Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years: a primetime special

photo by Scott Newton

Join us as we celebrate four decades as a music institution with Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years, a primetime special airing Friday, October 3rd, 9-11pm ET on PBS Arts Fall Festival. With guest hosts Jeff Bridges, Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey, the two-hour broadcast features memorable moments from the trailblazing show’s remarkable run, while the brightest stars in the series’ history return to the ACL stage for dream duets and choice collaborations.

An all-star lineup of ACL royalty pays tribute to the show’s enduring legacy with unforgettable music performances. Highlights of the special include the show opener as Bonnie Raitt, Alabama Shakes‘ Brittany Howard, Jimmie Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr. team up for the Sam & Dave classic “Wrap It Up.” Incredible pairings include ACL Hall of Fame legend Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris on the Nelson-penned classic “Crazy” and Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow’s moving take on his signature “Me and Bobby McGee.” The Foo Fighters honor ACL with a wild rendition of Texas cult hero Roky Erickson‘s “Two Headed Dog,” recorded at the show’s original television studio especially for the occasion. Host Jeff Bridges performs the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton’s song “What A Little Bit of Love Can Do” as a tribute to the influential Austin musician who inspired Bridges’ Oscar-winning portrayal in Crazy Heart.  Local legends Joe Ely and Robert Earl Keen showcase their troubadour roots and significance to the Austin music scene. Breakout artists and ACL alumni Alabama Shakes and Gary Clark Jr. give blistering performances that forecast the future of the series. Blues titan Buddy Guy brings it all home with an electrifying take on his “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”  The special comes to a close with an all-star reading of two Lone Star classics—a stellar lineup of guitar slingers blaze through the Stevie Ray Vaughan standard “Texas Flood” and the biggest names in music trade verses on the Buddy Holly classic “Not Fade Away,” as ACL embraces its past and hints at what is to come.

photo by Scott Newton

“This is a huge milestone for us,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “and this show captures the essence of what Austin City Limits is all about. We set the bar high for this celebration, and we exceeded it! The lineup of talent speaks volumes about the respect that artists have for ACL.”

Artists performing on the special are: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, and the program’s original television studio, Austin PBS station KLRU’s Studio 6A.  Go here for the episode page, and don’t forget to keep up with ACL TV via Facebook, Twitter and our newsletter.

 

Encore: Coldplay

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend we are excited to present a special episode featuring Coldplay.  Recorded in September 2012, the performance features the band debuting several new songs off their most recent release Mylo Xyloto, including “Paradise,” “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and “Hurts Like Heaven,” as well as old favorites like  “Viva La Vida.” Originally presented as a New Year’s Eve special to ring in 2012, this show has become a new favorite. The band gave us an extra-special performance, and we’re thrilled to bring it back to the airwaves.

photo by Scott Newton

You can see for yourself this Saturday – check the listings for your local  PBS station. You can also go here for biographical info, pictures and the setlist. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or sign up for our newsletter for more ACL goodies. Next week: our 40th season premiere, featuring Beck!

 

Encore: Steve Miller Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band

photo by Scott Newton

We love to present new music and show off current artists hitting their prime. But we’re happy to honor the veterans and the lifers – the folks whose work has stood the test of time. In that light, we present Steve Miller Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the ACL stage this weekend.

Steve Miller Band need no introduction – lauded rock guitarist Steve Miller and his various partners-in-crime have been knocking around since the late 60s, leaving a string of indelible hits in their wake. Remember “Abracadabra?” “Fly Like An Eagle?” “Space Cowboy?” Of course you do, and you’ll hear them all on Saturday in front of an enthusiastic crowd in what was the very first taping of ACL at the Moody Theater.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been around even longer than Miller – the group’s genesis coincides with the founding of the Hall itself back in 1961, and the style of New Orleans jazz the band plays goes back even further than that. History lives on in PHJB’s performances. But don’t think that means that the group is preserved in amber. Joining the band onstage are Jim James from My Morning Jacket, James Petralli from White Denim and the ever-elegant Del McCoury Band to add their inimitable contemporary mojo. Once you hear “St. James Infirmary” sung by a high-voiced indie rock front dude, you’ll realize it’s what you’ve always wanted.

photo by Scott Newton

Tune in this Saturday for your classic rock ‘n’ jazz fix – as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Toggle over 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: Coldplay.

 

Encore: The Head and the Heart/Gomez

photo by Scott Newton

The wide (wild?) world of indie rock has so many disparate roads to travel it’s dizzying. But the best indie rock artists, like the best musicians in any genre, have one thing in common: good songs. And on this weekend’s encore you can see two of the best song-centric indie rock bands on Austin City Limits: The Head and the Heart and Gomez.

Seattle sextet The Head and the Heart exploded out of the Pacific Northwest with an eponymous debut that sold 10,000 copies as a self-released disk before being picked up by indie label giant Sub Pop. The group’s upbeat, harmony-rich folk pop has garnered a large, deeply dedicated fan base in a surprisingly short amount of time. Come hear why as the band plays fan favorites “Down in the Valley” and “Lost in My Mind,” among others.

