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Featured News

ACL EP Terry Lickona honored with PBS Beacon Award

Today, PBS announced it has honored AUSTIN CITY LIMITS executive producer Terry Lickona with the 2024 Beacon Award for his work leading the iconic live music institution. The highest honor in public television, the Beacon award pays tribute to individuals whose work inspires Americans and enriches our nation, in keeping with the mission of PBS. 

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger presented the award to Lickona at PBS’s Annual Meeting of Member Stations along with Catherine Robb, General Vice Chair of the PBS Board; Luis Patiño, President & Executive Officer of Austin PBS; and musician Dave Grohl.   

“Terry is a legend,” said Kerger. “He has grown Austin City Limits from a small regional showcase into the longest-running music series in television history. I am proud to present PBS’s highest award to him for the extraordinary contributions he, and ACL, has made to our country by bringing so many legendary performances to a national audience.” 

Since 1978, Lickona has been the producer/executive producer of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS. He is also co-producer of the Grammy Awards telecast on CBS, and the Latin Grammy Awards broadcast on Univision. Celebrating its 50th year on PBS, ACL gives viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. In 2003, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS was awarded the National Medal of Arts, and in 2012 received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement. The program and its original Studio 6A were designated an official Rock and Roll Landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. The series presents a wide variety of musical styles and genres. Lickona has worked with artists ranging from Ray Charles and Johnny Cash to Kendrick Lamar, B.B. King, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brandi Carlile, Foo Fighters, Rosalía, Jon Batiste, Ed Sheeran, Bonnie Raitt, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, and countless more. 

A monument to music, ACL has showcased iconic performances from legends and innovators in every genre of popular song for a half-century. Produced by Austin PBS, the show remains a required stopping point for the finest acts to deliver stellar performances from the venerable ACL stage in Austin, Texas. On October 17, 1974, the notoriously TV-shy Willie Nelson taped the pilot episode; the trailblazing series then premiered on PBS in 1975. This renowned program has earned its place in history and will salute its golden anniversary and incredible legacy with a yearlong celebration featuring archival gems, all-star tapings, a primetime PBS special, live concerts, and much more.

PBS is proud to honor Lickona with the Beacon Award for his many cultural contributions, impact, and leadership across public media. 

The PBS Beacon Award, formerly known as the Be More Award, was established in 2004. Last year’s recipient was FRONTLINE. Other former awardees include Fred Rogers (2004), Jim Lehrer (2005), Bill Moyers (2006), Neil DeGrasse Tyson (2008), Ken Burns (2009), Joan Ganz Cooney (2010), Rebecca Eaton (2011), Gwen Ifill (2012), Alberto Ibarguen (2013), Miles O’Brien (2014), David Fanning (2015), Newton Minow (2016), Bill Isler (2017), Stanley Nelson (2018) Judy Woodruff (2019), Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2021), Sonia Manzano (2022).

ABOUT PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 36 million adults on linear primetime television, more than 15 million users on PBS-owned streaming platforms, and 56 million people view PBS content on social media, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature, and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS LearningMedia for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. As the number one educational media brand, PBS KIDS helps children 2-8 build critical skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality content on TV — including a PBS KIDS channel — and streaming free onpbskids.org and the PBS KIDS Video app, games on the PBS KIDS Games app, and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, Facebook, Instagram, or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on X (formerly Twitter).

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Featured News Taping Announcement

New tapings: Maggie Rogers, Kacey Musgraves, The War And Treaty, Gracie Abrams

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new summer tapings from a stellar slate of American originals for our golden anniversary Season 50: critically acclaimed producer/songwriter/performer Maggie Rogers returns on May 30 with songs from her new album Don’t Forget Me; celebrated singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves returns for her third headlining appearance on June 3 to showcase her acclaimed new release Deeper Well; powerhouse act The War And Treaty return to the ACL stage on June 28 for their second feature slot; and 2024 Grammy Best New Artist nominee Gracie Abrams makes her ACL debut on July 30 with new music from her upcoming sophomore album The Secret of Us.

