New taping: Mitski

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce the debut taping of acclaimed indie songwriter and performer Mitski, who will join us on June 4, 2019.

Mitski Miyawaki, “one of the most interesting songwriters of her generation” (Paste Magazine), achieved breakout success with 2016’s critically-acclaimed Puberty 2, and soon after circled the globe as a headliner and as an opener for both The Pixies and Lorde. She was hailed as the new vanguard of indie rock, the one who would save the genre from the white dudes who’ve historically dominated it.  Her carefully crafted songs have often been portrayed as emotionally raw, overflowing confessionals from a fevered chosen girl, but on her stunning fifth album, Be The Cowboy, Mitski introduced a persona who had been teased but never so fully present until now—a woman in control.  Recorded with her long-time producer Patrick Hyland, the album is not a departure so much as an evolution from previous albums. The title “is a kind of joke,” Mitski says. “There was this artist I really loved who used to have such a cowboy swagger. They were so electric live. With a lot of the romantic infatuations I’ve had, when I look back, I wonder, Did I want them or did I want to be them? Did I love them or did I want to absorb whatever power they had? I decided I could just be my own cowboy.” There is plenty of buoyant swagger to the album, but just as much interrogation into self-mythology.  

Be the Cowboy has earned widespread acclaim, topping critics 2018 year-end best lists. It was named the #1 album of 2018 by the likes of Pitchfork, New York Magazine, ESQUIRE, Consequence of Sound, and more, and  #2 by NPR Music, The New York Times (Jon Pareles),  and SPIN. Pitchfork proclaimed it “Mitski’s most triumphant record to date, a refining of her many strengths, splashed across the largest canvas her arms can carry.”  The New York Times raved: “[Mitski] has grown ever bolder musically, moving well beyond the confines of indie rock and chamber pop to try synthesizers, disco beats, country and more, while savoring the sweep of her voice…On this album, even more than she has before, Mitski makes the music her partner.”  “An album defined by impeccable construction and open defiance of the confessional mode,” noted NPR.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air on PBS later this year as part of ACL’s upcoming milestone Season 45.

Gary Clark Jr. brings rock, blues and soul to his third ACL taping

The rise of Austin’s own Gary Clark Jr. has been a joy to behold, from his days as a teenage blues guitar slinger to the eclectic, critically acclaimed festival draw he is twenty years later. ACL has followed that rise with four previous appearances on the show, starting with his participation in the Jimmy Reed tribute in 2007 up through his 2012 and 2015 headlining slots and his 2015 guest appearance with Foo Fighters. (Not to mention appearances on our Hall of Fame specials and the 40th anniversary celebration.) Through those years, the ATX native has grown by leaps and bounds – and that’s never been more true than now, with his third Warner Bros. studio album This Land. So we were thrilled to welcome him back for a live streamed taping showcasing the widely hailed LP.

Clark got a loud hometown welcome as he came onstage after executive producer Terry Lickona’s introduction. The Austin homeboy basked in his welcome for a second before donning his Epiphone and going into This Land’s “What About Us,” a choogling blues rocker kissed by Clark’s alluring falsetto and co-guitarist Eric Zapata’s legato slide. “Feels good up here,” noted Clark, as Zapata knocked out the twangy riff to “When I’m Gone,” a R&B tune that could’ve come from a lost sixties soul compilation. The leader donned a Gibson SG and announced, “We’re gonna play some rock & roll for ya,” before launching into the grunged-out soul of “Low Down Rolling Stone” – like the other tunes from This Land, it focused as much on his soulful voice as his guitar. Keyboardist Jon Deas contribute a slinky Mini-Moog solo. Clark went back to his falsetto for the crunchy, but still groovy, “I Walk Alone,” taking it home with a gnarly guitar solo.

After a moment to catch his breath, Clark shifted back to a slice of warm-bath soul with “Guitar Man,” a sexy tune that, surprisingly, does not emphasize his six-string wizardry. The falsetto returned once again for “Feed the Babies,” a socially-conscious soul tune that came closer the classic sound of Curtis Mayfield than anyone outside of the man himself. Then the band went into “Feelin’ Like a Million,” an out-and-out reggae song spiced by stabs of power chords. Clark then started banging away at his axe for a repetitive guitar figure that led right into the near-punk of “Gotta Get Into Something,” a breath of fresh rock & roll air. The mood shifted from rock to funk for the similarly titled “Got to Get Up,” a hard groover that let Clark off the leash on his guitar.

