Edie Brickell Joins ACL Hall of Fame All-Star Line-up

photo by Todd Crusham

We are celebrating our sold-out sixth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame this Thursday, October 24, honoring three music greats: Buddy Guy, Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett. We have a few last-minute changes to our guest performers line-up: we are thrilled to announce that singer/songwriter Edie Brickell will be joining the all-star line-up featuring Jackson Browne, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmie Vaughan, Sarah Jarosz, Willis Alan Ramsey, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and host Robert Earl Keen for an evening of one-of-a-kind performances, unannounced surprises and collaborations from music’s finest.  

We also regret to announce that Bruce Hornsby will not be able to join us due to a family illness.  

The ACL Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration will be held at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin on October 24 at 7:30pm.  Musical highlights and inductions from the celebration will air on PBS as a special Austin City Limits New Year’s broadcast.

Following the multi-platinum success of her landmark debut album with New Bohemians, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, and the follow-up Ghost of a Dog, Edie Brickell went on to a flourishing solo writing and recording career. The title track from Brickell’s 13-song collaboration with Steve Martin, Love Has Come For You, won a 2014 Grammy® Award for Best American Roots Song, the inaugural award in its category. The pair went on to write the acclaimed Tony-nominated Broadway musical, Bright Star. In 2017, Brickell reunited with her longtime bandmates, and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ most recent album, Rocket, was released in 2018. We’re thrilled to welcome the Dallas native to our ACL stage. 

Steve Earle and friends bring Guy Clark tribute to ACL Season 45

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a Season 45 highlight: Steve Earle & The Dukes spotlighting the songwriting legacy of the legendary Guy Clark. Americana stalwart Earle makes his fifth appearance on the ACL stage paying tribute to his mentor, the late Texas singer-songwriter and ACL Hall of Fame legend Guy Clark, in a heartwarming hour filled with choice classics and personal anecdotes.  Performing a collection of gems from his acclaimed Clark tribute album Guy, Earle is accompanied by his five-piece band The Dukes, and special guests including Rodney Crowell, Joe Ely, Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen. The episode is capped with vintage clips from Clark’s own ACL appearances, including his 1977 debut.  

Steve Earle kicks off the hour appropriately singing “I wish I was in Austin…,” the infamous opening of Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues.”  In his signature bandana, the Americana maverick Earle showcases a true Texas icon in this moving hour, filled with entertaining stories and personal tales from Earle’s longtime relationship with one of his main songwriting influences.  Earle explains how he, at 19, first met Guy after hitchhiking from Texas to Tennessee, eventually playing bass in Clark’s band “until Guy needed a better bass player.” Earle shares the stage with special guests: Texas legend Joe Ely joins Earle for the beloved Clark signature “Desperados Waiting For A Train”; and Rodney Crowell collaborates on a rousing duet of “Heartbroke”, an early nugget Crowell first recorded in 1980.  Earle performs a stunning solo acoustic reading of “Randall Knife,” adding his own powerful take on a Clark classic.  “I guess I should play a couple of songs of mine so y’all won’t think Guy didn’t teach me anything,” quips Earle before launching into gorgeous renditions of a pair of his own: “Guitar Town,” the 1986 track that introduced Earle’s talents to the world, and “Copperhead Road”. “That’s what I learned from Guy Clark,” asserts Earle before bringing Ely and Crowell back, joined by Lubbock legends Terry Allen and Jo Harvey Allen, saying “Everyone here loved Guy Clark.” The Texas natives close out the hour together with a poignant rendition of the Clark gem, “Old Friends,” as each artist takes a turn at the mic: “...Old friends they shine like diamonds.”  Earle leads the audience in a final round of the chorus, before calling out directly to his songwriting hero at the close: “Guy Charles Clark—see you when I get there, maestro.” 

photo by Scott Newton

“There’s nobody better suited personally, musically, or emotionally to bring new life to the songs of Guy Clark than Steve Earle,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Guy’s songs are timeless, but Steve makes sure that nobody will forget why he will always be considered the Dean of Texas songwriters.” 

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 another brand new episode, featuring rising  R&B star H.E.R.

New taping: Tank and the Bangas

photo by Alex Marks

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a final taping for our current Season 45.   Breakout New Orleans act Tank and The Bangas make their ACL debut on November 18.

