ACL Presents: Americana music’s biggest night

Austin City Limits returns to Nashville for a special broadcast offering performance highlights from the 18th Annual Americana Honors. For nearly two decades, the prestigious ceremony has celebrated the best and brightest musicians in Americana music while showcasing one-of-a-kind performances. The program is filled with musical highlights from many of the night’s award-winners and honorees, among them (in order of appearance): Our Native Daughters, Mumford & Sons, Yola, Brandi Carlile, Mark Erelli & friends, Mavis Staples, Joe Henry & Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, The War and Treaty, I’m With Her, The Milk Carton Kids, Bonnie Raitt & John Prine, Elvis Costello & Jim Lauderdale

Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019, The Americana Music Association’s 18th Annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony is a celebration of the diverse sounds of roots music, from folk, bluegrass and country to R&B and the blues. For the ninth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with producers Martin Fischer, Michelle Aquilato, Edie Hoback and the Americana Music Association, proudly deliver a special ACL Presents. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount of The War and Treaty perform onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

A generation-bridging group of Americana standouts perform: Brandi Carlile caps a milestone year following her 2019 GRAMMY®-winning By the Way, I Forgive You, with the Americana Artist of the Year honor and gives a stellar performance of that record’s “The Mother.” Beloved songwriter John Prine, the night’s two-time honoree for Album of the Year and Song of the Year, teams with Bonnie Raitt for a show-stopping performance of the timeless “Angel From Montgomery,” which Prine penned and Raitt popularized. Soul legend Mavis Staples, who received the Honors’ inaugural Inspiration Award, performs stirring new song “Change” from her acclaimed 2019 release We Get By. Duo/Group of the Year honorees I’m With Her, the all-star trio of Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins, perform a gorgeous new track, “Call My Name.” Singer-songwriter Mark Erelli performs his Song of the Year nominated “By Degrees,” joined by friends Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, Shawn Colvin and J.S. Ondara trading verses on the potent anti-gun violence anthem. 

Rhiannon Giddens, the recipient of the Honors’ inaugural Legacy of Americana Award, opens the hour with her all-female combo Our Native Daughters, a Group/Duo nominee, and returns for a solo performance with a stunning rendition of the folk-gospel classic “Wayfaring Stranger.” The show’s hosts, acoustic duo The Milk Carton Kids, perform the classic Felice and Boudleaux Bryant-penned “Sleepless Nights” and also join Mumford & Sons for a stripped-down rendition of “Forever” from the band’s recent album, Delta. Joe Henry and Rodney Crowell deliver a memorable salute with their stirring take on “Girl From the North Country,” a tribute to five decades of Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album. 

Americana’s next-generation of stars showcase their bona fides: dynamic husband-and-wife duo The War and Treaty, Emerging Act of the Year honorees, raise the Ryman roof with the thrilling “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow”; Emerging Act nominee Yola, the U.K. singer-songwriter sensation, gives a towering performance with “Faraway Look,” from her Album of the Year-nominated and Dan Auerbach-produced Walk Through Fire

The show closes with Elvis Costello, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting (joined by Americana stalwart Jim Lauderdale) displaying his multi-genre range with a fiery “Red Cotton” from his 2009 Secret, Profane and Sugarcane album alongside “Blame It On Cain” from his 1977 debut My Aim Is True.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah, Rhiannon Giddens and Leyla McCalla attend the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Broadcast Setlist:

Our Native Daughters “Black Myself”

Mumford & Sons (f. The Milk Carton Kids) “Forever”

Yola “Faraway Look”

Brandi Carlile “The Mother”

Mark Erelli (f. Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, J.S. Ondara, Shawn Colvin) “By Degrees”

Mavis Staples “Change”

Joe Henry & Rodney Crowell “Girl From the North Country”

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi “Wayfaring Stranger”

The War and Treaty “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow”

I’m With Her (f. Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan) “Call My Name”

The Milk Carton Kids “Sleepless Nights”

Bonnie Raitt & John Prine “Angel From Montgomery”

Elvis Costello with Jim Lauderdale “Red Cotton/Blame it on Cain”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, 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. Join us next week for a special encore from one of the most enduring bands of the twentieth century: the Pretenders

ACL congratulates the 2020 Grammy nominees

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

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.  

