found here – good luck to them all. The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards will telecast on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. 

Taping recap: ACL Hall of Fame 6th Annual Honors

photo by Gary Miller

Every year the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honors feels like a homecoming. This year was no exception, with so many friends and family with us to help celebrate. For this year’s sixth Hall of Fame class, we inducted singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin, blues giant Buddy Guy and Texas icon Lyle Lovett, the man who nearly holds the record for the most appearances on the ACL stage (he’s one behind Willie Nelson), and their pals came out to start the party. It was a night to remember. 

Austin drum corps Austin Samba set a festive mood to kick off the evening. KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, CEO & General Manager Bill Stotesbery welcomed the crowd and introduced ACL’s longtime executive producer Terry Lickona. He briefly recapped the show’s iconic history before ceding the stage to the evening’s host, Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen and the ceremony was quickly underway. 

photo by Gary Miller

Keen introduced the evening’s first inductee – veteran Austinite Shawn Colvin. The legendary Jackson Browne inducted Colvin with a moving speech about her musical history and the genius that has marked it. “He’s my hero,” said Colvin, “and he just inducted me into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.” She accepted the honor with a heartfelt speech about what Austin and the show have meant to her, before she and Browne took up their acoustic guitars for the lovely “These Four Walls,” which she called a tribute to her town. Following that, Colvin welcomed Wimberley native Sarah Jarosz, who used her mandolin for the classic lick of Colvin’s Grammy-winning smash “Sunny Came Home.” After Jarosz left the stage, Colvin was joined by guitarist Steuart Smith and bassist Larry Klein, both of whom produced records for her, and formed a touring trio with her in the nineties. “This is the first time we’ve played together in 25 years,” she declared, before the threesome nailed a version of her later-period hit “Polaroids.” Jarosz joined the trio for “Diamond in the Rough,” Colvin’s radio breakthrough – which was also enhanced by fellow inductee Lyle Lovett’s surprise appearance on harmony vocals and a thrilling Smith guitar solo. The musicians quit the stage to grand applause. 

photo by Gary Miller

Keen came back onstage to introduce the next inductee: the one and only Buddy Guy. The blues legend was inducted by his old friend and Austin blues icon Jimmie Vaughan, who talked about discovering Guy as a kid from the album Folk Festival of the Blues, and how that put him on the path he’s followed since. “Better late than never!” exclaimed Guy as he accepted his award, garnering a big laugh. The Chicago axeman paid tribute to his own influences – Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins – before thanking the audience and his fellow artists for helping to keep the blues alive. Guy and Vaughan then joined the former’s band onstage, launching into “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues,” one of many signature Buddy Guy tunes. Blues singer Shemekia Copeland came next, duetting with Guy on his latest hit “Cognac,” which made getting tipsy absolutely sensual. One of Guy’s recent mentees, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram then took the stage for a rip through “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” one of the classics from Guy’s own mentor Muddy Waters. Closing out his segment, Guy and Ingram welcomed back Copeland and Vaughan and Guy donned an electric sitar for “Skin Deep,” a deep soul ballad in the style of “Feels Like Rain” that reminded us all that we share more than we differ. 

photo by Gary Miller

After an intermission (which featured another performance from Austin Samba), Keen returned to introduce his old friend Lyle Lovett. Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn surprised the crowd with an unannounced appearance to induct his pal, calling him “a humble maestro,” “the storytelling heir to Faulkner, Rogers and Twain,” speaking eloquently and humorously about the impact his music and friendship has had on his life. After thanking Penn, Lovett delineated how long his history with Austin City Limits goes back, from watching the show since its first season to closing out Studio 6A in 2010, before thanking the show and his family – his mother was in attendance. Then Lovett announced seminal Texas songwriter, and key Lovett influence, Willis Alan Ramsey, who sang, with help from the large band, his friend’s anthem “If I Had a Boat.” Dallas native Edie Brickell was next, taking on Lovett’s tart country ballad “I Loved You Yesterday.” The maestro himself came back onstage, thanking his crew and the Large Band, before paring the latter down to fiddler Luke Bulla, mandolinist Keith Sewell and bassist Viktor Krauss for “12th of June,” inspired by his family past and present. The Large Band returned and Lovett welcomed Keen back to the stage to sing “This Old Porch,” a song the pair of them wrote nearly 40 years ago – a fitting tribute to enduring friendships and a long-running career. Keen then invited the other inductees and guests on stage for the final song. Lovett took the opportunity to introduce the large band, including his longtime backup singer Francine Reed, who garnered the biggest round of applause.

photo by Gary Miller

Then it was time for the closing number – “That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas,” one of Lovett’s most famous songs and one perfect for a chorus of famous backup singers. The audience went wild as streamers came down from the ceiling, as another successful Hall of Fame taping came to a close. We can’t wait for you to see it when it airs as a special New Year’s broadcast on your local PBS station. 

ACL announces guest performers for Hall of Fame 2019

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Austin City Limits announces an all-star slate of guest performers for the 2019 ACL Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 24, 2019. Music greats Jackson Browne, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmie Vaughan, Bruce Hornsby, Sarah Jarosz, Willis Alan Ramsey and blues phenom Christone “Kingfish” Ingram will take part in saluting the newest class of inductees: singer-songwriting legends Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett and blues giant Buddy Guy.  Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen takes the reins for the first time as host of the star-studded night filled with performances and collaborations from music’s finest as the three beacons of American music enter the ACL Hall of Fame. “The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is my Academy Awards,” says Robert Earl Keen. “I don’t think there is a higher honor than to be asked to host the ACL Hall of Fame and as a bonus, I don’t have to wear a tux!” More information about additional guest stars and presenters will be announced prior to the event.

The event will be open to the public and tickets are on sale at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. Sponsor packages are available now at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. All proceeds benefit KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. The ceremony will be held at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Musical highlights and inductions from the celebration will air on PBS as a special Austin City Limits New Year’s broadcast. 

The sixth class of inductees features a diverse group of music legends and collaborators with longtime ties to Austin City Limits: Lyle Lovett has shared a musical kinship with the series, notably appearing on ACL more than any artist with the exception of Willie Nelson. Living legend Buddy Guy has made three classic headlining appearances on ACL, starting in Season 16 in 1991 and returning this year in Season 44. Shawn Colvin debuted on ACL the same season as Buddy Guy in 1991, going on to make two additional standout headlining appearances as well as frequent guest spots.

Shemekia Copeland; photo by Mike White

“Lyle, Shawn and Buddy share not only a long history with ACL, but a musical kinship with each other,” said long-time executive producer Terry Lickona, “so I’m sure we can expect some one-of-a-kind musical collaborations. They are each uniquely talented, and together they represent the legacy that has helped ACL thrive for four and a half decades.”

Established in 2014, the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame honors the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. The second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony in 2015 honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson. 2017’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act. Last year’s fifth anniversary class featured the inductions of Ray Charles, Marcia Ball and Los Lobos.