ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2014

Loretta Lynn - Getty Images for the Americana Music Association

For the fourth year in a row, ACL Presents heads to Nashville to bring you performance highlights from the annual Americana Music Festival. Reflecting its “spirit of eclecticism” (New York Times), The Americana Music Association has curated an impressive list of legendary performers including Loretta Lynn, Flaco Jimenez, Taj Mahal and Jackson Browne, backed by house bandleader Buddy Miller and an all-star crew of musicians. Patty Griffin & Robert Plant, Jason Isbell, Parker Millsap, Rosanne Cash, Ry Cooder, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Sturgill Simpson, The Milk Carton Kids and Valerie June all perform songs that were the recognized as

The 13th Annual Honors & Awards Show was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, September 17, was hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featured a house band led by Buddy Miller that includes Don Was, Joachim Cooder, Tim Lauer, The McCrary Sisters and legend Ry Cooder. For more on the festival and the Americana Music Association, visit americanamusic.org.

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2013

12th Annual Americana Music Honors And Awards Ceremony Presented By Nissan - Show & Audience

Austin City Limits is taking a break from our fabulous season of new episodes, but never fear – that doesn’t mean new music isn’t up next. As we’ve been the past two years, we’re proud to present an ACL Presents special: Americana Music Festival 2013. Recorded at the Awards & Honors presentation in Nashville at the historic Ryman Auditorium, AMF 2013 gives us great performances by both veterans and newcomers across the spectrum of the music we know and love as Americana. From Dr. John walking through gilded splinters accompanied by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, pioneering guitarist Duane Eddy proving himself still a “Rebel-Rouser” and Stephen Stills revisiting his classic composition “For What It’s Worth” to young songwriter John Fullbright ripping through “Jericho”, host Jim Lauderdale and bandleader Buddy Miller showing off their distinctive chemistry and Hank Williams’ daughter Holly reviving her father’s signature hit “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” the special presents highlight after highlight. All this plus Shovels & Rope, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, The Milk Carton Kids, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Old Crow Medicine Show and, during the finale, some surprise guests. It’s a feast of Americana.

Check out the episode page for a songlist and more details. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: an encore episode featuring Bob Mould and Delta Spirit.

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2013

Dr. John performs at the 2013 Americana Music Festival

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2013, reflects the breadth of the genre’s musical reach with star-studded performances recorded live at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Performances by legends Stephen Stills, Duane Eddy, and Dr. John anchored the evening, while upstarts such as John Fullbright and The Milk Carton Kids  gave mesmerizing performances that looked to the future of the genre. Two of Americana’s most prolific and vocal forebears – Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell kick off the program, celebrating their collaborative album “Old Yellow Moon.”

“We might very well not be here, as a genre and as an association, were it not for Emmy and Rodney,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. “That we are celebrating them tonight not for the work they did 35 years ago, but for the work they did this year…speaks volumes about where we’re headed. What an amazing night.”

Another duo deeply dedicated to roots music–Charleston, South Carolina’s Shovels & Rope turn in an energetic performance of “Birmingham” from their 2012 “O’ Be Joyful” album. Holly Williams, Hank Williams’s granddaughter joins the house band on her grandfather’s classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, themselves forebears of Americana and representatives of its Texas contingency, performed “Border Radio” from this year’s “Cheater’s Game” album. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John–a purveyor of American roots music forms that have included the blues, jazz, zydeco, and rock and roll for over 50 years–is joined by Dan Auerbach (the producer of Dr. John’s “Locked Down” album and a member of The Black Keys) before taking to the piano to perform a blistering version of “I Walk on Gilded Splinters.”

Other highlights of the night include Old Crow Medicine Show performing its now-classic “Wagon Wheel,” a song composed by the band’s Ketch Secor from an unfinished Bob Dylan lyrical sketch. Miller and Lauderdale stepped out of their respective band leading and hosting duties to perform their own “Train that Carried My Girl From Town,” from this year’s “Buddy & Jim” release.

The evening’s house band led by Miller, included Don Was, Larry Campbell, Marco Giovino, John Deaderick, Jim Hoke and the McCrary Sisters.

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2012

This weekend we’re taking a break from our Season 38 episodes for ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2012. The eleventh annual Americana Music Festival took place earlier this fall in Nashville, TN, in the historic Ryman Auditorium, with some fantastic performances from legendary artists who helped define the genre, plus some newcomers who are keeping the tradition true. Featured artists include Booker T. Jones, Alabama Shakes, Hayes Carll with Cary Ann Hearst, Guy Clark, Lee Ann Womack, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Mavericks, Richard Thompson, Carolina Chocolate Drops and many more! It’s a night full of the brightest stars celebrating the roots of American music.

