News Taping Recap

Bon Iver’s intimate pop anthems mesmerize

When Justin Vernon created the acclaimed For Emma, Forever Ago in his family’s cabin in Medford, Wisconsin in 2008, he probably never thought that his candid creation would lead his band Bon Iver to the Austin City Limits studio. But here he is, playing to a packed house at ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

Joined by eight multi-instrumentalists, Vernon turned his intimate confessionals into orchestral pop anthems that kept the crowd mesmerized. They played all but one song from 2011’s Grammy-winning Bon Iver, Bon Iver, but left plenty of room for gems from For Emma and beyond. Making good use of controlled cacophony on “Perth” and “Creature Fear” and soft-to-loud dynamics on “Calgary” and the hit “Holocene,” the band deftly demonstrated its range and depth. (“Holocene reminds me of driving along the West Coast and feeling so insignificant, but in a good way,” tweeted Miranda S.) Bon Iver pulled back for the folky “Skinny Love” and the lovely “Re: Stacks” (performed by Vernon solo) and revved back up for the catchy “Towers” and the rocking “Blood Bank.”

As if Vernon didn’t already have the audience in the palm of his hand, he appealed to their local pride with what Julia Brash described as an “overwhelmingly beautiful” cover of hometown heroine Patty Griffin’s “Nobody’s Crying,” before engaging them in a mass singalong for “The Wolves.” “All we needed was a campfire,” noted Zackary Wilburn, “and we would have been in that cabin up in Wisconsin!” Bon Iver closed out the night with “For Emma,” in many ways the song that started it all.

“This is the only good, perfect, wonderful music show that we have,” Vernon asserted during the encore. Such high praise makes us blush – we’re as happy to have hosted Bon Iver as its leader was to be here. Bon Iver’s enchanting episode will air in the fall – check with your local PBS station for airdates and showtimes. You can also keep up with Season 38’s progress via Facebook, Twitter and this very blog.


Ticket Giveway: Punch Brothers 5/1

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by the Punch Brothers on Tuesday, May 1, at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd).  We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by 9 am Friday, April 27. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold.

Encore Broadcast Episode Recap News

Encore: Alejandro Escovedo and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Get those air guitars and horns ready, because this weekend Austin City Limits is bringing both the rock AND the funk with an encore episode featuring Alejandro Escovedo and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

When Alejandro Escovedo returned to the ACL stage for his third showcase (or fourth, if you count his appearance as a member of Rank & File way back in Season 8), he brought a stripped-down band and sound. Rather than the expansive sonics of his Orchestra, the mission of the Sensitive Boys is to rock the heck out. Having showcased his love of early 70s glam/proto-punk rockers like Mott the Hoople and Lou Reed on recent LPs Real Animal and Street Songs of Love, Escovedo brings that aesthetic to our stage for a blazing rock & roll set full of great tunes like “Anchor,” “Faith” and “Always a Friend.” If you’re not jumping around the room, you might need to check your pulse.

photo by Scott Newton

And as long as you’re on your feet, you want to stay there for Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. From his days as a pre-teen jazz prodigy, Troy Andrews has been absorbing every musical sound that comes out of his native New Orleans, with an emphasis on his town’s particularly groovy brand of funk. Andrews and his crack band showed their mastery on their first major label Backatown, and hit the same second line grooves hard on our stage. “Hurricane Season” and “Where Y’at?’ are greasy enough, but when the band launches into their James Brown medley, it’s time to tear the roof off the sucker.

You can check out the episode page for more details, as well as our video page for some behind-the-scenes action. Don’t forget to stop by our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages for regular updates on the ACL universe. Next week: a beloved classic featuring the one and only Roy Orbison.

Featured News

Preview Radiohead on Austin City Limits

You might recall that Austin City Limits had the pleasure of taping Radiohead back in March. As a taste of what to expect when their episode airs in the fall (on PBS, of course – check your local listings when the leaves start turning brown), check out this preview created by our videographer (and creator of our current open) Jonathan Jackson.

Radiohead “Lotus Flower” – Austin City Limits – behind the scenes from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to keep up with tapings. airings and other ACL happenings..


Ticket Giveaway: Bon Iver 4/25

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Bon Iver on Wednesday, April 25, at 9 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd).  We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by 9 am Friday, April 20. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold.

Encore Broadcast News

Encore: John Legend & the Roots

Wondering how you’re going to make it through this week knowing that the first weekend of the Coachella Music Festival is going on and you didn’t get tickets? Don’t be sad, get ready for an exciting performance on this week’s Austin City Limits encore episode that includes two of the biggest names in R&B, soul, and hip hop:  John Legend and The Roots.

Legend and The Roots perform most of the songs off of their 2010 collaborative album Wake Up! Inspired by the 2008 Presidential election, Wake Up! features a collection of cover songs from the 60s and ‘70s that were originally written or performed by some of the most influential and timeless artists of the era, such as Donny Hathaway, Eugene McDaniels, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, and many others. Legend and The Roots both felt that something was needed in the stagnant atmosphere and lack of depth in music’s current state and that this album would deliver a sense of urgency and convey the change that was going on in the world at the time. Given the album’s themes/background and the upcoming Presidential election, this is an episode that still resonates.

A few breakthrough moments in the episode include when Legend breaks away from Wake Up! once to perform “Ordinary People,” arguably his most popular hit from his 2004 debut album Get Lifted. Following that, Legend introduces the song “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” which he explains was written by Bill Withers during the Vietnam War. Withers dedicated it to a soldier he met who was shot in his right arm and forced to learn to use his left hand to write. The powerful and soulful ballad is heightened with ?ueslove’s brilliant and passionate drumming.

Check your local listings for showtimes to see this special episode and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr to keep up with updates on tapings and airings. Next week: Alejandro Escovedo and Trombone Shorty!