Khalid and Mac DeMarco showcase original visions in ACL’s 44th season

Khalid on Austin City Limits ©️KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases two originals: breakout R&B/pop star Khalid and indie rocker Mac DeMarco make their ACL debuts in a new installment premiering this weekend. Khalid performs songs from his Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum debut American Teen. Mac DeMarco delivers soft jams from his acclaimed This Old Dog.

A highlight of 2018’s namesake ACL Festival, Khalid’s meteoric rise to fame launched when he released his first single right before his high school graduation. The El Paso native took the years he spent in high school in the Texan border town as inspiration for a series of hits and his double-platinum debut LP American Teen. The 20-year old has struck a chord with his legions of fans with insightful songs that resonate about modern youth culture—Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling songs about smartphones and being young that audiences relate to. Flashing a wide smile throughout his soaring ACL debut, Khalid showcases songs from his smash American Teen in a soulful, seven-song set as the stoked crowd sings along to every word of his lyrics. Set highlights include the anthem “American Teen,” multi-platinum smash “Young Dumb & Broke” and the four-times platinum single that started it all, “Location.”

The New York Times calls indie rocker Mac DeMarco “a trendsetting merrymaker” with a “surprising career built on seeming like an affable deadbeat.”  The irreverent prankster is known to share wine, cake and his home address with fans during his live shows. The Edmonton native promises to keep it smooth at the top of his ACL debut, and he makes good on the pledge in a five-song interactive set of his distinctive soft rock. The singer-songwriter-guitarist and his four-piece band spotlight songs from his fourth and best-selling LP This Old Dog, taking a stage set as an unconventional version of an Italian restaurant: checkered tablecloths, fake fruit, plenty of red wine and dollhead masks. Launching into the smoothly flowing set-opener “On the Level,” the creamy sound of an electric grand piano signals the drift into “For the First Time,” an eighties-sounding soft rocker with a melody hat thrills the ACL audience. The gap-toothed rocker shows off his guitar skills on songs from his 2014 breakthrough, the lo-fi gem Salad Days, including the mellow pop of “Brother” and “Chamber of Reflection.” DeMarco throws a slice of pound cake to the willing audience and closes out the set directing the crowd for a little clapping “classic rock style” before ditching the guitar for a glass of red wine (“It’s Cab-Sav. It’s French”) to toast the crowd.

Mac DeMarco on Austin City Limits ©️KLRU photo by Scott Newton

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 a classic encore episode from 1979, featuring the legendary Tom Waits.

ACL announces lineup for second half of Season 44

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits announces the second half of Season 44, with eight all-new installments to begin airing December 15 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, and the return of ACL stalwarts, 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 with many acts making first-time appearances on the ACL stage including UK modern rock icons (and 2019 Grammy nominees) Arctic Monkeys, rising R&B star Khalid and Canadian indie rocker Mac DeMarco splitting a bill, and trailblazing Puerto Rican rapper Residente in a thrilling rapid-fire hour. A series highlight features the return of American icon Willie Nelson, who helped launched ACL in 1974, in a new performance for the ages, marking a remarkable eighteenth appearance on the series and his first headlining set in a decade. Also returning is New Orleans sensation Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews who celebrates his second ACL with a N’awlins-style hourlong party featuring his 10-piece Orleans Avenue band along with special guest, ACL Hall of Fame legend Cyril Neville. Blues giant Buddy Guy, another 2019 Grammy nominee, returns for his third headlining appearance, sharing an episode with the all-star collective known as August Greene, featuring hip-hop’s Common and renowned producers/jazz music phenoms Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. Austin favorites Wild Child round out the season in a spirited debut from this seven-piece indie-folk outfit.

“This might be our most eclectic mix of artists, styles and genres in one fell swoop ever,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.” It really speaks to what separates Austin City Limits from every other music show, ever. I’m so proud we are able to showcase two giants in their respective genres, and both legends: Buddy Guy and Willie Nelson. Without Willie, there would be no ACL!”