Maggie Rogers. Photo by Maddy Rotman.

GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer/songwriter/performer Maggie Rogers recently shared her third studio album, Don’t Forget Me, out now via Capitol Records.  Rogers co-produced her new album with Ian Fitchuk (Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris) at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, writing eight of its 10 songs with him and penning two alone. Shawn Everett (Brittany Howard, The War on Drugs) mixed and the album was mastered by Emily Lazar (Beck, Coldplay), who has mastered all of Rogers’ albums to date. Praising the album’s “transcendent songwriting,” SPIN said, “with Don’t Forget Me, Rogers sounds fully confident.” Rolling Stone said, “For such a heavy emotional lift, the album is an easygoing listen, perfect for a Sunday-afternoon drive.” In this feature, The New Yorker praised the album as “the loosest and most elemental music she’s made…burly, coltish, tender, fun,” while Pitchfork declared, “the singer-songwriter’s third album is her strongest yet, the sounds of a wise, clear-eyed melodious prodigy coming into her own voice.  Originally from Maryland, Rogers released her breakthrough EP Now That The Light Is Fading in 2017. Widely hailed as an artist to watch, Rogers released her critically acclaimed Capitol Records debut album Heard It In A Past Life in January 2019 and immediately found tremendous success: entering Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart at No. 1 and debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The album earned praise from the likes of NPR, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, TIME Magazine, Vogue, and many more. Heard It In A Past Life also landed Rogers a nomination for Best New Artist at the 62nd GRAMMY® Awards and led to performances on major TV shows including Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Austin City Limits, Today, and more. The album, which contains the platinum hits “Light On” and “Alaska,” has amassed over one billion combined global streams and is certified Gold in the U.S. In 2022, Rogers released her follow up album, Surrender, to widespread acclaim and embarked on two sold-out headline tours across Europe and North America including her Summer of ’23 Tour, which included stops at legendary venues like Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, Forest Hills Stadium in NYC and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.  Rogers kicks off her “Don’t Forget Me Tour, Part 1” May 23 at Gallagher Square at Petco Park in San Diego, CA, and will perform two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado (May 27 + May 28). The “Don’t Forget Me Tour, Part II” — Rogers’ first-ever arena outing — will launch on October 9th at Moody Center in Austin, TX and include shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden (October 19) and the Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA (November 2).

Kacey Musgraves. Photo by Kelly Christine Sutton.

Kacey Musgraves has always been a little bit magic. From the tumbling sparkle of Laurel Canyon acoustics that cascade into “Cardinal,” the swirling opener on the seven-time Grammy winner’s fifth album, Deeper Well, the metaphysical and incandescent are even more present and powerful from a woman whose songs have cast a glow on how evolved people live since her first single “Merry Go ‘Round” charmed the world over a decade ago with its hypocrisy-skewering appeal. If there’s one thing Musgraves has done across one of modern music’s most expansive and adventurous creative journeys, it’s trust her gut. Glistening folk-pop and country explorations with just enough bluegrass to spin the modern arrangements organically, she wears these songs like a second skin. For Deeper Well, the introspective writer found herself drawn to NYC’s legendary Electric Lady studio. Working with longtime co-producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian, the music on Deeper Well is almost chimeric: rolling acoustic guitars, puffy clouds of strings and synth, warm bass punctuations, layered harmonies, moments of Celtic melody and plenty of room on the tracks for Musgraves’ silvery vocals. On the bright, almost folky title track, the 30-something songstress surveys her life and priorities, recognizing what feeds her, drains her and even examines the Texas childhood she’s left behind on her way to now. “Sonically, I’ve been craving classic American songwriting,” she says. “Real songs. No gimmicks. The color palette of where those songs came from was everything I felt pulled to. New York is one of the places that kind of record came from. Simon & Garfunkel, the Greenwich Village clubs, fingerpicking and James Taylor. Social commentary. Storytelling. I always look for honesty in terms of the songs, and this record is no different. Unconsciously, I think that’s part of what drew us to taking our stories to New York City.” Deeply personal, universally true, Deeper Well is a coming of enlightenment song collection that embraces fear, vulnerability and the joy found beyond the doubt most sentient people wrestle. “Love is the prism,” says the sloe-eyed songwriter, “and my role in it. I make sense of the world around me by looking for balance and I’d like to think this album is for anyone who’s living life and paying attention.”

