Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News Uncategorized

New broadcast: Rufus Wainwright

In early September, in the midst of the global pandemic, Austin City Limits made history with its first-ever show in 46 years without a live audience. The unprecedented performance, featuring acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright in his ACL debut, premieres October 24 at 8pm CT/9pm ET on PBS as part of the iconic series’ Season 46. Rufus performs highlights from Unfollow the Rules, his first new pop album since 2012. The songwriter delivers a breathtaking performance for troubled times, filled with signature razor-sharp lyrics and soaring vocals. With live music still on pause, ACL continues to provide viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. The series airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at immediately following the initial broadcast.  

Rufus Wainwright established himself as a daring, fearless new voice two decades ago with his much-lauded 1998 eponymous debut. Now one of the most distinctive voices in popular music, Rufus showcases songs from his widely acclaimed ninth studio album Unfollow the Rules. Inspired by middle age, married life, fatherhood, friends, loss, London and Laurel Canyon, the release captures the restless creative at the peak of his powers. Opening the intimate hour with the lush, witty pop tune “Trouble In Paradise,” he leans into the record’s Laurel Canyon influence with “Damsel In Distress,” a wonderfully melodic song inspired by his friend and neighbor Joni Mitchell. Backed for this appearance by members of North Texas bands Midlake and the Texas Gentlemen, Rufus’s resplendent vocals are at their soaring best and most exposed. He celebrates the content family man he has become with the domestic bliss gem “Peaceful Afternoon” written for his husband and the sparkling “My Little You” for his young daughter. His maturation into a seasoned artist is evident on the magnificently dramatic “Early Morning Madness” and the barbed “Devils And Angels (Hatred).” Rufus closes the stunning set with a personal-political song from his 2007 album Release the Stars, remarking with trademark caustic wit: “Here’s another uptempo number about everything’s so terrible,” before launching into “Going To A Town,” featuring the  daringly outspoken chorus: I’m going to a town that has already been burnt down…I’m so tired of America.”  

“I like to say we make history every time an artist makes their debut on Austin City Limits,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “but this was historic on a grand scale. Taping without an audience in the midst of the pandemic, uncertain whether it was even possible, was an emotional experience. Rufus delivered an epic performance like no other.”

Rufus Wainwright setlist:

Trouble In Paradise

Damsel In Distress

Unfollow The Rules

You Ain’t Big

Peaceful Afternoon

Only the People That Love

My Little You

Early Morning Madness

Devils And Angels (Hatred)

Alone Time

Going To A Town

Season 46 Broadcast Line-up (six new episodes to be announced):

October 3 The Best of John Prine 

October 10 Yola

October 17 Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On

October 24 Rufus Wainwright

October 31                ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel

November 7             John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up!

November 14 Jackie Venson | Mavis Staples w/Bonnie Raitt

November 21            The Mavericks

Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The complete line-up for the full 13-week season 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.

About Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits 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 46th 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 KLRU 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, KLRU-TV and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, RigUp, 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 Live Stream News Taping Announcement Uncategorized

New tapings: Ruthie Foster 11/1, The War And Treaty 11/5

Austin City Limits is proud to announce a pair of highly-anticipated tapings showcasing acclaimed artists who blur the lines between soul, gospel, folk and blues. On November 1, an Austin treasure returns to our stage, as Ruthie Foster tapes her second appearance; on November 5, we welcome one of Nashville’s hottest acts, The War And Treaty, in their ACL debut. Austin City Limits is delighted to announce we will live stream both these tapings along with the previously announced long-awaited taping of Texas songwriting legend Ray Wylie Hubbard on October 21. With live music still on pause, ACL continues to provide viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. ACL offers fans a unique opportunity to watch the trio of tapings live in their entirety from the safety of their homes and screens at this location on each date at 7pm CT/8pm ET. ACL has taped before a live audience for its entire 45-year history, and recently resumed tapings without a live audience. The broadcast version of these tapings will air later this season as part of our Season 46 on PBS.

In the tight-knit musical community of Austin, Texas, it’s tough to get away with posturing. You either bring it, or you don’t. If you do, word gets around. And one day, you find yourself duetting with Bonnie Raitt, or standing onstage with the Allman Brothers at New York’s Beacon Theater and trading verses with Susan Tedeschi. You might even wind up getting nominated for a Best Blues Album Grammy — three times in a row. And those nominations would be in addition to your seven Blues Music Awards, three Austin Music Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year, and the title of an “inspiring American Artist” as a 2018 United States Artists Fellow.

