5th annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony airs on New Year’s Eve

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Austin City Limits rings in the new year with an annual tradition, highlights from the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration, hosted by Chris Isaak. This fifth annual all-star celebration features music luminaries and more sharing the stage for one epic night to perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Ray Charles, Marcia Ball and Los Lobos. The special hour, taped October 25, 2018 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater, in Austin, Texas, honors the musicians who have played an instrumental role in the evolution of the iconic series. The broadcast airs Monday, December 31 at 10pm C/11pm E on PBS check local listings for times.  

Master of ceremonies Chris Isaak opens the special noting that Austin City Limits, now in its 44th season, is the longest-running television music program in history, outlasting American Bandstand, Soul Train and—even—Hullabaloo. Isaak introduces honoree Marcia Ball, the Texas-born pioneering blues pianist who debuted on ACL’s first season in 1976, saying “when she sings the blues she makes you dance.” Inducted by her longtime friend and collaborator, New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas, Ball accepts the honor saying of ACL “I was lucky enough to get here first, stay longer, go farther and have more fun than I ever, ever imagined possible.” An all-female line-up of blues all-stars pays tribute to her 50-year strong career in a sparkling three-song salute with Ball herself on piano, joined by Thomas and powerhouse vocalists Tracy Nelson, Lou Ann Barton, Carolyn Wonderland and Shelley King, celebrating a shared lifetime of friendship and music.

The late Ray Charles made two seminal ACL appearances in the 1980s and is honored following an induction by John Burk, president of Concord Records and producer of the music titan’s final studio album in 2004. Norah Jones salutes the Genius with a sterling rendition of “What Would I Do Without You,” saying “this is one of my favorite Ray Charles songs.” Blues great Ruthie Foster brings the house down with a powerhouse reading of Brother Ray’s signature “Georgia on My Mind” and blues-rock star Gary Clark Jr. puts down his guitar for the occasion and steps up to the mic to pay vocal tribute, delivering a radiant “Nighttime Is the Right Time” while vocalists Ruthie Foster, Shelley King and Carolyn Wonderland do The Raelettes proud with show-stopping backing chorus.

photo by Scott Newton

Acclaimed filmmaker Robert Rodriguez inducts his longtime compadres Los Lobos into the ACL Hall of Fame calling the East L.A. band “Endlessly inventive, unbelievably groundbreaking, masterful with all kinds of instruments, peerless musicians, and just truly great people.” Los Lobos’ musical kinship with ACL includes six appearances on the series, and they take the stage to perform a trio of back-to-back classics from their forty year-plus career. Joined by director Rodriguez on guitar, steel guitar ace Robert Randolph, Boz Scaggs and guitarist Adrian Quesada, the brothers in arms dazzle with a jubilant eight guitar heartbeat, and the celebration of music comes to an epic close, ushering in the New Year with a Feliz Año Nuevo! and a buoyant “La Bamba,” the 1987 classic.

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Special setlist:

I WANT TO DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU – Marcia Ball with Tracy Nelson, Irma Thomas
FOOL IN LOVE – Marcia Ball with Lou Ann Barton, Tracy Nelson, Irma Thomas, Carolyn Wonderland, Shelley King
SHINE BRIGHT – Marcia Ball with Tracy Nelson, Carolyn Wonderland, Irma Thomas, Shelley King  
WHAT WOULD I DO WITHOUT YOU – Norah Jones
GEORGIA ON MY MIND – Ruthie Foster
NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME – Gary Clark Jr. with Ruthie Foster, Carolyn Wonderland, Shelley King
DON’T WORRY BABY – Los Lobos with Robert Randolph
LA PISTOLA Y EL CORAZON – Los Lobos
ALL-STAR FINALE: LA BAMBA  – Los Lobos with Robert Rodriguez, Boz Scaggs, Robert Randolph, Adrian Quesada, Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, Ruthie Foster, Carolyn Wonderland, Shelley King & Chris Isaak

The 5th Anniversary Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions and Celebration is presented by NetApp and is sponsored in part by American Airlines, AXS, Brown Distributing, Cirrus Logic, Cousins Properties Incorporated, Dell, Keller Williams, Stratus Properties and Texas Monthly.  

