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Featured News Taping Recap

Taping recap: Terry Allen & the Panhandle Mystery Band

A charter member of the Lubbock Mafia (Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, etc.), Terry Allen helped give rise to a substantial chunk of Lone Star musical style. Of course, Allen was long gone, off to his still-thriving career as a visual artist, by the time Ely and company made their names. But Texans take Texas with them wherever they go, and Allen’s unique take on the songwriting tradition he co-founded has continued to turn heads and blaze trails, including on his 2020 landmark thirteenth album Just Like Moby Dick, an album the Washington Post raves finds “new ways to marry his personal memories to more universal concerns about looming catastrophe and societal decay.” Returning to headline his own show for the first time since 1998, Allen and his all-star Panhandle Mystery Band showcased the album, and conducted a survey of his career to date, in a magnificent concert that we live streamed around the world. 

Allen and the PMB (guitarists Charlie Sexton and Lloyd Maines, fiddler Richard Bowden, accordionist/keyboardist Bukka Allen, bassist Glen Fukunaga, drummer Davis McLarty, cellist Brian Standerfer, percussionist Bale Allen and singer Shannon McNally) took the stage to wild applause from the crowd. Allen dedicated the show to his longtime friend and supporter Dave Hickey, who passed away three weeks ago, and went into the two-stepping “Amarillo Highway,” his signature tune from his classic 1979 album Lubbock (on everything). The round robin solos from Sexton (on a day off from Bob Dylan’s band), Bukka Allen, Bowden and Maines made clear what an amazing group Allen assembled for the show. He followed with one of his other Lubbock classics – the sardonic seduction waltz “The Beautiful Waitress,” before shifting from tentative love to definite destruction on the rocking “The Lubbock Tornado,” documenting a real-life storm from Allen’s childhood. “Disaster is fun,” he noted wryly. 

Next up were songs from the acclaimed Moby Dick, starting off with “Houdini Didn’t Like the Spiritualists,” a true life narrative documenting exactly that sentiment, as well as featuring a soulful McNally solo vocal. That was followed by “Death of the Last Stripper,” a tune co-penned by Dave Alvin and Allen’s wife Jo Harvey that acknowledged its title with the wistfully sad line “We’re the only ones who even know that she died.” McNally took the lead vocal for the ballad “All These Blues Go Walkin’ By,” which she, Jo Harvey, Sexton and Bukka Allen all had a hand in co-writing with Terry. The family affair continued with “City of the Vampires,” a song co-written by Allen’s nine-year-old grandson Kru that, once again, concerned exactly what the title promised. 

Allen introduced the PMB, before performing a suite of songs going all the way back to his first album, 1975’s Juarez, starting with the folky waltz “The Juarez Device (AKA Texican Badman).” The audience barely had time to clap before the group eased into the moody minor key narrative “What of Alicia,” which itself nearly crashed into the fan favorite rocker “There Oughta Be a Law Against Sunny Southern California.” Allen reached even further back for the next song: “Red Bird,” the first song he ever wrote, first performed on the TV show Shindig! in 1965. Moving forward a few decades, Allen said “This is for Jo Harvey” by way of introduction to the frisky “Flatland Boogie.” 

Then it was time to rock & roll once again, with the rollicking, Indian-flavored Allen standard “New Delhi Freight Train,” a song covered by Little Feat two years before Allen recorded it himself on Lubbock (on everything). He returned to Moby Dick for “Sailin’ On Through,” a mordant farewell that ruminates on the inevitable passing of, well, everything. But he and the band weren’t quite done. “We’ll end with a religious number,” Allen said, which meant one thing: “Gimme a Ride to Heaven Boy,” one of his most popular and hilarious songs, and a perfect way to close out this special show. A grinning Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band took a bow to enthusiastic, well-deserved applause.  It was an excellent show and a great way to wrap our 47th season, and we can’t wait for you all to see it when it broadcasts early next year on your local PBS station. 

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Featured Live Stream News Taping Announcement Uncategorized

Taping and live stream announcement: Terry Allen

Austin City Limits is proud to announce our final taping of Season 47, with a Texas legend making his highly-anticipated return to the ACL stage: maverick singer/songwriter Terry Allen returns for his first headline taping in over two decades on December 1. He will be joined by his longtime group the Panhandle Mystery Band—featuring Lloyd Maines, Charlie Sexton, Richard Bowden, Shannon McNally, Davis McLarty and sons Bukka and Bale Allen. The taping will also be live streamed, as ACL offers fans worldwide a unique opportunity to watch the taping live in its entirety at 8pm CT/ 9pm ET at this location. ACL’s public ticket giveaway, which had been suspended throughout Season 47 due to Covid restrictions, will resume with this taping and we are thrilled to welcome back the general public.

