The Black Keys and J. Roddy Walston & the Business get loud on ACL’s 40th season

It might get loud when two of contemporary rock’s best live bands hit the Austin City Limits stage with the return of six-time GRAMMY winners The Black Keys and the debut of rowdy southern rockers J. Roddy Walston & The Business.

“We’re The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio,” says frontman Dan Auerbach, but no introduction is needed. The powerhouse duo of singer/guitarist Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney have spent the better part of a decade building a huge following through relentless touring and word of mouth to become one of music’s biggest live acts, headlining festivals and arenas and earning worldwide acclaim for their irresistible rock and roll. They first appeared on ACL in Season 36 playing one of the last shows in ACL’s original, historic Studio 6A in support of their 2010 breakout album Brothers. The steel-belt rockers return for their second appearance with songs from the triple Grammy-nominated Turn Blue, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s album chart, was widely acclaimed as one of 2014′s best records and is a 2015 GRAMMY contender for Best Rock Album. The band reach back to their roots to kick things off in their blistering six-song ACL set, and proceed to tear through soulful tracks from Turn Blue including “Fever,” one of this year’s GRAMMY nominees for both Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. With their charged rock and unapologetic guitar riffs, The Black Keys command the ACL stage in a knockout performance.

“I remember seeing The Black Keys for the first time at ACL Fest and wondering, ‘how could just two guys make such great music?’” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They pour their heart and soul into it, that’s how, and they can excite a crowd more than most bands five times bigger.”

With a scrappy yet sublime sound that honors both their Southern roots and punk spirit, J. Roddy Walston & The Business deliver a must-see ACL debut, performing songs from their acclaimed LP Essential Tremors.  The Baltimore-based quartet’s high-intensity five-song set features singer/pianist/guitarist Walston tossing his long mane while headbanging out songs celebrating that great and terrible burden of being human.  Their anthems “Heavy Bells”, “Brave Man’s Death” and “Don’t Break the Needle” are some of the sweatiest, ballsiest rock ‘n’ roll ever featured on the ACL stage.  It’s all a warm-up, though, for the colossal closer “Used to Did,” on which the band pulls out all the stops for a piano-pounding, guitar-wailing, hair-whipping photo finish.

photo by Scott Newton

“J. Roddy Walston is the perfect warm up for the Keys,” Lickona added. “They are very old-school but also in-the-moment at the same time. Sometimes you just got to let it all hang out!”

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. Tune in next week for a brand new episode with the return of Foo Fighters.

 

New Tapings: Asleep at the Wheel, Sturgill Simpson & The War on Drugs

Austin City Limits announced the first round of new tapings for the series upcoming Season 41!

Feb. 24 sees the return of Austin City Limits veteran and new Hall of Fame inductee Asleep at the Wheel. The premier Western swing band not only of Texas but of the United States, the Wheel first appeared on the show in Season 1, way back in 1976, and most recently in Season 35 with Willie Nelson. Now leader Ray Benson and company return in support of the upcoming Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, with special guests Amos Lee and The Avett Brothers in tow. We’re happy to welcome Asleep at the Wheel back for its eleventh taping.

On April 1st, we welcome acclaimed country singer Sturgill Simpson to the Austin City Limits stage. The Kentucky native released his first album High Top Mountain in 2013, establishing his philosophical brand of outlaw country. He broke out with his second LP Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, which earned Simpson national press coverage and the Emerging Artist of the Year Award at the 2014 Americana Music Awards & Honors. We’re proud to welcome Simpson for his ACL debut.

photo by Dusdin Condren

April also brings another Austin City Limits debut for the much-lauded rock band The War On Drugs. Following the Philadelphia group’s breakout with 2011’s Slave Ambient and two years of non-stop touring, TWOD – led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Adam Granduciel – reached a new peak with the celebrated Lost in the Dream. Pitchfork calls it a record “loaded with songs whose greatness is revealed slowly, where the simplest, most understated chord change can blow a track wide open and elevate it from simply pretty to absolutely devastating.” We’re thrilled to bring the shimmering indie rock of The War On Drugs to the ACL stage for the first time on April 6th.

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.

Asleep at the Wheel 2/24

asleep

New Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees Asleep at the Wheel will be joined by guest stars including The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee and others for a special Bob Wills’ tribute on Feb. 24th.