After nine songs in a row from the new album, Clark dipped into his back catalog for “When My Train Pulls In,” delivering a more subdued, less fuzz-encrusted reading than usual, often more reminiscent of B.B. King than Jimi Hendrix – at least until the end, when Clark built an extended guitar solo from croon to scream. As a palette cleanser, he essayed the lovely, moody “Blak and Blu,” slowly moving towards his signature tune “Bright Lights,” which came on like a wave crashing to shore. It was the perfect setting for his latest killer: the angry, defiant “This Land,” given a seething, smoldering read. After that bit of catharsis, he ended the main set on a soothing note with the beauteous “Pearl Cadillac,” another showcase for his falsetto singing. That wasn’t quite all, of course, as Clark and band returned for a crowd singalong through his grungy version of the Beatles’ “Come Together” from the Justice League soundtracks. It was a brilliant way to end his third solo taping, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall on your local PBS station.

ACL Hall of Fame 2019 honorees announced: Buddy Guy, Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin

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Austin City Limits announces the new class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees, recognizing three beacons of American music: singer-songwriting legends Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin, and blues giant Buddy Guy.  The 2019 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be saluted at a star-studded ceremony to be held October 24th, 2019 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin.  More information about performers, host, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.  Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will air on PBS later this year.     

The event will be open to the public and tickets will be on sale this spring at acltv.com/hall-of-fame.  Sponsor packages are available now at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. All proceeds benefit KLRU-TV, Austin PBS.

The sixth class of inductees features a diverse group of music legends and collaborators with longtime ties to Austin City Limits: Lyle Lovett has shared a musical kinship with the series, notably appearing on ACL more than any artist with the exception of Willie Nelson.  Living legend Buddy Guy has made three classic headlining appearances on ACL, starting in Season 16 in 1991 and returning this year in Season 44.  Shawn Colvin debuted on ACL the same season as Buddy Guy in 1991, going on to make two additional standout headlining appearances as well as frequent guest spots.

“Lyle, Shawn and Buddy share not only a long history with ACL, but a musical kinship with each other,” said long-time executive producer Terry Lickona, “so I’m sure we can expect some one-of-a-kind musical collaborations. They are each uniquely talented, and together they represent the legacy that has helped ACL thrive for four and a half decades.”

photo by Paul Natkin

Honorees shared their reactions to joining the ranks of outstanding artists who have been inducted into the Austin City Limits  Hall of Fame:

Buddy Guy: “My mother always said – ‘Son, if you got flowers for me, give em’ to me now while I can smell em’ I’m very honored to be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.”

Shawn Colvin: “I count being asked to perform on Austin City Limits as a major milestone in my career, having watched it since its inception.  It has the reputation of being the show you get to do if you are truly cool, and deservedly so. To be included in the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame is a huge honor for this grateful Austinite who never would have imagined gracing its stage.”

photo by Alexandra Valenti

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 45 years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.  2017’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.  Last year’s fifth anniversary class featured the inductions of Ray Charles, Marcia Ball and Los Lobos.

 

About the 2019 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honorees:

Lyle Lovett

One of the most unique figures in contemporary music, singer-songwriter and bandleader Lyle Lovett has appeared on Austin City Limits more times than any act with the exception of Willie Nelson. Born in the small town of Klein, Texas, Lovett attended Texas A&M University, where he played open mics and barrooms, sometimes accompanied by his schoolmate Robert Earl Keen. He moved to Nashville in the early eighties, signed to MCA Records and released his self-titled debut album in 1986 to widespread acclaim. Lovett’s distinctive, quirky blend of country, folk, Western swing, jazz, blues, gospel and pop over the course of more than a dozen albums have made him one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His works, rich and eclectic, are some of the most beloved of any artist working today.  Among his many accolades, including four Grammy Awards, Lovett received the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award in 2007, and was named the official Texas State Musician in 2011. Lovett made his ACL debut in 1985 as a member of Nanci Griffith’s backing band and he’s made eight headlining appearances: 1987, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2004 and the final taping in ACL’s original Studio 6A in 2011.  He’s appeared on two Songwriters Specials in 1994 and 2008, and in tributes to Walter Hyatt in 1997 and Townes Van Zandt in 1998, and as a featured guest of Leo Kottke in 1988, Delbert McClinton in 1997 and Shawn Colvin in 2001.  Lovett was handpicked by his longtime friend Willie Nelson to perform at his own induction into the inaugural ACL Hall of Fame in 2014.