The War And Treaty. Photo by Austin Hargrave.

Founded in 2014 by the husband-and-wife duo Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, The War And Treaty has emerged as one of the most electrifying new acts in American music. The Nashville-based pair recently garnered their first-ever GRAMMY nominations for Best American Roots Song and the all-genre Best New Artist, along with a 2024 Duo of the Year nomination from the Academy of Country Music. This follows an exciting year of honors for the pair including their first-ever Duo of the Year nomination from the Country Music Association and nominations for this year’s CMT Music Awards for Duo/Group Video of the Year and for CMT Performance of the Year. Further recent recognition has come from the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Americana Music Association. With a lionhearted sonic blend, both roaring with passion and tender to the touch, The Tennessean notes, “they are unlike any other act in music.” The War And Treaty’s 2023 major label debut album Lover’s Game (Mercury Nashville) was met with critical praise, with the Associated Press claiming, “The colossally talented pair continue their commando, no-limits journey to the top of the music world.” Drawing respect across the board, they have gone on to appear as top-flight collaborators, including the latest “Hey Driver” with Zach Bryan. The group also just released their first new single of 2024, “Stealing A Kiss” – a seductive envelope of country soul that they are becoming well known for. The War And Treaty has captivated audiences across the globe from North America to Europe, Australia and beyond, while headlining their own shows and opening for a diverse group of living legends: Al Green, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, John Legend, Lauren Daigle, and Van Morrison among them. The War And Treaty made their ACL debut in Season 46 in 2020 during ACL’s limited audience pandemic tapings, and we are thrilled to welcome them back to light up the ACL stage, this time with a full live audience.

Gracie Abrams. Photo by Abby Waisler.

Gracie Abrams returns with the highly-anticipated new album, The Secret of Us, out June 21st on Interscope Records. The album’s newly-released lead single “Risk” was met with an outgoing of support and excitement from fans online as well as raves from Rolling Stone, Billboard, Nylon and more. The 24-year-old songwriter co-wrote the bubbly yet incisive new track with longtime friend Audrey Hobert and took a hands-on role producing the new single alongside her friend and frequent collaborator, the National’s Aaron Dessner.  The Secret of Us will come nearly a year since her debut album, Good Riddance, which Gracie released in February 2023 and Rolling Stone hailed “one of 2023’s Best Debuts.” Good Riddance earned Gracie her first ever Grammy nod at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards with a nomination for the highly coveted Best New Artist. Since making her debut in 2019, Gracie Abrams has emerged as one of the most compelling singer-songwriters of her generation, earning the admiration of such like minded artists as Taylor Swift, Lorde, Billie Eilish, and Olivia Rodrigo. A consummate songwriter who names Joni Mitchell as her most formative influence, she penned her first song at age eight, then went on to amass a devoted following on the strength of her emotionally intimate lyrics and DIY sensibilities. With the arrival of her breakout debut project minor in summer 2020, she received glowing reviews from the likes of NME, who praised her “painfully honest tales of heartbreak draped in delicate melodies that carry much more intrigue than the usual run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter.” The seven-song effort features her beloved singles “21,” “I miss you, I’m sorry,” and “Long Sleeves.” In late 2021, Abrams returned with This Is What It Feels Like, a 12-track project exploring such complex emotional experiences as self-betrayal, insecurity, and failed attempts at connection. Soon after completing her sold-out North American headline tour for This Is What It Feels Like, she set to work on her debut album. Abrams kicked off 2022 with a headline tour of North America followed by a support slot on Olivia Rodrigo’s tour and reconnected with Dessner to release two songs “Block me out” and “Difficult.” In early 2023, Abrams released her debut album, Good Riddance, followed by a North American headline tour that sold out in under one hour. Gracie toured with Taylor Swift as the opening on select dates of her blockbuster Eras Tour and will continue as direct support when the Eras Tour returns to North America later this year. 

