ACL Hall of Fame 2017 announces guest performances by Brandi Carlile, Neko Case and Trombone Shorty

Brandi Carlile

Austin City Limits announces an all-star line-up of guest performers for the 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 25th, 2017.  Acclaimed singer-songwriters Neko Case and Brandi Carlile and music phenom Trombone Shorty are slated to perform in tribute to the latest class of inductees.  These special guests join host Chris Isaak, along with previously announced performers Raul Malo and Ry Cooder, in a celebratory evening filled with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes as three American music legends are inducted into the fourth annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: pioneering rocker Roy Orbison, Americana original Rosanne Cash and New Orleans icons The Neville Brothers.

All-star guest performers will handle induction honors for an epic night: Neko Case will honor Rosanne Cash, along with guitar great Ry Cooder.  Brandi Carlile will perform in tribute to Roy Orbison, joining Mavericks’ leader Raul Malo and singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, who will host the ceremony and also handle induction honors for his musical idol.  New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty will salute the iconic Neville Brothers along with members of The Nevilles band for a New Orleans-style tribute to the funk & soul first family.  Additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.  

Neko Case

Neko Case

The concert event is open to the public and takes place at Austin City Limit’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater, in downtown Austin. A limited number of tickets are available at acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will be broadcast in a special New Year’s Eve episode of Austin City Limits as part of the program’s Season 43 which premieres in the fall on PBS.

The 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is presented by NetApp and is sponsored in part by Dell, Stratus Properties and Texas Monthly. For sponsorship opportunities contact Amanda Hutchins at ahutchins@klru.org.

Trombone Shorty by Matthieu Bitton

Trombone Shorty by Matthieu Bitton

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to recognize the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. KLRU is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming. Net proceeds from this event benefit KLRU.

ACL Hall of Fame 2017 to induct Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash, Neville Brothers

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce the newest class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees: pioneering rocker Roy Orbison, Americana legend Rosanne Cash and New Orleans icons The Neville Brothers. The 2017 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be saluted at a ceremony with all-star music performances to be held October 25, 2017 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Renowned singer-songwriter Chris Isaak will induct his idol and host the celebratory evening, which features an all-star line-up of guest performers including Grammy-winning legends Raul Malo and Ry Cooder.

The event will be open to the public and tickets are on sale starting April 21st at http://acltv.com/hall-of-fame/. More information about performances, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.

The latest class of inductees features music legends who have given timeless performances on the ACL stage. Roy Orbison’s legendary appearance on ACL in 1983 is long considered one of the show’s undeniable classics. With a setlist of indelible hits — “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” “Blue Bayou,” and “Pretty Woman” — Orbison performed his greatest hits with all the emotional power that made him an icon. Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash debuted on ACL the same season as Roy Orbison in 1983 and has gone on to make seven standout appearances, each showcasing her artistic evolution as a songwriter. The Nevilles appeared on the show in 1979, 1986 and 1995, raising the bar on funk and soul with each appearance.

“Our annual Hall of Fame Induction and Celebration has become one of the highlights of the year,” says Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “This year’s honorees represent historic milestones in ACL’s early years. Roy Orbison gave the audience collective goosebumps when he hit those highest notes; Rosanne was a trailblazer among female country singers; and The Neville Brothers were the first major New Orleans band to play the show. Even in those early days, they represented the diversity that has been the hallmark of Austin City Limits down through the decades.”

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the contributions of those legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in creating the legacy of what has become the longest-running music series in television history (43 years). The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.

About the 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductees:

Roy Orbison:

photo by Scott Newton

Roy Orbison possessed one of the most remarkable and recognizable voices in all of music; combined with his easy facility for writing memorable pop songs, it led to superstardom. The Vernon, Texas native’s first success came as a songwriter in the ‘50s, when the Everly Brothers recorded his “Claudette.” But he became a major star starting in 1960 with “Only the Lonely,” beginning a string of hits including “Crying,” “In Dreams,” “Running Scared” and the immortal “Oh, Pretty Woman.” After several years out of the spotlight, Orbison made a comeback in the late ‘80s as part of supergroup the Traveling Wilburys and with his final solo album Mystery Girl. His melodic gifts, well-timed sense of drama and magnificent voice spoke to generations of music fans – he remains one of the most beloved musical artists of the 20th century.

