Encore: Jack White

photo by Scott Newton

As a bandleader, Jack White has visited the Austin City Limits studio before, ripping it up with the Raconteurs back in 2006. Here White returns to our stage as a solo artist to demonstrate exactly why he’s one of today’s most exciting musicians.

Ever the risk-taker, White hits the stage bathed in blue light and accompanied by not one but two bands comprised of Nashville’s best musicians. Working without a net, White eschews a set list and draws from nearly every project of his prolific career. So this episode treats you to some White Stripes (“I’m Slowly Turning Into You,” “We’re Going to Be Friends,” “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”), a little Raconteurs (“Top Yourself”), a pinch of Dead Weather (“Blue Blood Blues”), a blues cover (Blind Willie Johnson’s “John the Revelator”) and White’s contribution (“You Know That I Know”) to The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, a collection of Williams lyrics set to music by contemporary songwriters.

Of course, much of the show is dedicated to songs from Blunderbuss, White’s much-acclaimed solo debut. Watch him burn through “Freedom at 21” and “Missing Pieces” with his all-male group the Buzzards, then blaze through “Hypocritical Kiss” and “Love Interruption” with his all-female band the Peacocks. The mostly acoustic title tune serves as the transition point, as Buzzards give way to Peacocks before the guitars finish feeding back and “Love Interruption” begins.

photo by Scott Newtong

See more about the show here, then check your local PBS listings to find out when to tune in to see for yourself. Keep up with ACL news and happenings on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as our news page, or sign up for our newsletter. Next week: Beck.

Encore: The Shins and Dr. Dog

photo by Scott Newton

This week ACL gives you some of the best the indie rock world has to offer with the second appearance of The Shins and the first by Dr. Dog.

The first time Albuquerque-to-Portland band the Shins appeared on ACL was in 2004. This week singer/songwriter James Mercer brings a brand new crew in support of the group’s acclaimed fourth LP Ports of Morrow. The quintet samples the latest record with “September,” “It’s Only LIfe,” “The Rifle’s Spiral” and the appropriately catchy single “Simple Song,” hitting a real sweet spot between rich, melodic hooks and Mercer’s clever, literate lyrics. But the band also digs deep into the Shins catalog, bouncing through “So Says I,” from breakthrough record Chutes Too Narrow, and reaching all the way back to its debut by closing the set with “New Slang.” It’s a masterful performance by a band hitting the peak of its powers.

For its first appearance on ACL, Dr. Dog proves why it’s a favorite on the live circuit. Adding a dash of jam band spice to its psychedelic indie rock batter, the Philadelphia sextet knows how to have a good time playing, while still keeping its songs catchy and concise. The band opens this episode with “Lonesome,” the tune that begins its much-heralded seventh LP Be the Void, kicking off the show to rollicking effect. “Jackie Wants a Black Eye” and “Vampire” keep the party going, and by the time the Dog hits a trio of tunes from its fan-favorite LP Fate, ending with “The Rabbit, the Bat and the Reindeer,” Dr. Dog lets us know just why it’s been such a popular concert draw in its decade of existence. As executive producer Terry Lickona says at the beginning of the show, “Great songs and live energy make for a winning combination.”

photo by Scott Newton

To get info on when and where to tune in to this excellent episode, check here for local listings. Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter orsign up for our newsletter for more updates. Next week: Jack White.

 

Encore: Juanes and Jesse & Joy

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an encore with two of the biggest acts in Latin music today, Juanes and Jesse & Joy. Colombian superstar Juanes headlines with a thrilling, high energy set, while Mexico City’s sibling duo Jesse & Joy sing a selection of their breakthrough hits.