Khalid and Mac DeMarco showcase original visions in ACL’s 44th season

Khalid on Austin City Limits ©️KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases two originals: breakout R&B/pop star Khalid and indie rocker Mac DeMarco make their ACL debuts in a new installment premiering this weekend. Khalid performs songs from his Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum debut American Teen. Mac DeMarco delivers soft jams from his acclaimed This Old Dog.

A highlight of 2018’s namesake ACL Festival, Khalid’s meteoric rise to fame launched when he released his first single right before his high school graduation. The El Paso native took the years he spent in high school in the Texan border town as inspiration for a series of hits and his double-platinum debut LP American Teen. The 20-year old has struck a chord with his legions of fans with insightful songs that resonate about modern youth culture—Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling songs about smartphones and being young that audiences relate to. Flashing a wide smile throughout his soaring ACL debut, Khalid showcases songs from his smash American Teen in a soulful, seven-song set as the stoked crowd sings along to every word of his lyrics. Set highlights include the anthem “American Teen,” multi-platinum smash “Young Dumb & Broke” and the four-times platinum single that started it all, “Location.”

The New York Times calls Mac DeMarco “a trendsetting merrymaker” with a “surprising career built on seeming like an affable deadbeat.” The irreverent prankster is known to share wine and cake with fans during his live shows. The Edmonton native promises to keep it smooth at the top of his ACL debut, and he makes good on the pledge in a five-song interactive set of his distinctive laid-back rock. The singer-songwriter-guitarist and his four-piece band spotlight songs from his fourth and best-selling LP This Old Dog, taking a stage set as an unconventional version of an Italian restaurant: checkered tablecloths, fake fruit, plenty of red wine and dollhead masks. Launching into the smoothly flowing set-opener “On the Level,” the creamy sound of an electric grand piano signals the drift into “For the First Time,” an ‘80s-sounding soft rocker with a melody that thrills the ACL audience. The gap-toothed rocker shows off his guitar skills on songs from his 2014 breakthrough, the lo-fi gem Salad Days, including the mellow pop of “Brother” and “Chamber of Reflection.” DeMarco throws a slice of pound cake to the willing audience and closes out the set directing the crowd in a little clapping “classic rock-style” before ditching the guitar for a glass of red wine (“It’s Cab-Sav. It’s French.”) to toast the crowd.

Mac DeMarco on Austin City Limits ©️KLRU photo by Scott Newton

“Khalid and Mac DeMarco are very different, but what they have in common are millions of passionate young music fans who adore them,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Their songs resonate with twentysomethings (and younger) because they relate to their everyday lives in ways that are insightful and friendly, and even a little bit comical.”

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 a classic encore episode from 1979, featuring the legendary Tom Waits.

ACL announces lineup for second half of Season 44

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits announces the second half of Season 44, with eight all-new installments to begin airing December 15 as part of the program’s fourteen-episode season. The stellar slate of broadcast episodes features highly-anticipated debuts from today’s most talked-about live acts, and the return of ACL stalwarts, continuing Austin City Limits’ run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance for over 40 years.

The season returns with many acts making first-time appearances on the ACL stage including UK modern rock icons (and 2019 Grammy nominees) Arctic Monkeys, rising R&B star Khalid and Canadian indie rocker Mac DeMarco splitting a bill, and trailblazing Puerto Rican rapper Residente in a thrilling rapid-fire hour. A series highlight features the return of American icon Willie Nelson, who helped launched ACL in 1974, in a new performance for the ages, marking a remarkable eighteenth appearance on the series and his first headlining set in a decade. Also returning is New Orleans sensation Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews who celebrates his second ACL with a N’awlins-style hourlong party featuring his 10-piece Orleans Avenue band along with special guest, ACL Hall of Fame legend Cyril Neville. Blues giant Buddy Guy, another 2019 Grammy nominee, returns for his third headlining appearance, sharing an episode with the all-star collective known as August Greene, featuring hip-hop’s Common and renowned producers/jazz music phenoms Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. Austin favorites Wild Child round out the season in a spirited debut from this seven-piece indie-folk outfit.

“This might be our most eclectic mix of artists, styles and genres in one fell swoop ever,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.” It really speaks to what separates Austin City Limits from every other music show, ever. I’m so proud we are able to showcase two giants in their respective genres, and both legends: Buddy Guy and Willie Nelson. Without Willie, there would be no ACL!”