There’s only one Austinite with that résumé: Ruthie Foster. Drawing influence from legendary acts like Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, Foster developed a unique sound unable to be contained within a single genre. That uniqueness echoes a common theme in Ruthie’s life and career – marching to the beat of her own drum. Ruthie’s latest album Live at the Paramount, swings back to the days (and nights) when Lady Ella sang Ellington and Sinatra blasted off with Count Basie and Quincy Jones. Ruthie refers to her live shows as “hallelujah time,” and we are thrilled to welcome her back to the ACL stage for her first headlining appearance since her 2003 debut. 

photo by David McClister

Since forming in 2014, dynamic duo The War And Treaty have won critical acclaim and amassed a following as eclectic as their sound itself, a bluesy but joyful fusion of Southern soul, gospel, country, and rock-and-roll. Known for a live show nearly revival-like in intensity, the husband-and-wife team of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter endlessly create an exhilarating exchange of energy with their audience, a dynamic they’ve brought to the stage in opening for the legendary Al Green, touring with the likes of Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell and taking the stage at the 2020 Grammy Awards earlier this year, performing alongside icons like Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Gary Clark Jr., and Common.

So when it came time to choose a title for their recently released sophomore album, The War And Treaty quickly landed on Hearts Town—the couple’s affectionate nickname for their ardently devoted fanbase. “Hearts Town is a neighborhood strictly made up of people who all share the same kind of heart: hearts that love, hearts that heal, hearts that don’t see division,” says Michael. “There’s all different types of people within that neighborhood, but they’re still somehow all working together—which is exactly the kind of town we want to live in.” Their full-length debut for Rounder Records, Hearts Town arrives as the follow-up to 2018’s Healing Tide, a widely acclaimed effort that saw The War And Treaty named 2019’s Emerging Act of the Year by the Americana Music Association. 

While the new album unfailingly harnesses the thrilling vitality of their live set, each song spotlights The War And Treaty’s heart-on-sleeve storytelling and poetic simplicity with greater impact than ever before. The War And Treaty drive home their impassioned plea for unity in times of division. “We were seeing so much anger in the world as we were making this album, so we wanted to give people something that told them, ‘Stop looking for the next Dr. King or Malcolm or Mother Teresa, and start looking for the first you,’” says Michael. “Right now a lot of people are feeling so deeply engulfed in pain and surrounded by negativity, and sometimes you just need to hear that you’re good,” says Tanya. “That’s the whole idea behind Hearts Town: no one’s trying to change what you think or how you talk or anything else about you. You’re just fine the way you are.” We’re proud to welcome The War and Treaty to the ACL stage.

Featured News Taping Recap Uncategorized

Rufus Wainwright makes his long-awaited ACL debut

Sometimes you just have to say: it’s about damn time. It took a while, but singer, songwriter, and opera composer Rufus Wainwright finally made his long-awaited debut on Austin City Limits. Performing songs from his highly acclaimed tenth studio album Unfollow the Rules, and backed for this occasion by Denton, TX psych rock outfit Midlake (and their alter-ego the Texas Gentlemen), Wainwright delivered an incredible performance – a history-making, first-ever no-audience ACL taping in accordance with Covid-19 protocols. 

Son of fellow bards Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, Wainwright remarked “My dad did this show twice,” after nailing set opener “Trouble in Paradise,” the sparkling, witty pop tune that opens Unfollow the Rules. “I am now officially an adult.” The newly minted (47-year-old) grown-up leaned into the new record’s Laurel Canyon influence with “Damsel in Distress,” a wonderfully melodic song inspired by his friend and neighbor Joni Mitchell. Then it was time for the self-described “deep end” of the album, in particular the title track, a dramatic ballad inspired by his young daughter Viva. That amazing performance was followed by the country funk of “You Ain’t Big,” a lively poke at Middle America. Wainwright then moved to the piano for an older tune – the pretty title track of his second album Poses.  

