Meet your ACL Hall of Fame inductees for 2018: Ray Charles, Los Lobos, Marcia Ball

Los Lobos will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame on Oct. 25 at ACL Live. Contributed

The ceremony’s not till October, but Monday night before St. Vincent taped “Austin City Limits,” the long-running television show announced the inductees for its 2018 ACL Hall of Fame class: Ray Charles, Los Lobos and Marcia Ball.

Established in 2014, the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame honors “the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series,” per the program’s official press statement. It’s an honorary designation — there’s no physical building or room — but the induction ceremony is one of the show’s biggest annual fundraisers and typically features a broad range of guest performers.

Among this year’s participants will be Black Keys leader Dan Auerbach. Renowned singers Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson will be part of the segment honoring Ball, with whom they recorded the Grammy-nominated 1998 album “Sing It!”

Returning as host is singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, whose debut in that role last year was well-received. Several more performers will be added to the bill in the next few months. Tickets to the Oct. 25 show at ACL Live go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, May 18, via the venue’s website.

Musicians previously inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame were Wille Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lloyd Maines (2014); Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Flaco Jimenez and Asleep at the Wheel (2015); B.B. King, Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt (2016); and Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and the Neville Brothers (2017).

READ MORE: All our news and reviews related to “Austin City Limits” TV

Ray Charles performed on “Austin City Limits” in 1980 and 1984. Scott Newton/KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits

Charles, who died in 2004, appeared on “Austin City Limits” twice, in 1980 and 1984. His first appearance in particular was a landmark for the program, which had presented very few artists of Charles’ legendary stature at that point.

Los Lobos has appeared on the program six times, first in 1989 and most recently in 2014. The band’s history parallels that of “Austin City Limits”: Both began in 1974. “We have effectively grown up together, and it’s remarkable what we have seen in the 40+ years,” Los Lobos noted in a statement expressing their appreciation for the selection.

Ball took part in the show’s very first season and returned four times after that, the last being with Thomas and Nelson when the “Sing It!” album was released. “‘Austin City Limits’ put Austin on the map all over the country,” Ball said. “Whenever we are touring, when I say where we are from, the immediate response is, ‘Austin City Limits.’  People in outlying towns would drive to major cities, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Atlanta, because they had seen us on the show. … ACL opened the door into millions of homes for us and other regional bands.”

READ MORE: Our interview with Marcia Ball, the 2018 Texas State Musician

Marcia Ball at the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge in April 2018. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It’s a June swoon for ‘Austin City Limits,’ with tapings of John Prine, Kacey Musgraves, more

Kacey Musgraves will tape “Austin City Limits” on June 6. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

If this year’s rollout of “Austin City Limits” tapings had felt a little slower than normal in the first few months of 2018, here comes the payoff. The locally produced TV program just announced four tapings in June: songwriting legend John Prine on June 5, country singer Kacey Musgraves on June 6, Austin indie-folk band Wild Child on June 21, and singer-songwriter Anderson East on June 22.


As always, tickets to the tapings, held at ACL Live, are not for sale but will be given away free, with announcements about the email ticket lottery process being made via the show’s social media pages and on its website about a week before each taping.

Prine has been on the show seven times, most recently in 2005. His first “Austin City Limits” appearance was in 1978, the third season of what is now the longest-running music television show in history. This appearance will come a few weeks before Prine plays a June 30 date at Bass Concert Hall on the University of Texas campus in support of his new album “The Tree of Forgiveness.”

Musgraves’ new album, “Golden Hour,” has been one of the most-talked-about country records of the year so far. This will be her second appearance on “Austin City Limits,” following a 2013 taping that aired in 2014 as part of the show’s 29th season. Musgraves played the Erwin Center in February with Little Big town and Midland.

Wild Child and Anderson East will be making their “Austin City Limits” debuts. Wild Child has been on an extended U.S. tour since the February release of their new album “Expectations.”

Anderson East, a soul/R&B singer from Alabama now based in Nashville, released his fourth album, “Encore,” on Elektra Records earlier this year.

Also: Expect a mid-May announcement for this year’s fifth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame honorees as well as the lineup for the Hall of Fame concert, which is set for Oct. 25.

