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Featured News Taping Recap

Taping recap: Allison Russell

Montreal native and Nashville resident Allison Russell came to ACL’s attention with her standout performance as part of Our Native Daughters at the Americana Music Festival a couple of years ago. We knew then it was only a matter of time before she came to the ACL stage on her own, and once the Birds of Chicago singer’s Grammy-nominated solo debut Outside Child arrived last year, we knew that time had come – especially since it was our 1000th taping (as officially declared by Austin mayor Steve Adler at the top of the show). Russell’s vision of roots music uses joyful noise to confront subjects like emotional and sexual abuse, systemic racial and gender bias, and the ongoing damage done to and by a culture that refuses to learn from its mistakes (and the connection between those things) – a timely message, as the taping occurred the night after the horrific Uvalde school shootings. Fronting a distinctively structured band, including guitarists Joy Clark and Mandy Fer, cellists Larissa Maestro and Monique Ross, violinist Chauntee Ross, drummer Elizabeth Goodfellow, and her own banjo and clarinet, Russell brought down the house. 

Using incense to bless the proceedings, Russell opened with the percussion-and-vocal driven “Hy-Brasil,” a powerful invocation of the African diaspora and its trials around the world. Chills thus induced, Russell led her band into “The Runner,” a more straightforward but compelling folk rocker that especially soared when the backing vocals and strings wailed in unison. “You can’t steal my joy,” she asserted, which became essentially the theme of the evening. She told a story about how in her hometown of Montreal she ran away from familial abuse, hearing the sounds of freedom from Austin City Limits (beaming in from Vermont), while finding her first love. That led, of course, was “Persephone,” leading to a graceful performance of her popular song about finding solace from suffering in the arms of young love. The strings got louder and the rhythms peppier for “The Hunters,” another struggle with difficult situations to which Russell herself – singing in French as well as English – couldn’t resist dancing. Keeping the beat going, Goodfellow, whose versatility is the band’s secret weapon, laid down a funky groove, during which Russell insisted she “couldn’t wait one more minute to introduce you to this goddess circle,” which she proceeded to do. It was all a set-up for “4th Day Prayer,” a swampy, gospel-infused anthem of defiance against a society that won’t confront the role systemic abuse contributes to its own collapse. “We are not alone,” she noted. “We are more than the sum of our scars,” and the song proved it. 

The strings, Goodfellow’s percussion and Clark’s acoustic guitar then created a spooky atmosphere as their leader retrieved her banjo for the minor keyed “All of the Women,” an attempt to find survivor’s joy in continued cultural deficits and unimaginable tragedy. “We believe that music, shared like this, is…creative communion, an essential service that helps build up our empathy,” Russell asserted. “Because our lack of empathy has a body count, and it has to stop.” It was a powerful, well-received moment, brought home by Fer’s angry guitar skronk, Russell’s keening clarinet coda and the crowd’s enthusiastic response. Russell retained her banjo for “Little Rebirth,” a haunting tune that, despite being an original, sounds like an ancient, recently discovered folk song, given a magnificent vocal by its writer. 

“This is the first anniversary of the release of Outside Child,” Russell noted as she invited her co-author, Birds of Chicago partner and spouse JT Nero to the stage for their ballad “Joyful Motherf*****s,” a song that yearns for a better world and reiterates that, as dark as some of these songs get, Russell never gives up on hope. The jazzy “Poison Arrow” continued with that hopeful vibe, before the group deviated from Outside Child to visit Russell’s work with Our Native Daughters. “I want to send this song out for all the grieving families in Texas tonight,” she said by way of introducing “You’re Not Alone.” The song began with celli and Russell’s banjo, as the rest of the band eased its way in to give the love song – for a child, a significant other, or the whole human race, however anyone chooses to take it – a special charge as everyone made the rounds with their solos. 

Russell continued her family affair, bringing on her daughter Ida Maeve Lindsay for the gorgeous and uplifting “Nightflyer,” her breakthrough hit and an audience favorite. The band went immediately a reprise of the chorus of “4th Day Prayer,” with Russell re-introducing the band and ending the set with a final few “ooh-ooh’s.” But that wasn’t all, as the audience hadn’t had enough. Russell and her chosen family of musicians returned with the intense Native Daughters track “Quasheba, Quasheba,” an exploration of genealogical hardship and how to be a good ancestor. Following that lesson in how scars still hurt, Russell sent us back out into the night with a benediction: a gentle, exquisite cover of Sade’s “By Your Side.” It perfectly ended one hell of a show, a master class in how to make music of consequence. We can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall on your local PBS station.

