Featured News Taping Announcement Uncategorized

New tapings: Robert Earl Keen, Sylvan Esso and Allison Russell

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new tapings for Season 48, showcasing a trio of originals. Renowned singer/songwriter and Texas icon Robert Earl Keen caps his remarkable musical journey with one last taping on April 27 before his planned retirement from live performance later this year. We’re also thrilled to showcase debut tapings by a pair of 2022 Grammy-nominated acts whose individuality and artistic reach create songs thrilling in their distinctive flavors. On May 9, we welcome North Carolina-bred electronic duo Sylvan Esso. On May 25, Nashville-based singer and songwriter Allison Russell takes the ACL stage as we reach a major milestone: our 1000th taping. 

Robert Earl Keen debuted on Austin City Limits in 1989 as part of a Texas Showcase and has made four headlining appearances in addition to appearing as a guest of Lyle Lovett in 2000, returning for ACL’s milestone 40th Anniversary special in 2014 and hosting the ACL Hall of Fame in 2019. One of the most beloved songwriters and performers in Texas, the Houston native has lived his signature anthem “The Road Goes On Forever” as a road warrior performing over 180 dates in any given year, playing to his legions of fans at roadhouses, dance halls, theaters, and festival grounds. The legendary entertainer made the surprise announcement in March that he’ll wrap up a remarkable four decades of touring with one last tour in 2022 as his swan song: I’m Comin’ Home: 41 Years On The Road. “I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of brilliant, talented, colorful, electrical, magical folks throughout my life,” says Keen. “This chorus of joy, this parade of passion, this bull rush of creativity, this colony of kindness and generosity are foremost in my thoughts…It’s with a mysterious concoction of joy and sadness that I want to tell you that as of September 4, 2022, I will no longer tour or perform publicly.” With a catalog of 21 albums, a band of stellar musicians, and many thousands of live shows under his belt, POLLSTAR ranked Keen in its Top 20 Global Concert Tours in 2021. Since releasing his debut album, No Kinda Dancer, in 1984, Keen has blazed a peer, critic, and fan-lauded trail that’s earned him living-legend status in the Americana music world. He’s received many accolades along the way, including 2015’s inaugural BMI Troubadour Award, celebrating songwriters who have made a lasting impact.  His songs have been recorded by George Strait, Joe Ely, Nancy Griffith, Gillian Welch, The Highwaymen and more. Keen has been inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame (alongside his longtime friend and Texas A&M classmate Lyle Lovett), the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas A&M University. Keen was weaned on classic rock and Willie records and steered clear of the country mainstream, always taking the road less traveled throughout his storied career. His literate songcraft, razor wit and killer band stirred up a grassroots sensation not seen since the ’70s heyday of outlaw country. While Keen will be hanging up his hat on live shows, he’ll continue to write music and create, host his popular Americana Podcast, support young artists, and follow his artistic muse wherever it takes him. We’re thrilled to welcome Robert Earl Keen back to our stage for this very special performance.

Created with RNI Films app by Shervin Lainez.