We’re excited to welcome these stellar acts to the ACL stage for our milestone 50th season. Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes a week in advance of each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS this fall as part of our anniversary Season 50.

Categories
Featured News

ACL and Howler Brothers partner for new capsule collection

Iconic live music series Austin City Limits launched in the fall of 1974 with Willie Nelson as the featured performer for the pilot. That episode became the cornerstone for 50 years of groundbreaking, award-winning music television and a dispatch to the world declaring Austin’s place as a pioneering music city. For his performance, Nelson wore a “Gaucho” style western shirt featuring multi-color Thunderbird embroidery. Now Austin menswear brand Howler Brothers commemorates Austin City Limits’ five decades and the Willie performance that started it all with the release of a golden anniversary capsule collection. 

A pair of Austin originals, Howler Brothers and Austin PBS’ Austin City Limits have teamed up again for a limited-time collaboration featuring a trio of new designs; including a long sleeve snap shirt, cotton tee and snapback hat. The collection pays homage to the shirt worn by Austin’s most famous music maker during the October, 1974 taping of the pilot episode. Taking inspiration from Willie’s historic appearance, Howler brings the iconic “Pilot Bird” shirt back to life with a celebratory black and gold rendition. “We are thrilled to once again partner with  Howler Brothers to celebrate local music and the musicians that made this the live music capital of the world,” said Luis Patiño, Austin PBS CEO. “Not only is Austin City Limits a quintessential part of the musical heritage and cultural fabric of Austin, its reach has impacted fans and musical artists across the entire country for decades,” says Chase Heard, co-founder and CEO of Howler Brothers. “Partnering with ACL on this exclusive 50th anniversary collection is an honor and privilege for Howler Brothers. While this pays homage to the beginnings of the show, it is without question a celebration of the fans.”

Music fans will have a chance to own a piece of history and to preview and shop this collection on Tuesday, March 26 at Austin City LimitsSeason 50 taping with another Austin-bred original, Gary Clark Jr. Austin PBS and Howler Brothers are celebrating the launch today with a Happy Hour at @3tenaustin on Willie Nelson Blvd. Festivities kick off at 5:30pm to be among the first to shop the new collection, grab a drink, and at 8pm rock out to a simulcast of Gary Clark Jr.’s ACL taping. The free event is open to the public, and entry is subject to capacity. The capsule collection will also be available to shop online.

A monument to music, Austin City Limits has showcased iconic performances from legends and innovators in every genre of popular song for a remarkable five decades. October 17, 2024 will mark 50 years since Austin City Limits began with Willie Nelson taping the pilot episode; the trailblazing program then premiered on PBS in 1975. The series is the flagship of the popular ACL Music Festival and has earned countless accolades including a Peabody Award, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame designation and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. As ACL turns 50, the revered music institution continues its extraordinary run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. Produced by Austin PBS, and recorded live at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas, the show remains a proving ground for legendary artists and innovators of all genres to deliver stellar performances from the venerable ACL stage. Austin City Limits has earned its place in history and will salute its 50th anniversary and incredible legacy with a yearlong celebration featuring archival gems, collaborations, fan activations, all-star Season 50 tapings, a PBS special, live concerts and much more. 

