Encore: Jason Isbell and Neko Case

This weekend ACL features two powerful singer-songwriters: Jason Isbell and Neko Case, each possessing a distinctive style and voice.

Hailed as “one of America’s thoroughbred songwriters” by The New York Times, Jason Isbell opens the episode, making his ACL debut. The Nashville-via-Mussel Shoals, Alabama singer/songwriter’s 2013 album Southeastern scored a Top 25 on the Billboard 200, and critical raves, including topping many critic’s year-end best lists. The New York Times Magazine declared, “the record is a breakthrough for Isbell—prickly with loss, forgiveness, newfound sobriety and second chances.” Rolling Stone calls it “one of the year’s best in any genre,” and Pitchfork raves “Southeastern is easily Isbell’s best solo album.” A former member of acclaimed Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, Isbell launched a solo career in 2007. Backed by his band the 400 Unit, including his wife, fiddler Amanda Shires, and with a rawness and honesty that’s rare in contemporary songwriting, Isbell gives a stunning must-see performance on the ACL stage.

“It doesn’t happen very often,” said executive producer Terry Lickona, “but when Jason sang ‘Elephant,’ it literally gave me chills. That’s the kind of writer he is, and that’s the kind of performer he is.”

Neko Case makes a thunderous return to ACL (she first appeared in 2003) performing songs from her acclaimed 2013 release The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, her sixth studio album.  Case emerges from a three-year period the artist describes as full of “grief and mourning,” in the wake of the deaths of not just both her parents, but several intimates as well. With her fearless songwriting and musical curiosity, Neko Case captures fans with “one of the most memorable and seductive voices in music” (NPR).  Pitchfork says The Worse Things Get… “is the most potent album of her career,” and Rolling Stone raves that Case is “one of America’s best and most ambitious songwriters.” Case performs a captivating set of songs from the new record, and a few gems from her recent releases.

photo by Scott Newton

“There’s something about that voice, but it’s also about the delivery – which makes this performance that much more special,” said Lickona. “Her television performances are few and far between, so this is one that’s not to be missed!”

Check out the episode page for more details. Don’t forget, you can click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL goodies. Next week: Kacey Musgraves and Dale Watson.

Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids folk out in ACL’s new season

Join us this weekend as we present Americana music originals Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids in a brand new episode. Both artists showcase their bona fides in an all acoustic hour with roots/folk singer-songwriter Jarosz making a return appearance on the ACL stage and newcomers The Milk Carton Kids in their ACL debut. The episode showcases the young folk acts who were both nominated for Best Folk Album at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Pushing the limits of Americana with her own distinctive style, multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz takes the ACL stage for her second appearance performing highlights from her recent album Build Me Up From Bones. The incredibly talented Jarosz has already released three albums at the age of 22. With her two-piece band featuring a fiddle player and cello, Jarosz begins a stellar set with the Grammy-nominated title track in an acoustic performance that showcases her musicianship and songwriting. Switching between mandolin and banjo, Jarosz also dips into the songbooks of others, treating the audience to an accessible take on Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right On” and a solo rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Kathy’s Song”. She invites The Milk Carton Kids out to join her and the band for “Annabelle Lee” (based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem), displaying their complementary visions of contemporary folk music.

“We are so proud of Sarah, we feel like she’s part of the family,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “The last time she graced our stage she was on her way to college, now she’s graduated with honors and her remarkable talent has grown exponentially. We couldn’t resist having her back!”

photo by Scott Newton

The Milk Carton Kids, the L.A. acoustic folk duo consisting of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, make their ACL debut playing songs from their critically-acclaimed new album The Ash & Clay. The besuited pair “play a sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals, part Simon and Garfunkel and part Everly Brothers” (LA Times) for a sound NPR calls “gorgeous contemporary folk.” With flat-picking harmonies and a touch of twisted humor, the duo play purely acoustically on the ACL stage—no guitar amplification and one vocal mic—to beautiful effect. In a skillful performance infused with their signature wit, the Kids charm the Austin crowd with their playful, deadpan banter, exquisite guitar work, rich harmonies and timeless folk.

“I first saw Kenneth and Joey perform on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium last September, and it was obvious that they are world-class entertainers beyond their years,” says Lickona. “They are traditionalists with a modern spin and a mischievous sense of humor.”

photo by Scott Newton

Check out the episode page for more details. Be sure and visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL goodness. Next week: Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves and Dale Watson.

ACL artists at the 2014 Grammy Awards

The nominations for the 56th annual Grammy Awards have been announced, and we’re happy to note that many distinguished ACL alumni got the nod. Congratulations to Kacey Musgraves for her four nominations (including Best New Artist and two for Best Country Song), as well as Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, Tim McGraw, Sarah Jarosz, Gary Clark Jr., Miranda Lambert, Steve Martin, Allen Toussaint, Ben Harper, Mumford & Sons and Coldplay for a pair of nominations apiece. We also want to give shout-outs to the following artists who’ve been on our show and scored Grammy nods this year: Nine Inch Nails, Neko Case, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Vampire Weekend, The Milk Carton Kids, Alabama Shakes, The National, Kings of Leon, The Civil Wars, John Legend, Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Keith Urban, Cafe Tacuba, Femi Kuti, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, the Del McCoury Band, Kenny Rogers and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.

If you want to see some of these fine folks in action, ACL’s got ’em when our new episodes return in January. Queens of the Stone Age kick off the second half of Season 39 in the New Year, making their ACL debut on January 4, Neko Case returns on January 11, Sarah Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids appear on February 1, Kacey Musgraves makes her ACL debut on February 8 and Mavis Staples encores on March 29.

And don’t forget – our own executive producer Terry Lickona is also co-producer of the Grammy telecast, as well as the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy, the Grammys’ parent organization. The Grammy Awards broadcast on January 26th – Good luck to Terry and all the nominees!

 

Anthology

Complete Listings of Austin City Limits episodes and artists

TV Schedule

4310 ++ September 1, 2018 ++ Run the Jewels
4309 ++ September 8, 2018 ++ Herbie Hancock
4201 ++ September 15, 2018 ++ Paul Simon
4305 ++ September 22, 2018 ++ Miranda Lambert
4311 ++ September 29, 2018 ++ LCD Soundsystem
4401 ++ October 6, 2018 ++ St. Vincent
4402 ++ October 13, 2018 ++ John Prine
4403 ++ October 20, 2018 ++ Sam Smith / Anderson East
4404 ++ October 27, 2018 ++ Brandi Carlile
4405 ++ November 3, 2018 ++ Miguel / Alessia Cara
4406 ++ November 10, 2018 ++ Kacey Musgraves / Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
4407 ++ November 17, 2018 ++ Janelle Monae