New taping: James Taylor

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.

Giveaway: Don Henley

UPDATE: The giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Don Henley on Tuesday, Sept. 1st, 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 Friday, Aug. 28th. Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup 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 or recording devices allowed in venue.

Gary Clark Jr.’s stellar performance leaves crowd satiated

Back on the ACL stage in support of is terrific new record The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, singer, songwriter and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. kicked things off with his signature tune “Bright Lights.” Joined not only by his longtime band guitarist King Zapata, bassist Johnny Bradley and drummer Johnny Radelat, but also singers Stevvi Alexander and Sophia Stephens and a horn section borrowed from Austin Afrobeat act Hard Proof, the Austin native blazed right into rocking soul tune “Ain’t Messin’ Round” and rumbling blues anthem “When My Train Pulls In,” both from breakthrough LP Blak and Blu. Clark employed clean tones, rather than the fuzz in which he often indulges, resulting in a looser, more open sound. That new sonic aesthetic especially suited the songs from the new record, which is a more vocal- and groove-oriented affair than his past guitar-slinging work. The sparse, funky “Hold On” and the slow ‘n’ soulful “Our Love” allowed Clark to break into an alluring falsetto, a tactic that worked even more effectively on the biting, 70s-style soul attack of “Cold Blooded.”

Clark returned to Blak and Blu for “You Saved Me,” a quiet storm ballad that’s not quiet at all, thanks to his power chords. The pull of new tunes proved strong, though, as Clark jumped back into Slim with both feet. He sat at the electric piano for the seductive “Wings” – “I’ve never done that before, it was kinda scary,” he remarked. He was back on the six-string for “Grinder,” a well-titled blues rocker highlighting what the Austin Chronicle notes as his “raw, visceral fearlessness as a soloist,” really pumping the crowd up. He brought the mood back to a quieter place with the stripped-down gospel plea “Church,” before ending the main set with “The Healing,” a funky blues tribute to his muse that asserted “This music is my healing!” The rapt audience agreed.

Following chants of “Gary! Gary!,” Clark encored with Slim’s “Shake,” a dirty boogie that featured Zapata on a rollicking slide solo. The high energy romp left the crowd satiated at last. It was a stellar performance by a young artist developing by leaps and bounds, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall on your local PBS station.

 

ACL announces Season 41 broadcast schedule

Following four decades as a music institution with more unforgettable performances as it gets ready to write its next illustrious chapter. Providing viewers with a front-row seat to the best in live music, ACL unveils Season 41’s stellar line-up of legendary artists, trend-setting innovators and many highly-anticipated debuts. ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings for times) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at http://video.pbs.org/program/austin-city-limits/ immediately following the initial broadcast. Select tapings are also live streamed to enable music fans everywhere to experience the performances as they happen, live and unedited. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding future tapings, episode schedules and live stream updates. The show’s official hashtag is #acltv.

The program returns on October 3rd with the 2015 ACL Hall of Fame Special, a special hour showcasing unique collaborations and tributes from this year’s induction ceremony and celebration, held June 18, 2015. Artists Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Gillian Welch, Jason Isbell and more perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Asleep at the Wheel, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez, Loretta Lynn and Townes Van Zandt.  

The upcoming season is filled with musical highlights, as a number of acts make their long-awaited ACL debuts. Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson appears for the first time in a dazzling hour featuring the songs of Billie Holiday. Music legend Don Henley makes his ACL debut, armed with his first solo release in 15 years. Iconic singer-songwriter James Taylor is also set to make his Austin City Limits debut in a career-spanning, hour long showcase that will feature songs from his latest release, his first collection of original music in 13 years.

Country music’s range is exemplified in a double-bill with modern country rebel Sturgill Simpson making his full set debut and Western swing veterans Asleep at the Wheel returning for their 11th appearance. Asleep at the Wheel, newly-minted ACL Hall of Fame members, are joined by guest stars The Avett Brothers and Amos Lee in a special tribute to forebear Bob Wills, the original Texas Playboy.  

Hometown hero Gary Clark Jr., now a Grammy-winning global sensation, returns to the program for his second headline appearance, in support of a highly anticipated new release. A number of genre-bending rock acts make their ACL debuts this year: indie rock breakout star Courtney Barnett showcases her compelling live set, while left-of-the-dial faves The War on Drugs and TV On The Radio split an episode, both gracing the ACL stage for the first time.

“With our 40th anniversary in our rearview mirror, we’re back to doing what we do best: showcasing awesome music whether it’s classic or contemporary, familiar or groundbreaking,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “As usual, we’ll give our viewers the chance to rediscover old favorites or discover new artists who are making their own mark.”

Season 41 Fall Broadcast Schedule (additional episodes to be announced)

October 3 2015 Hall of Fame Special

October 10 Cassandra Wilson

October 17 Sturgill Simpson / Asleep at the Wheel

October 24 Don Henley

October 31 Gary Clark Jr. / Courtney Barnett

November 7 TV On The Radio / The War on Drugs

November 14 James Taylor

November 21 ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2015

The complete line-up for the full 14-week season, including seven new episodes to air beginning January 2016, will be announced at a later date. Check the news section of acltv.com for additional episode updates.

For the fifth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with High 5 Productions, and the Americana Music Association, are proud to present a special ACL Presents—featuring the best music performances from this year’s Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Ceremony held September 16th at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Gary Clark Jr. taping livestreams on 8/24

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Austin City Limits will livestream the highly-anticipated taping with Grammy-winning songwriter, vocalist and virtuoso guitarist Gary Clark Jr. on Monday, August 24, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety directly from ACL’s stage via the program’s YouTube Channel and the broadcast episode will air during ACL’s upcoming Season 41, which premieres in October on PBS stations.

Austin’s shining star Gary Clark Jr. arrives on ACL’s 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.

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, a 2014 show-stopping appearance as part of ACL’s 40th anniversary celebration and a cameo with the Foo Fighters that same year.

Join us for this live webcast of the return of Gary Clark Jr.  ACL’s 41st Season premieres in October.  The new season line-up will be announced shortly, stay tuned to acltv for episode updates.  

Giveaway: Gary Clark Jr

UPDATE: The giveaway is now over. If you did not receive an email about passes, you can still participate in the taping by watching our livestream starting at 8 pm Monday.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Gary Clark Jr. on Monday, Aug. 24th, 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 Friday, Aug. 21st. Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup 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 or recording devices allowed in venue.

New taping: Don Henley

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.