Season 44 | Season 44 Broadcast Season (second half)

December 15 Khalid / Mac DeMarco
December 22 Tom Waits (encore)
December 29 Iggy Pop (encore)
December 31 ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Special

January 5 Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
January 12 Residente
January 19 Arctic Monkeys / Wild Child
January 26 Willie Nelson

February 2 Buddy Guy/ August Greene

February 9 ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival

ACL’s Season 44 premiered in October with standout performances from St. Vincent, John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, Miguel, Anderson East, Alessia Cara, Sam Smith and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The award-winning series will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes through the end of 2018. In what has become an ACL holiday tradition, the program will encore Tom Waits legendary December 1978 performance, one of the most requested episodes in ACL’s 40+ year archive. Tune-in on December 22nd to see this classic Christmas episode. A recent classic, Iggy Pop’s iconic 2016, Season 42 debut on the ACL stage, backed by an all-star band including Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, encores December 29th.

A special broadcast of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve airs Monday, December 31 at 10pm CT/11pm ET. Austin City Limits rings in the new year with this star-studded celebration, hosted by Chris Isaak, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the 2018 ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremony, taped October 25, 2018. Performers include ACL royalty Los Lobos, Marcia Ball, Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., Irma Thomas, Robert Randolph, Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, Ruthie Foster, Boz Scaggs & more.

photo by Gary Miller

For the eighth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with Two Talented Cats, LLC, and the Americana Music Association, are proud to present a special ACL Presents on February 9th to close out Season 44—featuring the best music performances from the 17th Annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Ceremony held September 12, 2018 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Austin City Limits continues to offer its popular live streams of select performances for fans worldwide on ACL’s YouTube Channel. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules.

Janelle Monáe delivers a show-stopping Season 44 episode

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents one of today’s most celebrated artists, Janelle Monáe, in a thrilling new hour of euphoric funk.  The award-winning singer, songwriter, performer, producer, activist and actor showcases songs from her widely acclaimed Dirty Computer in a must-see episode.

Monáe stole the show at this year’s namesake ACL Festival; now the visionary funk songstress delivers a show-stopping master class for her Austin City Limits debut, featuring songs from her third solo album, Dirty Computer, one of 2018’s most lauded releases.  Performing with a predominantly female ensemble, including a four-woman dance team, the Kansas City native slays in a breathtaking, eight-song set packed with exuberant choreography and elaborate costumes.  “I come in peace, but I mean business,” the powerhouse proclaims to the Austin audience. She performs Dirty Computer gems, singing the funky “Django Jane” refrain “Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it,” atop a golden throne; the sizzling “Pynk,” a cleverly costumed celebration of female empowerment, and the sensual “Make Me Feel,” opening in silhouette to showcase her Michael Jackson and James Brown-inspired dance moves.  Saying “We love you, Prince,” Monáe pays tribute to her late mentor and collaborator with “Primetime,” from 2013’s The Electric Lady, as her guitarist evokes the unmistakable coda of the icon’s “Purple Rain.” She dazzles with back-to-back highlights from her Grammy-nominated 2010 debut The ArchAndroid, including her smash “Tightrope,” then wraps up her stunning ACL debut with a climactic “Come Alive.”

“The artistry of Janelle Monáe is stunning,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “She can do it all. There’s nobody else out there like her. I’ve never seen anybody like her on Austin City Limits – in over three decades, and that says a lot!”

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 an encore episode featuring singer/songwriters James Bay and Rhiannon Giddens.

The modern Americana of Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real on ACL 44

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases left-of-center country with Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real in a new episode. Two-time Grammy Award-winning Kacey Musgraves returns for the first time since her 2014 appearance and roots rocker Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real make their ACL debut.

One of country music’s most critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, Kacey Musgraves returns to the ACL stage with songs from Golden Hour, her third album, and a career highlight. The release has generated glowing reviews and recently earned a coveted Album of the Year nomination from the Country Music Association for the upcoming CMA Awards (on November 14), along with a nod for Musgraves as Female Vocalist of the Year. With a sequin-studded saddle suspended over the stage, the boundary-pushing country artist delivers a radiant seven-song set showcasing Golden Hour, opening with the lush “Slow Burn,” an introspective stunner reflecting the more personal direction of her latest collection. The East Texas native made a name for herself with her piercing observations and irreverent brand of country and reaches back to her 2013 breakthrough for the fan-favorite “Follow Your Arrow,” letting the crowd take over on the final verse. “Get on your roller skates Austin,” she instructs the rapt audience for the disco-fied set-closer “High Horse,” as Musgraves treats the crowd to some smooth moves, turning the ACL stage into her very own dance floor.