With six solo albums to his credit and multi-platinum sales of over 16 million, Juanes is the world’s leading all-Spanish language rock artist. An electrifying guitarist and gifted songwriter, Juanes made his ACL debut back in 2005, and has since gone on to win multiple Grammy Awards and a record number of Latin Grammys. The Associated Press calls Juanes “the first truly international rock star to emerge from Latin America.” Juanes returns to the ACL stage in a dynamic performance, kicking things off with “Fijate Bien,” the Latin Grammy-winning title track to his debut album.  He pays tribute to one of his inspirations—Bob Marley—with a Latin spin on the reggae classic “Could You Be Loved?”.  By the time he launches into his huge hits, Juanes proves he doesn’t need to sing in English any more than he needs a surname to thoroughly rock the Austin audience.

Jesse & Joy have become one of the most celebrated pop-rock acts to emerge in the Latin music scene since they formed in Mexico City in 2005. The musical siblings boast five Latin Grammy Awards, including four for their triple platinum 2012 album ¿Con Quién Se Queda El Perro? (“Who Gets the Dog?”) and their first Grammy Nomination this year for Best Latin Pop Album.  The Los Angeles Times raves, “Their rootsy, soft-rock sincerity evokes ’80s country-pop, and Joy’s dulcet-but-earthy voice has been compared to those of Norah Jones, Alanis Morissette and, almost inevitably, Kelly Clarkson.” With Jesse Huerta on guitar, piano, drums, and background vocals and Joy Huerta on vocals and guitar, these siblings in sound deliver a breakout performance. A highlight is the duo’s emotional performance of their smash hit “Corre”— with the audience singing along to every word, waving their hands in the air, it’s a moment that reflects the truly universal language of music.

photo by Scott Newton

“Juanes is the first Latin artist since Ricky Martin to break out and transcend musical and cultural barriers,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “Audiences connect with him on many levels, and his charisma on stage is magnetic! As brother and sister, Jesse & Joy’s music is very genuine and emotional, and it’s just fun to watch them interact with each other and their fans.”

Check out the episode page here for setlists and more. Keep up with ACL happenings via our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter. Next week: The Shins and Dr. Dog.

Encore: Ed Sheeran and Valerie June

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents two innovative singer-songwriters: UK sensation Ed Sheeran and rising star Valerie June. Ed Sheeran makes his ACL debut in a must-see episode that features the breakout star performing his entire set solo. Sheeran exudes the raw talent that has made him a worldwide superstar, with charged versions of hits from his landmark debut and new songs from the chart-topping follow-up release. Acclaimed Southern singer-songwriter Valerie June shares the bill, making a captivating ACL debut with her starry-eyed roots music.

Ed Sheeran brings his A-game in his ACL debut, with a remarkable one-man solo performance that demonstrates why he’s one of music’s most popular live performers. Clad in an ACL t-shirt, the 23 year-old three-time Grammy nominee performs his  breakthrough hits “The A Team,” “Lego House” and songs from his new release x.  With an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal as his only accompaniment, Sheeran creates a perfectly balanced mix of hip-hop and acoustic balladry. He showcases the honest songwriting and vocals that have earned him legions of fans across the globe.  Closing out the crowd-pleasing set, Sheeran leads the rapturous audience in an epic sing-along of his hit “Sing,” with the Austin crowd still chanting as Sheeran leaves the stage.

Striking Southern singer-songwriter Valerie June makes her first appearance on the ACL stage performing songs from her luminous debut Pushin’ Against a Stone. The Washington Post raves of the release: “Shades of Nina Simone, Dolly Parton and blueswomen of decades past flicker throughout; you can easily picture it crackling out from a timeworn record player.” The Tennessee native’s heartfelt sound and beautifully timeless voice have earned her critical raves and a 2014 Americana Awards nomination for emerging artist. With one foot in country blues, the other in mountain folk music and her head in the stars, June and her band conjure a distinctive brand of genre-blending that she calls “organic moonshine roots music” for a memorable ACL debut.

photo by Scott Newton

“In some ways, Ed Sheeran and Valerie June are as different as night and day,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona, “but they are both distinctly original in their music. Through their intimately personal songs and unique onstage personas, they represent everything that Austin City Limits is all about.”