RELATED: Our review of Brandi Carlile’s recent ACL TV taping

Brandi Carlile brings her band and strings to full bloom at ACL taping

Brandi Carlile and her band tape “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Scott Newton/KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits

There was a moment during “Party of One,” the final track on Brandi Carlile’s new album and also the last song of her set during Tuesday night’s “Austin City Limits” taping at ACL Live, that captured her perfectly. Seated at the piano, she looked across the stage at her remarkable band — the core players supplemented for this occasion by a string quartet — and gave in completely to the moment, lost amid the melodic beauty of the music and overcome with a blissful, peaceful smile.

She has a lot to be happy about, and a lot to be proud of with “By the Way, I Forgive You,” which ACL executive producer concurred is the best record of her career in his brief introduction of the Seattle singer-songwriter. Carlile had been on the program once before, in 2010 after releasing her third album. This time around, she focused heavily on the new record, which came out in February and reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200, her highest-charting album to date.

Nine of the set’s 14 songs came from “By the Way, I Forgive You,” an emotional tour de force that deals with personal changes in Carlile’s life, perhaps most of all her entry into motherhood. “The Mother,” one of the new record’s most poignant tracks, was a highlight on Tuesday evening, in part because it began with her too-cute-for-words young daughter Evangeline strolling out onto the stage to give her mom a hug and a kiss. “We’ve got a rule,” Carlile explained, that if her daughter wants to, “she can come onstage and get a kiss.”

Brandi Carlile tapes “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Scott Newton/KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits

Carlile also made a point of underscoring how important her longtime bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth — twin brothers on guitar and bass, respectively — are to her music. The brothers have been deeply involved in the writing of Carlile’s music since her 2005 self-titled debut. Introducing the song “The Eye,” a trio-harmony spotlight from 2015’s “The Firewatcher’s Daughter,” Carlile said that despite her name being out front, “these guys could front the band on their own.”

Carlile frequently wore her social politics on her sleeve. She noted before “The Mother” that it was meant for parents of all kinds, from straight to gay to transgender. Introducing “The Joke,” the new album’s first single, she said she wrote it as an anthem for “unloved, unaccepted, unnatural, illegal” people who are all too often overlooked or cast aside.

A late-set charge through Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water” made clear the influence he’s had on her music, and perhaps on her fashion sense as well: Though she was dressed mostly in black, she joked that her choice of shiny turquoise shoes was a nod to John’s flamboyant style. The down side to the drawn-out “Madman” jam was it meant fewer songs from her own catalog in the set, which included only one number from her first three records. (That was perhaps understandable, since her first “Austin City Limits” appearance focused on that material.)

Concerned about a loud noise in the studio during the opening “Every Time I Hear That Song” and her own insecurity about her vocal performance on “The Eye,” Carlile opted to do both songs over again in the encore. Closing with the new album’s “Hold Out Your Hand,” she dedicated it to a younger generation of activists who seem to embody the song’s key lyric of determination in the face of adversity: “The devil can’t get my soul.”

Before the show began, Lickona announced that the date for the fifth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show will be Oct. 25, with last year’s acclaimed host Chris Isaak returning as emcee. Inductees and performers will be announced at a later date.

Set list:
1. Every Time I Hear That Song
2. Raise Hell
3. The Eye
4. The Mother
5. The Joke
6. Hard to Forgive
7. Sugartooth
8. Mainstream Kid
9. Most of All
10. Madman Across the Water
11. The Story
12. Whatever You Do
13. Party Of One
14. Every Time I Hear That Song (retake)
15. The Eye (retake)
16. Hold Out Your Hand

RELATED: See more reviews and news of “Austin City Limits” performances

Missed St. Vincent last month? She’ll be back to tape ‘Austin City Limits’ in May

A couple weeks after she captivated Austin audiences with a solo show at ACL Live, the venue’s namesake TV show has announced plans to bring singer and guitarist Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent back to the venue later this Spring.

Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, plays Thursday, Feb. 22, at ACL Live. ERIKA RICH/For American-

The taping is scheduled for May 14 and tickets will be distributed via a public lottery that will open roughly a week before the event. More information. 

Exclusive preview: Shinyribs in the magic cape on ‘Austin City Limits’

Whether you’re watching at home or attending the Mohawk’s special viewing party, Saturday’s “Austin City Limits” episode featuring hometown heroes Shinyribs along with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach promises to be pretty special. For starters, there’s the magic cape!

Kevin Russell of Shinyribs with the Riblets dancers taping “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Scott Newton/KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits

Ever the showman, Shinyribs leader Kevin Russell literally lit up the band’s taping of the show at ACL Live a few months ago when he donned a cape lined in flashing colored lights near the end of the set. We offer up this exclusive preview of the song “East Texas Rust” starring that fashion accessory. (The cape’s lights kept flashing throughout; no wardrobe malfunctions were detected.)

