Encore Broadcast Featured News

Encore: Tom Waits

The Tom Waits episode of Austin City Limits is one of the most requested shows in our 37-year archive. In the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve put this Season 4 delight back on the air for the first time in over a decade. Tune in this Saturday 12/22 to see this classic episode once again.

Recorded in December 1978, the show came in through the back door, so to speak. Terry Lickona, who became producer that year, was trying to book singer Leon Redbone. Redbone and Waits shared a manager, who promptly requested that Terry book his other client as well. In order to make sure the Redbone show happened, Terry agreed, even though he was nervous that the roots-oriented audience ACL had already built in its previous three seasons might think that Waits’ avant-garde gutter poetry was too radical for the show.

The rest is, well, you know the cliche. Supporting his classic LP Blue Valentine (but aren’t they all classics?), Waits was deep in the transitional phase of his career, evolving out of the jazzy beat poetry of his early work (“I Wish I Was in New Orleans”) and into the bluesier, more dissonant sounds (“Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Blue Gun”) for which he became known in the 80s and beyond. He acknowledged the season with the streetwise but lovely “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,” which incorporates a few bars of a better-known Xmas hymn. And he debuted “On the Nickel,” one of his greatest ballads, and which wouldn’t be released on record until Heartattack and Vine in 1980.

You can check out the episode page for pics, the set list and the original liner notes for the episode. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and/or sign up for our newsletter for the latest news on ACL happenings, or to go to our Tumblr blog for a look back at ACL’s photographic past. Next week: Sonic Youth and the Black Keys.

Encore Broadcast News

Encore: Monsters of Folk

The term “supergroup” has been beaten into the ground with sledgehammers wielded by ill-conceived musical conglomerates motivated by profit and/or whimsy rather than compatibility. But that’s not the case at all with Monsters of Folk, and you can catch their Season 36 episode of Austin City Limits rebroadcasting this Saturday on your local PBS station.

Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst AKA Bright Eyes, and M. Ward have been touring buddies for years, even appearing together on ACL once before during the Bright Eyes episode in Season 30. Along with Will Johnson from Centro-matic and Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis (who indie rock obsessives might also remember from the 90s cult band Lullaby For the Working Class), they revisited our stage in 2010 as Monsters of Folk in support of the LP of the same name. And we were thrilled to have them back.

Looking for a taste before Saturday’s meal? Click over to the episode page for clips, pics and more info. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages or to sign up for our newsletter to keep up with ACL’s comings and goings. We’re bringing you more great encores over the holidays, but don’t worry: new episodes return in January.

Encore Broadcast News

Encore: Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers and Sarah Jarosz

Here at Austin City Limits, bluegrass is no stranger to the stage, but rarely do we see it performed by two diverse and equally talented singer/songwriters: the one and only, banjo-picking Steve Martin and the young rising star Sarah Jarosz. Tune in this encore episode on Saturday to experience the old-time tradition performed in a way that you’ve never seen.

“It has been a longtime dream of mine to play bluegrass on Austin City Limits…and tonight I feel I am one step closer to that goal,”  joked comedian/author/actor Steve Martin after opening with the instrumental and fast-paced “Pitkin County Turnaround.” Joined onstage by current Grammy nominees the Steep Canyon Rangers, the supremely talented quintet from North Carolina that’s joined Martin for various festival performances and on record, Martin mainly plays tracks off the 2009 Grammy winning album, The Crow. But he features a song exclusively for atheists –  “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” is a funny bone-tickling tune that adds to the fictitious Atheist Hymnal and was included on Martin’s latest release Rare Bird Alert. We guarantee that you’ll love it, regardless where you stand on matters of faith.

It was just a matter of time before Sarah Jarosz, described by many as being a “contemporary-bluegrass prodigy,” made her debut here at ACL. With a Grammy nomination under her belt for Best Country Instrumental for her song “Mansinneedof,” it’s safe to say that we can expect great things from this young multi-instrumentalist. You’ll hear tracks from her 2009 debut album, Song Up In Her Head and the beautifully-written track, “My Muse,” from her 2011 release Follow Me Down. Although her original songs were greeted with warm applause and praise, the culmination of the night occurred when Jarosz shared her take on Tim O’Brien’s, “Lands End / Chasin’ Talon,” and Tom Wait’s “Come On Up to the House.”

photo by Scott Newton

Be prepared to laugh at Martin’s humor and be blown away by Jarosz’s young yet uncommonly wise talent. Check your local listings for showtimes to see this episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our newsletter to keep up with updates on tapings and airings. Tune in next week for alternative rock supergroup, Monsters of Folk!

Featured News

ACL Salutes the 2013 Grammy Nominees!

