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


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.

Parker Millsap 11/9

Following a triumphant appearance on this year’s Americana Music Festival special, singer/songwriter Parker Millsap makes his Austin City Limits debut in support of his third album The Very Last Day. Read more

New tapings: Parker Millsap, CeCe Winans and Alejandro Escovedo

Austin City Limits closes out a remarkable Season 42 on a high note with the final artist tapings: Parker Millsap on November 9, CeCe Winans on November 20 and Alejandro Escovedo on November 30.  St. Paul and the Broken Bones will also tape a show on November 20, as previously announced.

Following a triumphant appearance on this year’s Americana Music Festival special, singer/songwriter Parker Millsap makes his Austin City Limits debut in support of his third album The Very Last Day. The 23-year-old grew up doing congregational singing in church and listening to old blues albums in his room, not realizing that howling like a Delta blues ghost readying the world for rock & roll isn’t how a skinny white boy from Purcell, Oklahoma usually sounds. The Very Last Day proves an ideal vehicle for Millsap’s message, delivered via gospel-tinged rock & roll poetry. In the midst of a world fond of condemnation as entertainment, Millsap offers open-armed love of people and their stories. Whether he’s singing about the experience of a gay friend, longing for his evangelical father’s acceptance, or as the King of the Underworld wild with passion, his character-driven songs mine deep wells of joy and despair to create gut-punching narratives that are sometimes hellish, sometimes heavenly, and always human. We’re happy to welcome Parker Millsap to his first Austin City Limits taping.

Part of gospel’s first family the Winans, CeCe Winans is the best-selling female gospel artist of all time. The Detroit native made her performing debut with her brother BeBe in 1982 as part of the PTL Singers. The pair launched their career as a duo in 1987, releasing bestselling albums that earned them gold and platinum albums, three Grammy awards, nine Dove awards and numerous hit singles on the R&B charts. CeCe began her solo career in 1995 with the Grammy-winning platinum album Alone in His Presence, scored a top 10 single in “Count On Me,” a duet with close friend Whitney Houston, and has continued to have an impact on gospel and R&B music ever since. She comes to the ACL stage bearing latest single “Never Have to Be Alone,” as well as new songs from a forthcoming record to be released in 2017. We’re thrilled to welcome the great CeCe Winans to her first Austin City Limits, where she will share the stage with dynamic Alabama soul outfit St. Paul & the Broken Bones.  

photo by Nancy Rankin Escovedo

Veteran Austin singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo returns to our stage in support of Burn Something Beautiful, his twelfth solo album. Recorded in Portland with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and the Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey as co-writers and producers, Burn Something Beautiful is at once a celebration of the rock & roll life, a contemplation of mortality and a tribute to the healing power of love. The project coalesced beautifully with the help of an esteemed group of musicians who give the album a band feel, including ACL vets Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Kelly Hogan (Neko Case), John Moen (the Decemberists) and Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney). Connecting repeatedly with his soulful heart and voice at its core, Burn Something Beautiful is Alejandro Escovedo at his very best. The San Antonio native is, of course, no stranger to ACL – he has been on the show four times previously, starting as a member of Rank & File when they appeared on the show in 1983. We’re thrilled to welcome back Alejandro Escovedo.

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.

James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens debut in ACL Season 42

Austin City Limits features two breakout talents making their ACL debuts—James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens—in a highly-anticipated new installment.  

UK sensation James Bay opens the hour with a stunning, soulful performance featuring songs from his global chart-topping debut Chaos and the Calm.  The 26-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist has had a banner year earning multiple 2016 Grammy nominations, a BRIT Award win for Best Male Solo Artist, and landing on festival stages including Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and namesake ACL Festival.  In his Austin City Limits debut Bay proves why he is one of today’s biggest live acts, delivering a stellar four-song set highlighted by a powerfully acoustic, stirring rendition of his standout “Let It Go,” and breakthough smash “Hold Back the River.”