Rosanne Cash:

photo by Clay Patrick McBride

One of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned multiple Grammy Awards and 11 nominations, as well as 21 Top 40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. Her restless musical journey spans nearly four decades and includes a recent career triumph: three 2015 Grammy Awards for her widely-acclaimed album, The River & the Thread. Cash took top honors for the American roots travelogue, including Best Americana Album, and the Awards testify to her enduring talent as she won her original Grammy thirty years earlier. A collaboration with husband/co-writer/producer and arranger John Leventhal, The River & the Thread evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South and achieved the highest Billboard album debut of Cash’s career. The soul-searching trailblazer has been winning over audiences since she debuted on Austin City Limits in 1983. Cash went on to make six more appearances on the ACL stage, with each performance offering new insight into her creative process. A longtime arts advocate, Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, San Francisco Jazz, Minnesota Orchestra and The Library of Congress. Country royalty, Cash has carved out her own powerful legacy and continues at the peak of her artistic powers and in full command of her singing and songwriting talent.

The Neville Brothers:

The first family of New Orleans music, the Neville Brothers have been world ambassadors for their city’s distinctive style of funk, soul and R&B for four decades. Though Art, Aaron, Cyril and Charles first began performing as a unit in 1977, their musically legacy goes back much further, with Aaron’s 1966 hit “Tell It Like It Is” and Art’s work with the Meters starting in the mid-60s. The family band made its recorded debut in 1978 and has been unstoppable ever since, amassing a catalog of classic, rumpshaking albums like Fiyo On the Bayou and Yellow Moon and hits “Brother John/Iko Iko,” “Yellow Moon” and their inimitable take on Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On a Wire.” A mainstay of New Orleans stages and a huge influence on the musicians who followed them, the beloved band took its party around the world. The Nevilles’ three appearances on the show in 1979, 1986 and 1995, continued to get groovier, greasier and more funky with age.

photo by Scott Newton

The 2017 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is brought to you by NetApp and also sponsored in part by Stratus Properties, Dell, HomeAway, Miller Imaging & Digital Solutions, Tracey & Bill Marshall, Asian American Cultural Center, The Capital Grille, Catherine L. Robb, Bruce Stuckman, Ph.D. and Nona Niland. For sponsorship opportunities contact Amanda Hutchins at ahutchins@klru.org.

Chris Isaak to host Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2017

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The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the date and host of the 2017 Inductions & Celebration. The announcement was made by Terry Lickona at the Moody Theater at tonight’s Pretenders taping.

A new class of inductees will be announced at a later date, and will be saluted at a ceremony with all-star music performances to be held October 25, 2017 at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Chris Isaak will host the celebratory evening. The event will be open to the public and ticket onsale information will be announced at a later date. More information about performances, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75. The 2016 Hall of Fame honored Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King, alongside former ACL executive producer Dick Peterson.

Celebrate the new year with ACL’s Hall of Fame 2016

photo by Scott Hoffman

Austin City Limits rings in the new year with a star-studded evening, hosted by comedy duo Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, featuring one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the third annual ACL Hall of Fame Inductions and Celebration. ACL royalty Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Gary Clark Jr., Rodney Crowell, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and more share the stage for one epic night to perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and B.B. King. This special hour, taped October 12, 2016, honors the artists who’ve helped make the award-winning TV series an American music institution.  

The special kicks off with a tribute to songwriting great Kris Kristofferson, who first appeared on the series in 1982, as Rodney Crowell honors the legend with a powerful reading of his classic “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Willie Nelson salutes his longtime friend and collaborator with a moving version of  Kristofferson’s signature “Me and Bobby McGee.” Mavis Staples takes the stage to toast Bonnie Raitt, calling her “my sister,” and the two icons perform a spirited duet of Bob Dylan’s call for social change, “Well Well Well,” before teaming with blues legend Taj Mahal for the Raitt smash “Thing Called Love.”  ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons honors his friend and mentor B.B. King with a fiery take on the blues giant’s “You Upset Me, Baby” backed by King’s longtime band.  Blues-soul sensation Gary Clark Jr. then joins Raitt for an electrifying “The Thrill Is Gone,” as the two guitar slingers trade verses and solos on the late, great bluesman’s anthem, bringing the house down.  “I know B.B. is smiling down on us,” says Raitt.  “This one’s for him.”

