Episode Recap

Season 37, Episode 11: Florence + the Machine & Lykke Li

Austin City Limits made its name by showcasing the best American music, but, as you’ve no doubt noticed, over the past several years we’ve hardly limited ourselves to North American borders. This Saturday, 1/28, you can see some of the best music coming out of Europe, as we present Florence + the Machine and Lykke Li.

Exploding out of the U.K., Florence + the Machine brought their unique vision of rock – incorporating everything from gutsy vocals to ethereal harp to raging guitars – to our stage for a packed afternoon show. Twin anthems “Dog Days Are Over” and “What the Water Gave to Me” raised the roof as Florence Welch twirled across the stage like a beat-besotted ballerina. Florence fans already know the score – it’s time for newbies to check out this musical force of nature.

Florence + The Machine “The Dog Days are Over” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

Lykke Li’s music is more difficult to pin down, but that makes her work all the more enticing. The Swedish chanteuse (ACL’s first Scandinavian artist) deftly mixes elements of girl group pop, steamy soul and stately torch song for an otherworldly sound all her own. “Get Some,” “I Follow Rivers” and the gorgeous, instantly memorable “Sadness is a Blessing” highlight this heavenly half-hour – tune in to hear Lykke Li’s distinctive sonic signature for yourself.

Lykke Li “Sadness is a Blessing” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

It’s a night of refreshingly unique indie rock on ACL this Saturday 1/28 – check the episode page  for more goodies, and your local listings for exact airtimes. Keep up with ACL on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages.  Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for even more info on your favorite show. Next week: the return of the one and only Wilco.


Etta James, 1938-2012

Austin City Limits is saddened to learn of the death of the great Etta James. From “The Wallflower” and “Tell Mama” to “I’d Rather Go Blind” and the immortal “At Last,” this R&B pioneer and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member scattered enough gems across the musical landscape to light the way for many future generations of singers.

ACL was honored to have Ms. James appear on the show in 2004.


“Etta James encapsulated an entire era of rhythm & blues, soul, jazz and rock and roll in that amazing voice that came from somewhere deep in her psyche,” said Terry Lickona, ACL Executive Producer.  “Her life story, as told in her autobiography, is one of the most amazing in all of modern music. She was on ACL’s must-have list for many years, and when she finally stepped on our stage it was one of my most gratifying moments. She loved the show, and I’ll never forget when her husband called afterwards to ask for a few extra DVD copies of the program for her to give to her closest friends as Christmas presents. God bless Etta James!”

Our thoughts go out to her family. May she rest in peace.

Episode Recap

ACL Season 37, Episode 10: Fleet Foxes & Joanna Newsom

Folk music has long been a staple of Austin City Limits. That said, to call either Fleet Foxes or Joanna Newsom simply “folk” is to do them a disservice. As you’ll see when these iconoclasts’ joint episode airs on Saturday, January 20th, there’s much more to these artists than just acoustic instruments.

The first half of this weekend’s episode spotlights the strong songcraft and delicate instrumental interplay of Fleet Foxes. The Seattle sextet interweaves lush vocal harmonies and arrangements that feature everything from 12-string guitar to mandolin to bass clarinet. The band emphasizes its latest record Helplessness Blues, with inspired performances of “Sim Sala Bim” and “The Shrine/An Argument.” But the Foxes’ popular first LP represents with “Your Protector” and the fan-favorite “Blue Ridge Mountains.” It’s a tight set that proves Fleet Foxes has earned their acclaim.

Fleet Foxes “Helplessness Blues” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

The second half showcases the daring experimentalism and uncommon musicality of Joanna Newsom. Wielding her harp like a paintbrush and singing like a delirious angel, Newsom leads her unique ensemble (strings, trombone, tamboura, kaval, banjo) through a set drawn mostly from her latest album Have One On Me, including the title track and the mesmerizing “Good Intentions Paving Company.” While you could throw words like “psychedelic” and “folk” and “classical” around when talking about Joanna Newsom, it’s better to simply experience her special sound and vision for yourself.