REVIEWS: Dan Auerbach ACL taping and Shinyribs ACL taping

The episode airs locally on KLRU from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., starting with Auerbach’s set and finishing with Shinyribs. At the Mohawk, stick around after the viewing party for a live performance by Shinyribs on the club’s outdoor stage (7 p.m. doors, $17-$20).

The program also has put up installments of its new “ACL Backstage” virtual-reality series for both artists, featuring performance snippets, interview footage, behind-the-scenes glimpses and more. Here’s the one for Shinyribs, and here’s the one for Auerbach.

Finally: Though most ACL tapings are edited down to half-hour segments, the artists generally perform for more than an hour at their tapings, which means there are outtakes that the program is now mining for occasional web-exclusive videos. Here’s one from the Shinyribs show, featuring the fan favorite “Poor People’s Store”:

READ MORE: Our interview with Dan Auerbach about his new solo album

Ready for some ‘Austin City Limits’ tapings? How about Mac DeMarco and Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile returns to “Austin City Limits” for a second taping of the long-running music program on April 10, 2018. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It’s about that time for “Austin City Limits” to start revving up for its 44th season, and Monday brings two announcements of upcoming tapings: Mac DeMarco on February 27, and Brandi Carlile on April 10.

It’s the first appearance on the show for DeMarco, the Canadian singer-songwriter whose 2017 release”This Old Dog” is his fourth and best-selling album to date. A hit at ACL Fest in 2014, DeMarco played ACL Live very recently, opening for the Flaming Lips in October the night before he headlined his own Stubb’s show.

RELATED: Review of Mac DeMarco at Stubb’s in October 2017

Seattle singer-songwriter Carlile first appeared on “Austin City Limits” almost a decade ago, after the release of her 2009 album “Give Up the Ghost.” She’ll feature songs from “By the Way, I Forgive You,” which is due out next week, on this taping. Carlile was part of last fall’s Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show, helping to honor posthumous inductee Roy Orbison.

Information on the free-ticket giveaways for those who wish to attend will be announced about a week before each taping via the program’s website and on its social media pages.

READ MORE: Check out all of our “Austin City Limits” news and reviews

Spending New Year’s Eve in? ACL Hall of Fame broadcast might be the ticket

Elvis Costello, Chris Isaak and Trombone Shorty helped the Neville Brothers celebrate their Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction at ACL Live in October. The program airs on KLRU on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy KLRU and Austin City Limits/Photos by Gary Miller

As the clock approaches midnight on Sunday, the New Year is set to bring freezing temperatures that may last for a couple of days. While there’s plenty to do if you’re willing to brave the cold for New Year’s Eve, here’s a good option for those who might opt to stay in: The fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame show.

Taped Oct. 25 at ACL Live, this year’s gala event honored new inductees Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and the Neville Brothers, with special guests including Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder, Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo, Trombone Shorty, Dr. John and host Chris Isaak. An hourlong program of highlights from that night will air at 10 p.m. on local PBS affiliate KLRU, and again at 11 p.m.

READ MORE: Our Austin360 review of the ACL Hall of Fame show

Not a physical place but simply an honorary designation, ACL’s Hall of Fame first honored Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan in 2014. Every year since, they’ve added a few more musicians who’ve played a significant role in helping the 43-year-old show become the longest-running music television program ever.

In January, episodes taped in the summer and fall of 2017 will begin airing as the 43rd season of “Austin City Limits” continues. The schedule through mid-February is as follows; click on the name of each band to see our review of that show.

Check Austin Music Source’s ACL TV page for all of our “Austin City Limits” reviews and news.

RELATED: Virtually hang out with Ed Sheeran, Zac Brown Band in new ‘ACL’ series


Dan Auerbach breaks from the Black Keys mold in revelatory ACL taping

Dan Auerbach and his band tape an episode of “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live on Monday, November 27, 2017. KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits/Scott Newton

One of the best success stories in 21st-century American rock ’n’ roll has been the rise of the Black Keys, who began as an upstart indie duo in Akron, Ohio, in 2001 and gradually ascended the charts over an eight-album span that culminated in 2014’s “Turn Blue” hitting No. 1. A big turning-point was a 2010 move to Nashville, which leader Dan Auerbach says opened up his world as an artist.