The entire cast takes the ACL stage for a grand finale featuring the blues classic, “Every Day I Have The Blues,” a song B.B. King performed on his iconic 1983 Austin City Limits debut.  The celebration of music comes to an epic close complete with fireworks, and the two-dozen strong ensemble ringing in the new year with the holiday classic “Auld Lang Syne.”

photo by Scott Newton

“We created the Hall of Fame as a way to celebrate our 40th anniversary, and since then it’s really taken on a life of its own,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “The artists feel truly honored, and it gives us a chance to recognize their contributions to our legacy. And beyond that it’s a magical night of music and unique collaborations.”

Tune in this weekend for this special, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Tune in next week for an encore of our landmark episode featuring R&B superstar Ms. Lauryn Hill.

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2016 induction ceremony a huge success

photo by Gary Miller

Last night we were thrilled to induct three giants of American music into the third annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson. The evening featured one-of- a-kind music performances and tributes from Willie Nelson, Billy Gibbons, Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell, Gary Clark Jr., Taj Mahal, B.B. King’s Blues Band and Eve Monsees. 

Bill Stotesbery, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS CEO and Terry Lickona, Executive Producer of Austin City Limits welcomed to the crowd to the special evening.

Comedy supercouple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally hosted the celebratory evening which will air on New Year’s Eve on PBS. The entertaining duo kicked things off with a playful attempt to claim the Hall of Fame inductions for themselves, before introducing the night’s first inductee: legendary songwriter Kris Kristofferson. Singer/songwriter and Austin City Limits veteran Rodney Crowell took the stage to pay tribute to one of his heroes and greatest influences. Clad all in black, Kristofferson accepted his award saying, “This is as good as it can get!” Crowell then moved center stage to lead the house band in a rollicking rendition of Kristofferson’s “Chase the Feeling” and an expressive version of his classic ballad  “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” The man himself then arrived for another pair of ballads, specifically the hits “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)” and the oft-recorded “For the Good Times,” his voice craggy with experience. Kristofferson then welcomed fellow Austin City Limits Hall of Famer and longtime friend Willie Nelson to the stage, who plugged in Trigger and led everybody in a shuffling take on Kristofferson’s signature tune “Me and Bobby McGee,” to a huge smile from its writer.

Offerman and Mullally returned to introduce the induction of Bonnie Raitt, and gospel soul great Mavis Staples took the stage (to a standing ovation) in order to induct her longtime friend with a touching and hilarious speech. Raitt accepted her award with excitement and humility, then joined Staples onstage for a romp through the swampy Bob Dylan/Danny O’Keefe co-write “Well Well Well.” Staples then quit the stage to be replaced by eclectic bluesologist Taj Mahal for the rocking “Gnawin’ On It,” with Raitt, house band guitarist David Grissom and Mahal (on harp) trading solos around. Willie Nelson joined Raitt onstage to reprise their duet on Stephen Bruton’s (her former guitarist) lovely “Getting Over You,” recorded by the pair on Nelson’s landmark LP Across the Borderline twenty years before. One standing ovation later, Raitt thanked the hardworking Austin City Limits crew and welcomed Staples and Mahal back to the stage for “Thing Called Love.” The trio enhanced the John Hiatt song that’s become one of Raitt’s signature tunes with electric ukulele and sanctified tamborine for a kick-ass performance.