Season 44 | Season 44 Broadcast Season (second half)

December 15 Khalid / Mac DeMarco
December 22 Tom Waits (encore)
December 29 Iggy Pop (encore)
December 31 ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Special

January 5 Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
January 12 Residente
January 19 Arctic Monkeys / Wild Child
January 26 Willie Nelson

February 2 Buddy Guy/ August Greene

February 9 ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival

ACL’s Season 44 premiered in October with standout performances from St. Vincent, John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, Miguel, Anderson East, Alessia Cara, Sam Smith and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The award-winning series will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes through the end of 2018. 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 22nd to see this classic Christmas episode. A recent classic, Iggy Pop’s iconic 2016, Season 42 debut on the ACL stage, backed by an all-star band including Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, encores December 29th.

A special broadcast of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve airs Monday, December 31 at 10pm CT/11pm ET. Austin City Limits rings in the new year with this star-studded celebration, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the 2018 ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremony, taped October 25, 2018. Performers include ACL royalty Los Lobos, Marcia Ball, Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., Irma Thomas, Robert Randolph, Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, Ruthie Foster, Boz Scaggs & more.

photo by Gary Miller

For the eighth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with Two Talented Cats, LLC, and the Americana Music Association, are proud to present a special ACL Presents on February 9th to close out Season 44—featuring the best music performances from the 17th Annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Ceremony held September 12, 2018 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Austin City Limits continues to offer its popular live streams of select performances for fans worldwide on ACL’s YouTube Channel. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules.

ACL Artists at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits congratulates all the nominees for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. We’d like to give a special shout-out to the nominees who have appeared on ACL. Big high fives to roots rock powerhouse Brandi Carlile, who earned noms for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best American Roots Performance, Best American Roots Song and Best Americana Album. And a hearty backslap once again to Kendrick Lamar, whose eight nominations include nods for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best Rap Song (twice – one as a writer only) and Best Song Written for Visual Media.

We’re happy to be showcasing many of this year’s nominees during our current Season 44. Besides Carlile, we’ve already broadcast new episodes from Kacey Musgraves (Album of the Year, Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song, Best Country Album), St. Vincent (Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package), John Prine (Best American Roots Song (twice), Best Americana Album), Janelle Monáe (Album of the Year, Best Music Video), Miguel (Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best R&B Song, Best Song Written for Visual Media) and Anderson East (Best American Roots Performance). Coming up next year in the second half of our season, we’ll have brand-new episodes featuring Willie Nelson (Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, Best American Roots Performance, Best Arrangement – Instruments and Vocals), Arctic Monkeys (Best Rock Performance, Best Alternative Music Album) and Buddy Guy (Best Traditional Blues Album).   

 

photo by Scott Newton

Additional congrats go out to our ACL veterans who received nominations: Beck, Chris Stapleton, Leon Bridges, Loretta Lynn, Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Bettye LaVette, Vince Gill, Margo Price, David Byrne, Natalia Lafourcade, John Legend, Lee Ann Womack, Joan Baez, Ben Harper, Iron & Wine, Keith Urban, Boz Scaggs, Sufjan Stevens, Punch Brothers, The Milk Carton Kids and the Decemberists.

A full list of all nominees can be found here – good luck to them all. Co-produced by ACL executive producer, Terry Lickona, the 61st Annual Grammy Awards will telecast on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019.

August Greene closes the Season 44 taping season with smart grooves

photo by Scott Newton

On their own, Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins are powerhouses. But put this top tier rapper, keyboardist/producer extraordinaire and renowned drummer/producer together and you have magic. As August Greene, the trio released a stellar debut LP earlier this year that garnered praise from coast to coast. Now, for the final taping of Season 44, the group hit the ACL stage for a riveting set that crossed genres as easily as it made the audience’s booty move.