Rosalía wins big at 2019 Latin Grammys

Austin City Limits extends a hearty congratulations to Spanish singer/songwriter Rosalía on her towering win of five Latin Grammy awards at last night’s star-studded ceremony in Las Vegas. Her acclaimed album El Mal Querer was awarded Album of the Year, making her the first female artist this decade to win the coveted title (since Shakira in 2006). Rosalía also took top honors for Best Contemporary Pop Album, Best Engineered Album, and Best Recording Package, while her smash single “Con Altura,” cut with reggaetón superstar J Balvin, won for Best Urban Song. “When I made that album I made it from the heart. I didn’t think about what would happen later,” Rosalía told the Los Angeles Times backstage at the event. “I can’t control anything that happens after the creative process because after that it’s not yours anymore, it’s everyone else’s.”

Rosalía delivered one of the most distinctive and remarkable shows in ACL history at her recent October taping. Viewers can watch the thrilling performance when it airs February 8, 2019 as a full-hour episode as part of the second half of ACL’s Season 45 on your local PBS station.

Kane Brown and Colter Wall: two sides of country music on ACL’s 45 season

Austin City Limits spotlights next-generation country representing the genre’s expansive range in a new installment featuring chart-topping sensation Kane Brown sharing the hour with breakout Country-and-Western artist Colter Wall

One of country music’s brightest new stars, boundary-pushing artist Kane Brown is having a banner year, dominating the charts with his low, soulful voice and earning multiple nominations for Country Artist of the Year. The 26-year-old hitmaker makes his ACL debut performing highlights from Experiment, his chart-topping sophomore album which debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Born and raised near the rural North Georgia-Tennessee border, the singer makes country music for a modern audience, blending elements of pop, rock, rap and R&B into a traditional country formula. Brown showcases his bona fides as the future of the genre, opening his seven-song set with his breakthrough “What Ifs,” the 4X Platinum love song from his self-titled 2016 debut. He details his personal challenges growing up biracial on “Learning” and tackles the topic of school shootings in the dark, powerful standout “American Bad Dream.” Brown closes out the crowd-pleasing set with a victory lap, performing the No. 1, platinum-selling come-hither smash “Lose It.”

Western Canadian folksinger Colter Wall draws on the stories of his native Saskatchewan for his ACL debut. The talented, 24-year-old artist possesses a rich, resonant baritone that belies his age. Accompanied by his four-piece band, Wall performs the modern-day Western numbers from his acclaimed sophomore release Songs of the Plains, produced by Nashville ace Dave Cobb. A set highlight is a pair of new, unrecorded numbers, “Happy Reunion” and the solo acoustic “Hoolihans at the Holiday Inn,” a 21st-century cowboy’s lament about roping practice in hotel parking lots. Wall delivers traditional classics that fit right into his wheelhouse: an inspired rendition of Marty Robbins’ gunfighter-ballad “Big Iron” and the ‘50’s yodel-spiked “Cowpoke,” before reaching back to his 2017 self-titled debut for the fan-favorite set-closer “Motorcycle.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Kane Brown is on the front line bringing country music into the 21st century,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “His personal story and the subjects he sings about set him apart from the mainstream, yet he’s very much a part of the tradition of country mavericks who aren’t afraid to break the mold.

“Colter Wall is the first artist in a generation to put the ‘western’ back in country-and-western music. His songs about wide-open spaces and the loneliness and isolation resonate with fans feeling the pressure of the modern world.”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, 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. Join us next week for a special program, as ACL Presents: Americana 18th annual Awards and Honors, featuring Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Our Native Daughters, I’m With Her and more. 

