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. 

Don Henley takes us to Cass County

photo by Scott Newton

It’s not everyday we get to witness a superstar artist explore his musical roots. But that’s what Don Henley did during his debut appearance on Austin City Limits. For his forthcoming solo album Cass County, co-produced by Stan Lynch, out on Sept. 25 and his first in 15 years, the erstwhile Eagles co-founder explores a genre with which he has more than a passing familiarity: country music. Inspired by the sounds he heard growing up in Linden, Texas, Henley, his band and some very special guests showcased many of the songs from his new album, debuting them on our ACL stage for the first time anywhere.

But first he dipped briefly back into the past, opening with the rock radio classic “Dirty Laundry,” getting the audience immediately engaged. He then segued into the first of his new songs, the country rockin’ political broadside “No, Thank You.” Henley followed by welcoming his first guest – acclaimed country singer/songwriter Ashley Monroe, last seen on our stage with Miranda Lambert’s Pistol Annies – she sang beautifully on the Louvin Brothers’ ballad “When I Stop Dreaming.” Outlaw country revivalist Jamey Johnson appeared next on the thoughtful “The Cost Of Living,” after which he and Henley were rejoined by Monroe for Tift Merritt’s poignant waltz “Bramble Rose.” Henley then returned to his back catalog, for a relaxed, crowd-pleasing take on his huge hit “The End Of The Innocence,” with Erica Swindell’s liquid fiddle subbing for the original’s sonorous sax.

Henley reached back a few decades to his very first solo release I Can’t Stand Still with the somber “Talking to the Moon,” co-written with Amarillo native J.D. Souther. Back in Cass County, he welcomed country star and Season 24 ACL vet Martina McBride to the stage for the anthemic heartland rocker “That Old Flame.” “Train In The Distance” brought the volume back down with its folky autobiography, before Henley flipped through his back pages once again with the stately “The Heart Of The Matter,” an audience favorite.

Nashville siren and ACL three-timer Trisha Yearwood then hit the stage for a pair of showcases: the romantic duet  “Words Can Break Your Heart” and the harmony rocker “Where I Am Now.” The lush breakup tune “Take A Picture Of This” added a spot of bitter defiance, before Henley brought on his final guests of the evening: sisters Emily Robison Strayer and Martie Maguire of Dixie Chicks and Court Yard Hounds. The pair added their banjo, fiddle and dulcet harmonies to “She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune,” a cover of the mystical Jesse Lee Kincaid waltz made famous in the 60s by Harry Nilsson and the Dillards.

Along with a pair of hammer dulcimers, all of the evening’s guests joined Henley for the environmentally conscious plea “Praying For Rain,” another new song that garnered a particularly enthusiastic reception. Dulcimer masters Dana Hamilton and Bonnie Carol brought down the rain as the star, guests and band left the stage.  

But it wasn’t quite over yet, as Henley launched into “The Boys Of Summer,” perhaps his best-known and loved hit, then invited Monroe back for “When I Stop Dreaming.” Thus ended a remarkable show full of new classics and old favorites. We can’t wait for you to see it when it airs on October 24th as part of our upcoming Season 41 on your local PBS station.