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ACL announces 2nd half of Season 46

Live music beacon Austin City Limits announces the second half of Season 46, with six new installments to begin airing in January 2021 as part of the program’s thirteen-episode season. ACL has featured some of the most iconic performances in live music for over four and a half decades, and continues to bring viewers a stellar slate of broadcast episodes featuring a mix of new performances (taped during the current Covid-19 pandemic without an audience) and installments featuring highlights from ACL favorites, continuing Austin City Limits’ run as the longest-running music television show in history. The program returns on Saturday, January 9 at 8pm CT/9pm ET with an epic hour celebrating the 25th Anniversary of rock superstars Foo Fighters. 

Season 46 returns in January with a must-see hour, Foo Fighters Rock Austin City Limits, a silver anniversary celebration of the rock superstars, featuring a hit parade of classics from the powerhouse band’s two unforgettable ACL appearances in 2008 and 2014. ACL spotlights one of modern rock’s finest bands, Austin’s own Spoon, with The Best of Spoon, offering a fascinating look at the band’s evolution dating back to their debut on the series in 2003 to the recent present via highlights from the four-time ACL veterans. Blues and soul luminary Ruthie Foster, a 2021 Grammy Award nominee, returns for the first time in nearly two decades. Dynamic husband-and-wife duo The War And Treaty, Americana Music Awards 2019 Emerging Act of the Year, deliver a show-stopping ACL debut. 

A season highlight is the long-awaited debut of ‘70s outlaw country legend Ray Wylie Hubbard, currently enjoying one of the greatest second acts in music, in an epic hour. In a year of profound loss, ACL salutes a pair of Texas icons we lost during 2020, Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver, pioneers of Austin’s cosmic cowboy movement in the mid-1970s, in an hourlong installment featuring historic highlights from the influential troubadours’ multiple appearances on the ACL stage. Season 46 closes out with one of the most-requested episodes in the ACL archive: a vintage hour with the late New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint, performing iconic gems from across his half-century career, originally broadcast over a decade ago during ACL’s Season 35, and remains one of the most enduring, entertaining hours in ACL’s history.

photo by Scott Newton

“In a year like no other, we’re proud that we were able to capture seven brand-new performances for our 46th season,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “As always, they include a mix that’s eclectic, electric and even a touch eccentric. On top of that, we were able to pull some gems out of the ACL goldmine to celebrate some highlights from the past, and honor those who helped to create the ACL legacy.”

Season 46 Broadcast Schedule:

January 2 ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years

January 9 Foo Fighters Rock Austin City Limits

January 16 The War And Treaty | Ruthie Foster

January 23 Ray Wylie Hubbard

January 30 The Best of Spoon

February 6 Texas Icons: Jerry Jeff Walker & Billy Joe Shaver

February 13 Allen Toussaint: New Orleans Legend

A special broadcast, ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years, premieres Saturday, January 2 at 8pm CT/9pm ET. Check local PBS listings for times. Austin City Limits celebrates the first six years of the annual ACL Hall of Fame, from the inaugural induction celebration in 2014 to 2019’s sixth annual ceremony. The 14-song, all-star salute, recorded live in Austin, Texas,  features bestin-class performances and collaborations, many never-before-broadcast, from the annual celebrations in a performance-packed hour. Hall of Fame honorees including Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson perform alongside special guests.

ACL’s Season 46 premiered in October with standout performances from 2021 Grammy nominee Rufus Wainwright, UK country-soul sensation Yola, rock and country trailblazers The Mavericks, acclaimed Austin standout Jackie Venson, salutes to late ACL legends John Prine and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a celebration of 50 years of Asleep at the Wheel and more. The series will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes through the end of 2020. 

Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter, IG and TikTok. Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.

photo by Scott Newton

About 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 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 acltv.com.

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R.I.P. Billy Joe Shaver

Austin City Limits is devastated to learn of the death of singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, one of the pioneers of the outlaw country movement. He died Wednesday Oct. 28 in the hospital in Waco following a stroke. He was 81. 

Nobody wrote songs about hard living and redemption like Billy Joe Shaver. Whether he was talking about falling off the wagon or getting back on, the Corsicana, Texas native’s plainspoken eloquence found the beauty in the rough times, and expressed it with optimism for the future. On his classic, much-covered tunes like “Georgia On a Fast Train” and “I’m Just An Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday),” Shaver didn’t wallow in the seamier side of life – he understood that the bad times were as important a part of the journey as the good ones, and never gave up on hope, love, or joy. Though he mystifyingly never enjoyed the same level of fame as his contemporaries Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson or John Prine, he was admired, respected and loved by them all. Indeed, Jennings brought Shaver to prominence by filling his classic 1973 LP Honky Tonk Heroes with the troubadour’s songs. 

Billy Joe Shaver on Austin City Limits, 1985

“A writer once said that Waylon Jennings and Billy Joe Shaver were ‘the first of the last real cowboys,’” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Billy Joe added the heart and soul and grit and edge that made so-called outlaw country music real. He lived the life he wrote about, and we’re proud to have showcased his music four times over the years.”

As Shaver put it in one of his most famous songs, “I’m gonna live forever.” Perhaps not in body, but most definitely in body of work. Rest in peace, Billy Joe – you were definitely a diamond. 

Billy Joe and Eddy Shaver on Austin City Limits, 1997