Described by Southern Living as “the best music festival” the night was hosted once again by Jim Lauderdale and bandleader Buddy Miller. One highlight of the night included Lee Ann Womack singing a Tom T. Hall song entitled “I Love” in which the man himself joined her onstage, singing the last verse and receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. Another moving moment was brought on by Guy Clark’s intimate performance of “My Favorite Picture of You” a song he wrote for Susanna Clark, his late wife who passed away earlier this year. The night culminated when Emmylou Harris, Amy Helm, Bonnie Raitt, John Hiatt, Richard Thompson, Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes), and various other musicians joined onstage to do a tribute to the late Levon Helm by performing the timeless hit, “The Weight.”

photo by Tracy Judd

This is one night of performances you won’t want to miss! Be sure to check here for details on this special show and here for local listings and times. Also be sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages for all things Austin City Limits and updates about tapings. Join us next week for an encore episode featuring Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly!

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2012

Americana Music Festival 2012 by Erika Goldring

The folks behind Austin City Limits present a full hour of performances recorded live at The Americana Music Association’s 11th Annual Americana Honors & Awards, presented by Nissan. Recorded September 12 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the special will air November 10th on PBS.

Performers included in this very special broadcast are some of the best and brightest rising stars of Americana, as well as legendary icons who helped define the genre: Bonnie Raitt, Alabama Shakes, Booker T. Jones, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hayes Carll with Cary Ann Hearst, Guy Clark, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, John Hiatt, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Tom T. Hall with Lee Ann Womack and Peter Cooper, The Mavericks, Richard Thompson, and an all-star finale tribute to Levon Helm.

The program, described by Paste Magazine as “the best awards show in the world,” was again helmed by host Jim Lauderdale and band leader Buddy Miller. Miller led the All-Star Band that also included Don Was, Rami Jaffee, Brady Blade & Larry Campbell.
The awards show kicked off the festival with more than 100 official showcases throughout Music City. In 2011, more than 12,000 fans enjoyed the festival’s musical events.

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2011

amf2011featured

Nashville, TN, November 3, 2011: Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Gregg Allman, Alison Krauss, The Avett Brothers and the Civil Wars are just a few of the artists to be showcased during ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival. The program will air November 19th on PBS stations(check local listings). Filmed live at the Ryman Auditorium October 13, 2011, during the sold out Americana Music Association’s Honors and Award Show presented by Nissan, viewers will be treated to an hour long special featuring performances from the genres’ established and rising stars.

Hosted by Jim Lauderdale, with an all-star house band led by Americana favorite Buddy Miller, the show runs the Americana gamet from the etheral opening of “I’ll Fly Away” a tribute to the O’ Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack, featuring Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss to the uplifting finale spotlighting the legendary Gregg Allman. In between are performances from Jim Lauderdale, Robert Plant and The Band of Joy, Elizabeth Cook, Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Amos Lee, and many more.

“It was time to bring the Americana Honors to another level,” said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. We could not have had better partners than Nashville Public Television (Channel 8) President and CEO Beth Curley for our Middle Tennessee premiere and Austin City Limits Executive Producer Terry Lickona to take this to a national audience.”

The program, described by Emmylou Harris as “the shining star of Nashville and music everywhere,” was filmed by High Five Entertainment and co-produced by its President Martin Fischer along with Lickona.

ACL Presents is music programming created by, or in association with, KLRU, the producers of Austin City Limits (ACL). ACL Presents programming includes television specials, live events, web series and recorded music presentations and is made in the spirit and standards of the legendary PBS series Austin City Limits, the longest-running live music series in television history. ACL Presents collaborations have included: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with KQED and Americana Music Festival with Nashvile Public Television (NPT).

ACL Season 37 Special: – ACL Presents Highlights of the Americana Music Festival on Nov. 19

Here at ACL HQ, we don’t just stay within the borders of our (admittedly impressive) territory – we like to keep up with the interesting stuff our peers do as well. Case in point: the venerable Americana Music Association throws a four-day party in Nashville every year called the Americana Music Festival, sort of a more roots music-oriented version of Austin’s own SXSW. The highlight of a week of beer and bands is the annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards ceremony – at which our own Terry Lickona received a lifetime achievement award in 2008. (You can see a list of every year’s winners here.)

