Taping Recap

Taping Recap: Brittany Howard

Powerhouse singer/songwriter Brittany Howard took the Austin City Limits stage for her fourth outing Monday night with an electric hour, showcasing latest album What Now, along with highlights from her acclaimed 2019 solo debut Jaime mixed into a dazzling set. Having formerly taped two episodes with her band Alabama Shakes, followed by a phenomenal solo Austin City Limits debut in 2021 for Season 47, the studio audience was buzzing with anticipation to experience new solo work from the ACL favorite. 

“We’re so happy to be here,” smiled Howard, who emerged from backstage wearing a sparkling floor-length caftan dress that shone just as bright as her onstage presence.

Brittany and band enraptured the audience right out of the gate with What Now opening tracks “Earth Sign,” and “I Don’t.” Recorded during the pandemic, What Now is an affirming genre experimentation with existential lyrics that at times take a heady psychedelic turn. Mixing in some selects off Jaime, by the time Howard pulled out crowd favorite “Stay High,” the audience was ready to sing along. Howard let out a friendly laugh mid-song at the audience’s enthusiastic recognition of the hit.

Following new tunes “Red Flags” and “Samson,” the unstoppable frontwoman forayed into playing a suite of songs from Jaime, including “Baby,” “History Repeats,” “Georgia,” and a very moody “Goat Head,” with her stellar band and longtime backing  vocalists Shanay Johnson and Karita Law fading in the meditative groove from a skillfully controlled almost-silence. Songs faded into each other, with trippy segues into meditative guitar by Alex Chakour and Brad Allan Williams piggybacked by a keys solo from Paul Horton to bookend “Georgia.” Howard let out an energetic scream in “History Repeats,” followed by a killer drum break in “13th Century Metal,” courtesy of drummer Nate Smith that inspired an audience clap-along.  

The latter portion of the set became introspective and vulnerable, with new track “To Be Still” performed with just her ace backing  vocalists and guitarist Brad Allan Williams accompanying Howard’s vocals. Her soaring voice in “Every Color in Blue,” further confirmed her status as one of music’s greatest vocalists.

“Live music is such an important thing, you know,” offered Howard as her remaining band members left her alone centerstage. Switching to an acoustic guitar, she shared, “I saw my first live band play when I was eleven years old, and it was from that moment that I decided that this was what I wanted to do. And I studied hard and I worked real hard, taught myself how to play, and I taught myself how to write songs, and now I get to be here with all of ya’ll.”  With that she launched into a heartfelt “Short and Sweet,” ending the performance and walking offstage.

The audience rhythmically clapped Brittany and band back onstage for an encore featuring a trio of songs from What Now: “Interlude,” “Another Day” and the title track, a perfect end to a transformative set. We can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall on PBS as part of our golden anniversary Season 50.

Brittany Howard performs on Austin City Limits, April 29, 2024. Photos by Scott Newton.

Listen to the full set list from the Austin City Limits taping below:


Brittany Howard – Lead guitar, vocals 

Lloyd Buchanan – Keys, Background vocals 

Alex Chakour – Guitar

Zac Cockrell – Bass

Paul Horton – Keys 

Shanay Johnson – Background Vocals 

Karita Law – Background Vocals 

Nate Smith – Drums 

Brad Allan Williams – Guitar