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Austin City Limits Heritage Collection with Modern Rocks Gallery

As Austin City Limits (ACL) prepares to celebrate a remarkable 50th Anniversary this year, the live music program salutes the iconic work of legendary longtime staff photographer Scott Newton. Austin City Limits Heritage unveils a stunning collection of signed limited edition black & white photographic prints, capturing many of music’s most enduring figures from the early days of the longest-running music program in television history. To commemorate Austin City Limits‘ 50 years of music, Modern Rocks Gallery founder and owner (and former Modern English guitarist) Steven Walker has curated a heritage collection of fifty classic prints from Newton’s extensive ACL archive, available to fans to purchase for the first time, exclusively from Modern Rocks Gallery in conjunction with Austin PBS. These limited edition fine arts prints will be displayed to view in person at an opening night reception with Scott Newton at Austin’s Modern Rocks Gallery on Friday, April 26 from 7pm-10pm. Fans will also be able to view and purchase the prints online.

A self-taught photographer, Newton has captured memorable images on the ACL stage since Season 5 of the series in 1979 and has remained the program’s official photographer for four and a half decades. As integral to an ACL taping as the television cameras, Newton can frequently be spotted in the footlights and dodging the swinging camera crane to document the artists onstage. During his remarkable tenure, Newton has chronicled early ACL legends including Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, John Prine and many more. 

From left: Steven Walker, Scott Newton and Terry Lickona. Image courtesy of Emily Bolf.

“After shooting all those great shows, I finally get to share the results with my fellow music lovers!” says Newton. “This is exciting; decades of my work made accessible as wall art. It’s a dream come true.” Modern Rocks Gallery’s Steven Walker states, “I can’t help but feel a profound sense of pride having been given the honor of curating Austin City Limits Heritage Collection. It seems quite fitting that Modern Rocks Gallery hits its 10th anniversary the same year ACL celebrates 50 years of music. Not only visually striking, this collection holds significant importance. Austin City Limits is ingrained in the very fabric of Austin—it’s singular and cherished, much like Scott Newton’s photography.”

Longtime ACL executive producer Terry Lickona adds: “Scott has always captured the essence and spirit of Austin City Limits through his lens. This nostalgic collection brings to life some of the most historic moments of ACL’s formative years.”

Newton began photographing musicians at Austin’s infamous Armadillo World Headquarters in the early 1970s. His work has been championed for capturing the spirit of the live music capital of the world, and has appeared in coffee table books and hotels, and is regularly featured in publications and on acltv.com.

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Taping Recap

Taping Recap: Jelly Roll

Fresh off the high of this weekend’s CMTs, where Jelly Roll swept the Awards with a trio of wins, and newly-nominated for four ACM Awards, including top honor of Entertainer of the Year, country music’s newest superstar took the stage for his debut ACL TV performance in high spirits, grabbing the microphone and shouting, “50 years of Austin City Limits!” The high energy audience was here for it, on their feet from start to finish, cheering along the Nashville singer/songwriter and band as they performed a blazing set which included unreleased new material that’s never been performed live… until now. 

Kicking off the hour with “Halfway to Hell” and “The Lost” from his record-breaking Whitsitt Chapel, Jelly Roll took time in between songs to acknowledge the adoring crowd, responding to intermittent “I love yous” and waving thankfully. He waxed poetic about his love of Austin City Limits – “I’ve been watching this since I was a child.” Jelly was quick to cite many of the country greats and ACL forebears that have influenced him from a young age, from Willie Nelson to Merle Haggard to George Jones: “I’ve got [ACL] posters on my walls from shows I never went to.” 

Jelly Roll gave a disclaimer to the audience, saying they were going to debut some new songs live for the first time, and might have to restart, before thrilling the crowd with a pair of unreleased tracks, “Liar” and “Winning Streak,” from his forthcoming album. He went on to say no one outside of his wife and close friends had heard these (we also learned the band had only first heard the songs earlier that day), asking the audience for grace as they delivered the new songs flawlessly. 

Next, Jelly Roll performed a cover of Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” introducing the song with the sentiment, “country music lost a legend this year.” From there, he dove right into a monologue about musical influences and how he and his siblings were into massively varying genres – he was raised on country, while his sister was into rock and his older brother into hip hop and rap music. This segued into a medley of bangers, from Eazy-E’s “Boyz-in-the-Hood,” to DMX’s “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem.” Jelly capped it off  with Biz Markie’s anthem “Just a Friend,” inciting an ecstatic, audience-wide singalong. 

Jelly Roll and his 7-piece band, including longtime guitarist Casey Jarvis, went on to deliver back to back favorites from his hit albums, A Beautiful Disaster and Whitsitt Chapel, while also finding opportunity to sprinkle in a new tune, “I’m Not OK,” alongside “Smoking Section” from Therapeutic Music Collection. 

