For its 35th year on air, the famed public broadcast music show Austin City Limits is going big. Scheduled to perform this season are major acts like the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson (performing with Asleep at the Wheel), Elvis Costello, Ben Harper and Them Crooked Vultures (the newly formed supergroup of Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Led Zeppelin alum John Paul Jones and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme). This season also promises to continue the diverse nature that the series is known for, including country acts such as Kenny Chesney, Steve Earle, and Kris Kristofferson as well as more indie rock oriented acts such as Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, M. Ward and Okkervil River.
New Orleans songwriter Allen Toussaint, jazz-pop singer Madeleine Peyroux and the show's first hip-hop acts, Mos Def and K'Naan are also scheduled to appear."We've talked about it for a few years, and it finally came together," ACL producer Terry Lickona tells Billboard.com of expanding into hip-hop. "It's probably the most unique thing about [this season.]"
For a TV show, Austin City limits has made an unprecedented run over the last three and a half decades, of which Lickona attributes to PBS. "Our audience loves the eclectic mix," he says. "We wouldn't have lasted more than 3 years on commercial television with a format like this." In recognizing this achievement, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also announced this week that they were designating the ACL Studio landmark status.
"Rock Hall president Terry Steward came up with the idea," Lickona recalls. "We were sitting together in Clear Lake, Iowa where they had just designated the Surf Ballroom -- the site where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper played their last shows -- as a historic landmark. He said, 'we should do the same thing for your place in Austin.' My first reaction was disbelief, but I was easily convinced."
This merit follows the show's being awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003, the only television show to receive this award.
This decade has seen the expansion of Austin City Limits into a huge, three day festival (ACL) that gets underway next Friday (Oct. 2). Now in its eighth year, the festival has become a massive extension of the brand, bringing together a host of nationally and regionally touring acts as well as local ones too.
Here is the broadcast schedule for Austin City Limits' 35th Season:
October 3: Dave Matthews Band
October 10: Ben Harper and Relentless7
October 17: Kenny Chesney
October 24: Andrew Bird / St. Vincent
October 31: M. Ward / Okkervil River
November 7: Elvis Costello / Band of Heathens
November 14: Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
November 21: Pearl Jam
January 9, 2010: Allen Toussaint
January 16, 2010: Mos Def / K'Naan
January 23, 2010: TBD / Heartless Bastards
January 30, 2010: Steve Earle / Kris Kristofferson
February 6, 2010: Them Crooked Vultures
February 13, 2010: Madeleine Peyroux / Esperanza Spaldin