“There’s no record quite like Green Balloon, and no band quite like Tank and The Bangas,” raves NPR Music. The New Orleans five-piece R&B, funk and hip-hop outfit, featuring vocalist Tank Ball, bassist Norman Spence, drummer Joshua Johnson, saxophonist Albert Allenback and keyboardist Merell Burkett is earning numerous shout-outs from national press: “There’s no leaving a Tank and the Bangas performance in a bad mood” (The New Yorker); “Lead singer Tank has an elastic, surprising voice that oozes energy, turning simple lyrics into full stories just with a twist of the syllables”  (Time Magazine). Simply put, Tank and The Bangas are a beacon of life. And it’s that life that you hear in their music. That’s what makes them one of the most thrilling, unpredictable and sonically diverse bands on the planet; a unit where jazz meets hip-hop, soul meets rock, and funk is the beating heart of everything they do. Their new album Green Balloon is their first release with major label Verve Forecast – a deal that came together after their standout live performance unanimously won NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Contest, beating out hundreds of other acts. That moment changed their lives, catapulting the hard-working band into the national spotlight.

Since 2017, the band has toured non-stop selling out venues both stateside and abroad including festival appearances at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival and more. They earned a spot Rolling Stone’s list of the “10 Artists You Need To Know,” who called them, “A secular church experience, with freewheeling improvisational chops and positive vibes.” “We’re really vibe-y as a band,” says the act who came together in 2011 at a NOLA open mic. They’d arrive at sessions with an idea of what they wanted, but it was never strict enough to derail them from jamming and going with the flow. It’s purely organic. “It’s a puzzle and everybody needs to be there to solve it,” says former slam poet and lead singer Tank Ball. They don’t connect with the idea of genre, which is thoroughly modern in itself. “Everything we’re influenced by we don’t have a problem putting on a record because we don’t feel like we’re stuck in one lane. When we’re creating, we are creating. We never say: that sounded too blues-y, that sounded too country, that’s too hip-hop. It’s just that’s what this feels like, so let’s push that feeling to its completion, make it feel good.” 

Despite their newfound global focus, Tank and The Bangas remain a New Orleans band at heart. ”You don’t need to do a certain type of music to be connected to New Orleans,” says Tank. “It’s in the culture, it’s in the people, it’s in the fact that we can all find so many common things in the streets.” New Orleans champions its own, which allowed Tank and The Bangas to grow their fanbase by word of mouth and community. “That’s more New Orleans than anything I’ve ever heard. The music in New Orleans isn’t technical, it’s not a bunch of fancy-ass notes. It’s felt and it’s very passionate. It’s real. That’s what people get to take home.” 

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week prior to the taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air on PBS early next year as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45.

Taping recap: Billie Eilish

photo by Scott Newton

Few artists have hit the superstar stratosphere as fast as Billie Eilish. The 17-year-old L.A. native’s 2019 debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? debuted at the top of the Billboard charts, and has thus far spawned five top 10 singles, including the #1 “Bad Guy,” making her officially the first artist born this millennium to achieve both a No. 1 album and single. With a packed house primed and ready, we were thrilled to welcome this young artist for her ACL debut. 

The show began with a darkened stage, atmospheric electronics and cries of “We love you, Billie” from the audience. Multi-instrumentalist (and her brother and primary collaborator) Finneas and drummer Andrew took the stage first, before Eilish herself sauntered onstage as the electronic pulse of her dark-pop smash “Bad Guy” began. The audience sang the lyrics louder than she did as she bounced around the stage in a chartreuse Rob Zombie shirt. “My Strange Addiction” followed, with Eilish directing the enthusiastic call and response. Though keeping to her minimalist sound, “You Should See Me in a Crown” added a harder pound to the rhythm, giving both star and crowd a reason to jump. “Scream as loud as you possibly can!” she commanded, and the audience obliged. “Idontwannabeyouanymore” proved she could handle a ballad, before “Copycat” pumped the beat back up. “Everybody go as low as you can go,” Eilish asked, so the audience could explode back up, feeding the energy back to her. The misty “When I Was Older” filled the theater with mystery and magic, belying her post-performance claim that people don’t like the tune (but that she does and will continue playing it anyway). The sprightly, sardonic “Wish You Were Gay” changed the tone in any case.