Americana sensation Rhiannon Giddens gives a spellbinding performance in her ACL debut, with selections from her widely-acclaimed 2016 Grammy-nominated release Tomorrow Is My Turn.  The album marks Giddens’ solo debut after a decade as a founding member and leader of the award-winning string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops.   Taking the stage barefoot, Giddens dons a banjo to open her dazzling set with “Spanish Mary” (lyrics by Bob Dylan).  The North Carolina native’s canon includes songs that deal with the struggles of slaves in the 19th century, including the Odetta classic “Waterboy” and the chilling “At the Purchaser’s Option,” a Giddens-penned number inspired by a 19th century advertisement for a slave and her baby.  She then enlists guitarist and fellow Drops’ bandmate Hubby Jenkins to join her on vocals for the gospel classic “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” before closing out the powerful set playfully with the romantic putdown “Louisiana Man.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Fans have been telling us for years they love to tune in to discover new talent they’ve never seen or heard before,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “This show offers a double-bonus for fans of deeply personal, heartfelt songs and singers who possess a distinctive voice.  James and Rhiannon may come from cultures an ocean apart, but their music resonates with audiences worldwide.”

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 brand new episode featuring the return of Robert Plant.

Margo Price’s rising star

Country music has a new rising star, and her name is Margo Price. The Nashville-based singer has taken the Americana world by storm with her debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. We were pleased to welcome her for her first Austin City Limits taping, which encompassed most of Daughter, some well-chosen covers and even some as-yet unrecorded songs.

Her six-piece band kicked the evening off with a brief rip through Jerry Reed’s “Swarmin,” before introducing the woman of the hour. She and the band immediately jumped into “About to Find Out,” a rocking honky-tonker from Daughter. Her powerhouse wail – somewhere between Tanya Tucker’s earthiness and Dolly Parton’s ethereality – introduced “Tennessee Song,” a relative epic that featured a swirling duet between Luke Schneider’s pedal steel and Micah Hulscher’s synthesizer – the latter an instrument not usually heard in country this traditionalist. She then played new song “Learning to Lose,” as yet unrecorded – but the power of this self-deprecating ballad means it won’t stay in that state for long. Visiting the songbook of Texas songwriting great Billy Joe Shaver, she romped through “Black Rose,” most famously recorded by the great Waylon Jennings. Back to back killers followed via the drunk-in-jail tale “Weekender” and the defiant ballad “Since You Put Me Down.”

Inspired by an experience on a bad tour, “Desperate and Depressed” – the B-side of her hit single “Hurtin’ On the Bottle” – found humor in the situation and put it to a country beat. Price then turned to the catalog of her songwriter friend Steve Knutson for another tale of alcohol consumption gone bad – “It Ain’t Drunk Driving If You’re Riding a Horse” was funny and poignant all at once. She described the stirring “Hands of Time” as inspired by a particularly hard time in her life, but leavened the pain with the self-described “country funk” of “Four Years of Chances,” which found particular favor with the crowd. As did “This Town Gets Around,” a middle finger to the music business that rules her Nashville base, set to a beat that should send couples spinning ‘round the dance floor.

Price then plucked a little-known gem from the catalog of Austin hero Doug Sahm: “I Wanna Be Your Mama Again” sounded a long-lost country hit in her hands. “Paper Cowboy” began as a honky-tonk ballad but quickly morphed into a stretched-out, frisky two-stepper that gave her an opportunity to introduce her crack band. She brought the audience to its feet by ending the main set with “Hurtin’ On the Bottle,” the radio hit on its way to becoming her signature song, even joining the crowd on the floor for the last chorus.

But that wasn’t the last of it. Price and the band retook the stage for a rollicking 70s-style take on “Gotta Travel On,” the 1959 hit for Billy Grammer. She then took on Neil Young, but not any of the obvious tunes – instead she visited the Canadian iconoclast’s trad-country LP Old Ways for a take on the title track that let the band stretch out again. Price and company ended the night with a ripping charge through Gram Parsons’ “Ooh Las Vegas,” a song fast enough to let everyone show off and still come in under five minutes. It earned her a standing ovation, and the band took a well-deserved bow. It was a great show, and we can’t wait for you see it when it airs early next year as part of our Season 42 on your local PBS station.