This taping will be livestreamed on ACL’s Youtube channel

Austin City Limits announces 2015 Hall of Fame inductees

Austin City Limits is proud to announce the newest class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees with five legendary artists being honored: Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel, country trailblazer Loretta Lynn, songwriting legend Guy Clark, master Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jiménez and Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt. The announcement was made January 29 by ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona at Austin’s Rattle Inn.  The 2015 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be celebrated at a ceremony highlighted by all-star music performances to be held in June at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. The event will be open to the public and ticket onsale information will be announced at a later date.

The newest class of inductees features artists who have all graced the ACL stage multiple times, setting the standard for excellence and contributing to four decades of incredible performances. This year’s class also recognizes in the non-performer category the original ACL crew, who played an important role in the launch and continuing success of the influential series and some of whom are still part of the crew today.

“I am truly honored to be included in this year’s ACL Hall of Fame,” said Asleep at the Wheel founder Ray Benson who was on hand for the announcement.  “After Willie did the pilot in 1974-5, Asleep at the Wheel was selected to do the first regular episode of ACL.  Joe Gracey and I were roommates then, and he was booking the show.  He asked who we wanted to share the bill with and I said, ‘The Texas Playboys, Bob Wills’ great band!’  That episode is now housed at the Smithsonian.  Over the years I have appeared in numerous episodes both as a featured performer and a guest performer, and I cannot imagine our 45-year career without the exposure that ACL afforded us. Many thanks to the great staff who make the show what it is!”

ACL also announced the first round of new tapings for the series upcoming Season 41: breakout country rebel and Grammy-nominated Sturgill Simpson, acclaimed rock outfit The War on Drugs, and, in a special Bob Wills’ tribute, new Hall of Fame inductees Asleep at the Wheel, joined by guest stars including The Avett Brothers and Amos Lee.

photo by Crackerfarm

New episodes of ACL are currently airing as part of the series’ milestone Season 40, with upcoming premieres featuring The Black Keys (Jan. 31) and the Foo Fighters (Feb. 7). Foo Fighters recently immortalized ACL in an episode of their HBO series Sonic Highways, even recording a song, “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness,” in ACL’s historic Studio 6A.  ACL closes out this triumphant season with a special installment premiering Feb. 14, featuring inductions and performance highlights from the first-ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation.

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 in conjunction with the iconic television series’ 40th Anniversary to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have been instrumental in the landmark series’ remarkable 40 years as an American music institution. The invitation-only inaugural induction ceremony took place April 26, 2014 at ACL’s original Studio 6A. Hosted by Oscar-winning actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey, the historic evening honored the first class of inductees, featuring American music icon Willie Nelson who starred on the original ACL pilot program, Austin blues rock giants Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and legendary steel guitarist and Grammy Award-winning music producer Lloyd Maines, in addition to non-performers who played a key role in the evolution of the program: original show creator Bill Arhos and longtime ACL supporter, Texas Longhorns football head coach Darrell Royal. A star-studded line-up paid tribute with incredible music performances, including: Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Doyle Bramhall II and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

About the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honorees:

Asleep at the Wheel

Based in Austin, TX, Asleep at the Wheel formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia in 1970. Since their inception, the venerable Texas swing band lead by founder Ray Benson has won nine GRAMMY awards, released more than 20 studio albums and charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country charts. In 1972, the band signed their first record deal after Van Morrison mentioned they “play great country music” in an interview in Rolling Stone. They have appeared on Austin City Limits ten times, including the program’s first official episode in 1976 along with The Texas Playboys.  Asleep at the Wheel’s star-studded upcoming release Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys features guest appearances by ACL veterans Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, The Avett Brothers, George Strait, Kat Edmonson and Merle Haggard.

photo by

Flaco Jiménez

San Antonio, TX born conjunto musician Flaco Jiménez has enjoyed a career that has spanned more than six decades, throughout which, he has collaborated with artists such as Willie Nelson, the Texas Tornados, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, Doug Sahm, and The Rolling Stones. Jiménez is a five-time ACL guest, first appearing in the program’s debut season. A five-time GRAMMY winner who is also a 2015 recipient of a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, Jiménez maintains a huge influence on the Tex-Mex genre by continuing to record and tour, as he upholds his status as the definitive Tex-Mex accordionist.