Sitting in a Wisconsin deli in 2012, Amelia Meath told her new friend Nick Sanborn she wanted to start a pop band. She proposed a simple division of labor: She’d write and sing their emotionally multivalent songs, wrapped around seemingly effortless hooks. And he’d make the beats that drove them, slightly slippery instrumentals that winked at his abstract electronic inclinations. For a time, that was the premise of Sylvan Esso. But during the last decade, those responsibilities have morphed. Meath and Sanborn’s roles have become so intertwined that every moment of any new Sylvan Esso song feels rigorously conceptual but completely rapturous, their compelling central paradox. “Making music now looks like both of us sitting in a room together and having small arguments,” Meath quips. That dynamic thumps at the heart of Free Love, Sylvan Esso’s instantly endearing third album and a charming but provocative testament to the duo’s long-term tension. “We’re trying to make pop songs that aren’t on the radio, because they’re too weird,” says Meath. You could frame Free Love in a dozen different ways. You could, for instance, declare it their undeniable pop triumph, thanks to the summertime incandescence of “Ferris Wheel” or the handclap kinetics of “Train.” You might, on the other hand, call it their most delicate work yet, owing to Meath’s triptych of gently subversive anthems—“What If,” “Free,” and “Make It Easy”—that begin, end, and split the record into sides. You could label Free Love their modular synthesis album, since Sanborn’s explorations of those infinite systems shape so many of these daring songs. You might even call it their marriage record, as it’s the first LP Meath and Sanborn have made since trading vows. Instead, the thread that binds together every scintillating moment of Free Love may seem surprising for a duo that has already netted a 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the record , made some of their generation’s sharpest pop daggers, and generally approached their work with an anything-goes esprit: Finding confidence. An album that implores us to consider that our assumptions about our world might be wrong, Free Love asks major questions about self-image, self-righteousness, friendship, romance, and environmental calamity with enough warmth, playfulness, and magnetism to make you consider an alternate reality. These are Sylvan Esso’s most nuanced and undeniable songs—bold enough to say how they feel, big enough to make you join in that feeling. The Durham, NC-based duo is currently on a U.S. headline tour with high-profile upcoming summer dates at Wilco’s Solid Sound and Rothbury’s Electric Forest Festival.

Photo by Marc Baptiste.

After years of collaborations with like-minded artists, Allison Russell’s first-ever solo project, Outside Child was released in 2021 to critical acclaim and earned a trio of 2022 Grammy nominations, including Best Americana Album. Russell, a self-taught singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of folk collective Our Native Daughters and duo Birds of Chicago, unpacks her youth in searing detail. Rolling Stone raves, “Russell turned her brutally tough childhood into stunning art.” Raised in Montreal, Russell imbues her music with the colors of her city – the light, the landscape, the language – but also the trauma that she suffered there. It is a heartbreaking reflection on a childhood no one should have to endure, and at the same time a powerful reclamation – asserted from a place of healing, of motherhood, of partnership – and from a new home made in Nashville. The record features many of the artistic family members she has found there including Yola, Erin Rae, The McCrary Sisters, Ruth Moody, Jamie Dick, Dan Knobler and her partner JT Nero. Outside Child, says Russell “is about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” Singing about this on the double Grammy-nominated “Nightflyer,” Russell ponders the healing power of motherhood, using the track’s wide-open expanse to convey the strength she didn’t know she had. Here, the line “I am the mother of the evening star / I am the love that conquers all” is “the most defiantly triumphant, hopeful line I’ve ever written,” says Russell. “That’s about the birth of my daughter and how that transformed me.” Though she endured a fraught relationship with her own mother, Russell remembers how she’d crawl underneath the piano and listen to her mother play. “I would hum along with her,” Russell recalls. “She said I was humming before I could talk. I was able to feel some kind of comfort or love or connection in a way that she couldn’t verbally or physically express – but I could feel in her music that there was love in her.” Ultimately, Outside Child is not only a radical reclamation of a traumatic childhood and lost home, it is a lantern light for survivors of all stripes – a fervent reminder of the eleventh hour, resuscitative power of art. Fellow songwriter and poet Joe Henry raves, “Outside Child draws water from the dark well of a violent past. The songs themselves ––though iron-hard in their concerns–– are exultant: exercising haunted dream-like clean bedsheets snapped and hung out into broad daylight, and with the romantic poet’s lust for living and audacity of endurance.” We’re thrilled to bring Russell to the ACL stage as we celebrate a landmark occasion with our milestone 1K taping moment.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes as we get a week out from each date. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episodes will air in late 2022 on PBS as part of our upcoming Season 48.

Please look for safety updates regarding entry to Austin City Limits tapings. Austin PBS will continue to monitor local COVID-19 trends and will meet or exceed protocols mandated by local governments.

Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News Uncategorized

ACL Presents: Americana 20th Annual Honors

Austin City Limits returns to Nashville for a special broadcast featuring performance highlights from the 20th Annual Americana Honors. For two decades, the annual celebration of roots music has honored the best and brightest musicians in Americana music while showcasing one-of-a-kind performances and collaborations. The program is filled with musical highlights from many of the event’s award-winners and honorees, among them (in order of appearance): Fisk Jubilee Singers with Leon Timbo, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan & Joe Henry, Allison Russell, The Highwomen, featuring Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires with Yola, Jason Isbell, Valerie June & Carla Thomas, Charley Crockett, Amythyst Kiah, Buddy Miller, Brandi Carlile & The Mavericks. The hourlong special premieres Saturday, April 2 at 7pm CT/8pm ET on PBS and varies by market (check local listings for times).  Check PBS listings for local airtimes. The special will be available to music fans everywhere to stream online beginning Sunday, April 3 @10am ET at Viewers can visit for news regarding upcoming Season 48 tapings, episode schedules and select live stream updates. 

Recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium in 2021, The Americana Music Association’s 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony is a celebration of the confluence of roots, blues, soul, folk and country music.  For the tenth year, the producers of Austin City Limits, in conjunction with producers Martin Fischer, Michelle Aquilato, and Jed Hilly for the Americana Music Association, proudly deliver a special ACL Presents.  

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Fisk Jubilee Singers perform onstage at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Fisk Jubilee Singers, the award-winning choir formed at Nashville’s HBCU Fisk University, open the hour and raise the Ryman roof with the stirring spiritual “I Believe” joined by gospel great Leon Timbo. Americana’s Artist of the Year Brandi Carlile delivers a gorgeous solo performance of her 2022 triple Grammy-nominated song “Right On Time” and also performs with her bandmates Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires in country supergroup the Highwomen, joined by greats Yola and Jason Isbell for the occasion. Multiple Americana Album of the Year nominees showcase highlights: Americana stalwart Sarah Jarosz performs “I’ll Be Gone,” a gem from her celebrated World on the Ground, joined by John Leventhal; Valerie June performs her Song of the Year-nominated “Call Me A Fool” from her The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, joined by Stax great and Lifetime Achievement honoree Carla Thomas; and one of the genre’s top stars, Jason Isbell, is joined by wife and collaborator Amanda Shires for “Letting You Go,” a poignant song written for their young daughter from his acclaimed Reunions.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Valerie June performs onstage at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The award’s Emerging Artist honorees take the stage to showcase their talents: the year’s Emerging Artist Award-winner and “the pride of San Benito, Texas,” Charley Crockett, makes a sparkling debut with his singular brand of Gulf & Western music, performing the two-stepping “Are We Lonesome Yet.” Fellow nominee, genre-bending artist Allison Russell, delivers her 2022 double Grammy-nominated “Nightflyer,” a soulful number from her critically-acclaimed solo record Outside Child, also a 2022 Grammy nominee for Best Americana Album. Breakout singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah showcases her bonafides with a powerhouse “Fancy Drones (Fracture Me),” forecasting the future of the genre. 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Amythyst Kiah performs at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The special pays tribute to a pair of Americana greats we lost in 2021: Country-folk legend Nanci Griffith, a trailblazer in the genre, is saluted with a gorgeous reading of her “Gulf Coast Highway,” performed by Aoife O’Donovan and Joe Henry;  country great Tom T. Hall is honored by famed musician Buddy Miller, who performs a memorable rendition of Hall’s classic “That’s How I Got to Memphis.” 

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Aoife O’Donovan and Joe Henry perform at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

The show closes with the eclectic rock-country-Latin band the Mavericks, recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award, celebrating the diversity of the genre with “La Sitiera,” from their acclaimed Spanish-language album En Español.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 22: Raul Malo of The Mavericks performs at the 20th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association)

Broadcast setlist:

Fisk Jubilee Singers ft. Leon Timbo “I Believe”

Sarah Jarosz ft. John Leventhal “I’ll Be Gone”

Aiofe O’Donovan & Joe Henry “Gulf Coast Highway” 

Allison Russell “Nightflyer”

The Highwomen (Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby) ft. Yola & Jason Isbell 

Jason Isbell ft. Amanda Shires “Letting You Go”

Valerie June ft. Carla Thomas “Call Me A Fool”

Charley Crockett ”Are We Lonesome Yet” 

Amythyst Kiah “Fancy Drones (Fracture Me)”

Buddy Miller “That’s How I Got to Memphis”