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News Taping Recap

Taping recap: Juanes

“We can’t believe we are here again!” Juanes took the stage at ACL TV for the third time on Monday, having previously performed on season 32 and 39. For his third taping, Juanes presented a hits-packed set drawn from his entire career, and how fitting to welcome him back in celebration of ACL’s 50th anniversary. Bearded, tattooed, wrapped in a sleeveless denim jacket, the Colombian superstar took the stage like the international rock star he is. For his third taping, with songs drawn from his entire career, hopping from jangly guitar pop (“Gris”) to blues rock cumbia (“Mala Gente”) to romantic balladry (“Nada Valgo Sin Tú Amor”) – and that was in the first ten minutes. Backed by his five-piece band, the singer/songwriter not only emphasized the breadth and depth of his catalog, but also his own musicianship, with several extended guitar solos. 

But the heart of the show was the interplay with the adoring crowd of diehard fans who turned out to literally cheer him on. Juanes encouraged singing along starting with “Mala Gente;” by the time he got to “Fotografia,” the eager audience needed little prompting, cheering loudly at the first note. Other giddily-received fan favorites included “Es Por Ti,” “La Paga,” “La Camisa Negra,” and the call-and-response powered “La Noche” and “A Dios Le Pido.” But two moments especially stood out. For “Para Tu Amor,” Juanes planted himself in the center of the floor with a mic stand and an acoustic guitar, performing the folky ballad surrounded closely by his loving crowd. In salute to the Mexican contingent of the audience, Juanes performed “Querida,” a classic Juan Gabriel ballad that Juanes recorded with its creator a few years ago. He ended the show with back-to-back monsters: “Me Enamora” and “La Luz,” which gave the crowd plenty of opportunity for call-and-response. 

At one point during the show, Juanes talked about coming to Los Angeles in 1996 in order to make it in music, and how hard those years were. “But you know what?” he shrugged. “I made it – Austin City Limits!” 

Juanes performs on Austin City Limits, March 4, 2024. Photos by Scott Newton.

Setlist: 

Gris – Vita Cotidiana

Mala Gente – Un Día Normal  

Amores Prohibidos – Vita Cotidiana

Nada Valgo Sin Tú Amor – Mì Sangre

Volverte A Ver – Mì Sangre

Lo Que Me Gusta A Mi / Fuego / Hermosa Ingrata – Mì Sangre/Mis Planes Son Amarte/

Fotografía – Un Día Normal

Es Por Ti – Un Día Normal 

Es Tarde – Mis Planes Son Amarte

Más – Vita Cotidiana 

Ojalá – Vita Cotidiana

Para Tu Amor – Mì Sangre

Gotas De Agua Dulce – La Vida…Es Un Ratico

La Paga – Un Día Normal

La Camisa Negra- Mì Sangre 

La Noche – Un Día Normal

A Dios Le Pido – single

Encore: 

Querida – Juan Gabriel cover

Me Enamora – La Vida…Es Un Ratico 

La Luz – Loco De Amor

Musicians: 

Juanes – vocals, guitar

Emmanuel Briceño – keyboards

Felipe Navia – bass

Juan Pablo Daza – guitar

Richard Bravo – percussion

Marcelo Novati – drums

Categories
Featured News

R.I.P. W.C. Clark

W.C. Clark, the Godfather of Austin Blues, passed away on March 2 at the age of 84. Part of the bedrock of the Austin music scene, Clark performed on Austin City Limits in 1989 in celebration of his fiftieth birthday, joined by his friends and devotees Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson, Lou Ann Barton, and Angela Strehli. He was part of the ACL family and we will miss him.

W.C. Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton improvise a jam on Austin City Limits.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist Clark became a professional musician at the age of 16, performing his first gig at the legendary Austin venue the Victory Grill. That led to gigs with other Texas blues and soul peers and pioneers, including T. D Bell, Blues Boy Hubbard, and Houston soul star Joe Tex. He also formed his own bands, taking other rising blues and R&B artists under his wing in the likes of the Storm (with Jimmie Vaughan), Southern Feeling (wth Angela Strehli), and the groundbreaking Triple Threat Revue (with Lou Ann Barton and Stevie Ray Vaughan). Other mentees included members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Sextons Charlie and Will. Beginning in the eighties, Clark led his own band, the W.C. Clark Blues Revue, for nearly forty years, touring the world and releasing eight albums along the way.

