We here at Austin City Limits were saddened to learn of the death of singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum. The American country great died of complications of dementia at age 67.
Though the golden-voiced New York native was best known as one of Nashville’s brightest stars of the nineties, with eleven albums to his name, he was a staple of Texas music clubs before he hit Music City. He nurtured his catalog of tunes for years in Austin listeners’ venues like the Cactus Cafe, with his debut album Threadbare Alibis coming out on Austin’s own Watermelon Records. The combination of being a major country hitmaker (“Small Town Saturday Night,” “Sure Love,” “Past the Point of Rescue,” “Hearts Are Gonna Roll,” “I Know Where Love Lives”) and his Central Texas roots earned him three appearances on ACL, in 1992, 1994 and 1998.
Ketchum moved back to Texas in 2008 and made his final live appearance at Gruene Hall in 2018. He retired in 2019 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He will be greatly missed.
The nominations for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards have been announced, and while we’re happy for all the nominees this year, we’re chuffed for our Austin City Limits alumni who made the list. The Grammy Awards telecast, co-produced by ACL’s own Terry Lickona, will broadcast on January 31, 2021, hosted for the first time by The Daily Show host, Emmy-winner and Grammy-nominated Trevor Noah.
We’re especially excited for our hometown heroes Black Pumas, who’ve scored nominations for Record of the Year and Best American Roots Performance for their hit “Colors,” as well as a nom for Album of the Year for the deluxe edition of their self-titled debut. We’re also thrilled that our own Ruthie Foster, whose episode airs on January 17, gained a Best Contemporary Blues Album nom, and Rufus Wainwright, whose sensational ACL debut aired back in October, earned a Best Traditional Pop Album nod. Mavis Staples, whose classic Season 38 performance encored two weeks ago, earned a Best American Roots Song nod for her duet with Norah Jones, while John Legend, whose magnificent Season 36 episode with the Roots encored in November, was nominated for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. The late John Prine, whose memorable hour kicked off our 46th season, got two nods for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song.
We’d also like to give special shout-outs in the coveted Producer of the Year category: to nominee and ACL three-timer Dan Auerbach and Dave Cobb, who hasn’t performed on ACL but has producedaridiculousnumberofartistswhohave. It’s also a wonderful day in the PBS neighborhood as public television legend Fred Rogers is celebrated for Best Historical Album for It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mr. Rogers. Congratulations to all.
Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, Sturgill Simpson’s taping for Austin City Limits Season 46 originally scheduled for December 8 is postponed. We hope to reschedule Sturgill’s taping in 2021 for our Season 47.
We are thankful for all our wonderful artists, fans and supporters and wish y’all a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.
Austin City Limits spotlights renowned rock and country trailblazers The Mavericks, showcasing their chart-topping, all Spanish-language album, En Español in their first appearance on the program in two decades. Widely celebrated as one of the great live bands, The Mavericks perform a mix of new and reimagined Spanish classics alongside career highlights from their three-decade career in a sparkling hour. Recorded in September 2020, The Mavericks’ taping reflects the second no-audience taping, due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the series near five-decade history,. With live music grounded, ACL continues to provide viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. The series airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at pbs.org/austincitylimits immediately following the initial broadcast.