“We’re honored to be here,” said Common after ACL executive producer Terry Lickona’s opening introduction. Joined by four backing musicians, the group opened with its memorable radio hit “Black Kennedy,” deftly adding the chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” to this celebration of black excellence. Common introduced the next song “Practice,” saying it’s about not knowing all the answers out of the box, and detailed getting through this spiritual practice called life— the powerful track was enhanced by backing singers Samora Pinderhughes and Muhsinah Abdul Karim.  Bassist Burniss Travis signaled the next tune with a beautifully melodic solo, before Pinderhughes joined Common at center stage for “Let Go.” The rapper encouraged the crowd to let go of any of their own negative energy, and they happily obliged. While the beat went on, the group segued directly into “Geto Heaven,” a tune from Common’s breakthrough classic Like Water For Chocolate. The band stayed with Common’s solo career for Be’s infectious “Go,” which earned big cheers. Common talked about working with the late producer J Dilla, leading the audience into his chant from “Thelonius,” another number from Chocolate. He then reached back almost a quarter of a century for “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” from his third solo LP Resurrection, quoting his colleagues, hip-hop all-stars Big Daddy Kane, ODB, Grand Puba, the Pharcyde and Nas along the way.  

We’re always thrilled when an artist presents new music on our stage, and August Greene obliged with “The Rival (She’s Callin),” a soulful new track from the band’s in-progress second LP. Segueing into “Come Close,” Common brought up a thrilled audience member and dazzled with his mic skills, improvising about her, the show and even Austin over the beat. The rhythm turned jazzy, allowing Glasper to show off the piano skills that elevated him to the top of the game in the modern jazz world.  He wasn’t satisfied only displaying his keyboard skills, though – the Grammy-winning jazz and R&B musician challenged the Grammy-laden rapper to a (one-sided) rap battle. That led into a vocal solo from backing vocalist Karim and a drum solo from Riggins. The drummer wasted no time after concluding his improv, driving right into “No Apologies,” a breathless burner from August Greene highlighted by a frisky Glasper solo.

Dissatisfied with the opening take of “Black Kennedy,” Common called for another take. The crowd certainly didn’t mind another “beautiful ride.” Common brought an ecstatic tween onstage for the respect anthem – and final song – “The Light,” before turning the chorus of his Like Water For Chocolate cut over to the crowd. “This has been a blessing tonight,” Common told the audience as the band took bows and exited the stage. It was a great way to end the season, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it broadcasts early next year on your local PBS station.

Willie Nelson’s triumphant return to Austin City Limits

photo by Scott Newton

Forty-four years ago, Austin City Limits debuted with a then-struggling artist who would become an American icon. Four decades after the ACL pilot in which he starred hit the airwaves, Willie Nelson returned to our stage for the first time since 2009, when he taped an episode with Asleep at the Wheel, and for the first time with his own Family band since 1999, during the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary. We welcomed back the country maverick as, working without a setlist, he played the hits, deep cuts from the classic country catalog and songs from his latest LP, the Frank Sinatra tribute My Way – a set we streamed live around the world.

After ACL executive producer Terry Lickona reminded us that Willie launched ACL back in 1974, the eighty-five-year-old took the stage and doffed his cowboy hat to the eager, welcoming crowd. Joined as every by the Family, in service now for forty-five years, Willie launched into “Whiskey River,” the songwriter’s perennial opening number. Following an extended guitar solo, Willie then led the band in the galloping “Still is Still Moving to Me.” Skipping any pause between songs, he ran right into “Beer For My Horses,” the tagline of which was sung by the audience. “Let’s do one for Waylon,” Nelson extolled, leading into“Good Hearted Woman,” his classic duet with the late Waymore that also became a chance for crowd participation. Willie turned the spotlight on his sister Bobbie (calling her “Little Sister,” even though she’s two years older) for the piano-led instrumental “Down Yonder,” a 1921 piece made famous in 1951 by Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers. Willie paid tribute to a key influence with the Lefty Frizzell gem “If You’ve Got the Money (I’ve Got the Time),” before moving into a back-to-back medley of his own iconic country tunes “Funny How Time Slips Away” (a hit for Billy Walker), “Crazy” (Patsy Cline) and “Night Life” (Ray Price) – adding a snippet of “Jingle Bells” at the end. Bobbie took the spotlight again for a jaunty rendition of Euday L. Bowman’s “Twelfth Street Rag,” one of the bestsellers of the ragtime era.

