ACL Presents: Americana music’s biggest night

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 11: Elvis Costello performs onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Austin City Limits returns to Nashville for a special broadcast offering performance highlights from the 18th Annual Americana Honors. For nearly two decades, the prestigious ceremony has celebrated the best and brightest musicians in Americana music while showcasing one-of-a-kind performances. The program is filled with musical highlights from many of the night’s award-winners and honorees, among them (in order of appearance): Our Native Daughters, Mumford & Sons, Yola, Brandi Carlile, Mark Erelli & friends, Mavis Staples, Joe Henry & Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, The War and Treaty, I’m With Her, The Milk Carton Kids, Bonnie Raitt & John Prine, Elvis Costello & Jim Lauderdale

Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019, The Americana Music Association’s 18th Annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony is a celebration of the diverse sounds of roots music, from folk, bluegrass and country to R&B and the blues. For the ninth consecutive year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with producers Martin Fischer, Michelle Aquilato, Edie Hoback and the Americana Music Association, proudly deliver a special ACL Presents. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount of The War and Treaty perform onstage during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

A generation-bridging group of Americana standouts perform: Brandi Carlile caps a milestone year following her 2019 GRAMMY®-winning By the Way, I Forgive You, with the Americana Artist of the Year honor and gives a stellar performance of that record’s “The Mother.” Beloved songwriter John Prine, the night’s two-time honoree for Album of the Year and Song of the Year, teams with Bonnie Raitt for a show-stopping performance of the timeless “Angel From Montgomery,” which Prine penned and Raitt popularized. Soul legend Mavis Staples, who received the Honors’ inaugural Inspiration Award, performs stirring new song “Change” from her acclaimed 2019 release We Get By. Duo/Group of the Year honorees I’m With Her, the all-star trio of Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins, perform a gorgeous new track, “Call My Name.” Singer-songwriter Mark Erelli performs his Song of the Year nominated “By Degrees,” joined by friends Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, Shawn Colvin and J.S. Ondara trading verses on the potent anti-gun violence anthem. 

Rhiannon Giddens, the recipient of the Honors’ inaugural Legacy of Americana Award, opens the hour with her all-female combo Our Native Daughters, a Group/Duo nominee, and returns for a solo performance with a stunning rendition of the folk-gospel classic “Wayfaring Stranger.” The show’s hosts, acoustic duo The Milk Carton Kids, perform the classic Felice and Boudleaux Bryant-penned “Sleepless Nights” and also join Mumford & Sons for a stripped-down rendition of “Forever” from the band’s recent album, Delta. Joe Henry and Rodney Crowell deliver a memorable salute with their stirring take on “Girl From the North Country,” a tribute to five decades of Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album. 

Americana’s next-generation of stars showcase their bona fides: dynamic husband-and-wife duo The War and Treaty, Emerging Act of the Year honorees, raise the Ryman roof with the thrilling “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow”; Emerging Act nominee Yola, the U.K. singer-songwriter sensation, gives a towering performance with “Faraway Look,” from her Album of the Year-nominated and Dan Auerbach-produced Walk Through Fire

The show closes with Elvis Costello, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting (joined by Americana stalwart Jim Lauderdale) displaying his multi-genre range with a fiery “Red Cotton” from his 2009 Secret, Profane and Sugarcane album alongside “Blame It On Cain” from his 1977 debut My Aim Is True.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 11: (L-R) Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah, Rhiannon Giddens and Leyla McCalla attend the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 11, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Broadcast Setlist:

Our Native Daughters “Black Myself”

Mumford & Sons (f. The Milk Carton Kids) “Forever”

Yola “Faraway Look”

Brandi Carlile “The Mother”

Mark Erelli (f. Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, J.S. Ondara, Shawn Colvin) “By Degrees”

Mavis Staples “Change”

Joe Henry & Rodney Crowell “Girl From the North Country”

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi “Wayfaring Stranger”

The War and Treaty “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow”

I’m With Her (f. Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan) “Call My Name”

The Milk Carton Kids “Sleepless Nights”

Bonnie Raitt & John Prine “Angel From Montgomery”

Elvis Costello with Jim Lauderdale “Red Cotton/Blame it on Cain”

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 special encore from one of the most enduring bands of the twentieth century: the Pretenders

Rosalía wins big at 2019 Latin Grammys

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits extends a hearty congratulations to Spanish singer/songwriter Rosalía on her towering win of five Latin Grammy awards at last night’s star-studded ceremony in Las Vegas. Her acclaimed album El Mal Querer was awarded Album of the Year, making her the first female artist this decade to win the coveted title (since Shakira in 2006). Rosalía also took top honors for Best Contemporary Pop Album, Best Engineered Album, and Best Recording Package, while her smash single “Con Altura,” cut with reggaetón superstar J Balvin, won for Best Urban Song. “When I made that album I made it from the heart. I didn’t think about what would happen later,” Rosalía told the Los Angeles Times backstage at the event. “I can’t control anything that happens after the creative process because after that it’s not yours anymore, it’s everyone else’s.”