Brandi Carlile “Right on Time”

The Mavericks “La Sitiera”


The 22nd annual AMERICANAFEST will take place September 13-17, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn., once again bringing together music industry professionals and fans alike for five days of discovery, insight and connections. Declared a “veritable juggernaut” by American Songwriter, AMERICANAFEST showcases hundreds of artists and bands throughout many notable venues in Nashville, TN. The destination event also features a first-rate industry conference, bringing together the top tier of the music business to discuss current industry topics and issues. Musical festivities are kicked off by the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards, which celebrates luminaries and welcomes the next generation of trailblazers while offering one-of-a-kind performance pairings at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium. For more information, please visit

About the Americana Music Association:

The Americana Music Association is a professional not-for-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. The Association produces events throughout the year; including AMERICANAFEST and the critically acclaimed Americana Honors & Awards program. The Americana Music Association receives enormous support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC.

About ACL Presents:

ACL Presents is music programming created by, or in association with, Austin PBS, the producers of Austin City Limits (ACL). ACL Presents programming includes television specials, live events, web series and recorded music presentations and is made in the spirit and standards of the legendary PBS series Austin City Limits, the longest-running live music series in television history. ACL Presents collaborations have included: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with KQED and Americana Music Festival with Nashville Public Television (NPT). 

Featured Live Stream News Taping Announcement Uncategorized

Taping and live stream announcement: Terry Allen

Austin City Limits is proud to announce our final taping of Season 47, with a Texas legend making his highly-anticipated return to the ACL stage: maverick singer/songwriter Terry Allen returns for his first headline taping in over two decades on December 1. He will be joined by his longtime group the Panhandle Mystery Band—featuring Lloyd Maines, Charlie Sexton, Richard Bowden, Shannon McNally, Davis McLarty and sons Bukka and Bale Allen. The taping will also be live streamed, as ACL offers fans worldwide a unique opportunity to watch the taping live in its entirety at 8pm CT/ 9pm ET at this location. ACL’s public ticket giveaway, which had been suspended throughout Season 47 due to Covid restrictions, will resume with this taping and we are thrilled to welcome back the general public.

Iconic and iconoclastic Texan songwriter and visual artist Terry Allen returns to the ACL stage to showcase his highly lauded 2020 album Just Like Moby Dick. Raised in Lubbock, Texas, the cult favorite continues the remarkable artistic trajectory he began almost fifty years ago with influential classics including his cinematic debut Juarez (1975) and his 1979 masterstroke Lubbock (on everything). Just Like Moby Dick has earned widespread acclaim: “A remarkable late-career high point” (Austin American-Statesman); “One of outlaw country’s strongest and oddest talents” (Uncut); “…takes you on a journey through the brilliant mind of this ‘master lyricist’” (New York Times). Casting his net wide for wild stories, Just Like Moby Dick features, among many other things, Houdini in existential crisis, the death of the last stripper in town, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mudslides and burning mobile homes, and all manner of tragicomic disasters, abandonments, betrayals, bad memories, failures, and fare-thee-wells. Alongside his iconic musicianship, Allen also is an accomplished, “flat-out inspiring” (LA Times) visual artist whose work has been shown throughout the United States and internationally, and is represented in major private and public collections. His work will be the subject of the upcoming exhibition MemWars at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art beginning December 18 through July 2021. The New York Times notes, “There is just one person whose art has been seen in highbrow museums around the country and is an inductee of the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame in Lubbock. He is Terry Allen.” Allen is the subject of the recent documentary concert film, Scott Ballew’s Everything for All Reasons, featuring frequent collaborators including David Byrne, Kiki Smith, Joe Ely and Allen’s wife, actress writer Jo Harvey Allen.  Allen has also collaborated with Guy Clark, Butch Hancock, Dave Alvin and Lucinda Williams, and his haunting and hilarious songs have been covered and championed by the likes of Bobby Bare, Ryan Bingham, Richard Buckner, Jason Isbell, Little Feat, Sturgill Simpson, and Kurt Vile.

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes on November 22 at 10 a.m. CT. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings. The broadcast episode will air in early 2022 on PBS as part of our Season 47.

