New taping: Alessia Cara

photo by superduperbrick

Austin City Limits welcomes the 2018 Grammy Award-winner for Best New Artist: acclaimed singer/songwriter Alessia Cara, who will hit the stage in her debut taping on August 2, showcasing songs from her highly-anticipated new album alongside chart-topping career highlights.

Following a groundbreaking run of six global platinum hits, the 21-year old Canadian recently released “Growing Pains,” the debut single from her forthcoming sophomore album, out later this year.  The entire LP was written solely by Cara and features two songs self-produced by the Grammy Award winning artist. “I really thought it’d be cool to have a nice challenge to see if I can write something, like a whole project, on my own,” she tells Rolling Stone.  “It’s something that I wanted to see if I could do.”  

Cara catapulted onto the charts in late 2015 with her spellbinding, multi-platinum smash “Here,” from her breakout platinum debut album KNOW-IT-ALL, which also spawned the chart-topping global hit “Scars To Your Beautiful.” For Alessia’s legions of die-hard fans, “Growing Pains” is the long-awaited follow-up to the 4x-platinum “1-800-273-8255,” her hit collab­o­­­ration with fellow Def Jam artist Logic, one of 2017’s landmark singles with over 1.5 billion streams worldwide. Along with “Stay”—her Grammy-nominated double-platinum #1 pop collaboration with Zedd—and a parade of hits, Alessia has generated over 7 billion global streams to date, becoming the most-streamed new female artist of 2017.

Known for stripped down, powerful live shows, Cara closed out this year’s Grammy broadcast joined by collaborators Logic and Khalid, in a show-stopping, emotional performance of  the Grammy-nominated anti suicide song “1-800-273-8255”. Still at the beginning of what promises to be a remarkable career, we’re thrilled to showcase this stunning new artist on the ACL stage.

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 broadcast version will air on PBS later this year as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s debut taping to live stream July 2

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Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce that we will be live streaming the upcoming debut taping from Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real on July 2 here on the ACL TV YouTube channel.  

After more than a decade on the road barnstorming across the U.S and around the world, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have developed into one of America’s most dazzling live acts, attracting a dedicated, ever expanding following.  

Still, with a bounty of invaluable experience under their belts, nothing foretold the artistic leap of their latest album, the self-titled Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, a mesmerizing, emotionally genuine, endlessly rewarding slice of cosmic country soul.  Released via Fantasy Records last summer, the widely acclaimed album draws on many of Lukas’ country and rock influences including literate Texas songsmiths like his dad, Willie Nelson, ‘uncles’ Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings, and iconoclasts such as J.J. Cale, The Band, Clapton-era Delaney & Bonnie and of course, the band’s mentor Neil Young, for whom the young devotees have toured and recorded with the past few years.   

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real features Lukas Nelson (guitar, vocals), Tato Melgar (percussion), Anthony LoGerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass, vocals) and Jesse Siebenberg (steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals) along with back-up vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of the indie-pop group Lucius, and Lady Gaga who added stirring vocals to two of the album’s 12 tracks.  The album’s lilting, Glen Campbell inspired gem, “Just Outside of Austin” also features a classic Willie Nelson guitar solo, and piano from Lukas’ 86-year-old Aunt Bobbi.

“Their latest displays a newfound confidence, brokering country-soul, Southern rock and R&B with some panache,” proclaimed Uncut.  “The band’s best work, the record is a huge leap forward for Nelson,” raved Entertainment Weekly, and American Songwriter declared, “Ultimately, Lukas is carrying on Willie’s tradition, pushing the outlaw boundaries his famous father established in the ’70s and proving that the musical apple truly does not fall far from the tree.”

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real were recently honored with a 2018 Americana Music Awards nomination for Group of the Year.

Join us on July 2 for this full set live stream of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real’s debut taping here on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast version will air on PBS this fall as part of our upcoming Season 44.

Anderson East brings heavy soul to his debut ACL taping

photo by Scott Newton

Singer/songwriter Anderson East hails from Alabama and resides in Nashville, and he brings serious firepower to every note he sings. Armed with his acclaimed new album Encore (produced by Dave Cobb, who’s helmed records by Zac Brown Band, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and others who’ve been on the show in the last two years), East gave the audience a strong shot of soul on his debut Austin City Limits taping, which we streamed live around the world.

Taking the stage in a snakeskin jacket, East and his eight-piece band immediately paid tribute to the ACL legacy by opening with Willie Nelson’s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces,” giving it a funky soul ballad reading. Putting his acoustic guitar aside, East dug into the songbook of the late, great Ted Hawkins for the raucous stomper “Sorry You’re Sick.” That Southern soul energy kept running for “Surrender,” featuring fireworks from East and singers Whitney Coleman and Kristen Rogers. Donning his guitar and welcoming a four-piece string section (led by Nashville’s Kristin Wilkinson, here a couple of months ago with Brandi Carlile), East sang a song “about how I feel tonight” – the mid-tempo charmer “King For a Day.” Guitarist Scotty Murray donned an electric dobro for the lighter-waving ballad “Devil in Me,” while keyboardist Philip Towns powered the gospel groover “Learning” with some seriously funky organ.  

