Nov 24, 2011
The Americana Music Festival edition of Austin City Limits is being seen across the country on PBS stations this week, and Brian Atkinson interviewed ACL producer Terry Lickona for the Austin American-Statesman about how the show came about.
You’ll find the full interview at the American-Statesman site, but here’s what he had to say about the highlights of the evening:
“I’m huge fan of the Avett Brothers. The fact that they did a new song that night was definitely a standout. Robert Plant and his Band of Joy with our own Patty Griffin was a great moment. I think probably the emotional highlight of the show came at the very end when Gregg Allman performed “Melissa.” We literally didn’t know until the morning of the show whether he was even going to be there because he’s had some pretty serious health issues. That was certainly a poignant moment and a great way to close out the hour.”
Nov 22, 2011
Austin City Limits is now streaming the 2011 Americana Music Festival Honors and Awards show on its website. The show has been edited down to 56 minutes, so it’s more variety show than awards show, but the music is consistently compelling.
Nov 16, 2011
The 2011 Americana Music Festival awards show will be aired on Austin City Limits beginning Nov. 19. Here’s one of the evening’s highlights, a riveting performance of “Barton Hollow” by the Civil Wars.
The Civil Wars “Barton Hollow” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.
Nov 9, 2011
The national television debut of the Americana Music Festival is scheduled for Nov. 19 on Austin City Limits, which has released this show setlist, beginning with Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Buddy Miller, Jerry Douglas and Don Was singing ”I’ll Fly Away.”
It captures the best moments of the evening, although we wish Hayes Carll had made the cut. Nashville area viewers were able to watch the full version live and in a couple of early morning repeats.
As we’ve noted, national television exposure is critical to the future growth of Americana music and there’s arguable no better showcase than Austin City Limits. Check your local PBS station for show times.
Oct 22, 2011
The Avett Brothers at the Americana Awards show
By Ken Paulson
Television is a very big deal to the Americana music community.
For years, the Americana Music Association has worked to establish the genre with the general public, and TV is the key.
Any medium that can make Snooki a household name should do wonders for Buddy Miller.
That’s why news that WNPT, Nashville’s public television station, would broadcast the 2011 Americana Music Festival Honors and Awards show , and that Austin City Limits would do a show of highlights, was so welcome. A broader audience would finally see what Americana music was all about.
Yet the early results were discouraging. That initial live broadcast from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville showed large expanses of empty seats early on, due to a late-arriving crowd. Unbelievably, the opening graphic noted that the evening was dedicated to the memory of “Jim” Hartford rather than John Hartford. And then early in the show, transmission difficulties meant audio and video drop-outs during performances by Justin Townes Earle and Elizabeth Cook. Ouch.
Things were better for a rebroadcast two days later, although the length of the show was apparently longer than the original estimate. If you have a TiVo, you didn’t see a dazzling finale.
But the good news is that the music overall was stunning, the performances passionate and even the presentations were well-paced. Austin City Limits should find it relatively easy to mine the two-plus hour show for an hour’s worth of great music, drawing on performances by Robert Plant, the Avett Brothers, Jim Lauderdale, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Miller, Cook, Earle and more.
That kind of quality exposure will build awareness of Americana, but will also amplify the sales pitch to prospective music festival sponsors.
My guess is that Austin City Limits, scheduled for Nov. 19, will edit out acceptance speeches, which may be just as well. The message relayed by Mumford and Sons thanked “the Nashville community,” which is exactly what the Americana Music Association doesn’t need. Americana needs to be seen as a vibrant worldwide genre, which just happens to have an office in Nashville. National television exposure is critical to making that happen.