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Featured Live Stream News

Live stream announcement: Allison Russell

Austin City Limits is excited to announce we will live stream the debut taping of acclaimed singer and songwriter Allison Russell on May 25 at 8 p.m. CT. This truly is one for the record books – the 1000th taping of Austin City Limits! We are thrilled to welcome this exceptional artist to the ACL stage for this historic milestone. ACL offers fans worldwide the unique opportunity to watch the taping live in its entirety via our ACLTV YouTube Channel. The broadcast episode will air this fall on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 48.  

After years of collaborations with like-minded artists, Allison Russell’s first-ever solo project Outside Child was released in 2021 to critical acclaim and earned a trio of 2022 Grammy nominations, including Best Americana Album. Russell, a self-taught singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of folk collective Our Native Daughters and duo Birds of Chicago, unpacks her youth in searing detail. Rolling Stone raves, “Russell turned her brutally tough childhood into stunning art.” Raised in Montreal, Russell imbues her music with the colors of her city – the light, the landscape, the language – but also the trauma that she suffered there. It is a heartbreaking reflection on a childhood no one should have to endure, and at the same time a powerful reclamation – asserted from a place of healing, of motherhood, of partnership – and from a new home made in Nashville. The record features many of the artistic family members she has found there including Yola, Erin Rae, The McCrary Sisters, Ruth Moody, Jamie Dick, Dan Knobler and her partner JT Nero. Outside Child, says Russell “is about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” Singing about this on the double Grammy-nominated “Nightflyer,” Russell ponders the healing power of motherhood, using the track’s wide-open expanse to convey the strength she didn’t know she had. Here, the line “I am the mother of the evening star / I am the love that conquers all” is “the most defiantly triumphant, hopeful line I’ve ever written,” says Russell. “That’s about the birth of my daughter and how that transformed me.” Though she endured a fraught relationship with her own mother, Russell remembers how she’d crawl underneath the piano and listen to her mother play. “I would hum along with her,” Russell recalls. “She said I was humming before I could talk. I was able to feel some kind of comfort or love or connection in a way that she couldn’t verbally or physically express – but I could feel in her music that there was love in her.” Ultimately, Outside Child is not only a radical reclamation of a traumatic childhood and lost home, it is a lantern light for survivors of all stripes – a fervent reminder of the eleventh hour, resuscitative power of art. Fellow songwriter and poet Joe Henry raves, “Outside Child draws water from the dark well of a violent past. The songs themselves ––though iron-hard in their concerns–– are exultant: exercising haunted dream-like clean bedsheets snapped and hung out into broad daylight, and with the romantic poet’s lust for living and audacity of endurance.” Russell’s work has also been recognized with three nominations at this year’s 2022 Americana Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year. We’re thrilled to bring Russell to the ACL stage as we celebrate a landmark occasion with our milestone 1K taping moment.

Join us here on May 25 at 8 p.m. CT for Allison Russell. Join us this fall on PBS for the broadcast premiere of Austin City Limits’ upcoming Season 48.  

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Featured News Taping Announcement Uncategorized

New tapings: Robert Earl Keen, Sylvan Esso and Allison Russell

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new tapings for Season 48, showcasing a trio of originals. Renowned singer/songwriter and Texas icon Robert Earl Keen caps his remarkable musical journey with one last taping on April 27 before his planned retirement from live performance later this year. We’re also thrilled to showcase debut tapings by a pair of 2022 Grammy-nominated acts whose individuality and artistic reach create songs thrilling in their distinctive flavors. On May 9, we welcome North Carolina-bred electronic duo Sylvan Esso. On May 25, Nashville-based singer and songwriter Allison Russell takes the ACL stage as we reach a major milestone: our 1000th taping. 