After that tour-de-force, East went back to ballad territory for “If You Keep Leaving Me,” which sounded like a vintage Otis Redding cover. The strings returned for “Without You,” another heartbreaker that filled the room with sound. The musicians revved up again for the swaggering “Girlfriend,” which segued directly into the funky “All On My Mind,” both of which showed off the band as much as East’s prodigious pipes. The singer went back to his Southern soul roots for his hit “Satisfy Me,” which could have been a long-lost gem from the Stax catalog of the sixties and was a clear crowd favorite.

“I’ve been watching this show for a long time, and I never thought I’d be on it,” remarked East, before launching into the set-closing “This Too Shall Last,” a widescreen ballad highlighted by Murray and East trading guitar solos that brought the cheering crowd to its feet. After that reaction, more was required, and East, band and strings returned for “House is a Building” (“then home is a feeling”), which built on Towns’ jazzy piano to East’s powerhouse vocal climaxes. “Thanks for making us feel at home tonight,” East said, and the audience made sure he knew the feeling was mutual. It was a great show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs as part of our forty-fourth season on PBS.

Wild Child brings upbeat energy to the ACL stage

photo by Scott Newton

When Austin City Limits first hit the air in the mid-70s, it was all about showcasing the burgeoning Austin music scene. So it always makes us happy to welcome another rising star from our own backyard. In support of this year’s fourth album Expectations, Wild Child hit our stage with youthful energy and an eclectic, genre-spanning performance, which we streamed live around the world.

Taking the stage to pre-recorded disco, the band went into “Fools,” a midtempo folk popper. Perpetually smiling singer/violinist Kelsey Wilson and cellist Sadie Wolfe brought their instruments forcefully to bear on “The Tale of You & Me,” a more rocking tune. Wilson and co-writer/singer/ukelele player Alexander Beggins brought their voices close on the playful “Alex,” before the tempo dropped and the emotion rose for the lush ballad “Eggshells.” Wilson welcomed a three-piece horn section and her singing younger sister Skylar to the stage for another ballad, the undulating “Rillo Talk.” The sibling harmony continued on the sweetly rolling “Break You Down” and the peppy “1996.” Beggins took the lead vocals for “Stitches,” a tune inspired by too much time away from home.

The band and the horn section quit the stage, leaving Wilson and Beggins by themselves onstage to duet on the sweet ‘n’ sour, asides-filled romance of “The One.” Beggins then moved to the piano for “Break Bones,” the best showcase yet for Wilson’s pretty voice. The rest of the duo’s compadres returned for “My Town” and “Follow Me,” more ballads for Wilson to make her own. “Take It” brought the energy level back up, and the funky “Back & Forth” rode the wave. The energized piano pop of “Crazy Bird” set the stage for the radio hit “Think It Over,” as sweet a tune as the airwaves can receive.  

The band stripped down to guitars and vocals for the harmony-laden, shimmering fan favorite “Sinking Ship.” Beggin switched from uke to guitar for the closing “Expectations,” a funky, melodic charmer that got the crowd roaring. The group quit the stage, but of course, that didn’t mean it was over. Wild Child returned to the stage for “Bad Girl,” a frisky folk/pop number dedicated to Wilson’s niece, who was in the house. It was a nicely upbeat way to end the show, which we can’t wait for you to see when it airs in our 44th season on your local PBS station.

ACL announces live streams for Wild Child and Anderson East

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Austin City Limits is excited to announce that we will be live streaming our upcoming tapings with two captivating acts: rising young Austin indie rockers Wild Child on June 21 here and Nashville blue-eyed soul singer/songwriter Anderson East on June 22 here.

Austin’s Wild Child make their ACL debut in support of Expectations, the band’s most creative, colorful and intellectually engaging album to date.  The Austin-American Statesman raves, “Four albums in, the Austin indie-folk band-that-could has become increasingly confident without losing the sense of childlike wonder that’s so central to the spirit of their music.”  The septet’s new release rose out of a desire to take a multispectral approach to writing and recording that went beyond simply trying to engineer success. The band made a list of their favorite musicians who were also producers, choosing ones they thought would shine a new light on specific compositions, and then set about chasing their album from studio to studio all over the world. That route took them to Chris Walla’s (Death Cab For Cutie) studio in Tromsø, Norway, to a home-built warehouse studio in Philadelphia with Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken, and back to Wimberley, Texas, as Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit) set up a makeshift studio in Wild Child lead singer and violinist Kelsey Wilson’s childhood home. The group also tapped the talents of frequent tour mate Chris Boosahda (Shakey Graves), Atlantic Records recording artist Max Frost, and Grammy-winning producer Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas, Brownout). The result is a theater of possibilities, with arrangements that reflect the range of tastes of the producers, from scruffy lo-fi tape hiss to smoothed out precision-cut electronic pop sounds. “Without sacrificing Wild Child’s signature pop swell, Expectations emerges soulful and serious,” says the Austin Chronicle.