After more than a decade on the road barnstorming across the U.S.A. and around the world, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have developed into one of music’s most impressive live acts, earning a 2018 Group of the Year nomination from the Americana Music Awards. The band’s sound draws on many of Nelson’s influences including his own father, outlaw country icon Willie Nelson, and Neil Young, with whom the band has regularly toured and recorded in recent years. In their ACL debut, the six-piece outfit delivers on their promise with a powerhouse set filled with songs from their acclaimed self-titled album. Opening with the fierce rocker “Something Real,” the band showcase their bona fides segueing seamlessly into country heartbreaker “(Forget About) Georgia.” The Austin-born Nelson performs a sterling solo acoustic “Just Outside of Austin,” a crowd-pleaser steeped in the Texas singer-songwriter tradition, before closing out the set with the stirring social anthem “Turn Off the News” for a memorable ACL debut.

photo by Scott Newton

“Both Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real represent the new generation of Country and Americana music,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “but their talents really transcend those traditional labels. What they both have in common is attitude – and lots of it!”

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 a brand new episode featuring progressive soul artist Janelle Monáe.

Miguel and Alessia Cara spotlight contemporary R&B and pop in ACL’s 44th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents an uplifting hour showcasing two standouts from the worlds of contemporary R&B and pop: Grammy Award-winning R&B phenom Miguel and hitmaker Alessia Cara in their ACL debuts. Miguel performs cuts from his acclaimed album War & Leisure and Alessia Cara, the 2018 Grammy Award-winning Best New Artist, shines with mega-hits and new songs.  

“I’ve watched many episodes of ACL and to be on this stage, this legendary stage, and share it with you tonight means the world to me,” says Miguel from behind his fringe-covered mic stand.  Los Angeles-raised, with black and Latino roots, the singer-songwriter—born Miguel Jontel Pimentel—is one of the most adventurous voices in contemporary R&B. A magnetic performer, he sends a message of love through a soaring set that inspires sing-alongs to his biggest hits.   Opening with fan-favorite “How Many Drinks?” from his 2012 breakthrough Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel moves across the stage with style, showcasing his signature falsetto.  He delivers a solo acoustic version of the social consciousness anthem “Now,” saying, “I can’t think of a better time or more fitting place to sing this song…now is the time when we have to stop looking at other people for the answers and every day take a moment to do something ourselves to move things in a positive direction.”  Miguel closes out the thrilling set with his euphoric smash “Sky Walker,” chanting the refrain “You gotta stay up!” as the willing Austin audience is on their feet.

22-year-old pop breakout star Alessia Cara earned the coveted Grammy Award for Best New Artist this year,  and delivers a crowd-pleasing set of her irresistible songs in a sparkling ACL debut. The Toronto native catapulted onto the charts in late 2015 with her spellbinding smash “Here,” from her platinum debut album KNOW-IT-ALL.  Cara performs the number in her ACL set, saying “This is the first song I ever released, and it changed my life, so sing along,” even dropping a bonus new verse on the eager audience.  The vocal stunner performs show-stopping versions of the mega-hits that have earned her legions of fans, including her emotional ode to self-love, “Scars To Your Beautiful,” and “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney blockbuster Moana.  Her band exits the stage as she dons an acoustic guitar for a soulful solo performance of her new song “A Little More”.  With smoke effects and flying confetti, Cara closes the set with an ecstatic rendition of her #1 pop collaboration with renowned DJ/producer Zedd, “Stay,” sparking an instant crowd sing-along as she playfully urges the enthralled ACL crowd to jump along.

photo by Scott Newton

“Miguel and Alessia Cara represent the best of a new generation of contemporary singer-songwriters,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Rather than wallow in self-pity or self-indulgence, their songs aren’t afraid to confront the challenges and realities of life today, but always with hope for a better world.”