Robert Earl Keen debuted on Austin City Limits in 1989 as part of a Texas Showcase and has made four headlining appearances in addition to appearing as a guest of Lyle Lovett in 2000, returning for ACL’s milestone 40th Anniversary special in 2014 and hosting the ACL Hall of Fame in 2019. One of the most beloved songwriters and performers in Texas, the Houston native has lived his signature anthem “The Road Goes On Forever” as a road warrior performing over 180 dates in any given year, playing to his legions of fans at roadhouses, dance halls, theaters, and festival grounds. The legendary entertainer made the surprise announcement in March that he’ll wrap up a remarkable four decades of touring with one last tour in 2022 as his swan song: I’m Comin’ Home: 41 Years On The Road. “I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of brilliant, talented, colorful, electrical, magical folks throughout my life,” says Keen. “This chorus of joy, this parade of passion, this bull rush of creativity, this colony of kindness and generosity are foremost in my thoughts…It’s with a mysterious concoction of joy and sadness that I want to tell you that as of September 4, 2022, I will no longer tour or perform publicly.” With a catalog of 21 albums, a band of stellar musicians, and many thousands of live shows under his belt, POLLSTAR ranked Keen in its Top 20 Global Concert Tours in 2021. Since releasing his debut album, No Kinda Dancer, in 1984, Keen has blazed a peer, critic, and fan-lauded trail that’s earned him living-legend status in the Americana music world. He’s received many accolades along the way, including 2015’s inaugural BMI Troubadour Award, celebrating songwriters who have made a lasting impact.  His songs have been recorded by George Strait, Joe Ely, Nancy Griffith, Gillian Welch, The Highwaymen and more. Keen has been inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame (alongside his longtime friend and Texas A&M classmate Lyle Lovett), the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas A&M University. Keen was weaned on classic rock and Willie records and steered clear of the country mainstream, always taking the road less traveled throughout his storied career. His literate songcraft, razor wit and killer band stirred up a grassroots sensation not seen since the ’70s heyday of outlaw country. While Keen will be hanging up his hat on live shows, he’ll continue to write music and create, host his popular Americana Podcast, support young artists, and follow his artistic muse wherever it takes him. We’re thrilled to welcome Robert Earl Keen back to our stage for this very special performance.

Created with RNI Films app by Shervin Lainez.

Sitting in a Wisconsin deli in 2012, Amelia Meath told her new friend Nick Sanborn she wanted to start a pop band. She proposed a simple division of labor: She’d write and sing their emotionally multivalent songs, wrapped around seemingly effortless hooks. And he’d make the beats that drove them, slightly slippery instrumentals that winked at his abstract electronic inclinations. For a time, that was the premise of Sylvan Esso. But during the last decade, those responsibilities have morphed. Meath and Sanborn’s roles have become so intertwined that every moment of any new Sylvan Esso song feels rigorously conceptual but completely rapturous, their compelling central paradox. “Making music now looks like both of us sitting in a room together and having small arguments,” Meath quips. That dynamic thumps at the heart of Free Love, Sylvan Esso’s instantly endearing third album and a charming but provocative testament to the duo’s long-term tension. “We’re trying to make pop songs that aren’t on the radio, because they’re too weird,” says Meath. You could frame Free Love in a dozen different ways. You could, for instance, declare it their undeniable pop triumph, thanks to the summertime incandescence of “Ferris Wheel” or the handclap kinetics of “Train.” You might, on the other hand, call it their most delicate work yet, owing to Meath’s triptych of gently subversive anthems—“What If,” “Free,” and “Make It Easy”—that begin, end, and split the record into sides. You could label Free Love their modular synthesis album, since Sanborn’s explorations of those infinite systems shape so many of these daring songs. You might even call it their marriage record, as it’s the first LP Meath and Sanborn have made since trading vows. Instead, the thread that binds together every scintillating moment of Free Love may seem surprising for a duo that has already netted a 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the record , made some of their generation’s sharpest pop daggers, and generally approached their work with an anything-goes esprit: Finding confidence. An album that implores us to consider that our assumptions about our world might be wrong, Free Love asks major questions about self-image, self-righteousness, friendship, romance, and environmental calamity with enough warmth, playfulness, and magnetism to make you consider an alternate reality. These are Sylvan Esso’s most nuanced and undeniable songs—bold enough to say how they feel, big enough to make you join in that feeling. The Durham, NC-based duo is currently on a U.S. headline tour with high-profile upcoming summer dates at Wilco’s Solid Sound and Rothbury’s Electric Forest Festival.

