Brandi Carlile triumphs in her return to Austin City Limits

photo by Scott Newton

Since Brandi Carlile first visited Austin City Limits on the original stage back in 2010, the Seattle singer and songwriter has moved from rapidly rising up-and-comer to a highly respected star in her own right. Following up successful albums Bear Creek and Grammy-nominated The Firecatcher’s Daughter with this year’s critically acclaimed By the Way, I Forgive You, an album of which she is extremely and justifiably proud, Carlile brought her esteemed catalog to ACL once again for an impressive, fiery show, which we streamed live around the world.

A string quartet joined drummer Chris Powell and keyboardist Jacob Hoffman for some moodsetting ambience, before twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth took up the bass and guitar respectively. The woman of the hour arrived as Tim began fingerpicking “Every Time I Hear That Song,” her country twang perfect for a tale of heartbreak and redemption. Then the band kicked the tempo into the raging “Raise Hell,” a turbocharged take on galloping Johnny Cash chickaboom. After shouting out the Hanseroth brothers – her musical partners for seventeen years – Carlile led the gorgeous three-part harmonies of “The Eye,” with only Tim’s guitar for accompaniment. The twins then left the stage to Carlile alone – at least at first, as her four-year-old daughter Evangeline joined her onstage for a quick kiss. It was an appropriate visit, given that the next song was “The Mother,” in which Carlile grapples with parenthood with honesty and love.

The band arrived back onstage for “The Joke,” a room-filling anthem in support of anyone who’s ever felt marginalized or attacked for their choices. Her country rhythms returned even as the anthemic feel remained for “Harder to Forgive” (“than to forget”), and the lighters stayed out for the powerful “Sugartooth,” a song for those struggling with addiction. Carlile then strapped on an electric guitar and chopped out the chords to “Mainstream Kid,” a hard country rocker that earned the wildest applause so far. After that much reaching for the sky, the band brought the mood to a more reflective place with “Most of All,” Carlile’s salute to her parents. She followed that crowd-pleaser with a real surprise: a spectacular cover of Elton John’s deep cut “Madman Across the Water,” a bold and unusual choice that allowed the musicians to stretch their wings.  

“They’ve heard me sing this song a million times,” Carlile stated after introducing her hardworking band. “I wanna hear Austin, Texas sing it!” Then it was into “The Story,” her 2007 breakthrough song, given the widescreen treatment it deserves. “Whatever You Do” followed, before the main set ended with Carlile at the piano belting out the show-stopping ballad “Party of One,” the strings playing her offstage. They played her back on again, too, as a loud crash during the first performance of “Every Time I Hear That Song” meant a redo. An earlier misplaced capo caused a redo of “The Eye” as well, the harmonies even sharper than before. Carlile and the band brought the show to a close and the house down with “Hold Out Your Hand,” an anthem that connected Woody Guthrie to twenty-first century rock, dedicated to a generation of kids fighting to make the world a better place. The audience went nuts, ending the show on the highest of high notes. It was an incredible show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall as part of our upcoming Season 44 on your local PBS station.  

Chris Isaak returns as host of 2018 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 10/25/18

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Austin City Limits announces the fifth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction & Celebration will take place on Thursday, October 25, 2018, with music great Chris Isaak returning as host of the celebratory evening.  Save the date for one of the year’s highlights, a star-studded night filled with performances and collaborations from music’s finest.  The announcement was made by ACL executive producer Terry Lickona at tonight’s Brandi Carlile taping.

A new class of inductees will be announced at a later date, and will be saluted at the ceremony to be held at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater.  The event will be open to the public and ticket onsale information will be announced at a later date. Sponsor packages are available now at www.acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. All proceeds benefit KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. More information about performances, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.

photo by Gary Miller

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.  Last year’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

Austin City Limits to stream Brandi Carlile taping live on 4/10

photo by Alysse Gafkjenh

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce that we will be livestreaming the return of standout singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile to our stage on Tuesday, April 10. We’ll be beaming live directly from the ACL stage at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel.