Joanna Newsom “Bridges and Balloons” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

The Fleet Foxes/Joanna Newsom show hits the airwaves this Saturday, January 20 – check your local PBS listings for showtimes. Head over to the episode page for more goodies – pics, setlists, bio info. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages regularly, or to sign up for our e-newsletter. Next week: Florence + the Machine and Lykke Li!

Taping Announcement

First taping of Season 38: The Civil Wars

When executive producer Terry Lickona saw the Civil Wars during production of the ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival special, he knew we had to invite them to tape their own episode of Austin City Limits. The obvious chemistry between singer-songwriters John Paul White and Joy Williams is as infectious as their grassroots success – over 250,000 copies of their debut album Barton Hollow sold without major industry support. Now we’ve booked the duo to tape ACL on February 29 as the first taping of Season 38 (and our first Leap Day taping ever). Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages – and, of course, this here blog – for ticket information. We hope you can join us. In the meantime, here’s a reminder of why Terry wanted to book the Civil Wars.

The Civil Wars “Barton Hollow” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

Episode Recap

ACL Season 37, Episode 9: Arcade Fire

The first time Arcade Fire appeared on the ACL stage, their much-anticipated second album Neon Bible had hit number 2 on the Billboard chart and the band was poised to become superstars. Four years later The Suburbs, the Montreal band’s highly acclaimed third LP, had debuted at number 1 on the album charts and won a Grammy for Album of the Year, and the group had solidified their position as a major festival headliner. What better way to celebrate Arcade Fire’s ascendancy than a triumphant return to Austin City Limits? Find out this Saturday, January 14.

Arcade Fire “Ready to Start” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

With The Suburbs at the heart of their performance, Arcade Fire take the stage with the singalong pop single “Ready to Start.” Within moments the crowd is in the palm of bandleader Win Butler’s hand, rolling  through new classics like “Month of May,” “Rococo” and the Regine
Chassagne showcase “Sprawl II,” pushing the studio to a fever pitch.. Never fear, Arcade Fire standards “Haiti,” “Keep the Car Running” and, of course, “Wake Up” also make appearances. With nearly every tune an audience-energizing anthem, the passion never flags – this is truly one of the most exciting shows we’ve ever recorded.

Arcade Fire “We Used to Wait” at ACL: Behind the Scenes from Jonathan Jackson on Vimeo.

You can, of course, find out for yourself on Saturday – check your local listings for the time your PBS station will broadcast this awesome episode. You can also go here for biographical info, pictures and the setlist. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages and to sign up for our newsletter for more ACL TV sweet stuff. Next week: the ACL debuts of Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom!

Episode Recap

ACL Season 37, Episode 8: The Head and the Heart/Gomez

The wide (wild?) world of indie rock has so many disparate roads to travel it’s dizzying. But the best indie rock artists, like the best musicians in any genre, have one thing in common: good songs. And on January 7 you can see two of the best song-centric indie rock bands on Austin City Limits – The Head and the Heart and Gomez.

Seattle sextet The Head and the Heart exploded out of the Pacific Northwest with an eponymous debut that sold 10,000 copies as a self-released disk before being picked up by indie label giant Sub Pop. The group’s upbeat, harmony-rich folk pop has garnered a large, deeply dedicated fan base in a surprisingly short amount of time. Come hear why as the band plays fan favorites “Down in the Valley” and “Lost in My Mind,” among others.

The Head and the Heart “Down in the Valley” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

U.K. quintet Gomez have fifteen years of experience behind them and show no signs of slowing down. The band’s eclectic mix of roots rock, pop, psychedelia, electronica and whatever else crosses the members’ radar has gained them a loyal worldwide audience of discerning music fans. Gomez’ seventh LP Whatever’s On Your Mind received the near-universal acclaim all their records earn, and the band shows why with performances of “I Will Take You There” and “Just As Lost As You,” as well as old favorites “Get Miles” and “In Our Gun.”

Gomez “See the World” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

Want more details? Head over to the episode page for photos, setlists and biographical info. Don’t forget to visit – and visit often – our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages for tidbits on ACL past and present, or to sign up for our e-newsletter. Next week on Austin City Limits: Arcade Fire!