Photo by Marc Baptiste.

After years of collaborations with like-minded artists, Allison Russell’s first-ever solo project, Outside Child was released in 2021 to critical acclaim and earned a trio of 2022 Grammy nominations, including Best Americana Album. Russell, a self-taught singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of folk collective Our Native Daughters and duo Birds of Chicago, unpacks her youth in searing detail. Rolling Stone raves, “Russell turned her brutally tough childhood into stunning art.” Raised in Montreal, Russell imbues her music with the colors of her city – the light, the landscape, the language – but also the trauma that she suffered there. It is a heartbreaking reflection on a childhood no one should have to endure, and at the same time a powerful reclamation – asserted from a place of healing, of motherhood, of partnership – and from a new home made in Nashville. The record features many of the artistic family members she has found there including Yola, Erin Rae, The McCrary Sisters, Ruth Moody, Jamie Dick, Dan Knobler and her partner JT Nero. Outside Child, says Russell “is about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” Singing about this on the double Grammy-nominated “Nightflyer,” Russell ponders the healing power of motherhood, using the track’s wide-open expanse to convey the strength she didn’t know she had. Here, the line “I am the mother of the evening star / I am the love that conquers all” is “the most defiantly triumphant, hopeful line I’ve ever written,” says Russell. “That’s about the birth of my daughter and how that transformed me.” Though she endured a fraught relationship with her own mother, Russell remembers how she’d crawl underneath the piano and listen to her mother play. “I would hum along with her,” Russell recalls. “She said I was humming before I could talk. I was able to feel some kind of comfort or love or connection in a way that she couldn’t verbally or physically express – but I could feel in her music that there was love in her.” Ultimately, Outside Child is not only a radical reclamation of a traumatic childhood and lost home, it is a lantern light for survivors of all stripes – a fervent reminder of the eleventh hour, resuscitative power of art. Fellow songwriter and poet Joe Henry raves, “Outside Child draws water from the dark well of a violent past. The songs themselves ––though iron-hard in their concerns–– are exultant: exercising haunted dream-like clean bedsheets snapped and hung out into broad daylight, and with the romantic poet’s lust for living and audacity of endurance.” We’re thrilled to bring Russell to the ACL stage as we celebrate a landmark occasion with our milestone 1K taping moment.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes as we get a week out from each date. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air in late 2022 on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 48.

Please look for safety updates regarding entry to Austin City Limits tapings. Austin PBS will continue to monitor local COVID-19 trends and will meet or exceed protocols mandated by local governments.

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Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News Uncategorized

ACL Presents: Americana 20th Annual Honors

Austin City Limits returns to Nashville for a special broadcast featuring performance highlights from the 20th Annual Americana Honors. For two decades, the annual celebration of roots music has honored the best and brightest musicians in Americana music while showcasing one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations. The program is filled with musical highlights from many of the event’s award-winners and honorees, among them (in order of appearance): Fisk Jubilee Singers with Leon Timbo, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan & Joe Henry, Allison Russell, The Highwomen, featuring Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires with Yola, Jason Isbell, Valerie June & Carla Thomas, Charley Crockett, Amythyst Kiah, Buddy Miller, Brandi Carlile & The Mavericks. The hourlong special premieres Saturday, April 2 at 7pm CT/8pm ET on PBS and varies by market (check local listings for times).  Check PBS listings for local airtimes. The special will be available to music fans everywhere to stream online beginning Sunday, April 3 @10am ET at pbs.org/austincitylimits. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding upcoming Season 48 tapings, episode schedules and select live stream updates. 

Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium in 2021, The Americana Music Association’s 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony is a celebration of the confluence of roots, blues, soul, folk and country music.  For the tenth year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with producers Martin Fischer, Michelle Aquilato, and Jed Hilly for the Americana Music Association, proudly deliver a special ACL Presents.  