Having first appeared on ACL in 2010 and most recently paid tribute to Roy Orbison in the 2017 ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve celebration, Brandi Carlile comes back in celebration of her seventh album, By The Way, I Forgive You, produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb and acclaimed musician Shooter Jennings.  One of 2018’s most anticipated albums, Rolling Stone hails the release “an Adele-meets Joni Mitchell tour de force,” and “a moving and righteous piece of Americana-infused pop.”  NPR Music’s Ann Powers asserts, “By The Way, I Forgive You takes Carlile and her longtime bandmates, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, into a new space of risk-taking—as well as the emotional stratosphere. A country-rock aria dedicated to the delicate boys and striving girls born into—and, Carlile insists, destined to triumph over—this divisive time, ‘The Joke’ offers a stunning vocal performance from Carlile, swathed in warm piano, big drums and a perfect string arrangement.” Additionally, The New York Times praises, “Motherhood is disruptive, messy, inconvenient, enlightening and triumphant in ‘The Mother’…Its fingerpicking folk-rock unfurls from a blurry awakening to unabashed pride and joy.”  Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, By The Way, I Forgive You includes ten new songs written by Carlile and longtime collaborators, twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth. Of their close relationship, Carlile comments, “The Twins and I have been in a band for so long now. And not just a band, we are literally a family. When you create art with twins, it becomes unclear when I end and where they begin.” Over the course of their acclaimed career, the band has released six albums, including 2015’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter, which garnered a Grammy nomination for “Best Americana Album.”

Join us on April 10 for this full-set livestream on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Giveaway: Brandi Carlile 4/10

photo by Alysse Gafkjenh

UPDATE: Giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Brandi Carlile on April 10th 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 April 6th.

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.

St. Vincent 5/14

St. Vincent

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce an exciting new taping for Season 44, featuring the groundbreaking St. Vincent on May 14, 2018.   Read more

New taping: St. Vincent

St. Vincent

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce an exciting new taping for Season 44, featuring the groundbreaking St. Vincent on May 14, 2018.  First appearing on ACL in 2009, the singer, songwriter and guitarist–born Annie Clark–returns to our stage in support of her highly acclaimed fifth album MASSEDUCTION.  The release has earned some of the biggest raves of her career, with Jon Pareles of The New York Times naming it his #1 album of 2017, and Billboard hailing the record as “At once epic and intimate, fusing the myth of the legend-like St. Vincent with what it means to be simply Annie Clark.”

Following 2014’s Grammy-winning Alternative album of the year, MASSEDUCTION reaffirms St. Vincent’s standing as one of the most innovative presences in modern music. The mass seduction of the album’s title is a bold, emotional reckoning, largely themed around power—or as Clark specifies, “All the forces that can swallow you whole.” These include notoriety and beauty, as well as intoxicating distractions such as pills, sex, and sorrow. Richly melodic and vividly produced, MASSEDUCTION scales up from its predecessor, and marks her first collaboration with co-producer Jack Antonoff (Taylor Swift, Lorde, Sia, ACL alumni Fun). Their work occupies a fertile space between pop and art rock, with narratives that pivot from sentimental to savage. MASSEDUCTION is, most accurately, a mosaic of St. Vincent’s own experiences: “You can’t fact-check it, it’s not a diary entry, but if you want to know about my life, listen to this record.”

One of music’s most thrilling live acts, St. Vincent’s recent shows have wowed fans and critics alike, with Variety citing, “Annie Clark’s ownership of the stage felt like fearless evidence that rock’s future might actually be female… she’s got enough style, ambition, chops, and complications for a half-dozen rock auteurs.”

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. The taping will also be livestreamed on the Austin City Limits YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our Season 44.

Mac DeMarco opens ACL’s 44th taping season with soft jams

photo by Scott Newton

A new season of Austin City Limits begins, and we were happy to open Season 44 with a rising artist making his debut on our stage: singer and songwriter Mac DeMarco. Celebrating his acclaimed fourth LP This Old Dog, the Canadian-turned-Californian by way of Far Rockaway, Queens, graced his loyal fans with an interactive set of his distinctive soul-flavored soft rock, which we streamed live around the world.