Iconic and iconoclastic Texan songwriter and visual artist Terry Allen returns to the ACL stage to showcase his highly lauded 2020 album Just Like Moby Dick. Raised in Lubbock, Texas, the cult favorite continues the remarkable artistic trajectory he began almost fifty years ago with influential classics including his cinematic debut Juarez (1975) and his 1979 masterstroke Lubbock (on everything). Just Like Moby Dick has earned widespread acclaim: “A remarkable late-career high point” (Austin American-Statesman); “One of outlaw country’s strongest and oddest talents” (Uncut); “…takes you on a journey through the brilliant mind of this ‘master lyricist’” (New York Times). Casting his net wide for wild stories, Just Like Moby Dick features, among many other things, Houdini in existential crisis, the death of the last stripper in town, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mudslides and burning mobile homes, and all manner of tragicomic disasters, abandonments, betrayals, bad memories, failures, and fare-thee-wells. Alongside his iconic musicianship, Allen also is an accomplished, “flat-out inspiring” (LA Times) visual artist whose work has been shown throughout the United States and internationally, and is represented in major private and public collections. His work will be the subject of the upcoming exhibition MemWars at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art beginning December 18 through July 2021. The New York Times notes, “There is just one person whose art has been seen in highbrow museums around the country and is an inductee of the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame in Lubbock. He is Terry Allen.” Allen is the subject of the recent documentary concert film, Scott Ballew’s Everything for All Reasons, featuring frequent collaborators including David Byrne, Kiki Smith, Joe Ely and Allen’s wife, actress writer Jo Harvey Allen.  Allen has also collaborated with Guy Clark, Butch Hancock, Dave Alvin and Lucinda Williams, and his haunting and hilarious songs have been covered and championed by the likes of Bobby Bare, Ryan Bingham, Richard Buckner, Jason Isbell, Little Feat, Sturgill Simpson, and Kurt Vile.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes on November 22 at 10 a.m. CT. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air in early 2022 on PBS as part of our Season 47.

Austin PBS has adopted updated health & safety protocols for those in attendance at tapings until further notice, including the requirement of avnegative COVID test or proof of vaccination for entry. As public health conditions for live entertainment change, ACL will remain flexible and adapt to applicable health protocols. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to respond to ever-changing conditions. Our top priority is bringing y’all great music and keeping everyone who attends ACL tapings safe. 

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Featured Hall of Fame News Taping Recap Uncategorized

Taping recap: ACL 7th Annual Hall of Fame Honors

Following last year’s pandemic-related pre-emption, we were beyond thrilled for the return of our biggest event/party of the season: the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration Presented by PNC Bank. We were proud to induct three longtime ACL favorites, all trailblazing artists who have all appeared on the show multiple times: renowned alt-country band Wilco, Austin rock icon Alejandro Escovedo, and the truly legendary singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. Joined by a diverse and impressive line-up of musicians paying tribute to these fantastic figures, we had a grand time celebrating some of our favorite performers on our favorite night of the year. We were also excited to announce the formal unveiling of PNC Plaza at ACL Live as part of the ceremony. Our new partner PNC Bank has made a five-year commitment as the Official Bank of Austin City Limits.

Alejandro Escovedo. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

Following welcomes from Austin PBS acting CEO Lori Bolding and ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, it was time to induct the first honoree: Austin’s own Alejandro Escovedo. Legendary rock writer, producer and longtime Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye did the honors. Kaye spoke of his long friendship with Escovedo, and what makes his eclectic, expansive body of work important not only to the industry, but to the world. Escovedo accepted his award in a stunning, sparkling lime-green jacket, and spoke of the influence of his wife Nancy Rankin, his Mexican family, especially his older brother, jazz great Pete Escovedo, and of his journey through music, as well as his gratitude to ACL for giving a platform to showcase his musical theater piece By the Hand of the Father in 2002. Joined by his niece, the incomparable Sheila E., behind the drum kit of the Austin All-Stars Band and his veteran backing singers and string section, Escovedo opened the music salute with “Algo Azul,” a song from his most recent album The Crossing, bringing out Alex Ruiz, frontman for Austin Latin-rock band Del Castillo and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s band Chingon, for an all-Spanish version of the song La Cruzada. Escovedo then welcomed another old pal, John Doe, co-founder of legendary Los Angeles punk band X, to sing the rocking story song “Sally Was a Cop,” from the 2012 album Big Station, amplified by a burning solo from house band leader Lloyd Maines on pedal steel. Escovedo finished his victory lap with a titanic take on “Put You Down,” his 1996 rock anthem with which he opened his 2006 ACL appearance. Guitars raged, the string section seared, and the audience response was deafening. 

