Episode Recap

ACL Season 37 Episode 5: Steve Miller Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band Make Their Austin City Limits Debuts

All Hallow’s Eve is upon us, and as we get ready to put on our costumes, touch up our makeup and beg strangers for candy, we’ve got some news to pass on about the latest brand new episode of Austin City Limits.

We love to present new music and show off current artists hitting their prime. But we’re happy to honor the veterans and the lifers – the folks whose work has stood the test of time. In that light, we welcome Steve Miller Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the ACL stage this Saturday, Oct. 29.

Steve Miller Band don’t need an introduction, do they? Lauded rock guitarist Steve Miller and his various partners-in-crime have been knocking around since the late 60s, leaving a string of indelible hits in their wake. Remember “Abracadabra?” “Fly Like An Eagle?” “Space Cowboy?” Of course you do, and you’ll hear them all on Saturday in front of an enthusiastic crowd that fills ACL Live at The Moody Theater to the gills.

Speaking of The Moody, we’d like to point out that the SMB show was the first-ever ACL taping in our new home. Thanks to the fantastic audience for coming out and making our maiden Moody voyage so memorable! Feel free, home viewers, to join the on-screen audience in singing along, which you’ll be doing it under your breath anyway, right?

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been around even longer than Miller – the group’s genesis coincides with the founding of the Hall itself back in 1961, and the style of New Orleans jazz the band plays goes back even further than that. History lives on in PHJB’s performances.

But don’t think that just because this group gets traditional means that they’re preserved in amber. Joining the band onstage this evening are Yim Yames from My Morning Jacket, James Petralli from White Denim and the ever-elegant Del McCoury Band to add their inimitable contemporary mojo. Once you hear “St. James Infirmary” sung by a high-voiced indie rock frontdude, you’ll realize it’s what you’ve always wanted.

Tune in this Saturday for your classic rock ‘n’ jazz fix – as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Toggle over to the episode page for biographical info, clips and photos.

Don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages for more Austin City Limits-flavored candy, or sign up for our newsletter. You don’t even have to say “trick or treat” to get it.

ACL @ the Alamo

Reel Rarities: Neil Young goes country

How would you like to experience a bit of music history right in the heart of the Live Music Capital of the World? Well, we at Austin City Limits advise you to look no further.

On Monday night we present Neil Young, our next installment in the series Reel Rarities: Handpicked Gems from the ACL Vault.  Join us at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.  to witness the Godfather of Grunge himself in his ACL debut when we screen this classic episode from 1985. Get tickets on the Alamo Drafthouse’s website

For those of your familiar with his signature rock demeanor, next week’s screening will give you all a separate dose of Young’s musical abilities in his mid-1980s foray towards traditional country. Best of all, the episode features his only full-length performance with the
International Harvesters, an eight-piece band of Nashville session players with whom he toured in support of his country-western album Old Ways. By the time Young and the Harversters hit the stage they are firing with all cylinders from the country blast of “Get Back to the Country” to the rock & roll meltdown of “Down By The River.” Its amazing how much ass a band with a pedal steel and Cajun fiddle can kick. (R.I.P.  BenKeith and Rufus Thibodeaux, respectively.) To top it off, this is the only full-length filmed performance of Young with this particular band.

So, are you ready for some country? Of course you are!

Reel Rarities: Handpicked Gems from the ACL Vault is an ongoing series at the Alamo Drafthouse. Tickets are $5 and the sales benefit our friends over at the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

Check out our Facebook page for a chance to win a pair of tickets for this special screening. And don’t forget to check out our cool Tumblr to see Neil on the ACL stage.

See you there!

Episode Recap

ACL Season 37 Episode 4: The Decemberists and Gillian Welch Return To ACL October 22

Here at ACL HQ we’re basking in a benevolent cold front. Fall weather prompts giddy excitement as the cool wind sweetly sings the words, “new episodes” in our ears.

It’s with great pride that we welcome every featured artist to our hallowed halls, be they up-and-comers or grizzled veterans. This weekend’s new, primo episode of Austin City Limits fits in the latter category. Please tune in this Saturday to join us in welcoming back ACL veterans The Decemberists and Gillian Welch.