Jelly Roll left the stage for a quick break toward the end of “Bottle and Mary Jane,” as Casey Jarvis and Jack Fowler ripped wailing guitar solos back-and-forth. 

Jelly Roll closed his set with “She” and “Save Me,” taking a moment to reference his recent appearance before Congress to urge lawmakers to pass legislation combating the distribution of fentanyl. As the audience applauded, Jelly flashed the “hook ‘em horns” gesture, saying after the CMT Awards at the Moody Center Sunday night, the longhorn culture has started to rub off on him. One thing is certain after carving his name in ACL history, Austin would be happy to welcome Jelly Roll back any day. 

Jelly Roll performs on Austin City Limits, April 9, 2024. Photos by Scott Newton.

SETLIST:

Halfway to Hell – Whitsitt Chapel

The Lost – Whitsitt Chapel

Son of a Sinner – Ballads of the Broken

Liar – new song

Winning Streak – new song

Cover of Toby Keith “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” 

Covers of DMX, “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem,” Eminem – “Lose Yourself,” Outkast, “Ms. Jackson,” Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend,” Eazy-E’s “Boyz-in-the-Hood”

Creature – A Beautiful Disaster

Bottle and Mary Jane – A Beautiful Disaster

Need a Favor – Whitsitt Chapel

I’m Not OK – new song

Smoking Section – Therapeutic Music Collection

She – Whitsitt Chapel

Save Me – Whitsitt Chapel

MUSICIANS:

Jelly Roll – vocals

Cody Ash – drums

DJ Chill – DJ

Casey Jarvis – guitar

Roosevelt Collier – pedal steel (note: he’s a Sacred Steel player)

Joe Andrews – keyboards, guitar

Alex Howard – bass

Jack Fowler – guitar

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Taping Recap

Taping Recap: Gary Clark Jr.

Four-time Grammy Award winner and distinguished alumnus of Austin City Limits, Gary Clark Jr. returned to The Moody Theater stage Tuesday night for his fourth headlining appearance on the show. “I’m glad to be a part of this family,” said Clark, after wishing ACL a happy 50th anniversary. “It means more than you guys will ever know.” What transpired was a transcendent journey into his latest album, JPEG RAW, with Clark even leading the audience through meditation exercises at one point. Written predominantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, JPEG RAW hints at personal transformation, with introspective, sometimes melancholic themes, but not compromising Clark’s signature heavy guitar and occasional riffing with longtime bandmate, guitarist Eric Zapata (who was wearing a mesmerizing metallic spiked hat), or as Clark referred to him, “the man with the most mystique.” 

“Lets have some fun,” said Clark, as he kicked off the set with “Maktub,” featuring a wailing guitar solo that cemented the promise of a great night ahead. As the audience journeyed with Clark and band through “Don’t Start” and title track “JPEG RAW,” he paused to switch guitars, telling the story of how as a young boy he begged his parents (who were in the audience) for a guitar that would make him sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

Clark brought out Austin-based singer-songwriter Naala for “This Is Who We Are,” and later nodded to the stacked list of guest performances on the JPEG RAW album, including Valerie June on “Don’t Start,” Stevie Wonder on “What About the Children,” and George Clinton on “Funk Witch U.” 

Performing only one song, “Feed the Babies,” from his earlier body of work, Clark’s performance of primarily tracks from JPEG RAW was wholly a new experience for the live audience, lending itself to a sort of crowd hypnosis meets introspective listening. Closing out the set with 9-minute-long “Habits,” it was difficult not to be completely mesmerized by the hauntingly beautiful call and response echo between Clark and background vocalists Shanan, Shawn and Savannah (who also happen to be his sisters), as they sang, “come back my love…” While the night ended on a softer note, the audience roared with applause for their hometown hero Gary Clark Jr. 

Gary Clark Jr. performs on Austin City Limits, March 26, 2024. Photos by Scott Newton.

SETLIST:

Maktub – JPEG RAW

Don’t Start – JPEG RAW

JPEG RAW – JPEG RAW

This is Who We Are (ft. special guest Naala) – JPEG RAW

Feed the Babies – This Land

To the End of the Earth – JPEG RAW

Alone Together – JPEG RAW

What About the Children – JPEG RAW

Hearts in Retrograde – JPEG RAW

Hyperwave – JPEG RAW

Funk Witch U – JPEG RAW

Triumph – JPEG RAW

Habits – JPEG RAW

MUSICIANS:

Gary Clark Jr. – vocals, guitar

Eric Zapata – guitar

Jonathan Deas – keyboards

Elijah Ford – bass, guitar, synth

Dayne Reliford – keyboards, bass

Jarrod Johnson – drums

Shanan Colvin – vocals

Shawn Clark-Martinez – vocals

Savannah Clark – vocals

Special guest: Naala on “This is Who We Are.”