The dramatic pop song “Xanny” served as a showcase for her lush singing, though the worshipping crowd shadowed nearly every note. The big beats returned for the cheeky “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” which found brother Finneas joining her at the front of the stage. The shimmering “Ilomilo” followed, leading into the acoustic guitar-driven “Bellyache,” which once again turned into a spirited duet with the crowd. Eilish and company brought the pathos for “Ocean Eyes,” her 2015 breakout single and a fan favorite, judging from the waves. “I have only two more songs to do, and then you guys get to go home,” she said following that triumph, and clearly the audience wasn’t ready to oblige. She introduced her accompaniests and reminded the audience to be in the moment for the next song. Sitting on a stool, Eilish delivered “When the Party’s Over” with absolute conviction matched only by the young women in the front row. Barely a second passed before a glam rock gea introduced the singalong thrum of “Bury a Friend,” ending with a crowd-sung shout of the album title: “When we go to sleep, where do we go?” As a quiet outro played, the teenage megastar hopped offstage to give as many people hugs as she could, before leaving the stage. It was a show unlike any other we’ve presented, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs early next year on your local PBS station as part of our Season 45. 

Maggie Rogers brings her effervescent pop to ACL Season 45

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases acclaimed artist Maggie Rogers in a sparkling hour premiering as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45.

Maggie Rogers makes her ACL debut in an irresistible hour showcasing songs from her Capitol Records debut album Heard It In A Past Life.  Raised in rural Easton, Maryland, the 25-year-old phenom delivers a captivating rendition of “Alaska,” the breakout song that became a viral sensation and introduced her talents as a songwriter and producer to the world.  Heard It In  Past Life entered Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart at No. 1 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Chart.  The album sold over 200,000 album adjusted units, amassed over 500 million combined streams and received widespread critical praise from NPR, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, TIME Magazine, Billboard and many more. 

Her buoyant 11-song set is filled with open-hearted anthems about love and relationships, including chart-topping fan-favorites “Light On” and “Fallingwater.”  Rogers dances ecstatically across the stage, glowing as she moves with her music’s creative beats. With barefaced honesty, she inspires a genuine connection with her audience, and the admiring Austin crowd sings along passionately on the choruses. The magnetic artist closes out the standout hour alone on the stage for a gorgeous a cappella performance of “Color Song,” signaling an enduring new talent has arrived.

“Maggie’s music is 100% emotion,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and her live performances are exuberant and unfettered in a way you seldom see on a stage. Her music celebrates life, and Maggie Rogers is a gift to us all.”

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 another brand new episode, featuring veteran singer/songwriter Steve Earle’s tribute to his mentor Guy Clark.

Taping recap: Rosalía

photo by Scott Newton

Already a superstar in her native Spain, Rosalía has spent the last year conquering the Globe. A sensation at Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and our namesake Austin City Limits Music Festival, winner of two 2018 Latin Grammy Awards and recent recipient of five 2019 nominations, becoming the most nominated female artist for the second consecutive year, the Catalonian singer brought her smash album El Mal Querer and its groundbreaking blend of flamenco, hip-hop, reggaeton and EDM to the ACL stage for a massive taping that thrilled a captivated audience. 

Producer Pablo Díaz Reixa (AKA El Guincho), four backup singers and six red-clad dancers took the stage first, joined, to huge cheers, by the star in her matching red sweater, adorned in safety pins. A slow build of ambient synth and choreography led to “Pienso En Tu Mirá,” which matched an atmospheric melody with doubletime flamenco handclaps. New song “Como Alí” upped the hip-hop quotient, leading to more rhythmic dancing and complex choreography. After her dancers left the stage, the charismatic performer expressed how happy she was to be present, given how far from home she was. She introduced the clap-driven ballad “Barefoot in the Park,” her hit collaboration with producer and pop star James Blake that puts the emphasis on her songbird vocals. The dancers returned for another new tune: “De Madrugá,” which proves you can still play flamenco without the traditional guitar accompaniment. The crowd went wild, and the singer looked genuinely touched by the wave of love from the audience. Rosalía then dropped all accompaniment for the first part of “Catalina,” an early twentieth century classic originally performed by legendary Spanish cantaor Manuel Vallejo. The singers eventually added handclaps and Reixa clattering percussion, but the spotlight remained on Rosalía’s voice and her firm grip on flamenco tradition. 