“Living in Nashville has definitely changed the way I think about music and the way that I record it,” he testifies in a quote that was printed in the small program that “Austin City Limits” gives out to its studio audiences at the show’s tapings. Monday night at ACL Live, Auerbach demonstrated precisely what he meant, playing a 13-song set with an ace seven-piece backing crew of mostly Nashville players that was a world apart from the Black Keys’ garage-rock bread-and-butter.

The taping primarily showcased “Waiting on a Song,” Auerbach’s second solo album, which came out in June on his Easy Eye Sound label. It’s a fine record, one that draws from a broad range of American roots music genres including country, folk, soul, R&B and traditional blues.

RELATED: Read more news and reviews of “Austin City Limits” shows

The songs sounded terrific in a live setting, thanks in large part to a supporting cast that included several musicians with extensive resumes. Anchoring the back row were 77-year-old drummer Gene Chrisman and keyboardist Bobby Wood, whose work as part of the Memphis Boys house band at American Sound Studios included playing on classics such as Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” Flanking them on either side were bassist Dave Roe, a veteran of Johnny Cash’s band, and keyboardist Ray Jacildo, a J.D. McPherson sideman and the youngest presence on the back row.

At far stage right on the back row was mandolinist Pat McLaughlin, a longtime Nashville songwriting ace who’s a key figure here. He co-wrote eight of the 10 tracks on Auerbach’s new album, and his backing vocals throughout the night provide a gutsy punch and soulful foil to Auerbach’s assured and appealing tenor leads.

Dan Auerbach, with guitarist Russ Pahl (right), tape an episode of “Austin City Limits” at ACL Live on Monday, November 27, 2017. KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits/Scott Newton

One carry-over from the Black Keys is that Auerbach still puts guitars front and center, clearly evident in the placement of three guitarists at the fore of the stage. To Auerbach’s left was Russ Pahl, whose hundreds of credits include a lot of pedal steel work, but on this night he consistently delivered terrific tone and chops on electric guitar. On the other side was the youngest of the bunch, Nick Bockrath of Cage the Elephant, whose beaming smiles revealed the thrill he gets from being in this lineup of legends.

Nearly everything in the set sounded great at ACL Live, with the album’s title track (which opened the show) and the anthemic closer “Shine on Me” standing out in particular. Auerbach worked eight of the album’s 10 cuts into the 13-song set, giving the crowd an extra treat by adding three as-yet unreleased songs. One, “Somewhere Between Eau Claire and East Moline,” was co-written with John Prine, as was the album’s title track.

A special spark near the end of the night came from bluesman Robert Finley, who performed two songs (“Medicine Woman” and “Get It While You Can”) that he apparently recorded recently with Auerbach and his crew. Finley, who’s been enjoying a late-career renaissance since the 2016 release of his album “Age Don’t Mean a Thing,” wowed the audience with a commanding presence and soulful vocal style.

Auerbach spoke only briefly during the swiftly paced hourlong performance, mostly just to introduce his fellow players and to offer up a sincere thanks to “Austin City Limits,” which he’d played twice before with the Black Keys. “It’s a show I’ve been watching since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s been completely dedicated to music since it began.” On this night, then, Auerbach and his band fit squarely into the heart of that tradition.

Auerbach will return to Austin for a concert with the Easy Eye Sound Revue at Stubb’s on February 23, 2018.


Set list:
1. Waiting on a Song
2. Livin’ in Sin
3. Malibu Man
4. Stand By My Girl
5. Somewhere Between Eau Claire and East Moline
6. Pull Me Under Love
7. Cherrybomb
8. Medicine Woman
9. Get It While You Can
10. Never in My Wildest Dreams
11. Tangled Love
12. Show Me
13. Shine On Me

READ MORE: Black Keys frontman releases a song inspired by a Netflix series


Virtually hang out with Ed Sheeran, Zac Brown Band in new ‘ACL’ series

In 2017, our city’s signature show, “Austin City Limits,” turned 43, passing the British program “Top of the Pops,” which ended in 2006, to become the longest running music television series in history. To mark the occasion, the show’s producers launched a new virtual reality documentary series called “ACL: Backstage,”produced in collaboration with Google and local virtual reality production house, SubVRsive. The first three episodes, released online Thursday, feature British pop star, Ed Sheeran, Georgia country act the Zac Brown Band and “Unsung Heroes” from the show’s staff and crew.