Willie then stopped by his most recent album with a light, jazzy take on the Sinatra standard “Fly Me to the Moon,” driven in part by brotherly drummers Paul and Billy English and bassist Kevin Smith, still the new guy six years into his tenure. Willie continued tributing fallen idols, declaiming “Let’s do one for Merle!” to preface “It’s All Going to Pot,” from Django & Jimmie, his 2015 duet album with the late Merle Haggard. Keeping the smoky double entendres going, Willie and band essayed “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” clearly an audience favorite. He reminded us of his estimable guitar skills with the Django Reinhardt instrumental “Nuages,” before hopping onto Tom T. Hall’s “Shoeshine Man,” a showcase for the Family, particularly Bobbie and harmonica master Mickey Raphael. He then sang another classic American song – Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia (On My Mind),” a song surely co-owned by both Willie and its most famous interpreter Ray Charles. He paid tribute to another one of his peers with a rollicking take on his old pal Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia On a Fast Train.” Then it was back to Waylon for the crowd-pleaser “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” He also dug back into his own classic catalog for the luminously beautiful “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.”

The tempo picked back up for the audience-enhanced “On the Road Again,” which would be Willie’s signature song if he didn’t have a dozen of those already. To say the crowd went wild was an understatement. He then brought the mood back down to “lovely” with “Always On My Mind,” his hit ballad originally associated with Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley, but forever, and properly, associated with Nelson. Then it was time for more audience participation with the folk/gospel/bluegrass classics “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away,” tunes that have been in Willie’s repertoire for decades. “Thank you, Austin City Limits!” Willie exclaimed, tossing his bandana into the crowd as he exited the stage to the Family continuing to jam, sending the pumped crowd gently into the good night. It was a great show, and we can’t wait for you to see it on your local PBS station early next year.

Giveaway: August Greene 11/26

photo by B+

UPDATE giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by August Greene on Monday, November 26th 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 Wednesday, November 21st.

Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pick up 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.

Janelle Monáe delivers a show-stopping Season 44 episode

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents one of today’s most celebrated artists, Janelle Monáe, in a thrilling new hour of euphoric funk.  The award-winning singer, songwriter, performer, producer, activist and actor showcases songs from her widely acclaimed Dirty Computer in a must-see episode.

Monáe stole the show at this year’s namesake ACL Festival; now the visionary funk songstress delivers a show-stopping master class for her Austin City Limits debut, featuring songs from her third solo album, Dirty Computer, one of 2018’s most lauded releases.  Performing with a predominantly female ensemble, including a four-woman dance team, the Kansas City native slays in a breathtaking, eight-song set packed with exuberant choreography and elaborate costumes.  “I come in peace, but I mean business,” the powerhouse proclaims to the Austin audience. She performs Dirty Computer gems, singing the funky “Django Jane” refrain “Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it,” atop a golden throne; the sizzling “Pynk,” a cleverly costumed celebration of female empowerment, and the sensual “Make Me Feel,” opening in silhouette to showcase her Michael Jackson and James Brown-inspired dance moves.  Saying “We love you, Prince,” Monáe pays tribute to her late mentor and collaborator with “Primetime,” from 2013’s The Electric Lady, as her guitarist evokes the unmistakable coda of the icon’s “Purple Rain.” She dazzles with back-to-back highlights from her Grammy-nominated 2010 debut The ArchAndroid, including her smash “Tightrope,” then wraps up her stunning ACL debut with a climactic “Come Alive.”

“The artistry of Janelle Monáe is stunning,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “She can do it all. There’s nobody else out there like her. I’ve never seen anybody like her on Austin City Limits – in over three decades, and that says a lot!”

photo by Scott Newton

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 encore episode featuring singer/songwriters James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens.

Giveaway: Willie Nelson 11/19

photo by David McClister

UPDATE giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Willie Nelson on Monday, November 19th 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 Thursday, November 15th.

Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pick up 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.