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Fisk Jubilee Singers perform onstage at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Fisk Jubilee Singers, the award-winning choir formed at Nashville’s HBCU Fisk University, open the hour and raise the Ryman roof with the stirring spiritual “I Believe” joined by gospel great Leon Timbo. Americana’s Artist of the Year Brandi Carlile delivers a gorgeous solo performance of her 2022 triple Grammy-nominated song “Right On Time” and also performs with her bandmates Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires in country supergroup the Highwomen, joined by greats Yola and Jason Isbell for the occasion. Multiple Americana Album of the Year nominees showcase highlights: Americana stalwart Sarah Jarosz performs “I’ll Be Gone,” a gem from her celebrated World on the Ground, joined by John Leventhal; Valerie June performs her Song of the Year-nominated “Call Me A Fool” from her The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, joined by Stax great and Lifetime Achievement honoree Carla Thomas; and one of the genre’s top stars, Jason Isbell, is joined by wife and collaborator Amanda Shires for “Letting You Go,” a poignant song written for their young daughter from his acclaimed Reunions.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Valerie June performs onstage at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The award’s Emerging Artist honorees take the stage to showcase their talents: the year’s Emerging Artist Award-winner and “the pride of San Benito, Texas,” Charley Crockett, makes a sparkling debut with his singular brand of Gulf & Western music, performing the two-stepping “Are We Lonesome Yet.” Fellow nominee, genre-bending artist Allison Russell, delivers her 2022 double Grammy-nominated “Nightflyer,” a soulful number from her critically-acclaimed solo record Outside Child, also a 2022 Grammy nominee for Best Americana Album. Breakout singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah showcases her bonafides with a powerhouse “Fancy Drones (Fracture Me),” forecasting the future of the genre. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Amythyst Kiah performs at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The special pays tribute to a pair of Americana greats we lost in 2021: Country-folk legend Nanci Griffith, a trailblazer in the genre, is saluted with a gorgeous reading of her “Gulf Coast Highway,” performed by Aoife O’Donovan and Joe Henry;  country great Tom T. Hall is honored by famed musician Buddy Miller, who performs a memorable rendition of Hall’s classic “That’s How I Got to Memphis.” 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Aoife O’Donovan and Joe Henry perform at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The show closes with the eclectic rock-country-Latin band the Mavericks, recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award, celebrating the diversity of the genre with “La Sitiera,” from their acclaimed Spanish-language album En Español.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Raul Malo of The Mavericks performs at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Broadcast setlist:

Fisk Jubilee Singers ft. Leon Timbo “I Believe”

Sarah Jarosz ft. John Leventhal “I’ll Be Gone”

Aiofe O’Donovan & Joe Henry “Gulf Coast Highway” 

Allison Russell “Nightflyer”

The Highwomen (Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby) ft. Yola & Jason Isbell 

Jason Isbell ft. Amanda Shires “Letting You Go”

Valerie June ft. Carla Thomas “Call Me A Fool”

Charley Crockett ”Are We Lonesome Yet” 

Amythyst Kiah “Fancy Drones (Fracture Me)”

Buddy Miller “That’s How I Got to Memphis”

Brandi Carlile “Right on Time”

The Mavericks “La Sitiera”

About AMERICANAFEST:

The 22nd annual AMERICANAFEST will take place September 13-17, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn., once again bringing together music industry professionals and fans alike for five days of discovery, insight and connections. Declared a “veritable juggernaut” by American Songwriter, AMERICANAFEST showcases hundreds of artists and bands throughout many notable venues in Nashville, TN. The destination event also features a first-rate industry conference, bringing together the top tier of the music business to discuss current industry topics and issues. Musical festivities are kicked off by the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards, which celebrates luminaries and welcomes the next generation of trailblazers while offering one-of-a-kind performance pairings at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. For more information, please visit www.americanamusic.org.

About the Americana Music Association:

The Americana Music Association is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. The Association produces events throughout the year; including AMERICANAFEST and the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards program. The Americana Music Association receives enormous support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.

About ACL Presents:

ACL Presents is music programming created by, or in association with, Austin PBS, the producers of Austin City Limits (ACL). ACL Presents programming includes television specials, live events, web series and recorded music presentations and is made in the spirit and standards of the legendary PBS series Austin City Limits, the longest-running live music series in television history. ACL Presents collaborations have included: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with KQED and Americana Music Festival with Nashville Public Television (NPT).