Mullally and Offerman delivered a shout-out to house bandleader Lloyd Maines, introducing the night’s ace band before intermission. The second act began with KLRU-TV CEO Bill Stotesbery returning to the stage to induct Dick Peterson, who worked for KLRU from 1984-2008. A TV veteran with decades in the business, the Austin native took over as Austin City Limits executive producer after co-creator Bill Arhos retired in 2000, and received his award for his decades-long work behind the scenes. The night’s hosts returned to introduce the evening’s final inductee: great blues titan B.B. King. Rock legend and blues scholar Billy F. Gibbons from ZZ Top took to the stage to induct one of his greatest inspirations. King’s award was accepted by Myron Johnson, the bluesman’s longtime personal assistant and tour manager. Offerman and Mullally returned to inform the audience that the trophy would reside in the B.B. King Museum and to introduce the B.B. King Blues Band – not only the band that backed King on the road for many years, but in the case of some of them, musicians who appeared with the King of the Blues on his 1983 debut ACL appearance. Fronted by guitarist/singer Jesse Robinson in King’s absence, the band rolled into a faithful take on his classic “Paying the Cost to Be the Boss.” Gibbons then came back, fronting a trio with King drummer Herman Jackson, Austin organist Mike Flanigin and, of course, himself on guitar. The threesome reached back to the 60s for the 12-bar “The Jungle,” with Gibbons and Flanigin trading blistering solos. The band segued immediately into “You Upset Me Baby,” King’s lascivious #1 R&B single from 1954.   

The King band re-took the stage, joined by previous inductee Raitt and guitar great and Austin native Gary Clark Jr. The pair launched into “The Thrill is Gone,” probably King’s most famous song, filling it with scintillating singing and sizzling solos. Raitt exited and Clark took the spotlight for a faithful “Three O’Clock Blues,” the Lowell Fulsom song that was King’s first hit in 1952. Clark then brought on his friend and Austin blues standout Eve Monsees.  The pair, who learned the blues together while still in high school, romped through King’s 1953 single “Woke Up This Morning.”Willie Nelson returned to the stage to join Clark Jr. for a relaxed but blues-soaked version of “Night Life,” the Nelson original that became a staple of King’s setlist. Nelson’s distinctive picking proved itself as adept at the blues as the country for which he’s known.

Offerman and Mullally came back and brought the entire cast with them for a memorable grand finale- the inductees, the guests and both the house band and the King band. The all-star line-up went into “Everyday I Have the Blues,” another indelible King hit that helped define not only his career, but the genre itself. Both band and audience had a great time, the latter on its feet for the entire song. The celebratory evening came to a close with the entire cast singing a serendipitous version of “Auld Lang Syne” to mark the event’s New Year’s Eve broadcast, with a take so bluesy King’s spirit was surely smiling. For the crowd it might as well have been the real thing, considering the kissing, hugging and celebration going on. Mullally and Offerman thanked everyone for coming and it was over. It was quite a night, the best Hall of Fame ceremony yet, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this Dec. 31 on your local PBS station.

ACL announces Hall of Fame 2016 talent and ticket on-sale date

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Austin City Limits announces an all-star line-up of performers for the 2016 ACL Hall of Fame Inductions and Celebration on October 12, 2016: Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Rodney Crowell, Gary Clark Jr. and Taj Mahal are slated to perform in tribute to the newest class of inductees. The celebration will feature one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes, as three giants of American music are inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson. Comedy super couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally will emcee the celebratory evening. Joining the superstar line-up will be honorees Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt, who will also perform at the ceremony. More information about performences, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.

The event is open to the public and will take place at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. Tickets are on-sale May 20th at 10am at acltv.com/hall-of-fame. Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will be broadcast in a special episode as part of ACL’s Season 42 which premieres in the fall on PBS.

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 40+ years as a music institution. The inaugural induction ceremony in 2014 honored Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Lloyd Maines, program creator Bill Arhos and Darrell Royal. 2015’s second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony honored Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt, along with the original crew of the show’s first season in 1974-75.

The 2016 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame is sponsored in part by SanDisk, Stratus Properties, Heritage Title Company of Austin, Dell and Cousins Properties. For sponsorship opportunities contact Laura Villagran at lvillagran@klru.org.

Encore: ACL Hall of Fame 2015

photo by Scott Newton

Austin City Limits presents a special encore featuring musical highlights and tributes from the 2015 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. Hosted by Dwight Yoakam on June 18, 2015, this unique special showcases one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations from the ACL Hall of Fame celebration, honoring the artists who’ve helped make the award-winning tv series an American music institution.  An all-star line-up including Lyle Lovett, Jason Isbell, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam, Gillian Welch and more come together for one night to perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Asleep at the Wheel, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez, Loretta Lynn and Townes Van Zandt.   