Tune in this Saturday 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 goodies. Next week: Juanes.

 

Encore: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros/tUnE-yArDs

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits is proud to present the encore of an inspired double-bill featuring the experimental sounds of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and tUnE-yArDs.

The psychedelic folk troupe Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros bring their shared spirit to the ACL stage in their debut appearance on the show. Equipped with infectious melodies, catchy sing-a-longs and a free-spirited frontman, the 12-piece ensemble have gained fans all over the world. With two critically-acclaimed albums and a widespread reputation for energetic performances, the down-home outfit create what NPR calls a “gloriously uplifting ruckus.” The Los Angeles-based group draws inspiration from the communal musical communities that peppered Southern California with positive vibrations during the ’60s and early ’70s. The gang of animated musicians perform their bright music and homespun harmonies on ACL complete with spontaneous dancing, bare feet and bared souls.

“This is a band that loves to make music, pure and simple,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “They may look and sound like they came straight out of the 60’s, but there is a joy to their music that is infectious – onstage or off. In fact, frontman Alex Ebert had a hard time staying ON our stage during the show, and to everyone’s delight he plunged into the crowd more than once.”

Next up is the bold, uncompromising music of tUnE-yArDs, performing tracks from the critically-acclaimed opus whokill. The brainchild of indie singer-songwriter Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs have fashioned an expansive sound incorporating layered ukulele, voice, electric bass and drum loops into an eclectic DIY aesthetic. Technology meets primal in the music of Garbus, who The New York Times describes as “somewhere between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono.” She showcases her striking sound for her first appearance on the ACL stage. With a bassist and two sax players joining Garbus’ frontline of drums, amplified ukelele and looping technology, tUnE-yArDs put on a show unlike any other.

photo by Scott Newton

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an act quite like Merrill Garbus and tUnE-yArDs on ACL,” says Lickona. “But don’t be fooled…just when her music seems to veer off in a strange direction, Merrill brings it all back home with the raw power of her voice and those loopy rhythms.”

Check out the episode page for more details on this remarkable show. We also hope you’ll visit us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter. Next week: Ed Sheeran and Valerie June.

 

Encore: Tim McGraw

photo by Scott Newton

“This is a special night for us. We’re very excited!” ” proclaims Tim McGraw during his debut ACL performance. So are we to welcome one of contemporary country’s biggest stars.

In a dynamic performance, McGraw takes the ACL stage armed with both his greatest hits and brand new songs. Performing tracks from his 2013 record Two Lanes of Freedom, McGraw blazes through an hour-long set of his distinctive brand of rockin’ country music.

Launching into a set that has the audience on its feet from the first note, the country kingpin has his engines revving and thrills the crowd in a visceral, moving performance. From his hard-driving new single “One of Those Nights” to the feel-good hangover of “Mexicoma,” the energy level is at 11 when McGraw sings his massive career-defining anthem “Live Like You Were Dying.” He brings the show to a close and a smile to every face with the good-natured hillbilly humor of his recent huge hit “Truck Yeah,” a singalong anthem if there ever was one.

“Country Music has plenty of superstars to go around, but Tim has that special ability to make an emotional connection with his audience that is rare in any genre,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “His first ACL appearance meant a lot to him – he told me it made him feel ‘like a real musician – not just sort of smoke and mirrors.’”

photo by Scott Newton

Check out the episode page for more info on this exciting show. Keep up with other ACL goings-on through our Facebook and Twitter pages and our newsletter. Next week: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and tUnE-yArDs.

 

Encore: The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers

photo by Scott Newton

Join us this weekend for a night of intimate and supremely talented performances from The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers. With zero percussion assistance for each performance, one acquires a clear picture of the depth of musicianship and delicately crafted songs that both of these artists brought to our stage. What you’ll find from both artists is nothing short of moving, inspiring, and wildly intriguing.

