Encore Broadcast News

Encore: The Decemberists and Gillian Welch

Most music aficionados categorize themselves as lyrics versus music types. Both are essential to creating one-of-kind songs, but people seem to always identify most with one or the other. Fortunately for both types, this weekend Austin City Limits is bringing you an encore episode that features two artists that are known for their eloquent lyrics as well as their beautifully crafted harmonies: The Decemberists and Gillian Welch.

Portland natives The Decemberists have graced Austin City Limits twice and each time is as memorable and heartfelt as the other with their crowd participation and musically eclectic performance. In this episode we hear mostly from the group’s 2011 album The King is Dead with special accompaniment from Gillian Welch on “Down By The Water,” and Welch and David Rawlings on the final song, “All Arise!” There’s also the appearance of “The Rake’s Song,” from 2009’s Hazards of Love,  that serves as a crowd favorite and frontman Colin Meloy’s personal favorite recording.

Going with the “less is more” approach in their music, Gillian Welch and longtime partner David Rawlings have been creating their known sparse yet haunting music for two decades. Welch is also no stranger to the Austin City Limits stage – her appearance with us in Season 37 marked her third recording. Welch and Rawling perform predominantly from their 2011 album The Harrow & The Harvest, and also perform a classic rendition of “I’ll Fly Away.”

Whether you’re all about connecting with music on a lyrical level or a purely musicianship standpoint, you won’t be disappointed this weekend with this encore episode.

Be sure to check your local listings for showtimes to see this episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr to keep up with updates on tapings and airings. Next week: the Avett Brothers and the Heartless Bastards.

News Taping Announcement

tUnE-yArDs Tapes Austin City Limits on 5/29

When it comes to describing tUnE-yArDs, words often fail. The brainchild of songwriter/musician Merrill Garbus, the band offers a seamless blend of indie pop, electronica and worldbeat that sounds like no one else. BiRd-BrAiNs, Garbus’ first project as tUnE-yArDs, was produced on a handheld voice recorder and originally self-released digitally and on cassette in 2009. BiRd-BrAiNs caught the ear of renowned indie label 4AD, who released the record on CD and extensive touring followed. But it was Garbus’ second LP w h o k i l l that really put tUnE-yArDs on the map. Recorded in a studio with members of Garbus’ road band and released in April 2011, w h o k i l l covers a dizzying array of ground and includes standouts tracks “Bizness” and “Gangsta,” the latter of which appears on episodes of The Good Wife and Weedsw h o k i l l earned tUnE-yArDs accolades around the world, topping the Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop music poll. Now Garbus brings her distinctive vision to the Austin City Limits stage at The Moody Theater for a performance on May 29.

We’ll have the ticket giveaway up on about a week before the taping. We’ll post it on our Facebook and Twitter pages too. We hope to see you there!

Taping Recap

Rodrigo y Gabriela rock ACL

Austin City Limits has had its eye on guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela for a few years, and we’re happy that the stars finally aligned just right for us to invite them to our house. Backed by the  Cuban fusion band C.U.B.A., the duo conquered The Moody Theater with passion, groove and oft-stunning technique.

The pair makes the most of the contrast between their styles – Rodrigo rips out flatpicked licks that betray his metal roots while Gabriela flails at her ax with flamenco-based rhythms, often using a wah-wah pedal to send her riffs into outer space. Backed by the stellar C.U.B.A. the pair enthusiastically mixed Afro-Cuban grooves, jazz fusion harmonies, Latin melodies and the occasional rock flourish into a blazing storm of tuneful technique. “Hanuman,” “Ixtapa” and “Diablo Rojo” filled the Moody with hot licks and cool grooves, bringing the crowd to their feet. Even midway during the show, when the band left the stage so Rodrigo y Gabriela could really show off their skills on “Savriti,” Hora Zero” and “Buster Voodoo,” the energy stayed at a level that could power a small city.

Rodrigo y Gabriela are a joy to watch –  jumping across the stage, making eye contact with their fans and encouraging the audience to provide rhythms through applause. The crowd responded in kind, lavishing love on a gang of musicians working hard and having fun doing it. That energy will inevitably translate to the small screen, and we can’t wait for y’all to see this stunning show. No doubt about it – Rodrigo y Gabriela rule.

Encore Broadcast News

Encore: Miranda Lambert & Jeff Bridges

Couldn’t make it to the Stagecoach festival this weekend? Well look no further because this Cinco de Mayo, Austin City Limits is bringing you some southern twang, pink guitars, shotgun mic stands and serious country with this encore episode featuring Miranda Lambert and Jeff Bridges.