Austin PBS has adopted updated health & safety protocols for those in attendance at tapings until further notice, including the requirement of avnegative COVID test or proof of vaccination for entry. As public health conditions for live entertainment change, ACL will remain flexible and adapt to applicable health protocols. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to respond to ever-changing conditions. Our top priority is bringing y’all great music and keeping everyone who attends ACL tapings safe. 

Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News Uncategorized

Episode recap: Leon Bridges/Khruangbin

Austin City Limits showcases a pair of world-class acts that hail from Texas, Leon Bridges and Khruangbin, in a new hour-long installment premiering November 6 @9pm ET/8pm CT as part of the series Season 47. Grammy-winning Fort Worth R&B artist and songwriter Leon Bridges makes his second ACL appearance with highlights from his latest, Gold-Diggers Sound, and Houston eclectic groove trio Khruangbin make their ACL debut with standouts from their global sensation Mordechai. Despite the challenges facing live music during the past year, ACL is proud to deliver a new season of performances for viewers, all recorded at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas in 2021, in front of limited live audiences. The program continues its extraordinary run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance for a remarkable 47 years. ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available to stream online at immediately following the initial broadcast.  

“It’s an honor to bring Gold-Diggers Sound to Austin, Texas tonight,” hails Leon Bridges. The Fort Worth native returns to the ACL stage for the first time since his 2016 debut, showcasing his third album in six years, the acclaimed Gold-Diggers Sound, named after the East Hollywood studio where it was written and recorded. One of music’s most sought-after collaborators, Bridges has captured the world’s attention with his golden vocals and intimate songwriting, and the dynamic star returns to his home state to deliver a suite of songs from his recent collection backed by an ace seven-piece band. “Make some noise if you missed live music,” says Bridges. “I know I did.” A set highlight is the powerful anti-racism anthem “Sweeter,” released in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He closes out a magnetic set with a scorcher, the timely “Bad Bad News” from 2018’s Good Thing

Khruangbin, Austin City Limits, Season 47. Photo by Scott Newton.

The atmospheric Texan trio Khruangbin leads viewers on a spellbinding sonic journey in their ACL debut. The eclectic Houston act consisting of bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald ‘DJ’ Johnson Jr. has generated a worldwide audience for their transportive sound that features a globally sourced sampler of psych and funk influences mixed with intoxicating grooves. The band opens with gems from their 2015 debut The Universe Smiles Upon You including “People Everywhere,” a song that highlights the stark contrast between Lee’s shimmering stage strut and Speer and Johnson Jr.’s laidback stoicism. “Still alive,” Lee repeats into the mic as an affirmation, adding the sly aside “after 2020.” Khruangbin visits their 2018 breakthrough LP Con Todo El Mundo for “Friday Morning,” an acid soul ballad that shifts from close harmony vocals to an epic guitar solo. They touch down with “First Class” from their widely-acclaimed Mordechai, an album that celebrates the city that raised them, Houston, one of the most diverse in the nation, a cultural nexus, and the hometown the band members fondly credit for their expansive sonic palette.

“This is Leon Bridges like you’ve never seen or heard him before,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “His new music is an immersive experience – both for him and the rest of us. Likewise, Khruangbin immerses themselves in musical rhythms and genres from around the globe, adding vocals for the first time. A must-see hour!”  

Leon Bridges












Season 47 Broadcast Line-up (second half of season to be announced separately):

October 2 Miranda Lambert with Jack Ingram & Jon Randall

October 9 Jade Bird / Dayglow

October 16 Jon Batiste

October 23 Sarah Jarosz / Billy Strings

October 30 Brandy Clark / Charley Crockett

November 6 Leon Bridges / Khruangbin

November 13 Jackson Browne

November 20 Brittany Howard

Watch live, stream anytime, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The complete line-up for the full 13-week season, including five new episodes to air beginning January 2022, will be announced at a later date.  Viewers can visit for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter and IG. Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits (ACL) offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. Now in its 47th Season, the program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic Austin PBS Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.  