Strapping on a guitar  (“I’m gay, so guitars kind of scare me”), Wainwright performed a pair of folky tunes: “Peaceful Afternoon” (written for his husband) and “Only the People That Love.” He pulled out the stops while getting overtly political for “Sword of Damocles,” a lush ballad aimed at promoting responsible presidential leadership, before shifting gears completely with “My Little You,” a solo piano “little ditty” dedicated to his daughter. He stayed at the keyboard for the powerful “Early Morning Madness,” an anthemic tune that really showed off his vocal and piano skills. He followed with the Nilsson-esque rocker “Devils and Angels (Hatred)” which included a backing track featuring strings and vocals by his sister Martha Wainwright. 

“This one I really didn’t practice for,” Wainwright said at the piano, but you’d never know it from his beautiful take on Unfollow the Rules closer “Alone Time.” The band ended their portion of the show with “another uptempo number about how everything is so terrible,” the acerbic “Going To a Town,” from Wainwright’s 2007 album Release the Stars. The troubadour closed the performance alone at the piano with a gorgeous pair of tunes: the jaunty mash note “The Art Teacher” and a stunning rendition of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah.” It was a simply spectacular performance, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall as part of our upcoming Season 46 on your local PBS station. 

Featured News Taping Announcement Uncategorized

ACL prepares for unconventional season 46

Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, plans for Austin City Limits Season 46 remain – the 13-episode season Austin PBS will deliver to PBS stations nationwide this fall will be a mix of new, already-taped episodes and selections from our archives. The new season will premiere October 3 and will provide a rare opportunity to go back to our early ACL roots with an emphasis on local Austin and Texan acts.

Our reopening task force and partners at ACL Live at The Moody Theater remain vigilant in working toward safely gathering in the venue for music; however, the local increase in Covid-19 cases, along with state and local ordinances, have inhibited plans to bring in a studio audience for the near future. While we can’t wait to have fans back with us safely in the studio again, in the interim we are pleased to announce that we are on track to resume production with four confirmed tapings, and will do so with a limited production crew and heightened safety measures in place. The artists include the ACL debut of singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright on Sept. 10, the third taping for rock and country trailblazers The Mavericks (supporting their first all-Spanish album En Espanol) on Sept. 22, and the debut of Austin singer/guitar slinger Jackie Venson on Oct. 1. 

To mark these historic times, acknowledging the challenges local Austin and Texan acts have faced during the pandemic, we have created a new opening sequence that will air during Season 46. The opening features Austin’s Black Pumas’ hit “Colors,” and showcases many of Austin’s own homegrown talents captured at their homes and front porches, including Ruthie Foster, Ray Wylie Hubbard, White Denim, Jackie Venson, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin and more.

We thank you for your loyal support during this challenging time and we can’t wait to be back in the studio with y’all again!

Featured Hall of Fame News Uncategorized

Austin City Limits cancels 2020 Hall of Fame celebration

Austin City Limits and Austin PBS are deeply disappointed to announce, after careful consideration, the 2020 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction & Celebration event will no longer take place in October 2020 as previously planned. 

We are already looking ahead and will be back next year – October 28, 2021. We hope you will save the date and join us for this annual celebration and Austin PBS fundraiser. 

The broadcast Season 46 of Austin City Limits will return this fall. In the meantime, we are working on a special episode, The Best of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, featuring highlights from the past 6 years of unforgettable music performances from the Hall of Fame stage to air this winter on PBS.

News Uncategorized

ACL extends access to archive

Live music beacon Austin City Limits is extending access to its archives through June 30 as a gift to music fans during the current live music void. The perennial television series is making fan-favorite episodes from the recently broadcast Season 45 and choice vintage gems available for streaming during these stay-at-home days, in addition to the entire slate of programs from the previous two seasons of the acclaimed concert showcase. Over 40 ACL installments are available to stream free online at offering a wide variety of music’s finest from every genre. Cited by USA Today as the lead option for streaming live music, Austin City Limits has offered viewers a front-row seat to the best in performance for an incredible four-and-a-half decades from the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas; the series is the flagship of the popular ACL Music Festival.  

