History was made on Jan. 20 with the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Kamala D. Harris as the first female, African-American and Asian-American Vice President in our country’s history. Also, for the first time, the ACL family was part of the celebration. During the inauguration primetime special broadcast, Austin’s own Black Pumas performed their Grammy Record of the Year nominee “Colors” from ACL Live at the Moody Theater, in front of the classic Austin City Limits skyline backdrop. We can’t think of a more appropriate way to salute the incoming presidential administration. Watch the full performance below.
The nominations for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards have been announced, and while we’re happy for all the nominees this year, we’re chuffed for our Austin City Limits alumni who made the list. The Grammy Awards telecast, co-produced by ACL’s own Terry Lickona, will broadcast on January 31, 2021, hosted for the first time by The Daily Show host, Emmy-winner and Grammy-nominated Trevor Noah.
We’re especially excited for our hometown heroes Black Pumas, who’ve scored nominations for Record of the Year and Best American Roots Performance for their hit “Colors,” as well as a nom for Album of the Year for the deluxe edition of their self-titled debut. We’re also thrilled that our own Ruthie Foster, whose episode airs on January 17, gained a Best Contemporary Blues Album nom, and Rufus Wainwright, whose sensational ACL debut aired back in October, earned a Best Traditional Pop Album nod. Mavis Staples, whose classic Season 38 performance encored two weeks ago, earned a Best American Roots Song nod for her duet with Norah Jones, while John Legend, whose magnificent Season 36 episode with the Roots encored in November, was nominated for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. The late John Prine, whose memorable hour kicked off our 46th season, got two nods for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song.
Brittany Howard, ACL two-timer with her band Alabama Shakes, cleaned up with half a dozen nominations. Pop princess Billie Eilish received four, while country queen Miranda Lambert took three. Beck, Sarah Jarosz, Lucinda Williams and Brandi Carlile each got two nods. Dolly Parton, the late Leonard Cohen, Coldplay, Sturgill Simpson, H.E.R., Eric Church, David Byrne, Wilco, James Taylor, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Vince Gill, Natalia Lafourcade, Bettye LaVette, the Robert Cray Band, Bela Fleck, Michael Kiwanuka and the Steep Canyon Rangers scored one apiece.
We’d also like to give special shout-outs in the coveted Producer of the Year category: to nominee and ACL three-timer Dan Auerbach and Dave Cobb, who hasn’t performed on ACL but has produced a ridiculous number of artists who have. It’s also a wonderful day in the PBS neighborhood as public television legend Fred Rogers is celebrated for Best Historical Album for It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mr. Rogers. Congratulations to all.
Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, plans for Austin City Limits Season 46 remain – the 13-episode season Austin PBS will deliver to PBS stations nationwide this fall will be a mix of new, already-taped episodes and selections from our archives. The new season will premiere October 3 and will provide a rare opportunity to go back to our early ACL roots with an emphasis on local Austin and Texan acts.
Our reopening task force and partners at ACL Live at The Moody Theater remain vigilant in working toward safely gathering in the venue for music; however, the local increase in Covid-19 cases, along with state and local ordinances, have inhibited plans to bring in a studio audience for the near future. While we can’t wait to have fans back with us safely in the studio again, in the interim we are pleased to announce that we are on track to resume production with four confirmed tapings, and will do so with a limited production crew and heightened safety measures in place. The artists include the ACL debut of singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright on Sept. 10, the third taping for rock and country trailblazers The Mavericks (supporting their first all-Spanish album En Espanol) on Sept. 22, and the debut of Austin singer/guitar slinger Jackie Venson on Oct. 1.
To mark these historic times, acknowledging the challenges local Austin and Texan acts have faced during the pandemic, we have created a new opening sequence that will air during Season 46. The opening features Austin’s Black Pumas’ hit “Colors,” and showcases many of Austin’s own homegrown talents captured at their homes and front porches, including Ruthie Foster, Ray Wylie Hubbard, White Denim, Jackie Venson, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin and more.
We thank you for your loyal support during this challenging time and we can’t wait to be back in the studio with y’all again!