Miranda Lambert has become a household name since her appearance on Nashville Star back in 2003 and is now, undoubtedly, one of country music’s biggest names. Miranda, whose father is a singer/songwriter, admits that she wasn’t always keen on singing growing up, but once she turned 17 she realized that music was the most natural way for her to express herself. Since then Miranda has released four studio albums and now has a side project with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley called Pistol Annies, who join Lambert to sing “Hell On Wheels,”  their biggest hit of their album by the same name.

photo by Scott Newton

The highly acclaimed actor/singer Jeff Bridges joins Miranda in this episode singing hits from the Crazy Heart soundtrack as well as songs from his 2011 self-titled debut. Known for his prolific acting career, Bridges shows fans a different side displaying his singing and songwriting ability. While shooting Crazy Heart, Bridges realized that he was a bit tired of the “acting thing” and wanted to go back to his original interest: music. Highlights of the performance include the songs, “Somebody Else” and “What a Little Bit of Love Can Do,” written by beloved Austin musician Stephen Bruton.

So sit back and relax this Saturday with country music’s most famous and talented names. You won’t regret it watching this episode, but you may regret all Cinco de Mayo fiestas so do yourself a favor and join us this weekend.

Be sure to check your local listings for showtimes to see this episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr to keep up with updates on tapings and airings. Next week: the Decemberists and Gillian Welch.

ACL @ the Alamo News

ACL @ the Alamo returns with Johnny Cash

As part of the year-long celebration of Johnny Cash’s 80th birthday, Austin City Limits returns to the Alamo Drafthouse on Monday, May 14, with the classic episode featuring the Man in Black.  Joined by his wife June Carter and the Carter Family, Cash gave ACL a magnificent performance of some of his greatest hits (“Ring of Fire,” “Big River,” “Folsom Prison Blues”) and tunes from his then-new LP Johnny Cash is Coming to Town (“Let ‘em Roll,” “The Ballad of Barbara,” “The Big Light”).  Come to the Alamo Ritz to see the episode as it aired in 1987 and raise a glass to an American icon.

Afterwards we’ll be showing a great songwriters special from 1996 featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Billie Joe Shaver and Kimmie Rhodes. Nelson, Jennings and Kris Kristofferson were Cash’s partners in the country supergroup the Highwaymen, and they continue to embody the Man in Black’s outlaw spirit.

ACL @ the Alamo (formerly Reel Rarities) features new and classic episodes of Austin City Limits on the big screen. Proceeds from ACL @ the Alamo benefit the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, and we’ve raised nearly $5000 for that worthy cause so far. You can find more information at the Alamo Drafthouse website. And, of course, you can find more information about Austin City Limits doings on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

News Taping Recap

Punch Brothers debut on ACL

“We’ve wanted to do this for so long!” declared Chris Thile before launching into the first number of the Punch Brothers’ Austin City Limits taping. While it was the band’s first time on ACL, it was not the first for Thile, who has graced our stage three times before with his former group Nickel Creek and as part of Dolly Parton’s backing ensemble. So the Punch Brothers show was a debut by an ACL veteran.

Paradoxes aside, the quintet killed it with their unique take on acoustic music. Set up with bluegrass instrumentation but just as influenced by jazz, classical music and pop as anything old-timey, the Punch Brothers performed a stunning array of tunes that slipped through the fingers of specific genres like hyperactive toddlers. From the stop-start rhythms of “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” and “Hundred Dollars” to the straight pop melodies of “New York City” and “Don’t Get Married Without Me,” the band delivered a restless, intensely creative set of songs.

Tradition didn’t get short shrift, either – the instrumental “Watch’at Breakdown” and a cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Brakeman’s Blues” delivered plenty of old-fashioned bluegrass thrills. The band combined their experimental and traditional sides midshow by seguing a judiciously dissonant cover of Radiohead’s “Kid A” into a blazing take on Gillian Welch’s “Wayside/Back in Time” .

The band returned to the stage for an encore with heartfelt and fun tributes to recently fallen heroes – Earl Scruggs with the banjo master’s “Groundspeed” and Levon Helm with the Band’s “Ophelia.” Throughout the show the band used their instrumental virtuosity only for good, never soloing to the point of tedium – their taste was as impeccable as their musicianship. The Punch Brothers’ set was as fine an example of unclassifiable contemporary acoustic music as anyone could hope for.

“When you start a band, this is all you really want to be able to do – play Austin City Limits,” noted  Thile halfway through the show, as he cited the Season 15 show with Strength in Numbers as a catalyst to his desire to make music. We’re always happy to host great musicians who’ve grown up with ACL. Hopefully future generations will be inspired by the Punch Brothers when the episode airs  this fall on your local PBS station. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for more info as the year progresses.