Rosalía delivered one of the most distinctive and remarkable shows in ACL history at her recent October taping. Viewers can watch the thrilling performance when it airs February 8, 2019 as a full-hour episode as part of the second half of ACL’s Season 45 on your local PBS station.

Kane Brown and Colter Wall: two sides of country music on ACL’s 45 season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits spotlights next-generation country representing the genre’s expansive range in a new installment featuring chart-topping sensation Kane Brown sharing the hour with breakout Country-and-Western artist Colter Wall

One of country music’s brightest new stars, boundary-pushing artist Kane Brown is having a banner year, dominating the charts with his low, soulful voice and earning multiple nominations for Country Artist of the Year. The 26-year-old hitmaker makes his ACL debut performing highlights from Experiment, his chart-topping sophomore album which debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Born and raised near the rural North Georgia-Tennessee border, the singer makes country music for a modern audience, blending elements of pop, rock, rap and R&B into a traditional country formula. Brown showcases his bona fides as the future of the genre, opening his seven-song set with his breakthrough “What Ifs,” the 4X Platinum love song from his self-titled 2016 debut. He details his personal challenges growing up biracial on “Learning” and tackles the topic of school shootings in the dark, powerful standout “American Bad Dream.” Brown closes out the crowd-pleasing set with a victory lap, performing the No. 1, platinum-selling come-hither smash “Lose It.”

Western Canadian folksinger Colter Wall draws on the stories of his native Saskatchewan for his ACL debut. The talented, 24-year-old artist possesses a rich, resonant baritone that belies his age. Accompanied by his four-piece band, Wall performs the modern-day Western numbers from his acclaimed sophomore release Songs of the Plains, produced by Nashville ace Dave Cobb. A set highlight is a pair of new, unrecorded numbers, “Happy Reunion” and the solo acoustic “Hoolihans at the Holiday Inn,” a 21st-century cowboy’s lament about roping practice in hotel parking lots. Wall delivers traditional classics that fit right into his wheelhouse: an inspired rendition of Marty Robbins’ gunfighter-ballad “Big Iron” and the ‘50’s yodel-spiked “Cowpoke,” before reaching back to his 2017 self-titled debut for the fan-favorite set-closer “Motorcycle.”

photo by Scott Newton

“Kane Brown is on the front line bringing country music into the 21st century,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “His personal story and the subjects he sings about set him apart from the mainstream, yet he’s very much a part of the tradition of country mavericks who aren’t afraid to break the mold.

“Colter Wall is the first artist in a generation to put the ‘western’ back in country-and-western music. His songs about wide-open spaces and the loneliness and isolation resonate with fans feeling the pressure of the modern 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 special program, as ACL Presents: Americana 18th annual Awards and Honors, featuring Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Our Native Daughters, I’m With Her and more. 

Vampire Weekend triumphantly returns in ACL’s 45th season

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits spotlights Vampire Weekend in a must-see hour featuring the indie-rock band’s epic return showcasing their long-awaited new album Father of the Bride alongside classic gems from their catalog.  

Vampire Weekend performs a suite of songs off the celebrated, chart-topping Father of the Bride, their fourth album and first in six years. The seven-piece, led by frontman Ezra Koenig, unpack new gems: “Sympathy,” “Bambina,”“2021,” “My Mistake,” and “This Life,” showcasing their irresistible knack for melody and lyrics that capture the complexities of 21st-century life. The group perform select favorites from their catalog, including the breakthrough “A-Punk” from their 2008 debut and the rhythmic, Afrobeat “White Sky” from 2010’s landmark Contra. Koenig’s 2014 collaboration with EDM producer SBTRKT, “New Dorp. New York,” is here transformed into a Vampire Weekend funk-rock epic. A set highlight is an extended version of new classic “Harmony Hall,” a masterful, melodic wonder that opens with an iconic guitar riff and accelerates into a joyful piano sprint. The perfectly-paced set comes to a powerful close with Koenig’s stunning vocal on the hymnal, cathartic anthem “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin.” 