Portland’s finest take our stage for the second time, having last visited in Season 33 supporting The Crane Wife. Now they’re back with a terrific set highlighting their most excellent LP The King is Dead. Highlights include a rousing “Calamity Song,” a lovely “Rise to Me” and a cheeky “The Rake’s Song” (the sole non-King track, for those keeping score). And just to add to the folk rock goodness, the Decemberists perform a countrified “All Arise!” and the ridiculously catchy “Down By the Water” with Welch and her partner David Rawlings singing and stringing along.

Speaking of Welch and Rawlings, they make their third appearance on ACL in the second half of this episode. Brandishing the brilliant new record The Harrow & the Harvest, the duo take us back to a timeless place where superior songcraft and hushed emotion rule. Whether it’s the elegiac “Look at Miss Ohio,” the lively “Six White Horses” or the defiantly beautiful “Hard Times” (song of the year, we’re tellin’ ya), the performance presents an artist hitting her stride and still moving forward. The pair’s uplifting take on the bluegrass standard “I’ll Fly Away” brings it all back home.

Make sure to tune in Saturday to catch this instant classic. In the meantime head on over to the episode page for a gaggle of clips, photos, additional information and for your local PBS listings.

While you’re at it, hit us up on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr or sign up for our newsletter for the latest happenings in the wonderful world of ACL. That’s where we’ll be posting about next week’s episode: some classic rock and old-school jazz with the Steve Miller Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Get outside; go on a walk and tune in this weekend!

Episode Recap

ACL Season 37: Widespread Panic Takes the ACL Stage in Energetic Performance

So far in Season 37 of ACL we’ve pumped your blood with the passionate folk rock of Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly and twitched your hips with the slinky grooves of Raphael Saadiq and Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. Now it’s time to blow your minds with the amazing musicianship of Widespread Panic.

Be sure to check your local listings to get broadcast times for ACL on the PBS station closest to you. And if you are a good friend be sure and share this post!

The long-running Athens (that’s Georgia, not Greece) jam band is no stranger to the ACL stage – you’ve seen them on the show twice before. But this performance is different. It was shot during the South By Southwest Music Festival on St. Patrick’s Day – so you know the crowd was in the mood. Plus the band celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and we’re thrilled they included us in the year-long party.

Like any good band, Panic promotes its recent work, with burning takes on “Saint Ex” and “Dirty Side Down” and a shimmering drift through the ballad “May Your Glass Be Filled.” But the group digs deep into its catalog here, treating y’all to fiery jams on fan faves “Junior,” “Pigeons” and even “Chilly Water” – the first song on their very first album Space Wrangler. Now that’s closing a circle.

As ACL TV head honcho Terry Lickona put it, “This was a night I’ll never forget – Widespread Panic making their debut at SxSW, celebrating their 25th anniversary and the first season in our new ACL home. We all know how wild Panic fans can be, so throw in the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day and you can only begin to imagine how over the top this show was!”

Want a little taste? Head over to the episode page for performance and interview clips, band info, the set list and the usual batch of cool photos. Then check the listings of your local PBS station to find out when you can get in on the jams.

And hit us up on Facebook and Twitter for the latest ACL scuttlebutt, check out our Tumblr page for a trip through our back pages and sign up for the monthly newsletter for even more ACL goodness.

Tune in next week for another couple of ACL vets – the brilliant Gillian Welch and the ever-awesome Decemberists. Details coming soon.

Taping Recap

Taping Recap: Fleet Foxes Make Special Trip Back to Austin to Captivate ACL Audience with Lush Harmonies

Some musicians work like dogs to perfect their sonic signatures and find the most distinctive part of their sound, then massage it until it shines like a polished gem; others just fall into their talent so naturally it’s as if their sound grew on a tree and was simply plucked for the taking.

Not fair – we know – but we’re so thankful when such artists grace our stage.

When it comes to their infamous vocal harmonies, Fleet Foxes definitely fall into the latter category – Robin Pecknold and his bandmates sound as if they were born to sing together, as their recent ACL taping last Friday (10/7) proved.