ACL reaches back to its roots with a show-opening tribute to country trailblazer Loretta Lynn, who first appeared on the series in 1983. Country singer Patty Loveless, also a coal miner’s daughter, pays tribute to the living legend, and is joined by Vince Gill for a spirited duet of the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn classic “After the Fire Is Gone.” Lynn accepts her honor saying “Texas has always been so good to me. They fed me when my kids was hungry. They fed me when I was hungry.” Lyle Lovett takes the stage to honor Texas songwriting legend Guy Clark, saying “He is my friend.  He is my hero,” with a stunning reading of the first song Clark ever wrote: “Step Inside This House.” Acclaimed singer-songwriter  Jason Isbell performs a moving solo rendition of a Clark classic, “Desperados Waiting For A Train.”  

Superstar Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jiménez makes a joyous show-stopping cameo during his own tribute, joining Dwight Yoakam, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and conjunto masters Los Texmaniacs to show off his nimble accordion style. The late, great Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt, who first appeared in ACL’s debut season in 1975, is honored beautifully in acoustic performances by roots outfit Gillian Welch and British singer-songwriter Laura Marling. Austin’s own Asleep at the Wheel, who performed on the very first episode of ACL in 1975, are inducted by longtime fan Vince Gill, who joins the Western swing institution for a lively take on their early recording “Take Me Back to Tulsa.”

The special comes to a perfect close with the night’s entire cast returning to the ACL stage for a grand finale, trading verses on a Townes Van Zandt classic, “White Freightliner Blues.”

photo by Gary Miller

“We created our own Hall of Fame as part of our 40th anniversary last year to recognize and celebrate those artists who were there in the beginning and helped make Austin City Limits what it is today,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “The annual event is a unique showcase for some amazing performances and emotional moments, and we’re thrilled to be able to capture it all to bring to our fans at home.”

Tune in this weekend for this episode, and, as always, check your local PBS listings for the broadcast time in your area. Go to the episode page for more info, and don’t forget to click over to our Facebook, Twitter and newsletter pages for more ACL info. Tune in next week for an encore episode with Ed Sheeran and Valerie June.

Austin City Limits announces Hall of Fame 2016 inductees

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Austin City Limits is proud to announce the newest class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees: late blues titan B.B. King, songwriting icon Kris Kristofferson and the legendary Bonnie Raitt. The 2016 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be celebrated at a ceremony highlighted by all-star music performances to be held October 12, 2016 at ACL’s studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. The event will be open to the public and ticket onsale information will be announced at a later date.  

The announcement was made this evening by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS General Manager Bill Stotesbery at an event in Austin. “We established the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame to pay special tribute to the people that have helped make the show the standard bearer for music on television,” said Stotesbery. “Now in its third year, we’re proud to honor three incredible performers. Each one has a catalogue of work that has influenced generations and been a vital part of the history of Austin City Limits.”

The latest class of inductees features music legends who have all graced the ACL stage multiple times, setting the standard for excellence and contributing to more than four decades of incredible performances. Legendary bluesman B.B. King made two classic appearances on Austin City Limits, in 1983 and 1996. When he first appeared on ACL in 1983 it was rare for a blues artist to command a full hour on national television; his powerhouse performances rank as two of the finest in the show’s illustrious history.  An American original, Kris Kristofferson is regarded as one of the world’s greatest songwriters.  The charismatic Texas native has been a fixture on the music scene since the 1960s, penning some of the most beloved songs of all time.  He debuted on ACL in 1982, returning in 1997 and 2010 and for ACL’s 40th anniversary special in 2014.  Ten-time Grammy-winner Bonnie Raitt is one of the most revered artists in music.  Over four decades into a remarkable career, on the eve of her twentieth release, the magnetic singer-songwriter-guitarist continues to deliver outstanding work.  Raitt has played an invaluable role in ACL’s history, with standout performances on the series in 1984, 2002 and 2012 and returning for the 40th anniversary special in 2014.