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy’s astounding career spans over fifty years with just as many albums released. Career highlights include the 2015 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, eight Grammy Awards, thirty-seven Blues Music Awards, twenty-three W.C. Handy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honor, Billboard Music Awards’ Century Award, Presidential National Medal of Arts, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to name a few. At 82 years young, Guy proves unstoppable as he continues to record and tour around the world.  One of the last of his generation of blues musicians, the singer and guitarist is undeniably one of the most influential axemen of the twentieth century, impacting Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Keith Richards and more. Born in Lettsworth, Louisiana, Guy moved to Chicago in 1957 and became a session guitar player for Chess Records.  After a string of successful duo albums with harmonica player Junior Wells, Guy struck out on his own and has dominated the blues landscape ever since. The blues titan recently released his eighteenth solo LP in 2018, the Grammy Award-winning The Blues is Alive and Well.  Guy has made three headlining appearances on Austin City Limits, in 1991, 1998 and 2018, and guested with John Mayer in 2003. No stranger to the Hall of Fame, the blues great performed in tribute to inaugural inductees Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble in 2014.

Shawn Colvin

A mainstay since moving to Austin in 1993, singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin is one of the city’s greatest musical ambassadors. Her songs are slow-release works of craft and catharsis that become treasured, lifetime companions for their listeners. Born in South Dakota, she was raised there until she was 11 years old and relocated to Canada and Illinois for the remainder of her adolescence. Colvin originally moved to Austin, Texas in the seventies, singing with the Western swing band the Dixie Diesels. She hit New York City to join The Buddy Miller Band in 1980 where she began to write the songs that would comprise Steady On, her Grammy-winning, 1989 Columbia Records debut. In 1997 she reached the Top 10 at Top 40 radio and won the top honors of Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 1998 GRAMMY Awards with “Sunny Came Home,” from her breakthrough, platinum-selling album A Few Small Repairs. Colvin’s candid memoir Diamond in the Rough was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. Diamond in the Rough looks back over a rich lifetime of highs and lows with stunning insight and candor. Colvin maintains a non-stop touring and recording schedule, her most recent release is 2018’s album of lullabies, The Starlighter (Amazon Music). This fall, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of Steady On, she will be releasing a special, newly-recorded all acoustic version of that landmark album. Colvin has a trio of headlining appearances on Austin City Limits to her name: in 1991, 1995 and 2001.  She was a guest of Lyle Lovett’s during his Season 22/1997 appearance and returned for a guest spot with Sheryl Crow that same season, Patty Griffin’s guest in 2010, and most recently performed in Season 41 in 2015 as a guest of James Taylor’s.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. KLRU is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming.

Rising country superstar Kane Brown opens ACL Season 45

There are no two ways about it: 25 year-old Kane Brown is contemporary country’s fastest rising star, as well as the first country singer to have a number one single on all five Billboard country charts. We here at Austin City Limits love hosting talented newcomers, so we were happy to welcome the Georgia native as the first taping of Season 45, with a live streamed set of hits and deep cuts from his pair of albums.

Following executive producer Terry Lickona’s opening remarks, Brown joined his band onstage and wasted no time jumping right into “Baby Come Back to Me,” the rocking opening cut from his hit album Experiment. The singer followed with his first number one hit, the equally rock-oriented “What Ifs”.  Brown and the band changed the mood with “Weekend,” a mellow party tune that incorporated a R&B vibe. “This song is my baby – it got my life started,” he stated by way of introduction to the ballad “Used to Love You Sober,” the song he posted online that got him his record deal, and a tune with which the audience sang along. From one of his oldest to his most recent: the devotional country soul of “Good As You” proved why it was poised to be his next hit, especially given the crowd’s eager participation.

Biracial and raised by a single mother, Brown detailed being subjected to bullying, racism and abuse as a child, before launching into the mid-tempo “Learning,” a song about letting go of the negativity of the past. Appropriately, that tune led into “American Bad Dream,” a tough country rocker about school shootings. Every band-member except keyboardist Cameron Pessarra and fiddler Lars Thorson left the stage, as Brown took a seat for the self-explanatory ballad “Homesick,” dedicated to those serving overseas. Guitarist Jimmie Deeghan replaced Pessarra for “Work,” a tune literally about the hard work it takes to make a relationship – a topic near to the heart of the freshly wed Brown. Piano switched out for guitar once again for another ballad, the passionate “Live Forever.”

The band retook the stage to dispel the serious mood with the slide guitar-slathered “Short Skirt Weather,” kickstarting the party vibe again. The guitar-heavy “Found You” followed, leading into the thundering Southern rock chug of “Pull It Off.” Brown then re-incorporated the audience into the show, engaging in a call-and-response chorus with the romantic hit “Heaven.” Brown ended the show with the anthemic “Lose It,” exiting the stage to wild applause as his band continued to rock. It was a crowd-pleasing show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall on your local PBS station.  

