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 Taping Announcement Uncategorized

Wilco, Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo to join ACL Hall of Fame

Austin City Limits is proud to announce the newest class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees, recognizing a pioneering trio of music’s great live acts: Wilco, Alejandro Escovedo and Lucinda Williams. After an absence in 2020 due to the pandemic, the ACL Hall of Fame returns to form, celebrating a stellar new class of trailblazing artists with longtime ties to ACL. The 2021 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be saluted at a star-studded ceremony to be held October 28th, 2021 at ACL‘s studio home, ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. More information about performers, host, presenters and additional guest stars will be announced prior to the event.  Musical highlights and inductions from the ceremony will air on PBS later this year.

The event will be open to the public and tickets will be on sale July 9 at 10am CT at  Sponsor packages are available now at All proceeds benefit Austin PBS. 

The seventh class of inductees features three American originals: Roots-music icon Lucinda Williams has made four classic appearances on ACL in her remarkable four-decade career, starting with her debut on Season 15 in 1990. Celebrated Chicago band Wilco has also appeared on ACL four times over 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 five appearances total including a star-studded return in 2017. 

Honorees shared their reactions to joining the ranks of outstanding artists who have been inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame:

Wilco: “We would have been stunned had we known we were even being considered for this honor,” said Jeff Tweedy. “Such a singular group of absolutely essential artists to get to be a part of. Austin City Limits has been a cornerstone of the American musical landscape longer than any of us can even remember.  Absolutely floored, we are. Thank you thank you thank you!”

Lucinda Williams: “What an honor! Austin City Limits was behind me in the very early days when almost no one else was. Now, here we are over 30 years later! That makes it all the sweeter.”

Alejandro Escovedo:Austin City Limits has always been an integral part of my musical journey. I’ve taken part in five tapings and each one has been an extraordinary experience, from the producers to the crew and sound people who have always made me feel part of their family. Thank you for this honor, Austin City Limits.” 

“Wilco’s first appearance for our 25th anniversary in 2000 was a major turning point for ACL, and I described them at the time as ‘the quintessential Austin City Limits band,’’ says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Collectively, the three of this year’s inductees represent the essence of everything ACL has stood for – originality, authenticity, virtuosity. Honoring them together will make for a magical night (and no doubt a few surprises)!”

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.

About the 2021 Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honorees:


In their over two-plus decades as a band, Wilco has won multiple Grammy Awards, released 11 studio albums, as well as a trio of acclaimed albums with Billy Bragg penning music to lyrics by Woody Guthrie. Led, as always by singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy, the influential Chicago band have founded their own record label (dBpm Records) and festival (Solid Sound). Wilco continue to be regarded as a live powerhouse, as described by NPR, “To see Wilco on stage is to hear the best of the best.” Rolling Stone hails their most recent album, Ode to Joy, “Their best in years, a beautiful exercise in downhearted uplift,” while New York Magazine raved “[Ode to Joy] is Wilco’s best album in over a decade, and solid proof there’s room for bands to grow even when they’re already ten albums in.” Wilco has appeared on the ACL stage four times, in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2012. 

Lucinda Williams

Louisiana-born Lucinda Williams has traveled a long road since her 1979 debut, Ramblinon My Mind, followed by Happy Woman Blues, her first album of originals released over forty years ago in 1980. (She says that she’s still “the same girl” except that now “I have a bigger fan base and I can afford to stay at better hotels.”) Over the course of fourteen remarkable albums, three Grammy awards, and countless accolades, including Time’s Songwriter of the Year of 2001, Williams is one of music’s most revered artists, beloved for her singular vocals and extraordinary songs. In 2018, she celebrated the 20th Anniversary of her watershed Americana album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road with a sold-out milestone tour. The pioneering artist returned to the gritty blues foundation that first inspired her as a young singer-songwriter in the late 1970s, releasing a career highlight, 2020’s Good Souls Better Angels, to critical raves and a pair of Grammy nominations, hailed “one of the most searing, potent and passionate albums you’ll hear” by American Songwriter. Williams has appeared on Austin City Limits four times, in 1990, 1992 (as part of a songwriters special), 1999 and 2008. 

Alejandro Escovedo

Called a “rock and punk godfather” by Rolling Stone, Alejandro Escovedo first debuted on Austin City Limits in 1983 with his seminal band Rank and File, and has made five indelible appearances. The San Antonio-born, California-raised trailblazer has been a punk of the rebel kind in early band The Nuns, a cowpunk of the non-Western variety in Rank and File, commander of a guitar army in The True Believers, an orchestral conductor in his solo work, and a sensitive boy who has outrun death, demons, lust, and lost love in his songs. Crossing borders, jumping barriers, taking risks, betting it all: that’s the path Alejandro Escovedo has taken in his lifelong search for the heart of rock ‘n’ roll. No Depression magazine declared him the Artist of the Decade at the onset of the millennium. His 12th studio album, 2018’s The Crossing, is a testament to his enduring power as a uniquely talented artist and collaborator. Escovedo has appeared on ACL five times – in 1983 (as part of Rank and File), 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2017.

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