W.C. Clark and Friends perform “Take Me to the River.”

“W.C. was a class act and a gentleman,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He was loved and respected by many, but fame and fortune were not his goals. He epitomized the best of the Austin music scene, and there are none others quite like him.”

Clark played his final gig at Giddy Ups on February 20, a mere thirteen days before his death, leaving behind an enviable legacy. He will be greatly missed.

W.C. Clark and Friends on Austin City Limits, 1989. L-R: Angela Strehli, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jon Blondell, W.C. Clark. Photo by Scott Newton.
Categories
Featured News Taping Announcement

New Season 50 tapings: Jelly Roll, Nickel Creek, Jacob Collier

Austin City Limits is thrilled to announce a trio of new tapings for our milestone Season 50: 2X Grammy-nominated Nashville sensation Jelly Roll makes his highly-anticipated ACL debut on April 9, showcasing his breakthrough album Whitsitt Chapel; formative bluegrass act Nickel Creek returns for the first time in a decade on May 5 for their fourth taping, showcasing their latest album Celebrants; and UK phenom, eclectic singer and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, makes his ACL debut on May 14 on the heels of his sixth Grammy win and the release of his new LP Djesse Vol. 4.

Jelly Roll. Photo by Robby Klein.

Breakout singer-songwriter Jelly Roll (born Jason DeFord) makes his Austin City Limits debut riding country’s hottest hand: he scored a Best New Artist nomination at this year’s Grammy Awards, his 2023 debut country album Whitsitt Chapel debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s All-Genre chart and No. 2 on the Country Album chart, earning him the biggest country debut album in chart history, and he just announced a 37-date “Beautifully Broken” headlining U.S. arena tour. A native of working-class Nashville borough Antioch, Jelly is racking up a string of record-breaking hits and countless accolades, with four 2024 People’s Choice Awards, including Male Country Artist of the Year; was the most nominated male at the 2023 CMA Awards, with five nominations, winning CMA Best New Artist, and swept the 2023 CMT Awards, taking home a trio of awards to become the most awarded artist of the night. He also landed a Billboard magazine “Country Power List” cover, and the chart-topper recently received Billboard’s 2023 Breakthrough Award. His 2023 smash #1 single “Save Me”—a confessional, vulnerable expression of self-doubt—broke radio airplay records and set the stage for a new chapter in his life. Jelly Roll held the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Emerging Artist chart for 25 straight weeks, the longest run in that ranking’s history. Whitsitt Chapel— named for the small Tennessee church he grew up going to—takes listeners on a “Backroad Baptism” through songs of faith, addiction, love and life in-between with powerful highlights including “Need A Favor” and “Hungover In a Church Pew.” “A collection of songs about Saturday night sins and Sunday morning sanctity,” raves The Tennessean. “I’ve always felt like my music lived somewhere between Willie Nelson and 3-6 Mafia,” Jelly tells American Songwriter, as he straddles country, rock and rap to create songs that resonate with his legions of fans across the globe. In addition to his radio and streaming success, he has also become a pop culture phenomenon and is the subject of an acclaimed Hulu documentary charting his remarkable ascent from former inmate to music-making stardom. His self-built, unconventional industry rise and unique fan connection have garnered praise from numerous outlets, with Variety noting, “For everyone who’s facing the same struggles, Jelly Roll is their Springsteen,” and American Songwriter echoing, “with a string of accolades and an extremely dedicated following, Jelly Roll has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.” His current single, “Halfway To Hell”  currently dominates Country and Rock radio.

Nickel Creek. Photo by Josh Goleman.