In addition, the long-running series has delivered classics from its catalog for recent high-profile events: In honor of Willie Nelson’s 87th birthday, ACL showcased an historic 1976 live performance of Red Headed Stranger, which also marked the 45th anniversary of that classic album’s release; UK hitmaker Ed Sheeran’s stunning 2017 hourlong solo acoustic performance recently opened the virtual 3-day PlayOn Fest to benefit the COVID-19 response. ACL is also offering fans the ability to appear on the legendary ACL stage, complete with the iconic Austin skyline, with new virtual backgrounds for Zoom and smartphones free for fans to use here.  Custom ACL face masks are also available for fans, and with every mask purchase one will be distributed to someone in need

While live music is grounded and with the postponement and cancellation of countless tours and music festivals, ACL aims to keep its spirit alive and fill the void, providing new viewing options for cooped-up music fans. The program has fast-tracked popular episodes to stream at home, and the show goes on with a generous helping of performances to choose from. Favorites from ACL’s recent Season 45 and the entire slate of Seasons 43 and 44 are available to stream at ACL unlocks two classic fan-favorite vintage installments: the late blues giant B.B. King’s classic 1983 debut and Tom Waits’ legendary 1978 appearance. There’s something for everyone in the extended line-up: highlights include a golden hour with late singer-songwriter giant John Prine (the 2018 performance is one of ACL’s most-requested episodes of all time); an epic stage journey with 2020’s Grammy-winning global pop phenom Billie Eilish; songs for uncertain times with indie-rock provocateur Father John Misty (backed by a 16-piece orchestra); Willie Nelson’s 2018 return to “the house that Willie built” in a career-spanning performance for the ages; a sparkling hour with country superstar Miranda Lambert; a dazzling, career-spanning hour with celebrated jazz legend Herbie Hancock; supergroup The Raconteurs, featuring Jack White and Brendan Benson, in an all-out hour of pure rock and roll; a show-stopping hour with visionary funk songstress Janelle Monáe; rock legends the Pretenders in a shining hit-filled hour of career highlights; a thrilling hour with blues legend Buddy Guy; a radiant hour with acclaimed singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile; powerhouse rap duo Run the Jewels; rock stars Cage The Elephant; an electrifying hour with guitar hero Gary Clark Jr.; a captivating performance from indie original Sharon Van Etten; an endorphin rush set from dance floor magnets LCD Soundsystem; a euphoric hour with New Orleans funk phenom Trombone Shorty and his 10-piece band; standout Austin progressive soul act Black Pumas; innovative art-rock performer St. Vincent; acclaimed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell; stripped-down roots music with Patty Griffin; R&B phenom Miguel; fan-favorite Norah Jones; a rare television performance from acclaimed indie-rock innovator Mitski; next-generation country with chart-topper Kane Brown; and a thrilling hour with celebrated Flamenco-fusion artist Rosalía. ACL’s renowned production is an industry leader, making it a required stopping point for legendary artists and innovators of all genres. Featuring unparalleled audio, and dynamic camerawork, ACL captures all the artistry and energy of live performance. 

The series has also created an upcoming encore broadcast programming block with highly-requested episodes from recent ACL archives to air weekly on PBS stations, beginning on May 16 with a buoyant hour with breakout singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers. The programming slate again offers something for all and continues through the end of June: choices include left-of-center country queen Kacey Musgraves; an unforgettable hour of stories and songs with Americana icon Steve Earle saluting the songwriting legacy of the legendary Guy Clark; UK modern rock superstars Arctic Monkeys; country superstar Chris Stapleton; powerhouse R&B sensation H.E.R.; indie rock titans Vampire Weekend; breakout R&B/pop star Khalid; laid-back indie rocker Mac DeMarco; road-tested red-dirt country-rockers Turnpike Troubadours and Austin favorites, indie-folk band Wild Child. Check local PBS listings for times. These broadcast episodes will also be available to stream at  

Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The power of music has sustained people in difficult times throughout history and ACL encourages fans and folks to please enjoy these gifts from their archives. And, if you need to freshen up your video calls, we’ve created backgrounds for your calls. Click on the images below to and download:

ACL Video Background
ACL Video Background Vertical

Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.For images and episode information, visit Austin City Limits press room at

ACL Encore Broadcast Schedule 

May 16 Maggie Rogers  

May 23 Khalid / Mac DeMarco 

May 30 Steve Earle & The Dukes: A Tribute to Guy Clark 

June 6 H.E.R. 

June 13 Vampire Weekend

June 20 Chris Stapleton / Turnpike Troubadours 

June 27 Arctic Monkeys / Wild Child