Austin City Limits is produced by Austin PBS and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, Workrise, the Austin Convention Center Department and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at

Featured Hall of Fame News Taping Recap Uncategorized

Taping recap: ACL 7th Annual Hall of Fame Honors

Following last year’s pandemic-related pre-emption, we were beyond thrilled for the return of our biggest event/party of the season: the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration Presented by PNC Bank. We were proud to induct three longtime ACL favorites, all trailblazing artists who have all appeared on the show multiple times: renowned alt-country band Wilco, Austin rock icon Alejandro Escovedo, and the truly legendary singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. Joined by a diverse and impressive line-up of musicians paying tribute to these fantastic figures, we had a grand time celebrating some of our favorite performers on our favorite night of the year. We were also excited to announce the formal unveiling of PNC Plaza at ACL Live as part of the ceremony. Our new partner PNC Bank has made a five-year commitment as the Official Bank of Austin City Limits.

Alejandro Escovedo. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

Following welcomes from Austin PBS acting CEO Lori Bolding and ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, it was time to induct the first honoree: Austin’s own Alejandro Escovedo. Legendary rock writer, producer and longtime Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye did the honors. Kaye spoke of his long friendship with Escovedo, and what makes his eclectic, expansive body of work important not only to the industry, but to the world. Escovedo accepted his award in a stunning, sparkling lime-green jacket, and spoke of the influence of his wife Nancy Rankin, his Mexican family, especially his older brother, jazz great Pete Escovedo, and of his journey through music, as well as his gratitude to ACL for giving a platform to showcase his musical theater piece By the Hand of the Father in 2002. Joined by his niece, the incomparable Sheila E., behind the drum kit of the Austin All-Stars Band and his veteran backing singers and string section, Escovedo opened the music salute with “Algo Azul,” a song from his most recent album The Crossing, bringing out Alex Ruiz, frontman for Austin Latin-rock band Del Castillo and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s band Chingon, for an all-Spanish version of the song La Cruzada. Escovedo then welcomed another old pal, John Doe, co-founder of legendary Los Angeles punk band X, to sing the rocking story song “Sally Was a Cop,” from the 2012 album Big Station, amplified by a burning solo from house band leader Lloyd Maines on pedal steel. Escovedo finished his victory lap with a titanic take on “Put You Down,” his 1996 rock anthem with which he opened his 2006 ACL appearance. Guitars raged, the string section seared, and the audience response was deafening. 

Lucinda Williams with Rosanne Cash. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

The only way to follow that was by inducting another icon, which meant it was time to honor the singer/songwriter all other singer/songwriters bow down to: Lucinda Williams. One of her best-known disciples, Jason Isbell, inducted her into the HOF, explaining how Williams made a map for other songwriters, including himself, to follow. “This will fit real nicely next to my Grammys,” she commented wryly as she accepted her award. She praised Austin for helping give her her start, as well as Terry Lickona and the ACL staff. Isbell then took the stage to sing Williams’ beautiful “I Envy the Wind,” from her Grammy-nominated 2002 LP Essence. Williams joined her friend Rosanne Cash onstage to perform a moving version of the beguiling New Orleans tribute “Crescent City” from the Louisiana native’s groundbreaking 1988 self-titled LP, capped by a standing ovation from the crowd. Country rock star Margo Price joined Williams, presenting her hero with flowers and a heartfelt thanks for the example she sets. Along with the All-Stars, Price and Williams tore into “Changed the Locks,” the withering blues rocker also from 1988’s Lucinda Williams. After the two singers-in-arms left the stage, steel guitarist and house bandleader Lloyd Maines – the first musician to be inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame – introduced the ace ACL All-Stars Band: guitarist David Grissom, bassist Bill Whitbeck, drummer Tom Van Schiak and keyboardist Chris Gage. 