Called “an exciting singer-songwriter effortlessly able to blend elements of rock, blues, country and soul” by Associated Press, Anderson East steps on our stage for the first time with his latest album Encore, produced by longtime collaborator Dave Cobb.  The album’s title is derived from East’s steadfast belief: that every song on his new album must be worthy of closing out one of his notoriously epic live shows. The Athens, Alabama native broke onto the music scene with “Satisfy Me” from his 2015 major label debut Delilah, followed by a breakout series of years that included appearances on Cobb’s Southern Family compilation, Brandi Carlile’s Cover Stories benefit LP and the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, as well as spending much of 2017 on the road with Chris and Morgane Stapleton as part of their All-American Road Show.  The New York Times calls Encore “an often lustrous revisiting of raucous Southern soul, rousingly delivered and pinpoint precise,” with NPR Music claiming that it “draw[s] inspiration from the sophistication of Donny Hathaway’s compositions and arrangements, the grandness of Van Morrison’s Caledonia Soul Orchestra and the dashing song interpretation of Joe Cocker.” American Songwriter says, “This remains a sharp, soul-drenched, organically based set that solidifies the R&B roots at the heart of East’s talents,” adding that it’s “poised to push the talented singer-songwriter over the top and into the mainstream.”

Join us on June 21 for Wild Child’s full-set live stream here and June 22 for Anderson East’s set here on our ACLTV YouTube channel. The broadcast versions will air on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 44.

New taping: Miguel

photo by Timothy Saccenti

We here at Austin City Limits are excited to welcome one of the fastest-rising and most adventurous voices in R&B to our stage: Miguel. The singer, songwriter and creator of the acclaimed LP War & Leisure tapes his ACL debut on July 8.

Over the last decade, Miguel has established himself as one of R&B’s most sonic fabulists, a consummate artist unafraid to follow his impulses wherever they lead him. The Los Angeles native’s mix of funk, rock, hip-hop and electronica has garnered him frequent comparisons to Prince and Babyface. Miguel’s fourth studio full-length, War & Leisure, is his most ambitious and stunning project yet, a perfect blend of forward-thinking production and melodic delights that more than embody the duality hinted at in the album’s title. Miguel conceived these twelve pop gems as perfectly blending the skyward pop of 2012’s Kaleidoscope Dream (which netted him a Best R&B Song Grammy win in 2013 for its astounding single “Adorn”) and the restless, moody vibes of 2015’s Wildheart—reflecting the true Miguel experience for both listeners and the album’s creator. “On every project, I’m trying to paint a picture for my future self to go back, listen, and remember my experiences and how I was perceiving the world through music,” he states on the mercurial meeting point that War & Leisure reaches. “Kaleidoscope Dream and Wildheart are two sides of the same coin, and this is me taking those sounds and applying all the energy I’m feeling most from those two contrasts.” This is Miguel fusing the two halves of his creative id—the restless experimentalist and the crowd-pleasing hitmaker that millions of fans adore—to reach a new peak in artistic achievement.

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 broadcast versions will air on PBS later this year as part of our Season 44.

Kacey Musgraves tapes expansive, special ACL

photo by Scott Newton

When Kacey Musgraves first visited our stage in 2013, she was a year into the breakthrough success brought to her by Same Trailer, Different Park, her first major label release. Now, a few years and several major awards later, the East Texas native returned on the heels of Golden Hour, an album that’s earned her even more kudos than her breakthrough. That album formed the backbone of her second ACL performance, with some of her previous gems sprinkled in along the way.

With Beatles harmonies playing over the P.A., Musgraves and her band took the stage and gently rolled into “Slow Burn,” the lushly poppy opening track to Hour. The melodic “Butterflies” followed, its affirmation of true love floating on sparsely plucked banjo, brushed drums, quiet synth and Musgraves’ rhythm guitar. “Let’s get a little bit weird, freak your neighbor out, cross a few lines,” she said, before going into “Love is a Wild Thing,” a gentle anthem proclaiming the triumph of love over hate. She kept to the new album for the sly pop tune “Velvet Elvis,” another ode to a strong relationship, before hitting up the 70s soft rock of Golden Hour’s title track and the self-explanatory “Happy & Sad.” Taking a break from the new record, Musgraves revisited Same Trailer for the placid kiss-off “Keep It to Yourself,” then it was back to the Hour for the pretty, catchy “Lonely Weekend.”