Lucinda Williams with Rosanne Cash. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

The only way to follow that was by inducting another icon, which meant it was time to honor the singer/songwriter all other singer/songwriters bow down to: Lucinda Williams. One of her best-known disciples, Jason Isbell, inducted her into the HOF, explaining how Williams made a map for other songwriters, including himself, to follow. “This will fit real nicely next to my Grammys,” she commented wryly as she accepted her award. She praised Austin for helping give her her start, as well as Terry Lickona and the ACL staff. Isbell then took the stage to sing Williams’ beautiful “I Envy the Wind,” from her Grammy-nominated 2002 LP Essence. Williams joined her friend Rosanne Cash onstage to perform a moving version of the beguiling New Orleans tribute “Crescent City” from the Louisiana native’s groundbreaking 1988 self-titled LP, capped by a standing ovation from the crowd. Country rock star Margo Price joined Williams, presenting her hero with flowers and a heartfelt thanks for the example she sets. Along with the All-Stars, Price and Williams tore into “Changed the Locks,” the withering blues rocker also from 1988’s Lucinda Williams. After the two singers-in-arms left the stage, steel guitarist and house bandleader Lloyd Maines – the first musician to be inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame – introduced the ace ACL All-Stars Band: guitarist David Grissom, bassist Bill Whitbeck, drummer Tom Van Schiak and keyboardist Chris Gage. 

Wilco. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

Following an intermission, it was time to induct Wilco. Rosanne Cash welcomed her friends into the Hall with a speech touching on their “musical alchemy that’s just the thing if you want to spark a revolution in your audience.” Her words earned her hugs from all six members (leader Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgenson, drummer Glenn Kotche), while Tweedy gave a speech thanking not only ACL but all the bands that gave them inspiration along the way. Wilco then picked up their instruments to do what they do best, opening their segment with Summerteeth’s rocking “A Shot in the Arm.” The band exited the stage with the exception of guitarist Nels Cline remaining to accompany their friend Bill Callahan on lap steel. The low-fi great sang “Sky Blue Sky” in his deep baritone, with Cline coloring the proceedings with keening steel lines. Legendary Texas singer/songwriter Terry Allen took the stage solo, for a stately piano performance of “One Sunday Morning.” Wilco returned to the stage joined by Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, along with Lloyd Maines (who played on Wilco’s 1995 debut A.M.) for “Jesus, Etc.,” the pop charmer from 2002’s landmark Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

“We’d like to invite everybody back on the stage,” said Tweedy, bringing the all-star cast out for a stellar reading of “California Stars.” Escovedo, Cash, Isbell, Allen, Sheila E., Price, Callahan, Kaye, Zauner, Doe, Maines, and the string players joined in on Wilco’s early career highlight for a powerhouse closer. It was a great way to end the show, and stay tuned for highlights on Austin City Limits 7th Annual Hall of Fame Honors when it airs January 8 on PBS.

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Featured Hall of Fame News Uncategorized

ACL announces 2021 HOF guest performers

Austin City Limits announces an all-star slate of guest performers for the 2021 ACL Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 28, 2021. Music greats Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Doe, Sheila E., Lenny Kaye, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, Rosanne Cash, Bill Callahan, Terry Allen and Del Castillo’s Alex Ruiz will take part in saluting the newest class of inductees with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes. After an absence in 2020 due to the pandemic, the ACL Hall of Fame returns, celebrating a stellar new class of trailblazing artists with longtime ties to ACL: Lucinda Williams, Wilco and Alejandro Escovedo. The 2021 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the star-studded ceremony on October 28th, 2021 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Musical highlights and inductions from the celebration will air as a special Austin City Limits on January 8, 2022 on PBS.

The event is open to the public and a limited number of newly released tickets are on sale at acltv.com/hall-of-fame.  Sponsor packages are available now at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. All proceeds benefit Austin PBS. 

All-star guests will handle induction honors for this epic night: Jason Isbell will induct Lucinda Williams and perform in tribute along with Margo Price and Rosanne Cash. Cash will also induct Wilco, and indie legend Bill Callahan, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner and Texas icon Terry Allen will salute the celebrated band. A godfather of punk, Lenny Kaye, will induct Alejandro Escovedo; joining the musical tribute will be John Doe, founder of seminal LA punk band X, Queen of percussion Sheila E. and Alex Ruiz, frontman for Austin Latin rock band Del Castillo. Inductees Lucinda Williams, Wilco and Alejandro Escovedo will all perform at the ceremony. ACL Hall of Famer, renowned steel guitarist and producer Lloyd Maines, returns as Music Director, leading the ACL All-Stars house band.