With open arms and a bare stage, we welcomed The Civil Wars back in February 2012 as the first taping that year. The Grammy Award-winners proved to be a perfect start to the newest season on so many levels. Their minimalist set with the ever-so perpetual Austin skyline in the background highlighted the voices of Joy Williams and John Paul White as they played hits off their 2011 release Barton Hollow. Included in this performance are two very intense, but true to the original spirit, renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” and Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.” At one moment you realize that Williams and White had the entire audience in their hand when Williams remarked about how quiet and attentive the audience was reacting. It’s true – at many points during this episode you become so captivated by Joy’s sashaying and John’s guitar playing that you forget where you are and immediately realize why these two have garnered their much-deserved praise.

“When you start a band, this is all you ever really want to do – play Austin City Limits,” mentioned Chris Thile in the middle of Punch Brothers’ set. Thile, who is no stranger to ACL (this is his third appearance), brings his all-star band that formed back in 2006 to the show. Again there is no percussion, but unlike the simple quietness that we get from The Civil Wars earlier, we get an influx of sound from the mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass. The progressive rock stars of the bluegrass world take us through their 2012 release of Who’s Feeling Young Now? with a few sprinkles of the 2010 album Antifogmatic. This group’s genre-jumping and incredible musicianship will have you tapping your toes and wishing you had taken up banjo back in 10th grade.

photo by Scott Newton

This is something you will not want to miss, but don’t take our word for it – see it for yourself! You can preview the episode and get more information here; check here for local listings and times in your area. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for all things Austin City Limits, and sign up for our newsletter for further info. Next week: Tim McGraw.

 

Encore: fun. and Dawes

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents multiple Grammy Award-winning band fun. and folk-rockers Dawes making their ACL debuts in a new episode showcasing their distinctive brands of modern rock.

Opening the episode, fun. takes to the ACL stage for the first time to perform their epic hits, including “We Are Young”, “Some Nights” and “Carry On” from the landmark album Some Nights. The breakthrough band was awarded Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for “We Are Young”, their best-selling single and one of the year’s most memorable tracks) at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Despite fun.’s seemingly overnight success, it’s been a slow and steady build of over a decade for frontman Nate Ruess, who joined forces with bandmates Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff to create the melodic anthems that connected with audiences everywhere and propelled the indie rockers to international success. “Something feels really special about tonight,” says Ruess from the ACL stage, engaging the Austin audience in a dynamic, energetic performance complete with sing-alongs. The acclaimed band delivers an uplifting, memorable debut, closing out the set with their modern classic “Some Nights”, with the Austin crowd providing the “whoa-oh-oh’s.”

“As expected, fun. lives up to its name, but their music has a depth that goes beyond their Broadway-like showmanship,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “Nate is a 21st century rock star.”

The Los Angeles rock quartet known as Dawes share the bill, performing songs that span their three critically-acclaimed albums, including the latest, Stories Don’t End, which hit the Top 5 on Billboard’s independent albums chart. The band made waves with its 2009 debut and gained a reputation for their impressive classic rock-infused songs that evoke the past while embracing the present. The LA Times raves of the new release, “Dawes strums and shuffles its way through a dozen handcrafted folk-rock tunes that sound as if they were nourished on classics such as Jackson Browne’s self-titled debut and the Band’s Music From Big Pink.” Having already toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Robbie Robertson and Mumford & Sons, and gracing the stages of music’s most prestigious festivals, Dawes’ appeal crosses all age barriers and has no boundaries.  In their ACL debut, Dawes delivers a raw and glorious set, highlighted by rich harmonies, for a crowd-pleasing performance.

photo by Scott Newton

“Despite all the references to their California folk-rock sound, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith writes songs that sometimes cut to the bone,” Lickona says. “You’ll be replaying these songs in your head for days.”

Check out the episode page for more details. Be sure and visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL goodies. Next week: The Civil Wars and Punch Brothers.