GRAMMY Award-winning trio Nickel Creek—Sara Watkins (fiddle), Sean Watkins (guitar), and Chris Thile (mandolin)—is in the midst of a triumphant year following the release of their acclaimed album, Celebrants—their first new project in nine years. Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, Celebrants was released to critical praise and earned a 2024 Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album. Of the record, NPR Music raves, “the trio sounds and plays better than ever…these songs are nuanced and honest, not fantasy but one suited for introspection,” while Paste praises, “their instruments and voices alternately blend and shine…it’s a joy to have the gang back together,” and Spin proclaims, “giddily ambitious…breathtaking instrumental interplay between mandolin, guitar, and fiddle.” Together a sum of more than their staggering parts, Nickel Creek revolutionized bluegrass and folk in the early 2000s and ushered in a new era of what we now recognize as Americana music. After meeting as young children and steadily earning the respect of the bluegrass circuit over the course of a decade, the trio signed with venerable label Sugar Hill Records in 2000 and quickly broke through with their Grammy-nominated, Alison Krauss-produced self-titled LP. Since that effort, the group has released a trio of acclaimed studio albums: 2002’s This Side, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album, 2005’s Why Should the Fire Die? and 2014’s A Dotted Line. Known for their high energy live shows, Nickel Creek will continue to perform through 2024 including an extensive headline tour this spring, a special co-bill with Andrew Bird for several weeks in July, and will join Kacey Musgraves throughout her North American arena tour this fall. Nickel Creek made their ACL debut in Season 26 in 2001, returned in Season 28 and in 2014 for Season 40, and we’re thrilled to welcome them back for our golden anniversary. 

Jacob Collier. Photo by Tom Bender.

Recognized by audiences, critics, and fellow musicians alike as one of the most gifted young artists of modern times, 29-year-old music prodigy and North London native Jacob Collier has already notched a seemingly endless list of achievements, including becoming the first British act in history to win a Grammy Award for each of his first four albums, along with 12 Grammy nominations, including the top honor of Album of the Year in 2021. He continues the creative streak in 2024, scoring his sixth career Grammy win at this year’s awards, marking an astonishing fifth consecutive year of nominations. Djesse Vol. 4 marks the epic climax to the four-part journey that Collier first began in 2018 with the release of Djesse Vol. 1; this final album completes the quartet with 16 sweeping tracks and an epic list of special guests and collaborators including Brandi Carlile, Stormzy, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Chris Martin, Chris Thile, Anoushka Shankar, John Legend and John Mayer; as well as the “Audience Choir,” the collective recorded voices of more than 150,000 audience members from every corner of the world across Collier’s last two years of global touring. The Guardian raves, “A thesis would be required to do Djesse Vol. 4 justice, but it is ultimately an invigorating and irrepressible record, unlike anything else you are likely to hear.” His 2016 debut LP In My Room, recorded, produced and played entirely by Collier, heralded the arrival of a staggering musical mind, traversing everything from microtonal of the Flintstones theme to folk-influenced ballads. An ensuing one-man-band international tour saw him developing an innovative live show where he played and layered twelve instruments to recreate the world of In My Room onstage. “My audiences are so musical and they participate so readily in the music,” says Collier. “When I play live, I’m not just showing up to entertain, it feels like we’re all coming together to make music in unison.” That natural pull towards musical collaboration went on to inform Collier’s plans for his ensuing Djesse series of releases. “After being on my own, I realised I wanted to work with other people and learn from them,” he explains. “I decided to make a quadruple album including every genre under the sun, where each collaborator made music that was special to me. I wanted to plunge myself into the deepest possible waters of creativity.” The resulting volumes of Djesse have delivered on Collier’s ambitious promise, featuring musical themes that encompass everything from orchestral composition to folk songwriting, R&B, rap and pop. “The key skill to collaboration is drawing things out of people that they didn’t know they had in them,” he says. “It’s all about being taken by surprise and holding the potential for things changing. “I’m just following my voice to see where it takes me next,” says Collier. “I’m keeping my mind and ears open, as there is still so much more to discover and create.”

We’re thrilled to welcome these incredible artists to the ACL stage for our milestone season. Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes a week in advance of each taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air on PBS this fall as part of our anniversary Season 50.