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. 

Tank and The Bangas close out S45 tapings with a soulful blast

photo by Scott Newton

There’s no one in music quite like Tank and The Bangas. The New Orleans R&B, funk and hip-hop ensemble impressed ACL with a stunning show at the Austin City Limits Music Festival a couple of years ago, so it was inevitable they would appear on the show. The band made their debut on the ACL stage in support of this year’s acclaimed major label  LP Green Balloon, and their presence couldn’t have been any more appropriate – Tank and The Bangas’ joyful performance capped off our 45th taping season on a high note. 

The Bangas took the stage to the delight of an already pumped audience –  a perfect welcome for a band from the Big Easy. After a rumbling synth intro, singer/rapper/poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball arrived in a fur cape for “Spaceships,” displaying a variety of voices as she parodied hip-hoppers – or anyone, really – obsessed with the green. A classically-inclined piano intro from Norman Spence II brought on “Quick,” a roaring tune that featured two saxophones doubling power chords and ambiguous lyrics that also incorporated work from hip-hop producer extraordinaire 9th Wonder. After Tank enjoined the audience to “make some noise,” the band immediately launched into “Nice Things,” a slinky feast of soul. The ballad “Hot Air Balloon” followed, building to a fiery sax solo from Albert Allenback, before “Smoke.Netflix.Chill,” a sweet come-on if there ever was one.  

A funky groove signaled the sardonic “Do Something,” a song that starts out as a riposte to empty platitudes, before becoming an anthem of personal empowerment. The party hit another level with “Boxes and Squares,” a beautifully volatile mix of funk, hip-hop and doubled jazz sax solos. The hard funk continued on “Nile, Den and Latah,” the band bringing their entire bag of tricks to bear on a tune that got the audience hopping. The crowd was able to catch their breath (barely) with “Ants,” which found Tank rapping over a smooth seventies R&B groove. The Bangas kept the music roiling and solos flying as Tank unleashed her powerful vocal chords on “Ripperton,” in tribute to the eponymous R&B favorite, first name Minnie. To say the audience went wild is an understatement. 

All that energy had to go somewhere, and that was final song “Brady’s,” in which the band took the audience on a handclapping, swaying, hopping ride through its world: sweet harmonies, crashing drums, rock guitar, relentless groove, singalong “na-na’s” and Tank’s versatile, everywhere-at-once vocal stylings. “Bye!” said Tank, and the show was over, though from the crowd’s reaction they wanted more. It was a titanic way to end our milestone forty-fifth season of Austin  City Limits, and we can’t wait for you to see it when this episode when it airs early next year on your local PBS station.  

Giveaway: Tank and The Bangas 11/18

photo by Alex Marks

UPDATE giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Tank and The Bangas on Monday, November 18th 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 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 14th.

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.

Tank and The Bangas 11/18/19

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. (more)

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.