Austin City Limits continues its milestone Season 40 with an exceptional double bill: Ryan Adams paired with Jenny Lewis in a new installment showcasing the acclaimed singer-songwriters, both returning to the ACL stage for the first time in a decade for our 40th anniversary season. Frequent collaborators and recent tour mates, the LA-based artists perform separate sets and deliver knockout performances.
A prolific songwriter with a 25-year body of work, Ryan Adams makes a memorable ACL return performing songs from his 2014 self-titled solo release. The album has generated critical accolades across the board and earned three 2015 Grammy Award nominations, including Best Rock Album. Hailed “one of the few truly great roots-rock troubadours left” by Entertainment Weekly, the North Carolina native tells the Austin crowd, ”We came here to play you really depressing music, but really loud.” Adams and his band the Shining launch into a career-spanning six-song ACL set with the bluesy rocker “Stay With Me,” on a stage outfitted with a vintage arcade video game, a stuffed tiger, an oversized fake amp and an American Flag customized with a peace sign. Adams moves seamlessly back and forth between new songs and long-time favorites in a must-see appearance, representing the impressive range of his storied career.
Indie-pop treasure Jenny Lewis returns for her solo ACL debut, nearly ten years since her debut on the program as frontwoman for the band Rilo Kiley. Lewis performs songs from her new album The Voyager, largely produced by Ryan Adams and widely regarded as one of 2014’s best releases by Spin, Rolling Stone, TIME and many more. Rolling Stone raves, “Blending Laurel Canyon sensibilities with modern wit, The Voyager shows she’s stronger and wiser – and can still draw blood.” Decked out head-to-toe in her distinctive rainbow and stars suit (complete with matching guitar), she opens with the Rilo Kiley classic “Silver Lining” and continues with pop gems from her solo career including the recent singles “Just One of the Guys” and “She’s Not Me.” Lewis closes out a sparkling set with her bandmates surrounding a single mic for the beautiful, hymn-like “Acid Tongue,” “going full Joni Mitchell as she [sings] plaintively of liars, cobblers and sweethearts with the softest of hands” (Austin American-Statesman). After blowing a kiss to the audience, Lewis exits to wild applause, having captured the hearts of the Austin audience.
“The best songs are best sung by those who wrote them,” notes ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “There aren’t many contemporary songwriters who are better than Ryan and Jenny, or singers who can bring their songs to life as well as they can. Theirs are the kinds of songs that will stay with you long after you hear them for the first time.”