Taking a stage artfully cluttered with fake fruit, real pound cake, plenty of red wine, a Michael Jackson mask and assorted bric-a-brac, DeMarco and his four-piece backing band launched into the smoothly flowing “On the Level,” from This Old Dog. Switching to acoustic guitar, DeMarco revisited his second LP Salad Days via the poppy title track. Then it was back to the new album, as the creamy sound of an electric grand piano signalled the drift into “For the First Time,” a very eighties-sounding soft rocker that thrilled the under twenty-something crowd and prompted livestream viewer Pierce Hannah to rave “Mac Daddy rocking the yacht rock vest with these smooth, smooth tunes.”  “We’ve never played this song as a band,” DeMarco noted, introducing the lightly rocking “One Another,” “but we’re gonna try to play it for you.” That successfully pulled off, he and the band cheekily kicked into its opposite number “Another One,” highlighted by a twangy guitar solo. Following a brief interlude in which the engaging rocker shared parmesan cheese (the powdered stuff, that is, not freshly grated) from one of the Italian restaurant-style tables adorning the stage, to the delight of the grateful front row, DeMarco essayed the title track of This Old Dog, a spell-binding dreamy pop tune.

“Now we’re gonna play a song we haven’t played in…four years?” DeMarco noted. “Fifteen years,” quipped guitarist Andy White. “The last time we played this song I was thirteen.” This was the intro to the easygoing “Brother,” from Salad Days. “So take it slow now, brother/Let it go,” the singer crooned over a languid, soul-influenced groove. Keeping it casual, DeMarco explained the next song was about his father, with the genial host again offering pound cake to his guests as the band went into a piano-heavy soft pop tune. He invited a couple of exuberant young fans to join him onstage, and after a quick lesson in shakers, the duo added to the percolating percussion. The band then reached back to his second album, the appropriately titled 2, for “Ode to Viceroy,” another easygoing pop song with harmony Stratocaster licks at the end. After sharing some red wine with another fan (whose ID he checked first), it was back to TOD, for the languorous “Dreams From Yesterday.”

One rendition of “Happy Birthday” to a fan later, DeMarco rode a jazzy, soul-pop vibe into “Chamber of Reflection,” powered by clapping from the crowd. He closed the show with the sugary romance of “Still Together,” on which he showed off a striking falsetto. Before the song was over, however, drummer Joe McMurray switched places with DeMarco to lead the crowd in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge.” Then DeMarco reclaimed the mic for another couple of choruses of “Still Together,” before quitting the stage. It was a refreshing ending to the show, letting the audience down easy instead of overwhelming them with bombast. We can’t wait for you to see it when his show airs this fall on your local PBS station.   

ACL to livestream Mac DeMarco taping on Feb. 27

photo by Coley Brown

Austin City Limits is excited to announce that we will be livestreaming our first taping of Season 44: the debut of singer/songwriter Mac DeMarco on Monday, February 27. We’ll be beaming live directly from the ACL stage at 8pm CT/9 pm ET on ACLTV’s YouTube channel.  

Called the “lovable laid-back prince of indie rock” by the New York Times, Mac DeMarco (aka 27-year old MacBriare Samuel Lanyon DeMarco) released This Old Dog, his third album and first full-length since 2014’s Salad Days, last year via indie label Captured Tracks. It was a little space—in time, location (he moved from Queens to Los Angeles), and method—that inspired the Canadian native while making This Old Dog. Arriving in California with a grip of demos he’d written in New York, he realized after a few months of setting up his new shop that the gap was giving him perspective. “I demoed a full album, and as I was moving to the West Coast I thought I’d get to finishing it quickly,” DeMarco says. “But then I realized that moving to a new city, and starting a new life takes time. Usually I just write, record, and put it out; no problem. But this time, I wrote them and they sat. When that happens, you really get to know the songs. It was a different vibe.” DeMarco wrote demos for This Old Dog on an acoustic guitar, an eye-opening method for him. “The majority of this album is acoustic guitar, synthesizer, some drum machine, and one song is electric guitar. So this is a new thing for me.”  This Old Dog is rooted more in a synth-base than any of his previous releases, but he is careful not to let that tactic overshadow the other instruments and overall “unplugged” mood of the work. “This is my acoustic album, but it’s not really an acoustic album at all. That’s just what it feels like, mostly. I’m Italian, so I guess this is an Italian rock record.”

Join us on February 27 for this full-set livestream on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS later this as part of our Season 44.