ACL announces the second half of its Season 43 broadcast schedule

photo by Scott Newton

The iconic television music series Austin City Limits announces the second half of Season 43, with seven all-new shows to begin airing January 6 as part of the program’s fourteen-episode season. The stellar slate of broadcast episodes features highly-anticipated debuts from today’s most talked-about live acts, continuing Austin City Limits’ run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance for over 40 years.  

The season returns in January with many recent Grammy-nominees, all new to the ACL stage, including indie-rock provocateur Father John Misty, powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels, dance-rock band LCD Soundsystem and country phenom Chris Stapleton.  Father John Misty delivers an epic performance backed by a 16-piece orchestra; Run the Jewels ignite the ACL stage in a rapid-fire, riveting showcase; LCD Soundsystem perform a career-spanning set for the ages; and country superstar Chris Stapleton, the reigning CMA Awards Male Vocalist of the Year, makes a stunning ACL debut, joined by his wife, singer Morgane Stapleton. Husband and wife team Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires unite for a special double-bill as Americana star Isbell returns to the ACL stage to share an episode with his partner and creative collaborator Amanda Shires, making her ACL debut.  A season highlight is the first-ever appearance of jazz trailblazer Herbie Hancock in a thrilling hour of classics and new songs.  Black Keys superstar and ACL veteran Dan Auerbach makes his solo debut showcasing new music from his first solo release in 8 years.  The extended line-up features breakout red-dirt country band Turnpike Troubadours and Austin favorites Shinyribs in first-time ACL appearances, as well as the return of a standout, acclaimed Austin psych-rockers The Black Angels.

“As always, expect the unexpected as we deliver something for everybody – from psych-rock to Americana, modern jazz to hip hop and electronica,” says longtime ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “This is one of the most exciting collection of shows we’ve ever presented.”

Go behind the scenes with ACL Backstage, a new 10-part virtual reality video series, offering viewers immersive only-in-VR moments straight from the current season.  The series premiered in November on the ACLTV YouTube Channel and continues to debut new installments to coincide with the Season 43 line-up, including Father John Misty, Run the Jewels, Dan Auerbach and Shinyribs.  ACL Backstage offers viewers a chance to hang backstage with favorite artists and join them onstage with closer-than-front-row seats.  The series was developed with Google’s Daydream team and in partnership with SubVRsive Media.

“In a season when we’re celebrating a significant milestone of longevity, I think it’s great that we’re staying on the cutting edge of technology and bringing ACL fans new and exciting  ways to experience live music,” says ACL GM Tom Gimbel.

Season 43 | 2018 Broadcast Schedule

January 6 Father John Misty | The Black Angels

January 13 Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit | Amanda Shires

January 20 Herbie Hancock

January 27 Run the Jewels

February 3 LCD Soundsystem

February 10 Dan Auerbach | Shinyribs

February 17 Chris Stapleton | Turnpike Troubadours

ACL’s Season 43 premiered in October with unforgettable performances from Ed Sheeran, Miranda Lambert, Angel Olsen, The Pretenders, Zac Brown Band, Norah Jones, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart and more.  The award-winning series will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes through the end of 2017. In what has become an ACL holiday tradition, the program will encore Tom Waits legendary December 1978 performance, one of the most requested episodes in ACL’s 40+ year archive. Tune-in on December 23rd to see this classic Christmas episode.  

A special broadcast of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve airs Sunday, December 31 at 10pm CT/11pm ET.  Austin City Limits rings in the new year with the star-studded celebration, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the 2017 ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  Performers include ACL royalty Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and more.

Taping recap: The Turnpike Troubadours

photo by Scott Newton

The final taping of a season is always the setting for a blowout, and that’s what we got with the Austin City Limits debut from Turnpike Troubadours. The Oklahoma country rockers hit our stage in support of their highly acclaimed fifth LP A Long Way From Your Heart – a title that proved ironic, as there’s obviously a short distance to that organ in their devoted fans’ chests.

The Americana stars took the stage to huge applause, launching into “The Housefire,” the opener of A Long Way. The band then started mining its extensive back catalog with the rocking “Every Girl,” a song co-written by guest keyboardist John Fullbright, the danceable “Kansas City Southern” and passionate “1968,” all from the 2010 album Diamonds and Gasoline. The Troubadours then reached all the way back to their 2007 debut album, with the Cajun-flavored dancefloor filler “Bossier City,” before returning to the new album for the electric folk of “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues,” inspired by a true story from singer/songwriter Evan Felker’s Southeast Oklahoma past. After six skillet-lickers in a row, the band slowed down a tad for “Pay No Rent,” an earnest ballad in tribute to a friend of Felker who passed away. “Good Lord Lorrie” worked a similar groove to even more anthemic effect.