U.K. quintet Gomez have fifteen years of experience behind them and show no signs of slowing down. The band’s eclectic mix of roots rock, pop, psychedelia, electronica and whatever else crosses the members’ radar has gained them a loyal worldwide audience of discerning music fans. Gomez’ seventh LP Whatever’s On Your Mind received the near-universal acclaim all their records earn, and the band shows why with performances of “I Will Take You There” and “Just As Lost As You,” as well as old favorites “Get Miles” and “In Our Gun.”

photo by Scott Newton

Want more details? Head over to the episode page for photos, setlists and biographical info. Don’t forget to visit – and visit often – our Facebook and Twitter pages for tidbits on ACL, or to sign up for our e-newsletter. Next week on Austin City Limits: The Steve Miller Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

 

Encore: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

photo by Scott Newton

This weekend, music legends Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell return to Austin City Limits and share the stage to celebrate their shared history, their collaborative album Old Yellow Moon and the continuing power of the song.

Friends for forty years, Harris and Crowell have an entwined four-decade history of music-making. ACL veterans, both artists have each appeared on the program seven times, although this episode marks the first time the pair have performed together on the ACL stage. The Americana icons perform favorites and songs from their acclaimed duets album Old Yellow Moon. The collaboration was chosen as album of the year at this year’s Americana Music Awards and the pair was honored as duo of the year. American Songwriter says of the album, “On Old Yellow Moon, Harris and Crowell embrace the entire range of life and music they’ve experienced, from the reckless passions of youth to the reflectiveness of age, from loose-limbed hillbilly boogies to graceful balladry.”

“It’s great to be back at the world’s greatest and longest-running music show,” says Harris as she takes the ACL stage with Crowell. The breathtaking performance includes the two longtime kindred spirits joining their voices on Crowell originals as well as revivals of songs by Roger Miller, Matraca Berg and Kris Kristofferson. Harris opens with some of her earlier Gram Parsons-era hits, and the duo fast-forwards to a more recent era for Harris’ “Red Dirt Girl” and Crowell’s “Rock of My Soul,” their voices wrapping the songs in the kind of harmonies only old friends can generate. Special guest Shawn Colvin joins in the finale for a spirited take on Crowell’s “Stars On the Water.” The episode celebrates a longtime friendship and collaboration, and the pleasure the two music legends take from singing some of their favorite songs is palpable.

photo by Scott Newton

“Emmylou and Rodney are an important part of the history of ACL – going all the way back practically to the beginning,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “But it goes deeper than that – they reflect the heart and soul of what ACL is all about. And the two of them together is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts!”

Hit up the episode page for more info and don’t forget to follow ACL via Facebook, Twitter or our newsletter. Next week: The Head and the Heart and Gomez.

 

Encore: Kacey Musgraves and Dale Watson

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a spectacular hour of country music, Texas-style, featuring the ACL debuts of Grammy Award-winning Texas native Kacey Musgraves and Austin’s own country icon Dale Watson.

Breakout country artist Kacey Musgraves walked away with two trophies for Best Country Album and Best Country Song at this year’s Grammy Awards for her critically-acclaimed major label debut Same Trailer Different Park. The release produced the hit singles “Follow Your Arrow” and the Grammy-winning “Merry Go ‘Round” and topped many critics’ 2013 year-end best lists including Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Country Weekly, Spin and The New York Times, with Rolling Stone calling her “the gen aught Loretta Lynn…ballsy, unsentimental, thoroughly pop and yet totally in the (country) tradition.” Viewers will want to pull up a chair for a front row seat to one of the most arresting ACL debuts of the season. “Welcome to our little trailer park,” says the twenty-five year old singer-songwriter, kicking off her radiant performance surrounded by a white picket fence and porch lights. Musgrave’s honest, effortless vocals shine on songs that demonstrate her witty knack for storytelling in a bold, irresistible ACL set.

“If you didn’t know much about Kacey Musgraves before her triumph at the Grammys, you’ll really know what the buzz is all about after seeing her ACL performance,” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “She’s a remarkable songwriter and all-around talent who is blazing new trails for women in country music.”

photo by Scott Newton

Next up is Austin’s king of country music: Dale Watson. Called “the silver pompadoured, baritone beltin’, Lone Star beer drinkin’, honky-tonk hellraiser” by The Austin Chronicle, the hometown hero has flown the flag for classic honky-tonk for over two decades and twenty albums. His latest album, El Rancho Azul, continues his work as one of the world’s finest C&W singers and songwriters, and ACL is thrilled to present Austin’s favorite son in his first feature performance. For Watson’s set, the ACL studio is transformed into a substitute for his regular Austin haunt Ginny’s Little Longhorn, with a room full of dancers two-stepping in the time-honored manner and he gets the ATX audience fired up with “Honkiest, Tonkiest Beer Joint,” his paean to the legendary saloon. Watson turns on the Texas charm as he performs a career-spanning, crowd-pleasing set, turning ACL into a full-on honky-tonk complete with Texas shuffles, closing out the season in good fun on a glorious high note.

“Dale is the real deal. Nobody else is making country music like this today,” Lickona says. “It’s time for the rest of the world to discover why he’s so special to us in Austin.”

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 news and happenings. Next week: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell.