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"Unplugged has long served as one of the most intimate ways to celebrate music and artistry in its purest state."
—-Van Toffler, Viacom Music & Logo Group
MTV’S UNPLUGGED IS
BACK IN BUSINESS
Florence + the Machine, The Civil Wars, Dierks Bentley Set to Perform
Unplugged is returning to MTV, VH1 and CMT.

The famed, award-winning franchise premieres with a performance by Florence + the Machine April 8.

Backed by a 10-person choir, The Voices of Rivers, Florence Welch performed fan favorites such as "Drumming Song" from her group's 2009 debut Lungs, as well as the single "Never Let Me Go" from her most recent record, Ceremonials.

Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme joined Welch for a cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter's "Jackson." Welch also covered "Try a Little Tenderness." Kanye West, who attended the taping with fellow rapper Q-Tip, sampled Otis Redding's version of the song on Watch the Throne, his 2011 album with Jay-Z.

Welch said she was in awe of the former synagogue in which she and the Machine played and where the stage was decorated with dozens of candles.

"I had to stop myself after every song," Welch told Reuters. "I would be like, 'Wow.'

"It was so amazing performing the songs stripped back and just really being able to concentrate on the songs and the emotions," said Welch.

During the show, the soft-spoken singer told the live audience: "This is a real moment for me and to be doing an Unplugged session is amazing."

The network is planning to produce eight shows in 2012, with The Civil Wars and Dierks Bentley also slated to perform later this spring on VH1 and CMT, respectively. The season will feature three episodes on MTV and VH1 and two to premiere on CMT, and has signed on State Farm as its exclusive digital sponsor.

Unplugged's striped-down approach suits the hard-to-classify, Grammy-winning folk duo The Civil Wars, who will appear on the show in May on VH1.

"We're kind of tailor-made for that," said the duo's John Paul White.

"We're already unplugged!" laughed partner Joy Williams, who will be seven months pregnant when she tapes their episode.

"Growing up with the show, it's a strange full circle thing," said White. "We were talking about how big those Unplugged shows were for us, to see our favorite artists in a different, more humanizing light."

The Emmy-winning series originally debuted in 1989. Last season featured Grammy-winning Adele, Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers and Kelly Clarkson. For each of the eight scheduled shows this year, State Farm will send one fan and a friend to one performance through its Unplugged Sweepstakes.

"Unplugged has long served as one of the most intimate ways to celebrate music and artistry in its purest state," said Viacom Music & Logo Group President Van Toffler. "With this new season, kicked off by Florence + the Machine, Unplugged will continue to offer musicians the ability to rearrange classics, strip down their instruments and let their talent shine through on all our screens and across genres for fans to revel in."

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