The red-dirt anthems continued with the widescreen rocker “A Tornado Warning.” Felker then strapped on a banjo for the folk-rocker “Gin Smoke & Lies,” its melody a clever variant on the old folk song “Shady Grove.” That led into the blazing “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead,” which had the buzzing audience clapping along from the start. Steel guitarist Hank Early switched to a Dobro for an acoustic duet with Felker on “Diamonds and Gasoline,” much to the crowd’s delight. The band returned for a romp through “Whole Damn Town,” before the penultimate, lighter waving waltz “The Bird Hunter. The Troubadours closed the show with “Something to Hold On To,” a track co-written by Kevin Russell, beloved leader of Austin’s own Shinyribs and the Gourds. The song ended in a three-way solo frenzy from Early, lead guitarist Ryan Engleman and fiddler Kyle Nix, which made the audience go wild.

The show wasn’t quite over yet, however. As is an artist’s prerogative, the Troubadours decided to redo a few numbers, starting with “The Housefire.” The band ripped through another take on “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues” before finishing with a new version of “A Tornado Warning.” Fortunately, the audience were perfectly happy to enjoy those songs again. It was a great show and a nice way to close out the season, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs early next year as part of our Season 43 on your local PBS station.  

Giveaway: Turnpike Troubadours 12/5

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UPDATE: Giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Turnpike Troubadours on Tuesday, December 5th at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd). We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by noon on Friday, Dec. 1st.

Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required. No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio. No cameras computers or recording devices allowed in venue.

Taping recap: Dan Auerbach

photo by Scott Newton

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Dan Auerbach is no stranger to the ACL stage – his band The Black Keys have appeared twice on the show. This was his debut solo taping, performed with his Easy Eye Sound band and special guest Robert Finley, in support of his first solo album in eight years, the acclaimed Waiting on a Song. The record’s bright, countrified pop/rock contrasts nicely with the Keys’ grungy blues rock, and the show, which we streamed live around the world, followed suit.

Wielding an acoustic guitar, Auerbach and his band of legendary Nashville session players opened with the title track, a folk rocking welcome to a night of music. “Livin’ in Sin” followed, its country rock groove highlighted by the harmony guitars of Russ Pahl (who last appeared on ACL in 1993 with Great Plains) and Cage the Elephant’s Nick Bockrath. Auerbach switched to a Telecaster and Pahl to an electric sitar for “Malibu Man,” a soul-inflected tune with prominent harmonies from mandolinist Pat McLaughlin, another ACL vet, having visited in 2005 as a member of John Prine’s band. The frontman introduced members of the band, specifically “Memphis boys” Gene Chrisman (drums) and Bobby Wood (electric piano), both of whom have Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin on their extensive resumés. The group then romped through the darkly funny pop tune “Stand By My Girl” (“because she’ll kill me if I don’t”). Auerbach noted that many of the bandmembers had also played on songwriting god John Prine’s first album, before going into the sweet country rock of the unreleased “Somewhere Between Eau Claire and East Moline,” a song Auerbach co-wrote with Prine. Next up, the grooving “Pull Me Under Love” is another unreleased song that featured a Pahl/Auerbach duel on guitar. Auerbach introed the rest of the band before launching into the psychedelic swamp rock of “Cherry Bomb.”

Auerbach noted that he and his Easy Eye crew also make records for other people, bringing on one of those folks: Louisiana soul singer Robert Finley. Resplendent in his black leather cowboy hat and shades, the silver-haired, smoky-voiced Finley wasted no time going into the slinky “Medicine Woman.” “Let’s do one more with Robert,” said Auerbach, which cued the Southern soul of “Get It While You Can,” a classic in waiting. That was unfortunately all the time we had with Finley, but Auerbach made up for his absence with the lovely ballad “Never in My Wildest Dreams.” The band stayed with the easygoing vibe for “Tangled Love,” yet another unreleased song, and the album’s breezy “Show Me.” Auerbach ended the show with “Shine On Me,” the sprightly pop song that’s the first single from Waiting on a Song. The audience loved it, dancing along from the first bar. It was a sharp, memorable end to a great show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs in early 2018 as part of our Season 43 on your local PBS station.

Episode recap: ACL Presents Americana Music Festival 2017

ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2017 | Van Morrison | Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music

Austin City Limits returns to Nashville for a special broadcast offering performance highlights from this year’s Americana Honors & Awards. ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2017 premieres November 18 on PBS and features a stunning revue of unforgettable performances celebrating the finest artists in American roots music. The spirited hour is filled with standout performances from Americana legends and next generation stars, alongside many of the night’s award-winners and honorees, including: Old Crow Medicine Show, John Prine, Iris Dement, Rhiannon Giddens, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Amanda Shires, The Lumineers, Drive-By Truckers, Graham Nash & The Milk Carton Kids, Margo Price, Jason Isbell, Van Morrison and Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm.

Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on September 13, 2017, The Americana Music Association’s 16th Annual Honors & Awards ceremony is a celebration of music that is authentic, diverse and original from many genres (including alternative country, folk, bluegrass, blues and R&B), both traditional and contemporary.

“Each year this show blows my mind.  If there was an infra-red device tracking creativity, Nashville would be the brightest light on the planet,” says Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association.  “I’m so grateful and truly humbled by the incredible artists and musicians who grace our stage.”

Iris DeMent and John Prine. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Acclaimed string band Old Crow Medicine Show welcome the audience to “the mother church of country music,” Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, leading a marching drumline down the center aisle to kick off the broadcast with a riotous rendition of the Dylan classic “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.”  Artist of the Year John Prine, recently hailed “the Mark Twain of American songwriting” by Rolling Stone, is joined by this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree for Trailblazer, country-folk pioneer Iris DeMent, for a sparkling version of their legendary duet “In Spite of Ourselves.”  Album of the Year nominees give stellar performances including Rhiannon Giddens, who receives a standing ovation for her riveting “Julie,” a powerful meditation on slavery from her Freedom Highway.  Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers also sing for social justice, showcasing their protest anthem “What It Means,” a politically-charged statement named one of the Top 10 songs of the year by NPR, from their acclaimed album American Band.

The night’s Emerging Artist of the Year honoree Amanda Shires stuns in a solo debut and returns for the slowburning duet “If We Were Vampires” with her partner and creative collaborator, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, one of the genre’s top stars.  The spectrum of Americana’s range  is in full view as chart-toppers The Lumineers light up the stage with the title track from their recent album Cleopatra and longtime country icon Marty Stuart and his band the Fabulous Superlatives, awarded Group of the Year, deliver a dose of blazing,  road-tested honky-tonk with crowd-pleasing new gem “Time Don’t Wait.”

Graham Nash & the Milk Carton Kids. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images.

In true Americana style, the broadcast is packed with musical moments and one-of-a-kind collaborations from a diverse, multi-generational slate of roots luminaries: rock legend Graham Nash joins acoustic duo The Milk Carton Kids in sweet three-part harmony on The Everly Brothers classic “So Sad”.  Last year’s Emerging Artist winner Margo Price returns with a show-stopping new number, “Do Right By Me,” backed by the soaring vocals of gospel greats The McCrary Sisters.  The night’s Lifetime Achievement Honoree for Songwriting, rock icon Van Morrison, performs a soulful new song “Transformation” joined by his daughter Shana Morrison.  Famed bluesman Robert Cray and legendary Memphis soul sidemen Hi Rhythm, both Lifetime Achievement honorees, deliver a supercharged performance with a blistering blues/soul cut, “You Must Believe in Yourself,” from their acclaimed 2017 collaborative album.

The hourlong broadcast is hosted by esteemed songwriter and Americana wagonmaster Jim Lauderdale.  Multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell leads the ace house band and joins the host on vocals to salute late country giant Don Williams with a stirring rendition of his timeless hit “Tulsa Time” as the all-star cast returns for the singalong finale, bringing the hour to a moving close.

Americana Music Festival 2017 finale. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images.

Americana Music Festival 2017 finale. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images.

The show was co-produced by Two Talented Cats Entertainment’s Martin Fischer and Edie Hoback, Michelle Aquilato and ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona.

Tune in this weekend for this special, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the show page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Join us next week for an encore episode, featuring the electrifying ACL debut of R&B superstar Ms. Lauryn Hill.

Giveaway: Dan Auerbach 11/27

photo by Alyssa Gafkjen

UPDATE: Giveaway is now over

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Dan Auerbach on Monday, November 27th at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd). We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by noon on Tuesday, Nov. 21st.

Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required. No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio. No cameras computers or recording devices allowed in venue.

Episode recap: The Head and The Heart & Benjamin Booker

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases two standout acts featured on this year’s namesake ACL Festival: The Head and the Heart and Benjamin Booker. Both acts are highlights on the touring circuit, drawing raves for soulful live performances.

Seattle folk-rock band The Head and the Heart make their second ACL appearance with a luminous performance featuring songs from their newest release Signs of Light. The indie favorites are one of live music’s biggest draws, with high-profile 2017 festival appearances including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk in addition to Austin’s own ACL Festival. The sextet deliver an uplifting, singalong set filled with new musical touchstones including “All We Ever Knew” and “City of Angels.” A moving cover of “Hunger Strike” honoring late Seattle icon Chris Cornell is a set highlight, rich with three-part harmonies. The band bring the passionate set to a glorious close with the soaring “River and Roads” from their 2011 self-titled debut, a fan favorite.