After a snippet of “Dio$ No$ Libre Del Dinero,” the singers began their claps again for “Que No Salga La Luna,” a dramatic tune that alternated her keening vocal and examples of her classical flamenco dance. Rosalía left the stage briefly, allowing the dancers to claim the spotlight for a segue featuring a remix of 70s Romani duo Las Grecas’ “Te estoy amando locamente,” which served as a tribute to an important influence. She returned for “A Ningún Hombre,” which found the singer harmonizing with vocoder backing vocals, which shifted directly to the more sparse “De Aqui No Sales.” Following a quick spotlight on Reixa’s beatmaking, the show shifted more firmly into dance territory, starting with “Di Mi Nombre,” which mixed urban pop with flamenco. “Bagdad” functioned as a ballad, focusing once again on the star’s singing, while “Brillo” – which Rosalía cut with reggaeton artist J Balvin – worked a more sensual groove. Another remix of a classic song – this time flamenco star Parrita’s “Embrujao” – allowed the singer and dancers to hit a hip-hop flavored groove, much to the audience’s delight. “Santería” served as a way to not only introduce the folks sharing the stage with her, but also to engage in call-and-response with the adoring crowd. 

Yet another new song, “Lo Presiento” returned to her sparse signature flamenco pop. She then prefaced the next song by asking the audience if they wanted to hear a track she performed at the VMAs, leading to “Yo X Ti, Tu X Mi,” her latest single. Then it was on to the irresistible smash “Con Altura,” the J Balvin collaboration that’s one of the songs that put her on the international map. Strobes and beats matched in an obvious buildup, before Rosalía announced she needed a much-deserved break. Producing a fan, she cooled herself off, before handing the fan off to a lucky audience member. The beats picked up where they left off and it was into “Aute Cuture,” another new single and her poppiest song yet. She and the dancers left the stage, but only for Reixa to set up another beat. Everyone returned for the overwhelmingly groovy “Malamente,” the breakout single that garnered six 2018 Latin Grammy nominations and pushed Rosalía from Spanish pop star to international sensation. It was a great way to end the show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs early next year on your local PBS station as part of our Season 45.

Giveaway: Billie Eilish

Bilie Eilish for blog-soc med

UPDATE giveaway is now over.

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Billie Eilish on October 11th 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, October 9th.

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.

Gary Clark Jr. kicks off Austin City Limits Season 45

Gary Clark Jr. on Austin City Limits © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits launches a new broadcast season of spectacular performances with a must-see hour taking a deep-dive with a boundary-pushing artist, Grammy® Award-winning Gary Clark Jr.  

“Feels good up here,” proclaims Gary Clark Jr. during his third headline appearance on the ACL stage. The Austin native opens the hour with a blistering performance of the hit that launched his meteoric rise, “Bright Lights” from his 2012 debut Blak and Blu. The song’s refrain “...you gonna know my name,” couldn’t be more apt for the Texan who has had a whirlwind ascent from the Austin club scene to show-stopping performances on festival stages around the world.  Clark showcases songs from his latest, the critically-acclaimed This Land, his third major label release, which features some of his most powerful songwriting to date, with profound lyrics about life, love, restlessness and racism.  Clark moves in and out of blues, soul, gospel, reggae and punk easily in the nine-song set, dazzling on the reggae-rock swagger of “Feelin’ Like A Million,” and shifting to the falsetto-laden “Feed the Babies.” 

Bringing the crowd to their feet with a scorching rendition of his early classic “When My Train Pulls In,” Clark’s guitar solo is a masterclass in creative improvisation, wandering between different registers, exploring various motifs and bringing it down low to build it back into strobed-out fury.  “I grew up watching ACL,” says the hometown hero who has stated he learned to play guitar watching his own heros, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, on old episodes of the series.  Clark brings it all back to love, a frequent theme, with “Pearl Cadillac,” a gorgeous R&B/pop crooner dedicated to his mother and channeling another guitar hero, Prince.  He closes out the explosive set with a fierce version of “This Land,” the socially-charged anthem and a personal battle cry. “Sometimes people don’t know how to act right, so I got something for them,” says Clark. 

photo by Scott Newton

“It has been amazing and inspiring to see Gary grow as an artist since that first time he set foot on the ACL stage,” says longtime executive producer Terry Lickona. “From the first time I saw him play when he was 16, his talents were undeniable, and he has truly become the consummate artist – all the best that Austin represents.”

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 another brand new episode, featuring fast-rising singer, songwriter and producer Maggie Rogers