Giveaway: Tank and The Bangas 11/18

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.

Vampire Weekend triumphantly returns in ACL’s 45th season

Austin City Limits spotlights Vampire Weekend in a must-see hour featuring the indie-rock band’s epic return showcasing their long-awaited new album Father of the Bride alongside classic gems from their catalog.  

Vampire Weekend performs a suite of songs off the celebrated, chart-topping Father of the Bride, their fourth album and first in six years. The seven-piece, led by frontman Ezra Koenig, unpack new gems: “Sympathy,” “Bambina,”“2021,” “My Mistake,” and “This Life,” showcasing their irresistible knack for melody and lyrics that capture the complexities of 21st-century life. The group perform select favorites from their catalog, including the breakthrough “A-Punk” from their 2008 debut and the rhythmic, Afrobeat “White Sky” from 2010’s landmark Contra. Koenig’s 2014 collaboration with EDM producer SBTRKT, “New Dorp. New York,” is here transformed into a Vampire Weekend funk-rock epic. A set highlight is an extended version of new classic “Harmony Hall,” a masterful, melodic wonder that opens with an iconic guitar riff and accelerates into a joyful piano sprint. The perfectly-paced set comes to a powerful close with Koenig’s stunning vocal on the hymnal, cathartic anthem “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin.” 

“There’s never been a better time to appreciate Vampire Weekend, given the world we live in today,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “I’ve always been a fan of Ezra Koenig’s voice and his new songs are more personal and inward-looking than ever. Vampire Weekend has remained tried-and-true – popular without ever becoming pop!”

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this weekend for this episode, 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. Join us next week for another brand new episode, featuring two sides of modern country music with Kane Brown and Colter Wall.

Patty Griffin and The Revivalists sing from their souls in ACL’s Season 45

Austin City Limits showcases American roots music with Texas singer-songwriter Patty Griffin and New Orleans rockers The Revivalists in a new installment as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45. Griffin performs an intimate, stripped-down set highlighting songs from her recent self-titled release and The Revivalists play crowd-pleasing anthems from their latest Take Good Care.

Patty Griffin delivers a powerful performance with songs from her new self-titled release, her tenth studio album — the first after a four-year hiatus. The Austin favorite first appeared on ACL in a songwriters’ special in 2000, and she returns for her sixth appearance on our stage, adding another extraordinary chapter to her storied two-decade career. Accompanied by guitarist David Pulkingham and percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Conrad Choucroun, Griffin performs highlights from her latest, including the new single “The Wheel”, along with “Luminous Places” and “Hourglass”. The Austin-based musician introduces “Boys From Tralee,” a Celtic-folk stunner that tells the story of her Irish ancestors’ emigration to the United States. Griffin dips back to 2004’s Impossible Dream for the bluesy gut-punch “Standing”, showcasing her rich vocals and love of gospel. 

“We take great pride in claiming Patty as one of our own here in Austin,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “ but the truth is that her songs have captured the hearts and souls of millions of fans the world over.”

Chart-topping New Orleans brass-rockers The Revivalists perform an irresistible set filled with get-up-and-dance gems from their acclaimed 2018 album Take Good Care. The road-tested band, who’ve perfected their energetic live show with over a decade of non-stop touring, take the crowd on an emotional rollercoaster with infectious slow-build numbers that escalate to anthems. The eight-piece outfit open with their platinum-selling 2015 breakthrough, “Wish I Knew You,” the nostalgic funk jam that became a Number One Billboard smash. Lead singer David Shaw strikes a chord with his signature soulful howl and the group showcase their love for old-school soul on set-closer “Got Love.”

photo by Scott Newton

“The Revivalists won me over the day I saw them play at New Orleans’ Jazzfest,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They may not have that typical New Orleans sound that comes to mind, but they have the grit, the funk, and the spice to create their own special kind of musical gumbo.”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, 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. Join us next week for another brand new episode, a special hour featuring the return of indie rock favorites Vampire Weekend