Florida-raised, New Orleans-based guitarist and singer-songwriter Benjamin Booker delivers a raw, impassioned ACL debut packed with songs from his acclaimed 2017 album Witness and his 2014 self-titled breakout debut. Opening with his rocking radio hit “Violent Shiver,” the twenty-eight year old phenom draws on soul, blues and gospel, showcasing stirring soul-rockers “Carry,” “The Slow Drag Under” and “Believe” backed by a gospel choir. A powerful performance of his Civil Rights anthem “Witness” combines Booker’s husky, soulful voice with a profound message on racism in America. 

photo by Scott Newton

“The Head and the Heart and Benjamin Booker are prime examples of artists who just keep getting better,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Rather than finding a groove and just staying with it, they are constantly searching for new ways to express their voices, and new sounds to go along with them. The end result can be surprising but always inspiring.”

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. Join us next week for an ACL Presents special, featuring the 2017 edition of the Americana Music Festival.

New taping and livestreams: Turnpike Troubadours and Dan Auerbach

photo by David McClister

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce our final taping of Season 43 with Oklahoma country rockers Turnpike Troubadours. The breakout band will hit the ACL stage on December 5 for a debut taping that will also be streamed live around the world. Speaking of livestreams, we’re also stoked to say that we’ll be doing the same for Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach’s taping on November 27. Auerbach will also be joined during the set by a very special guest, Louisiana soul singer Robert Finley, the first signing to his Easy Eye Sound record label.  Both tapings will stream at 8pm CT/9 pm ET, Dan Auerbach here on November 27 and Turnpike Troubadours here on December 5, powered by Dell.  

Called “the greatest country music band in the world right now” by Saving Country Music, the Turnpike Troubadours make their ACL debut in support of their fourth album A Long Way From Your Heart. Produced by Grammy winner Ryan Hewitt (The Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Heart is a rare triumph––an album that hooks immediately but then rewards listeners willing to dig deeper. “I love what we as a band have turned into and how we treat songs,” says lead singer and chief songwriter Evan Felker. “That’s something we’ve grown into––adding some sort of oddly theatrical element to the musicianship to help the story along, to sum up where or who the character is to give him a little bit of landscape. It’s not just an acoustic guitar and a guy telling you what somebody’s doing.” Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, birthplace of Woody Guthrie and Troubadours pal John Fullbright, Felker founded his band of virtuosic country-rock road dogs in 2005. Since then, the Troubadours have delivered punch after punch of smart rock & roll that sells out huge venues throughout the Midwest and South and packs legendary haunts like the Troubadour in Los Angeles. “Felker has evolved into a Red Dirt Springsteen, deftly blending autobiographical elements with complex, hardscrabble characters,” raves Garden & Gun. Narratives put to music are nothing new, but Felker and his bandmates have upped the ante, creating a web of unforgettable characters that show up on album after album in songs that are both catchy and musically complex: men and women with their backs against their wall, represented realistically but also imbued with dignity. “It feels like going home to see that those characters are still alive in a way that movies and literary writers have always done,” Felker says. “It feels good.”

photo by Alyssa Gafkjen

Dan Auerbach has performed on ACL twice before with his band The Black Keys, and this will be his first time performing solo on the program where he will be backed by some of Nashville’s finest musicians—Bobby Wood, Gene “Bubba” Chrisman, Pat McLaughlin, Dave Roe, Russ Pahl, Ray Jacildo, Ashley Wilcoxson, Leisa Hans, Nick Bockrath from Cage the Elephant—as well as featuring legendary bluesman Robert Finley.  The eight-time Grammy winning superstar will perform songs from his acclaimed new solo release Waiting On A Song.  NPR calls the album “a batch of sparkling pop songs that’s sweet, breezy, and primed for summer.” The album is Auerbach’s follow-up to 2009’s Keep It Hid and is his love letter to Nashville. As such, he recruited some of Na­shville’s most respected players to write and record his latest. “Living in Nashville has definitely changed the way I think about music and the way that I record it,” he says about working with his heroes. “I didn’t have all of these resources before. I am working with some of the greatest musicians that ever lived.” The always-understated musician is happy to have his own version of the Wrecking Crew at his Easy Eye Studio in south Nashville. “Sometimes I feel I created my own Field of Dreams. I built the studio to accommodate live musicians playing, and then all of a sudden the best musicians in Nashville show up, and it’s happening. This is the sound I was looking for, and now there really is an Easy Eye sound. It’s a factory—but in the way that Motown or Stax or American Studios was a factory. Anything can happen, any day.” He pauses a long minute, as if to let it all sink in. “Even with the success I’ve had, it’s only just now that I’m finally finding myself,” Auerbach says. “I called the album Waiting On A Song because I’ve been waiting my whole life to be able to do this. And now I have. And none of us ever want it to stop.”

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. Or you can join us online for Dan Auerbach here on November 27 and Turnpike Troubadours here on December 5 for these full-set livestreams. The broadcast versions will air on PBS early next year as part of our Season 43.