“There’s never been a better time to appreciate Vampire Weekend, given the world we live in today,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “I’ve always been a fan of Ezra Koenig’s voice and his new songs are more personal and inward-looking than ever. Vampire Weekend has remained tried-and-true – popular without ever becoming pop!”

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 two sides of modern country music with Kane Brown and Colter Wall.

Patty Griffin and The Revivalists sing from their souls in ACL’s Season 45

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits showcases American roots music with Texas singer-songwriter Patty Griffin and New Orleans rockers The Revivalists in a new installment as part of ACL’s milestone Season 45. Griffin performs an intimate, stripped-down set highlighting songs from her recent self-titled release and The Revivalists play crowd-pleasing anthems from their latest Take Good Care.

Patty Griffin delivers a powerful performance with songs from her new self-titled release, her tenth studio album — the first after a four-year hiatus. The Austin favorite first appeared on ACL in a songwriters’ special in 2000, and she returns for her sixth appearance on our stage, adding another extraordinary chapter to her storied two-decade career. Accompanied by guitarist David Pulkingham and percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Conrad Choucroun, Griffin performs highlights from her latest, including the new single “The Wheel”, along with “Luminous Places” and “Hourglass”. The Austin-based musician introduces “Boys From Tralee,” a Celtic-folk stunner that tells the story of her Irish ancestors’ emigration to the United States. Griffin dips back to 2004’s Impossible Dream for the bluesy gut-punch “Standing”, showcasing her rich vocals and love of gospel. 

“We take great pride in claiming Patty as one of our own here in Austin,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “ but the truth is that her songs have captured the hearts and souls of millions of fans the world over.”

Chart-topping New Orleans brass-rockers The Revivalists perform an irresistible set filled with get-up-and-dance gems from their acclaimed 2018 album Take Good Care. The road-tested band, who’ve perfected their energetic live show with over a decade of non-stop touring, take the crowd on an emotional rollercoaster with infectious slow-build numbers that escalate to anthems. The eight-piece outfit open with their platinum-selling 2015 breakthrough, “Wish I Knew You,” the nostalgic funk jam that became a Number One Billboard smash. Lead singer David Shaw strikes a chord with his signature soulful howl and the group showcase their love for old-school soul on set-closer “Got Love.”

photo by Scott Newton

“The Revivalists won me over the day I saw them play at New Orleans’ Jazzfest,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “They may not have that typical New Orleans sound that comes to mind, but they have the grit, the funk, and the spice to create their own special kind of musical gumbo.”

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, a special hour featuring the return of indie rock favorites Vampire Weekend

H.E.R. sparkles on debut ACL episode

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits spotlights R&B sensation H.E.R. in a powerhouse debut. The 2019 double Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist dazzles in a new hour. 

A rare talent, 22-year-old H.E.R. delivers a stunning performance in her ACL debut. Opening with the acoustic guitar-driven “Carried Away,” H.E.R. calls out “Austin — you want to lose your mind a little bit?” She commands the hour running through a medley of her hits while showcasing her musician skills, seamlessly switching between keyboards, drum pads, bass, acoustic and electric guitars throughout. With a remarkable demonstration of range, she folds her Grammy Award-winning double-platinum hit “Best Part” from her 2017 breakout debut H.E.R. between covers of Deniece Williams’ “Free” and Lauryn Hill’s “Nothing Really Matters”. She brings a rock ‘n’ roll bravado to her love crisis banger “Hard Place” enlisting the enthralled crowd to raise their voices “a little louder” for the soaring anthem. H.E.R. earns an extended standing ovation for her showstopping rendition of “Make It Rain”, adding her own stamp with a bluesy guitar solo and soulful vocals. She showcases her platinum smash “Focus” and gives nods to her inspirations along the way, leading the crowd in a full-throated singalong of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor”, and closing with a fiery guitar solo coda of Prince’s “Purple Rain” in a performance for the ages. 

“H.E.R. is a modern Renaissance Woman whose musical skills know no bounds,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “It’s inspiring and jaw-dropping to watch her morph and meld one style or genre on top of another. Her Grammy performance was a stand-out and her ACL performance really gives her the room to stretch out.”

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 Patty Griffin and New Orleans rockers The Revivalists.

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.

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.