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 a brand new episode featuring Americana stars Kacey Musgraves and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

Sam Smith and Anderson East sing blue-eyed soul on ACL’s 44th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits has all the feels in a soulful new installment showcasing two gifted vocalists: worldwide superstar Sam Smith and emerging singer-songwriter Anderson East.  

The multi-platinum, four-time GRAMMY ® award-winning Sam Smith wowed ACL audiences with his 2014 debut during the program’s milestone Season 40, and the British native returns with songs from his chart-topping, acclaimed sophomore album The Thrill Of It All.  Smith turns his songs about heartbreak into anthems of strength in a sparkling performance, backed by gospel-style vocalists. Smith proudly tells the Austin crowd he wrote “HIM,” the powerful same-sex anthem, “as a message that love is love,” inspiring the crowd to join on the soaring chorus. He performs a thrilling version of his smash “Pray” and delivers the stirring “Palace” as a passionate duet joined by his backing singer, displaying the full range of his vocal prowess.  The magnetic star closes out the set with the mega-hit “Too Good At Goodbyes,” with Smith gamely instructing the Austin crowd to “sing this to your ex.”

Alabama rock-and-soul singer Anderson East dazzles with his staggering vocal power and a firestorm of songs blending rock, blues, country and soul for a mighty ACL debut.  The singer-songwriter performs songs from his acclaimed Encore, produced by longtime collaborator, Nashville it-producer 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.  East brings the fireworks for set-opener “Surrender” with his hard-charging eight-piece band, complete with joyous horns and backup singers, laying down the driving beat.  He introduces the tender charmer “King For A Day” saying “here’s a song about how I’m feeling.” The swaggering “Girlfriend” segues directly into the sultry declaration of desire “All On My Mind” for a one-two gut-punch.  Vintage Southern soul-burner “Satisfy Me,” a Stax-worthy R&B gem from his 2015 debut Delilah, has the crowd on their feet and East saves the finest moment for last—bringing the house down with the powerhouse vocal climax of rousing set-closer “House Is A Building.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Sam Smith and Anderson East bare their souls in totally different ways,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “Sam starts with a whisper, then soars; Anderson starts with fireworks. What they have in common is their unabashed honesty and ability to make a powerful emotional connection with their audience.”

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 a brand new episode featuring rocking singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile.

John Prine’s songwriting mastery enlightens ACL’s 44th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits proudly presents a Season 44 highlight: a golden hour with celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine. The American original shines in his first ACL appearance since 2005, showcasing beloved classics alongside selections from The Tree of Forgiveness, his first collection of new material in 13 years, and the highest-charting release of his storied five-decade career.

Prine made his ACL debut on Season 3 in 1978 and returns for his eighth appearance during a banner year; he is a first-time nominee for the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and was named Artist of the Year for the second consecutive year at the 2018 Americana Honors & Awards. The 72-year old folk hero captivates with his astute songwriting in this career-spanning hour, introducing many of the songs with his unique humor and wit. Prine dazzles with his singular knack for storytelling on subjects as varied as sticking up for the dwarf planet Pluto, and the rituals of egg farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He opens the show climbing The Tree of Forgiveness with his four-piece band, performing seven selections from the acclaimed release, before taking the stage solo for a singalong of his early career highlight “Illegal Smile,” the opening track on his self-titled 1971 debut. Prine is joined by Kentucky native and rising songwriter Tyler Childers, who duets with his mentor on the musical last will and testament “Please Don’t Bury Me” from 1973’s Sweet Revenge. The fan favorite “Lake Marie” showcases Prine’s masterful way with words before he caps the heartfelt set with a pair of gems: new album closer “When I Get to Heaven,” and his classic “Paradise,” the final track on his ‘71 debut. Bouncing back and forth between spoken recitation and joyful singing on “When I Get to Heaven,” the songwriter offers a good-time singalong about leaving this world on a high note. When Prine gets to heaven, he tells the Austin crowd, “I’m gonna get a guitar and start a rock ’n’ roll band/check into a swell hotel/ain’t the afterlife grand?”

photo by Scott Newton

“John Prine is a unicorn,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “a true original among American songwriters, unlike any other. What better way to celebrate his birthday week and his nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame than to show what he does best – sing the songs he wrote, old and new, to an adoring audience and with his devilish sense of humor very much intact.”

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 a brand new episode featuring blue-eyes soul singers Sam Smith and Anderson East.