Austin City Limits invites you to Bloody Mary Morning 2019

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Join Austin City Limits and KLRU-TV, Austin PBS at the 8th Annual Bloody Mary Morning during SXSW on Thursday, March 14 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m in the GSDM courtyard.

We’re excited to bring you some of music’s best and brightest, including Heartless Bastards leader Erika Wennerstrom, New Orleans soul singer John the Martyr, beloved Austin singer/songwriter Patty Griffin, songwriter-to-the-stars Priscilla Renea, Saskatchewan blues rocker Reignwolf, roosty singer/songwriter/rocker Sontalk and Canadian indie rockers the Strumbellas.

Even better, you can listen to music while enjoying free (while supplies last!) bloody marys from Tito’s Vodka, craft beer courtesy of Brown Distributing, and breakfast tacos from Tacodeli. Thanks also to Bloody Revolution, High Brew Coffee and Rambler Water. Bloody Mary Morning is brought to you by our friends AXS and NetApp.

You don’t need to be a SXSW badge-holder to attend and admittance is free, but this year we will require you to RSVP and bring your print-at-home tickets with you for entry – subject, as always, to capacity. Stop by the KLRU booth for a chance to score some swag and drink tickets!

ACL to live stream March 3 Kane Brown taping

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Austin City Limit is pleased to announce that we will be live streaming the first taping of our new Season 45, with country star Kane Brown in his ACL debut on March 3. The performance will stream via the ACL YouTube channel here.  

Hailed by the New York Times as “one of Nashville’s most promising young stars and also one of its most flexible,” three-time American Music Award-winner Kane Brown earned accolades throughout a milestone 2018, including his selection by the Associated Press as one of 2018’s Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year, and landed a No. 1 album with his sophomore release, Experiment. With that chart-topping debut, the Georgia native became the only male country artist in more than twenty-four years to debut at the top of the Billboard 200, and one of only three country artists to top the Billboard 200 chart in all of 2018. He first made history by becoming the first-ever artist to top all five Billboard Country charts with his 2016 breakthrough self-titled debut.  Brown recently topped the airplay charts with his third consecutive No. 1 single at country radio, “Lose It,” following chart-topping hits “What Ifs” and “Heaven.” His boundary-pushing musical style, undeniable fan connection, and trailblazing path have earned him accolades as as the “the future of country music” (Billboard).  ‘I’m just a guy who wants to make people realize you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” says Brown.  “I’m just somebody who’s wanting, no matter what race you are, if you like country music, if you want to be in country music, then you can be. Just look at me, and come on.”

Join us on March 3 for this full set live stream of Kane Brown’s debut taping here. The broadcast version will air on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 45.

Gary Clark Jr. live streams March 5 ACL taping

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce that we will be live streaming one of the first tapings of our new Season 45: Grammy-winning Gary Clark Jr. on March 5. The taping will stream live in its entirety via the ACL YouTube channel at 8pm CT.

Gary Clark Jr. arrives on the ACL stage for his third headlining appearance at the top of his game, on the heels of his new release, the highly-acclaimed This Land, his third studio album for Warner Bros. Records.  Recorded in Clark’s hometown of Austin, Texas, This Land finds Clark revealing his most lyrically expressive and musically eclectic body of work to date, harnessing his explosive live energy into every song.  NPR raves “Clark comes out swinging in his album’s title song “This Land” and Uproxx hails the album “a singular work that redefines who he is as an artist, and what he is capable of.”  This Land was named a critic’s pick by The New York Times’ esteemed Jon Pareles: “In 2019, Clark is an exceedingly rare figure, a bluesman who has a major-label recording contract and a worldwide audience, one he has built by tearing up stage after stage, show after show. On This Land, his third major-label studio album, his songwriting has caught up with his playing. It has something to do with experience; and it has a lot to do with America in 2019, where division and frustration can use an outlet with the historical resonance and emotional depth of the blues.”

In a relatively short period of time, Clark has made an indelible mark for himself in the music world. He has been called “the chosen one” by Rolling Stone, and “the future of music” by President Barack Obama.  Clark is a rare artist, a genre-bender who transcends sound, style, race, gender, and age; his prowess has been witnessed on the world stage from Bonnaroo to Jay-Z’s Made in America, to Coachella, to the Roots Picnic, to Glastonbury, and many more.  We’re thrilled to welcome this hometown hero back to the ACL stage before he heads out on a headlining tour across the U.S. and around the globe. The broadcast episode will air later this year on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 45.