The GRAMMY, CMA & ACM award-winning roots rockers make their third appearance on the ACL stage showcasing a career milestone, their first Spanish-language album, En Español, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums Chart. The genre-bending Country, Americana and Tejano-infused Rock & Roll band, who celebrated their 30th Anniversary in 2019, return to their early Miami roots to mesh their uplifting eclecticism with a collection of Spanish language originals and traditional Latin tracks that inspired them. The four core Mavericks members—golden-voiced lead singer and songwriter Raul Malo, guitarist Eddie Perez, keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and drummer Paul Deakin—are augmented by horns, accordion and backing vocals for a powerhouse nine-musician combo. The band celebrate the diversity of cultures with their unique take on classic tracks from the vast Latin American songbook, opening with the Cuban country song “La Sitiera,” which builds into a thrilling full-band bloom complete with horns and accordion. Malo, a first-generation Cuban American, introduces his late grandfather’s favorite song, the early Julio Iglesias ballad, “Me Olvidé de Vivir,” made the Mavericks’ own in a country-folk rendition, and salutes one of his own favorite artists, Mexican star Juan Gabriel, with a mariachi-flavored take on the spirited “No Vale La Pena.” They deliver stirring performances of new originals, including the passionate “Recuerdos,” backed by full horns and “Suspiro Azul,” amplified by dazzling harmonies. In a nod to performing at the house that Willie built, Malo gives a gorgeous solo acoustic reading of the Willie Nelson classic “Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain.” The freewheeling outfit treat fans to standouts from their more recent catalog, including Latin-influenced numbers from their 2013 reunion album In Time, closing out the hour with a pair of highlights: the lush stunner “Come Unto Me,” a fan favorite performed with dueling guitar and accordion solos, and the high-energy rockabilly-flavored “As Long As There’s Loving Tonight.”
“Showcasing The Mavericks first all-Spanish album on Austin City Limits during the same week as the annual Latin Grammy Awards is perfect timing,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Since I became co-producer of the Latin Grammys, I’ve made it my mission to bring the joy and beauty of Latin music to the ACL stage every year. This show is a great ‘primer’ for that!”
The second half of ACL’s Season 46 broadcast line-up, including six new episodes to begin airing in January 2021 as part of the full 13-week season, will be announced shortly. Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter, IG and TikTok.Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.
Back In Your Arms Again
Easy As It Seems
No Vale La Pena
Me Olvidé De Vivir
Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain
Come Unto Me
As Long As There’s Loving Tonight
About Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits (ACL) offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. Now in its 46th Season, the program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic KLRU Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.
Austin City Limits is produced by Austin PBS, KLRU-TV and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, RigUp, the Austin Convention Center Department and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at acltv.com.
Austin City Limits has made the difficult decision to cancel the Sarah Jarosz Austin City Limits Season 46 taping originally scheduled for November 24. After careful consideration of our limited resources during this holiday week, and an abundance of caution in light of concerns about Covid, we have made this decision in the best interests of the artist, crew, staff and guests.
We are working to reschedule this taping for our next season.
We will continue to monitor the key indicators and the guidance from the City of Austin as we determine our plans for the Sturgill Simpson taping scheduled for December 8.
We wish you and your families a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday and we are thankful for our wonderful artists, fans and supporters.
To wrap up our Season 46 taping schedule, Austin City Limits is proud to announce the highly-anticipated return of a pair of American originals: Sarah Jarosz on November 24 and Sturgill Simpson on December 8.
With World On the Ground, the follow-up to 2016’s two-time Grammy Award-winning Undercurrent, and her first solo album in four years, Sarah Jarosz shares a collection of stories of her Texas hometown of Wimberley, each song lit up in her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting. World on the Ground takes its title from the album cut “Pay It No Mind,” which finds wisdom being passed down through song by a bird observing the world below: “When the world on the ground is gonna swallow you down, sometimes you’ve got to pay it no mind.” Throughout the album, the triple Grammy Award-winner explores the tension and inertia of small-town living, the desire for escape and the ease of staying put. As she inhabits characters both real and imagined, Jarosz reveals her remarkable gift for slipping into the interior lives of others and patiently uncovering so much indelible insight.
Producer/songwriter John Leventhal (Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, his wife Rosanne Cash) played a vital part in Jarosz’s decision to center the album on her intricate storytelling. “The first time we met to talk about the record, John said he wanted me to try to take a step back and look out at the world, rather than inward,” says Jarosz. “It completely opened the gates for me, and I started thinking a lot about growing up in Texas and diving into those memories in a way I’d never really done before. I think it has something to do with being in my late 20s, and starting to enter the phase where I’m looking back at what got me to where I am now—as opposed to constantly looking forward, as you do when you’re younger. It felt like the right time for me to return full circle to my roots and my home.”