The band got a quick showcase to itself on the Santo & Johnny-like instrumental “Western J,” as Musgraves had her hair and makeup – her “Texas look,” as she earlier explained – refreshed. Then the musicians segued into “High Time,” her whistling-enhanced, countrified ode to letting stress go. After introducing her bandmates, she dedicated the “Family is Family” to “all the weird members of your family,” letting drummer Scott Quintana drive the rhythm with his spoons. “Happy Pride Month,” she then declared, “so I think we should sing this one together real loud!” It was her individuality anthem “Follow Your Arrow,” of course, and the crowd did indeed sing along at top volume, including an a cappella section all to themselves. “Space Cowboy” came next, a break-up ballad to leaven the palpable happiness powering most of the Hour songs. Musgraves ended the main set on a stool, crooning the beautiful ballad “Rainbow,” the same song that ends Golden Hour.

“Kacey! Kacey!” chanted the audience, welcoming her back. Alone onstage, she played her Grammy-winning hit “Merry Go Round,” a tribute to stifling small towns everywhere. Her band returned for a loping cover of Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon,” another crowd singalong. She and the band ended the show on the dancefloor with the disco pop of “High Horse,” Musgraves, guitarist Kyle Hurlbut and bassist Adam Keafer hoofing the show to a close. Except that it wasn’t quite over, as Musgraves decided to redo “Love is a Wild Thing,” “Family is Family” and, appropriately, “High Horse,” a situation the audience didn’t mind at all. It was an expansive, special show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs as part of ACL’s Season 44 on your local PBS station.

John Prine’s triumphant return to ACL

photo by Scott Newton

Singing and songwriting legend John Prine has been through some trials and tribulations since the last time he visited the Austin City Limits stage in 2005, but he’s come through it all swinging with a hugely acclaimed, top 5 record The Tree of Forgiveness. That album formed the heart of the setlist for his eighth ACL appearance and the longtime Nashvillian graced us with a funny, moving performance.

Before giving us Forgiveness, however, Prine dipped into his debut album for a pair of well-loved classics. Taking the stage with his four-piece band (including guitarist Jason Wilber and bassist David Jacques, last here with Prine in Season 31) to huge applause, the Illinois native opened with the lovely “Six O’Clock News,” from his 1971 self-titled debut. “This song goes out to Bonnie Raitt,” he said as he went into the timeless classic “Angel From Montgomery,” made famous by the singing slide guitarist. Then it was into The Tree of Forgiveness with the sprightly “Knockin’ On Your Screen Door,” the first of seven in a row from the new landmark. “Caravan of Fools” followed, a song co-written with Dan Auerbach and Pat McLaughlin and featuring, as Prine noted, “has more verses than there are original members in the cabinet of the present administration.” He dipped into the more humorous side of his personality for the wry “Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln, Nebraska (Crazy Bone),” before dedicating the heartfelt “Boundless Love” to his wife Fiona. “This next song is probably, at least for me, the prettiest song on The Tree of Forgiveness,” he said by way of introduction to “Summer’s End,” a tune that indeed could have competed in the musical equivalent of a beauty pageant. The folky “I Have Met My Love Today” returned to the theme of found love, while “Lonesome Friends of Science” sardonically saluted the dwarf planet Pluto and the Greek god Vulcan – “the only thing Pluto and Vulcan have in common is that they’re both in my song.”

The band then quit the stage, leaving Prine by himself to dig deep into his catalog. He started the solo portion of the set with the passively defiant “Everything is Cool,” from the early 90s’ hit The Missing Years. Then he returned to his first album for its opening cut “Illegal Smile,” which turned into a singalong during the chorus – the audience even sang the final chorus “solo.” Prine climbed the Tree again for “No Ordinary Blue,” a song about a couple’s argument that he wrote with old pal Keith Sykes. Prine then welcomed newcomer Tyler Childers to the stage, duetting on Sweet Revenge’s “Please Don’t Bury Me” and letting the young Kentucky native singer/songwriter do his own “Lady May” alone.

Prine and his band returned to the stage and went into “Lake Marie,” a fan favorite from Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings that serves as an anthem as much as a story song. The penultimate song in the set was the final song on Tree, the raucous, oft-hilarious “When I Get to Heaven,” featuring the band on kazoos during the instrumental break. Prine and company finished the set with his classic “Paradise,” another gem from his ‘71 debut, this version enhanced by a returning Tyler Childers. The crowd went crazy, letting Prine know just how much his artistry is loved and appreciated. It was a fitting end to a great set, and we can’t wait for you to see it when Prine’s episode airs this fall as part of ACL’s Season 44.