I thought it would be cool in this season, where we’re celebrating this milestone of longevity, to also demonstrate that we’re always looking for cool and cutting edge new ways to bring live music to the fans,” Tom Gimbel, general manager of ‘ACL’ said on Wednesday.

Shot with 360 degree cameras, the videos are short, running five to eight minutes. That’s long enough to tell a meaningful story, without becoming too disoriented (and nauseous) from the virtual reality. Also, without overheating your phone from the heavy processing demands.

RELATED: The Black Angels in VR is not as good as being there

The episodes include live performance footage. At various points in each video, you stand on the stage, in the front row of the crowd, up in the balcony, looking down, but presenting a virtual reality concert experience is not the objective of the series.

Ed Sheeran taped his second “Austin City Limits” show on Sunday. Photo by Scott Newton, “Austin City Limits”

“We didn’t want to do the usual, set the VR cameras around the stage and do a live music performance,” Gimbel said. 

As the title implies, the series takes viewers behind the scenes to hang out backstage with the artists.

“They have a narrative story arc,” Gimbel said. “They take you through a day in the life of the artist. They take you around the town to live music clubs. They take you backstage with our crew.”

The use of 360 vision is carefully thought out. In the Ed Sheeran episode you wander through the club and meet the fans in front of the venue who camped overnight to secure their spots in the house. You lounge in a green room backstage and watch an interview with Sheeran. The Zac Brown episode goes even further. At one point you sit in the center of a circle while the six members of the band warm up around you.

They videos showcase our city beautifully. The Ed Sheeran episode opens on the boardwalk on the Southeast banks of Ladybird Lake. In the Zac Brown Band episode we watch from a distance as the bats take off from the South Congress Bridge. With stunning 360 degree shots, the viewer is able to look around and experience the natural wonder in the center of our city.

The Zac Brown Band makes its “Austin City Limits” debut at ACL Live on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. Scott Newton/courtesy of KLRU-TV

Gimbel said future episodes take the viewer to Stubb’s with Spoon and to the Continental Club with Dale Watson. Other featured artists for the season include Father John Misty and the Run the Jewels.  The episodes will be released periodically through early next year.

It’s possible to watch the videos on a desktop or phone without special gear. You can use a mouse or touch pad to shift the camera angle, but with a VR headset they come to life, in a dizzying immersive experience.

Over the past few years, virtual reality headsets have become readily accessible. Cardboard models can be purchased for less than $10. But the medium is still a playground for tech enthusiasts and early adopters. Most likely, it will be a few years before we see widespread usage.

“I think it’s still nascent in its development,” Gimbel said.  “But I do think live music and sports in particular, I think there’s a special place for VR in those mediums, because it brings you one step closer to the action and it gives you that experience that you may not get in a 2D live music television or online experience or sports experience. You actually can feel like you’re a part of the crowd.”

The “ACL: Backstage” videos are available on the AustinCityLimitsTV YouTube channel and the YouTube VR channel.

Dan Auerbach, Turnpike Troubadours tapings will conclude 43rd ACL season

Evan Felker and Turnpike Troubadours will tape “Austin City Limits” on December 5. MIGUEL GUTIERREZ JR. / AMERICAN STATESMAN 2014

Oklahoma red-dirt country band Turnpike Troubadours, previously booked for Dec. 1-2 two-night stand at ACL Live, has added a Dec. 5 taping of “Austin City Limits” at the venue. It will be the group’s debut appearance on the long-running television show.

An announcement was made on Friday on the show’s Facebook page. Coming on the heels of the recently announced Nov. 27 taping with Black Keys guitarist-singer Dan Auerbach, the Turnpike Troubadours show will complete the 43rd season of “Austin City Limits” tapings. The band will also sign copies of its new album at Waterloo Records on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.

RELATED: Review of Turnpike Troubadours’ new album

Auerbach doesn’t have a local show in connection with his taping, but he’ll return to Austin Feb. 23, 2018, for a concert with his Easy Eye Sound Revue on the outdoor stage at Stubb’s.

As usual, tickets will be given away by email lottery via the show’s website about a week before each taping. Check the program’s social media accounts for pending announcements of when each giveaway begins.

Rebroadcasting on KLRU and KLRUQ affiliates this week is an episode featuring the Head and the Heart and Benjamin Booker that premiered Saturday, Nov. 11. Coming up on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. on KLRU is the show’s annual broadcast of highlights from the Americana Music Association Awards, which took place in September at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

READ MORE: “Austin City Limits” TV show news and reviews