Wilco. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

Following an intermission, it was time to induct Wilco. Rosanne Cash welcomed her friends into the Hall with a speech touching on their “musical alchemy that’s just the thing if you want to spark a revolution in your audience.” Her words earned her hugs from all six members (leader Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgenson, drummer Glenn Kotche), while Tweedy gave a speech thanking not only ACL but all the bands that gave them inspiration along the way. Wilco then picked up their instruments to do what they do best, opening their segment with Summerteeth’s rocking “A Shot in the Arm.” The band exited the stage with the exception of guitarist Nels Cline remaining to accompany their friend Bill Callahan on lap steel. The low-fi great sang “Sky Blue Sky” in his deep baritone, with Cline coloring the proceedings with keening steel lines. Legendary Texas singer/songwriter Terry Allen took the stage solo, for a stately piano performance of “One Sunday Morning.” Wilco returned to the stage joined by Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, along with Lloyd Maines (who played on Wilco’s 1995 debut A.M.) for “Jesus, Etc.,” the pop charmer from 2002’s landmark Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

“We’d like to invite everybody back on the stage,” said Tweedy, bringing the all-star cast out for a stellar reading of “California Stars.” Escovedo, Cash, Isbell, Allen, Sheila E., Price, Callahan, Kaye, Zauner, Doe, Maines, and the string players joined in on Wilco’s early career highlight for a powerhouse closer. It was a great way to end the show, and stay tuned for highlights on Austin City Limits 7th Annual Hall of Fame Honors when it airs January 8 on PBS.

Featured Hall of Fame News Uncategorized

ACL announces 2021 HOF guest performers

Austin City Limits announces an all-star slate of guest performers for the 2021 ACL Hall of Fame Inductions & Celebration on October 28, 2021. Music greats Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Doe, Sheila E., Lenny Kaye, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, Rosanne Cash, Bill Callahan, Terry Allen and Del Castillo’s Alex Ruiz will take part in saluting the newest class of inductees with one-of-a-kind music performances and tributes. After an absence in 2020 due to the pandemic, the ACL Hall of Fame returns, celebrating a stellar new class of trailblazing artists with longtime ties to ACL: Lucinda Williams, Wilco and Alejandro Escovedo. The 2021 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the star-studded ceremony on October 28th, 2021 at ACL’s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Musical highlights and inductions from the celebration will air as a special Austin City Limits on January 8, 2022 on PBS.

The event is open to the public and a limited number of newly released tickets are on sale at  Sponsor packages are available now at All proceeds benefit Austin PBS. 

All-star guests will handle induction honors for this epic night: Jason Isbell will induct Lucinda Williams and perform in tribute along with Margo Price and Rosanne Cash. Cash will also induct Wilco, and indie legend Bill Callahan, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner and Texas icon Terry Allen will salute the celebrated band. A godfather of punk, Lenny Kaye, will induct Alejandro Escovedo; joining the musical tribute will be John Doe, founder of seminal LA punk band X, Queen of percussion Sheila E. and Alex Ruiz, frontman for Austin Latin rock band Del Castillo. Inductees Lucinda Williams, Wilco and Alejandro Escovedo will all perform at the ceremony. ACL Hall of Famer, renowned steel guitarist and producer Lloyd Maines, returns as Music Director, leading the ACL All-Stars house band.

The seventh class of inductees represent the essence of everything ACL has stood for— originality, authenticity, virtuosity. Roots-music icon Lucinda Williams has made four classic appearances on ACL over a remarkable four-decade career, starting with her debut on Season 15 in 1990. Celebrated Chicago band Wilco has also appeared on ACL four times during their 25-year career, beginning in 2000 for the series’ 25th Anniversary season. Texas legend Alejandro Escovedo made his debut during the first decade of the series in Season 8 in 1983 with the band Rank and File, going on to make a total of five appearances including a star-studded return in 2017.

Established in 2014, the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame celebrates the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series remarkable 47 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.  2017’s Hall of Fame honored Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers, and the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.  2018’s fifth anniversary class featured the inductions of Ray Charles, Marcia Ball and Los Lobos. The 2019 Hall of Fame welcomed Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy and Shawn Colvin to its ranks.

Austin City Limits and the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame are produced by Austin PBS. Austin PBS is a non-profit organization providing public television and educational resources to Central Texas as well as producing quality national programming. 

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits (ACL) offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. Now in its 47th Season, the program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic Austin PBS Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.  

Austin City Limits is produced by Austin PBS and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, Workrise, the Austin Convention Center Department and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at