The seventh class of inductees represent the essence of everything ACL has stood for— originality, authenticity, virtuosity. Roots-music icon Lucinda Williams has made four classic appearances on ACL over a remarkable four-decade career, starting with her debut on Season 15 in 1990. Celebrated Chicago band Wilco has also appeared on ACL four times during their 25-year career, beginning in 2000 for the series’ 25th Anniversary season. Texas legend Alejandro Escovedo made his debut during the first decade of the series in Season 8 in 1983 with the band Rank and File, going on to make a total of five appearances including a star-studded return in 2017.

Established in 2014, the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame celebrates the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 47 years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.  2017’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.  2018’s fifth anniversary class featured the inductions of Ray Charles, Marcia Ball and Los Lobos. The 2019 Hall of Fame welcomed Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy and Shawn Colvin to its ranks.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by Austin PBS. Austin PBS is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming. 

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits (ACL) offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. Now in its 47th Season, the program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic Austin PBS Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.  

Austin City Limits is produced by Austin PBS and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, Workrise, the Austin Convention Center Department and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at acltv.com.

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Featured News Taping Announcement

ACL announces Season 47 tapings

Austin City Limits proudly announces Season 47 will return in spades this year with a stellar slate of artists onboard to record new appearances, including a number of 2021 Grammy Award nominees.

ACL is thrilled to announce the first taping of Season 47, on April 28, will feature Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall debuting their just-announced, highly-anticipated album The Marfa Tapes. The country superstar and her celebrated songwriting partners open the new season showcasing the new release, out May 7, a collection of beautifully intimate and raw songs written and recorded together in Marfa, Texas. 

Season 47 will feature five-time 2021 Grammy nominee and four-time Grammy Award-winner Brittany Howard making her solo ACL debut; and multiple 2021 double Grammy nominees including singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz, in her third headlining appearance, and the ACL debuts of jazz/soul maverick (and recent Golden Globe award-winner) Jon Batiste and acclaimed country standout Brandy Clark. Music great Jackson Browne returns for his first taping in two decades (showcasing his first new album in six years); Grammy-winning (and four-time nominated) R&B phenom Leon Bridges makes a highly-anticipated return to the ACL stage; Austin indie sensation Dayglow makes his ACL debut, and a Texas icon, singer/songwriter Terry Allen returns for the first time in almost 25 years. Taping dates will be announced at a later date and may be subject to change as we navigate the new landscape.

“Austin City Limits is excited to bring live music back (with a live audience!),” says executive producer Terry Lickona. “Along with the rest of the world, we hope to slowly but surely (and safely) get back to normal this year, and it’s obvious many artists do, too. We have a diverse mix of headliners, up-and-comers, and groundbreaking singers, songwriters and musicians ready to take the stage.”

Jon Batiste. Courtesy UMG.

ACL is uniquely thrilled to launch the new season with a trio of Texas natives: Miranda Lambert (in her third ACL appearance) alongside her longtime songwriting partners Jack Ingram (who last appeared 25 years ago in Season 22) and Jon Randall (in his ACL debut), showcasing The Marfa Tapes, a stripped-down project conceived in the Texas high desert. A tiny, middle-of-nowhere town with an outsized grip on the American imagination, Marfa is an eccentric outpost in the midst of a vast expanse of nothingness, the perfect place to lose – or find – yourself. For Lambert, Randall, and Ingram, it’s both. Over the past several years, the desolate location has become a songwriting haven for the trio, yielding both massive hits and profound personal growth. When they returned for five days this past November though, they came not to write, but to record, capturing a captivating new album inspired by the stark beauty of west Texas and the deep, lasting bonds the three have forged there. Recorded raw and loose with just a pair of microphones and an acoustic guitar, The Marfa Tapes is a stunning work of audio verité; an intimate, unadorned snapshot of a moment in time fueled by love, trust, and friendship.

The trio recorded much of the album outdoors, inviting the ambient sounds of the desert to seep into their live, bare bones performances, and the atmosphere is utterly transportive. While a couple of the tracks may already be familiar to listeners – ACM Song of the Year “Tin Man” as well as fan favorite “Tequila Does” – the vast majority of these songs have never been heard outside of Marfa. The result is a rare glimpse inside the creative process of three of the genre’s most accomplished writers and performers; a candid, unvarnished look at Lambert, Randall, and Ingram’s undeniable chemistry in its purest, most honest form.

“There’s something singular that happens in that moment of collaboration and creation, something you can never really recreate in the studio,” says Ingram. “Our hope with this album was to share a little bit of that magic with people.”

ACL is excited to share the magic of our upcoming Season 47 with our loyal fans and viewers. Stay tuned to acltv for further details on upcoming tapings.