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 in conjunction with the iconic television series’ 40th Anniversary to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have been instrumental in the landmark series’ 40+ years as an American music institution. The invitation-only inaugural induction ceremony took place April 26, 2014 at ACL’s original Studio 6A. Hosted by Oscar-winning actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey, the historic evening honored the first class of inductees, featuring American music icon Willie Nelson (who starred on the original ACL pilot program), Austin blues rock giants Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and legendary steel guitarist and Grammy Award-winning music producer Lloyd Maines. In addition, non-performers who played a key role in the evolution of the program were honored: original show creator Bill Arhos and longtime ACL supporter, Texas Longhorns football head coach Darrell Royal. A star-studded line-up paid tribute with incredible music performances, including: Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Doyle Bramhall II and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The second annual ACL Hall of Fame ceremony took place June 18, 2015, honoring Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel, country icon Loretta Lynn, songwriting legend Guy Clark, master Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jiménez and the late Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt. In addition, the original television production crew that worked on the first season of ACL in 1974/1975 were recognized in the non-performer category for their contributions in setting the foundation for the series. Hosted by Dwight Yoakam, the event featured memorable moments and musical highlights from an all-star cast including Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Jason Isbell, Patty Loveless, Gillian Welch, Laura Marling, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, Los Texmaniacs and JT Van Zandt.  

About the 2016 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honorees:

photo by Scott Newton

B.B. King:

The foremost ambassador the blues has ever had, the late, great B.B. King brought the genre to new artistic and popular heights with his powerful voice, incomparable axework and classic songs. With his guitar “Lucille” strapped to his chest, the undisputed King of the Blues made two legendary appearances on ACL in 1983 and 1996. King’s debut episode was recorded in 1982 and originally broadcast in 1983 as part of Season 8.  The 11-song set spans the length and breadth of his career to that point, from his then-new album Love Me Tender (including “Since I Met You, Baby” and the title track, a cover of the Elvis Presley classic) to his own standards “Everyday I Have the Blues” and “The Thrill is Gone.”  In a powerhouse performance, King hits full-force with a voice that is neither harsh nor sweet, that bends, like his fingers, with each note. “There was electricity in Studio 6A that night like no other,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “It was pure B.B. – just him, Lucille and one of the best road bands he ever toured with. He mixed up hardcore blues with Elvis ballads, and had the audience in the palm of his hand, following his every lead. It was historic!”

photo by Scott Newton

Kris Kristofferson:

Rhodes scholar, Golden Gloves boxer, college football player, film actor, acclaimed songwriter, social activist—few artists can boast the kind of freewheeling career enjoyed by songwriting legend Kris Kristofferson.  The Brownsville, Texas native gave up a promising military career in favor of life as a self-described “songwriting bum,” arriving on the music scene in the 1960s.  He expanded the language of country music songwriting with emotional truth and revealing honesty, penning enduring classics (“Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “For the Good Times”) that continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.  His incredible body of work includes his many film and television roles, (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, A Star is Born, Lone Star).  An American original, he is a lifelong activist who continues to speak out on social justice and human rights issues. Kristofferson first appeared on ACL in 1982, returning in 1997 and 2010 and for the series 40th anniversary special in 2014.

photo by Scott Newton

Bonnie Raitt:

More than just a best-selling artist, respected guitarist, expressive singer, and accomplished songwriter, Bonnie Raitt has carved out an enviable forty-five year strong career. The ten-time Grammy winner was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and Rolling Stone named the slide guitar ace one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and one of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” Her landmark albums Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw have secured her place as an American music treasure. Raitt’s widely-acclaimed 2012 release Slipstream sold over a quarter-million copies, making it one of the top selling independent albums, and earned Raitt her 10th Grammy Award (Best Americana Album). A tireless performer with decades of non-stop touring under her belt, in 2012 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance from the Americana Music Association. In February 2016, Raitt releases her highly-anticipated 20th album, Dig In Deep. When not burning up highways on tour with her band, the devoted activist has championed and spoken out on behalf of many social causes. Raitt performed on ACL in 1984, 2002 and 2012 and most recently for the series’ 40th anniversary special in 2014.