The Fleet Foxes made the trek back to Austin for this special taping and even Pecknold’s cold couldn’t dull the edges of their signature harmony blend. If you caught the show you probably noticed he was medicating his throat with tea between songs – no matter, the band still sounded incredible every time.

Frontloading the set with tunes from the latest LP Helplessness Blues, the band indulged its atmospheric acid folk side with the soaring “Sim Sala Bim” and the ambitious “The Shrine/An Argument,” whose sweeping acoustica and churning electricity in the second got spiked by multi-instrumentalist/MVP Morgan Henderson’s skronking bass clarinet.

On the downhill side of the set, the group performed a gorgeous take on “Helplessness Blues,” — augmented by Henderson’s mbira-equipped 12-string guitar (AKA the poor man’s hammer dulcimer) — then transitioned into the band into the second half of the show, which leaned most heavily on the melodic folk/pop of the band’s first album.

The lights in our studio were magical during “White Winter Hymnal” making the band appear to glow. From the Sun Giant EP we heard “Ragged Wood” and “Mykonos” fill ACL Live at the Moody Theater to the rooftop with sweet melodies – not to mention our great fans harmoniously singing along.

The group closed out the night with “Blue Ridge Mountains” – a cascade of everything that makes Fleet Foxes great. As Do512_Rachel said on Twitter, “Fleet Foxes always make me wish it was snowing out and I had hot cocoa #acltv.”

But don’t take our word for it – you can check out what other fine folks said about the show on and And on January 21, you’ll be able to see – and, most importantly, hear – the set for yourselves. We’ll be pairing Fleet Foxes with fellow traveler Joanna Newsom – don’t miss it!

The two last tapings of season 37 are Lykke Li and Wilco. Stay tuned to our blog for ticket giveaways!

Episode Recap

ACL Season 37/Episode 2: Groove Along With Raphael Saadiq and Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

Howdy folks,

The new season of Austin City Limits hit airwaves last weekend featuring rocking performances by Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly. If you missed it check it out here, but stay tuned because we’re just getting started….

Tonight, Saturday, October 8th, we cordially invite you to join us for our second episode featuring Raphael Saadiq and Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – and it’s a killer lineup if we do say so.

Tune-in by checking your local listings for air times on PBS affiliate stations closest to you, and get in the mood with a little behind the scenes video we dug up just for you…

Veteran R&B genius Raphael Saadiq and his crack band kick things off with a set heavy on his most recent and most excellent record Stone Rollin’. Few artists translate old-school soul moves into contemporary R&B magic quite like this Oakland native.

In anticipation of tomorrow you can look forward to “Heart Attack,” “Day Dreams” and the bluesy strut “Stone Rollin,” featuring special guest Fabulous Thunderbirds’ frontman and blues legend Kim Wilson on harmonica – if your hips don’t move in a way illegal in most states, you might want to check your pulse.

Our advice: for this show keep the lights down low and your sweetheart nearby.

Also featured in episode two, get ready for Austin’s own Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. The band’s blazing blend of North Mississippi Hill Country blues, New York punk rock and Stax/Volt soul inspires as much air guitar as dancing, especially when Joe’s overdriven Telecaster gets into it with the bursting horn section.

The Honeybears spread the love across their career with the roiling “Bobby Booshay,” the groovin’ “I’m Broke” and an amp-frying cover of the Dead Boys’ “What Love Is.” And don’t miss the epic closer “You Been Lyin,” featuring roof-raising gospel soul group the Relatives.

And yes – for our sharp-eyed viewers, you are correct – that is indeed Spoon drummer and Honeybears producer Jim Eno shaking the maracas and tambourine in the background. 

Just can’t wait until Saturday? Mosey on over to the episode page for performance and interview clips, bio info, the full set list, a pile of cool photos and more. Then hit up your local PBS listings for the broadcast date nearest you.

And don’t forget, you can get the latest and greatest ACL news by following us on Twitter and Facebook, or signing up for our snazzy monthly newsletter, and check out our “Experience ACL” Tumblr blog while you’re at it.

What’s on tap for episode 3? Tune in next week for a return engagement from jamming rock favorites who need little intro, Widespread Panic. Check back in here for more details.