photo by Scott Newton

Loretta Lynn

An American music treasure with a storied career, Loretta Lynn is a living legend with over seventy chart hits, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor. She appeared on two classic episodes of ACL in 1983 and 1998. As her most famous song says, she is a proud Kentucky-born coal miner’s daughter, who went on to become one of the most influential women in the history of American music.

photo by Scott Newton

Townes Van Zandt

One of the Lone Star state’s greatest songwriters, the Fort Worth native set the standard for legions of Texas troubadours and made two memorable appearances on ACL. Van Zandt appeared in the very first season in 1976, in addition to joining Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and David Halley for a renowned ACL songwriters special in 1983. ACL aired a tribute show in 1998 led by longtime friend Guy Clark and Townes’ son J.T. that was so popular it encored in 2000 as an ACL Classic. Called “one of the best songwriters that ever lived” by many, Van Zandt left behind an inestimable legacy – a few of his classics include “Pancho & Lefty,” “To Live is To Fly,” “If I Needed You,” “Tecumseh Valley,” “Waitin’ Round to Die,” “Lungs” and “A Song For.”

photo by Scott Newton

Guy Clark

A West Texas native, Guy Clark has built a career of writing starkly honest story-songs. He’s one of the finest living songwriters in American folk music, holding up the legacy of his late friend Townes Van Zandt. NPR raves “If you want to learn how to write a song — one that’s built to last, with vivid characters and images that plant you squarely inside a scene — listen to Guy Clark.” Bob Dylan counts Clark among his handful of favorite songwriters. His first album Old No. 1 came out in 1975 and the revered songwriter has made seven stunning appearances on ACL.

photo by Scott Newton

 

Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis continue ACL Season 40

Austin City Limits continues its milestone Season 40 with an exceptional double bill: Ryan Adams paired with Jenny Lewis in a new installment showcasing the acclaimed singer-songwriters, both returning to the ACL stage for the first time in a decade for our 40th anniversary season.  Frequent collaborators and recent tour mates, the LA-based artists perform separate sets and deliver knockout performances.

A prolific songwriter with a 25-year body of work, Ryan Adams makes a memorable ACL return performing songs from his 2014 self-titled solo release.  The album has generated critical accolades across the board and earned three 2015 Grammy Award nominations, including Best Rock Album. Hailed “one of the few truly great roots-rock troubadours left” by Entertainment Weekly, the North Carolina native tells the Austin crowd, ”We came here to play you really depressing music, but really loud.” Adams and his band the Shining launch into a career-spanning six-song ACL set with the bluesy rocker “Stay With Me,” on a stage outfitted with a vintage arcade video game, a stuffed tiger, an oversized fake amp and an American Flag customized with a peace sign. Adams moves seamlessly back and forth between new songs and long-time favorites in a must-see appearance, representing the impressive range of his storied career.

Indie-pop treasure Jenny Lewis returns for her solo ACL debut, nearly ten years since her debut on the program as frontwoman for the band Rilo Kiley. Lewis performs songs from her new album The Voyager, largely produced by Ryan Adams and widely regarded as one of 2014′s best releases by Spin, Rolling Stone, TIME and many more. Rolling Stone raves, “Blending Laurel Canyon sensibilities with modern wit, The Voyager shows she’s stronger and wiser – and can still draw blood.”  Decked out head-to-toe in her distinctive rainbow and stars suit (complete with matching guitar), she opens with the Rilo Kiley classic “Silver Lining” and continues with pop gems from her solo career including the recent singles “Just One of the Guys” and “She’s Not Me.” Lewis closes out a sparkling set with her bandmates surrounding a single mic for the beautiful, hymn-like “Acid Tongue,” “going full Joni Mitchell as she [sings] plaintively of liars, cobblers and sweethearts with the softest of hands” (Austin American-Statesman). After blowing a kiss to the audience, Lewis exits to wild applause, having captured the hearts of the Austin audience.

photo by Scott Newton

“The best songs are best sung by those who wrote them,” notes ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “There aren’t many contemporary songwriters who are better than Ryan and Jenny, or singers who can bring their songs to life as well as they can. Theirs are the kinds of songs that will stay with you long after you hear them for the first time.”