In the making of World On the Ground, Jarosz – who already has two ACL appearances under her belt (in 2010 and 2014) – ultimately moved undeniably closer to one of her greatest ambitions as an artist: to create an emotionally honest body of work that continually reveals new meaning for the listener. “My favorite records are the ones I just want to play over and over again because of all the details that are there to discover,” she says. “As I was writing this record, it was the deepest I’d ever gone in terms of getting down to the very specific details in the way I told each story. The details are what make people feel something and connect the story to their own lives, and that’s really all I want for my music.”
Since breaking through in 2014 with his Grammy-nominated Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, shapeshifter Sturgill Simpson made his ACL debut in 2016 and has established himself as one of the most daring and acclaimed artists of our time. His music stretches across genres and styles, from the psychedelic soul of 2016’s A Sailor’s Guide To Earth (Grammy nominated for Album of the Year and winner for Best Country Album) to the fuzzed-out rock attack of 2019’s Sound & Fury. Now Simpson returns to the music of his native Kentucky with his first bluegrass project, Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 – The Butcher Shoppe Sessions. The surprise double album, which he calls “a mixtape for the fans,” was dreamed up while he was recovering at home after being hospitalized with Coronavirus earlier this year, and sees him reimagining songs from across his catalog backed by some of Nashville’s finest acoustic virtuosos. “This album started when I was in the third grade,” Simpson explains. “My paternal grandfather was sort of a bluegrass freak. He just lived and ate and breathed it, and every time he’d come to visit, he’d try to shove it down my throat. My palette wasn’t ready to absorb it at the time—I was probably still into the Monkees and, thanks to an older cousin, discovering bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin far too young. One night in my room, when he could sense my rejection of what I was hearing, he looked at me directly and said, ‘One day it’s gonna get in ya, and it’ll never get out.’”
“Many years later, after returning home to Kentucky from the military and living for some time out on the West coast, I was driving down the road one day and the public radio station played an old Monroe Brothers song and it absolutely floored me,” he explains. “A wave of emotion slammed me in the chest and I had to pull over on the side of the road. I was pretty much drifting at the time—completely lost, I guess you could say—and hearing that music brought everything to the surface. It sounded like home. Bluegrass music is healing. I truly believe this to be true. It is made from ancient, organic tones and, as with most all forms of music, the vibrations and the pulse can be extremely therapeutic.” After using social media to crowdfund a charity drive, Simpson had the idea to take songs from his back catalog and record them in a bluegrass style. “I had it in my mind for a long time that someday I want to cut as many of these songs as possible in this fashion, just organic and stripped down to the raw bones of the composition. If you can’t sit down and play a song like that, it’s probably a pretty shitty song. I called up my engineer/co-producer/partner in crime David Ferguson and said, ‘Get all the best players in town,’ and we went in and banged this record out in about three days, with no planning or preparation.
“The thing I’ve realized about the ride I’ve been on these past seven years is that to me, despite what others may call and label them, all my records are simply ‘American music,’” Simpson states. “My head and my heart go different directions all the time, and when you put out a record, it becomes this definitive thing, like ‘this is who you are now’ because people need to define things for the cycle of that album. This album for me was always just supposed to be a sort of simple mixtape for my fans, so it’s somewhat funny to me to think we might play TV shows and whatnot to promote it, and for a time I’ll be considered a bluegrass musician. In all honesty, though, I guess that’s probably the closest thing to the truth that could ever be put in print about me.”
For this appearance, Simpson will be “cuttin’ grass” with the line-up of bluegrass all-stars that recorded the album, including Stuart Duncan, Sierra Hull, Tim O’Brien, Scott Vestal, Mike Bub, Mark Howard and longtime drummer Miles Miller.
We’re proud to welcome Sarah Jarosz and Sturgill Simpson back to the ACL stage.