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.