We think this festival is a cool thing, so we’re proud to partner with the AMA and Nashville’s longstanding public television station WNPT for ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival, airing Saturday Nov. 19 on your local PBS station. ACLP:AMF (say that three times fast – or, um, at all)  taped on October 13, the night of the Awards and Honors show, and features a plethora of performances from that magical evening.

And who might be providing those performances, you might ask? You get everyone from ACL vets Robert Plant (recipient of Album of the Year for Band of Joy), Lucinda Williams (Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting) and the Avett Brothers (Duo/Group of the Year) to Justin Townes Earle (Song of the Year for “Harlem River Blues”), Candi Staton and the Civil Wars. Gregg Allman (who appeared on ACL with the Allman Brothers Band back in Season 21) celebrates his Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance by crooning the classic “Melissa,” and Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss lead a tribute to the film soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou. All this and Amos Lee, Elizabeth Cook, Jessica Lea Mayfield, bandleader Buddy Miller and host Jim Lauderdale as well.

For more info on the embarrassment of riches that is this show, head over to the episode page for pics, clips, the set list and more. And, of course, for more scuttlebutt on all things ACL, you should visit the Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages and sign up for our newsletter.

After ACLP: AMF, we’ll take a break from Season 37 for the holidays. But we have lots of excellent encore episodes coming your way, including a much-beloved classic from way back in Season 4. Stay tuned.

Encore: Sturgill Simpson and Asleep at the Wheel

Sturgill Simpson ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

stin City Limits welcomes breakout country artist Sturgill Simpson sharing the bill with legendary Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel.  Two acts steeped in old-school tradition but beamed through a contemporary prism, the must-see episode features rising star Simpson making his full set ACL debut while Texas swing veterans Asleep at the Wheel return for their 11th appearance. ACL Hall of Fame members AATW are joined by guest stars The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee and the Quebe Sisters in a special tribute to musical forebear Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing.   

Forty years after Willie Nelson made his iconic debut on ACL on October 14, 1974, country rebel Sturgill Simpson arrives at the top of his game in a standout ACL debut.  With his acclaimed breakthrough Metamodern Sounds In Country Music topping Best of 2014 Album lists and a stack of accolades to call his own—including a Grammy nomination, top honors at this year’s Americana Awards, slots at the year’s biggest music festivals, including Bonnaroo, Coachella and ACL Fest—ACL captures Simpson on the verge of full-blown stardom.  Playing an acoustic guitar, the Kentucky native and his ace four-piece band launch into a scorching seven-song set that makes a believer out of everyone. He pays tribute to the outlaw country scene that inspired him, acknowledging his debt to Willie, and to Austin cosmic cowboy Steve Fromholz, with an impassioned rendition of “I’d Have to Be Crazy,” a Fromholz song Nelson made famous in the ‘70s, and a perfect showcase for Simpson’s rich baritone.  The full span of Simpson’s influences is evident with the inspired set-closer, a brilliant crossbreed of the Osborne Brothers’ bluegrass classic “Listening to the Rain” to glam-rock band T-Rex’s “The Motivator.”

A national as well as Texan treasure, the nine-time Grammy Award-winning Austin supergroup Asleep at the Wheel has kept the Western swing flame burning for forty-five years.  Still led by larger-than-life founder Ray Benson, AATW appeared in the first official episode of Austin City Limits in 1976, and returns for a remarkable eleventh appearance to perform selections from their recent Bob Wills tribute album Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, a salute to the great bandleader.  Wills’ music, born in the 1920s and ‘30s, continues to inspire younger generations, and AATW is joined on the ACL stage by some very special guests, including soul singer Amos Lee, fiddle trio the Quebe Sisters and Americana sensations The Avett Brothers, who put their own spin on Western swing classics.  A highlight of the set comes when two former Texas Playboys—singer Leon Rausch, 88, and 92-year old saxophonist Billy Briggs—take the stage.  The entire ensemble returns for a crowd sing-along of the signature “Texas Playboys Theme,” winding “Happy Trails” into the old chestnut for a perfect close.  

Asleep at the Wheel with special guests ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

“This show goes back deep to the roots of where Austin City Limits began,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “Sturgill would’ve fit perfectly into the Austin music scene of the ‘70s, and it speaks volumes that his own progressive country sound resonates so strongly and stands in contrast to much of the country pop today.  Asleep at the Wheel appeared on the very first episode of our very first season, and they’re still kicking it 41 years later – just like ACL!”

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 another encore episode, featuring rock icons The Pretenders.