The nominations for the 55th annual Grammy Awards were announced last night, and we’re happy to note that many ACL artists got the nod. Congrats to the Black Keys for their five nominations (including Record of the Year and Album of the Year), Jack White for his three (including Album of the Year), Mumford & Sons for their four (including Album of the Year), Alabama Shakes for their three (including Best New Artist) and Esperanza Spalding for her three (including Best Jazz Vocal Album). We also tip our hat to alumni Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Cliff, Florence + the Machine, Coldplay, Miranda Lambert, Tom Waits, John Legend, The Roots, Dr. John, the Civil Wars and the Avett Brothers for their Grammy nods.

If you want to see some of these fine folks in action, we have a repeat of the Black Keys’ episode with Sonic Youth on December 29, and new episodes featuring Jack White on January 5, Alabama Shakes on February 16 and Esperanza Spalding on February 23. Plus Mumford & Sons’ episode with Flogging Molly is streaming at PBS Video here. Please join us in cheering on our nominees – the Grammy Awards ceremony airs live on February 10.

And speaking of good vibes, we also want to give a shout out to our own Terry Lickona – ACL’s executive producer is also, for the second year in a row, co-producer of the Grammy telecast, as well as the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy, the Grammys’ parent organization. The Grammys are in good hands!


Austinites: Austin City Limits/KLRU Holiday Gift Fair Monday 12/10, 5-7pm

Austinites! We will have our annual holiday sale on Monday, December 10th. Get yourself to KLRU’s Studio 6A (map), and knock out your holiday shopping!

Here’s the skinny:

Austin City Limits/KLRU Holiday Gift Fair
Mon. Dec. 10 from 5-7 p.m in Studio 6A (corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton Streets).
Limited edition posters, t-shirts, and more all $5-$20!
There will be live acoustic performances to get everyone in the holiday mood!
Music schedule:
5:00pm Santiago Dietche
5:40pm Lauren Burton
6:20pm Willy McGee
Santiago Dietche is a folk singer born and raised in Austin, Texas. His music has been described as ramble-folk, trying to fit in as much information into each line as possible while maintaining somewhat basic structures. His influences range from Nick Drake to Conor Oberst to Damien Rice, staying true to the platform of acoustic guitar and vocals. His EP, Built Simple is currently available at for a pay-what-you-want price. 
You can follow Santiago on Twitter @spiritussanti
Lauren Burton is a Kentucky-born singer/songwriter who started playing music when she was 14. She moved to Austin, Texas at the age of 16. You might have seen her performing in her band, Lauren and the Black List, which lasted for 2 years. Her current project is an indie-pop project called Darlings, which takes influence from Regina Spektor, Girls, and David Bazan. Lauren is hard at work on a new EP.
Willy McGee is an Austin native musician who grew up surrounded by good families.  He spent a few years traveling and has played music in many places with very interesting people.  He now lives in Austin, home sweet home. You can check out Willy’s music at and follow him on Facebook at
News Taping Recap

Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society in action

When Esperanza Spalding appeared on Austin City Limits in 2009, she frankly blew us away. A great singer, composer, bandleader and bassist, the Portland native-turned-Austin resident wasn’t a household name, but she made a huge impression on everyone who saw her on our stage. So we were pleased to have her back, with a Best New Artist Grammy on her shelf and a new twist on her distinct vision of jazz and soul.

In a direct nod to her latest record Radio Music Society, a giant jambox adorned our stage; when it started to glow, the band began to play, jumping genres amid radio static to emulate someone switching stations looking for the perfect song (a theme she’d come back to later). Then a deejay announced “Us,” a funky pop tune in which Spalding explained “the philosophy of the Radio Music Society” and introduced her 11-piece band. Stage appropriately set, she and her musicians danced skillfully across a line where jazz, R&B and pop hook up. She veered from the romantic pop/soul of “Crowned and Kissed” and the overt R&B empowerment of “Black Gold” to the jazz balladry of “Hold On Me” and the bebop fusion of Wayne Shorter’s “Endangered Species” (now given environmentally-conscious lyrics).

But Spalding and the band did more than simply play different but related styles. They mixed it all together, adding scat singing to the lovelorn soul of “I Can’t Help It,” slathering the R&B ballad “Cinnamon Tree” with busy jazz guitar (provided by Jef Lee Johnson, a cult figure for guitar nerds) and spicing the singalong soul pop of “Radio Song” with a free jazz piano solo. “Radio Song,” in fact, climaxed the set, rolling the entire “philosophy” of the Radio Music Society into one number, with explanatory dialogue, a catchy chorus and a call-and-response vocal line that made the audience part of the performance. Spalding left the stage still playing and leading the crowd in song.

She encored with a nod to her jazz roots, essaying a sweet take on Betty Carter’s “Look No Further” accompanied only by her drummer. It was a perfect way to cap the big music of the main set and a reminder of her mantra from her first ACL appearance: jazz ain’t nothin’ but soul. You’ll hear for yourself when Esperanza Spalding’s episode airs in February. Don’t miss it!