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R.I.P. W.C. Clark

W.C. Clark, the Godfather of Austin Blues, passed away on March 2 at the age of 84. Part of the bedrock of the Austin music scene, Clark performed on Austin City Limits in 1989 in celebration of his fiftieth birthday, joined by his friends and devotees Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson, Lou Ann Barton, and Angela Strehli. He was part of the ACL family and we will miss him.

W.C. Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton improvise a jam on Austin City Limits.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist Clark became a professional musician at the age of 16, performing his first gig at the legendary Austin venue the Victory Grill. That led to gigs with other Texas blues and soul peers and pioneers, including T. D Bell, Blues Boy Hubbard, and Houston soul star Joe Tex. He also formed his own bands, taking other rising blues and R&B artists under his wing in the likes of the Storm (with Jimmie Vaughan), Southern Feeling (wth Angela Strehli), and the groundbreaking Triple Threat Revue (with Lou Ann Barton and Stevie Ray Vaughan). Other mentees included members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Sextons Charlie and Will. Beginning in the eighties, Clark led his own band, the W.C. Clark Blues Revue, for nearly forty years, touring the world and releasing eight albums along the way.

W.C. Clark and Friends perform “Take Me to the River.”

“W.C. was a class act and a gentleman,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He was loved and respected by many, but fame and fortune were not his goals. He epitomized the best of the Austin music scene, and there are none others quite like him.”

Clark played his final gig at Giddy Ups on February 20, a mere thirteen days before his death, leaving behind an enviable legacy. He will be greatly missed.

W.C. Clark and Friends on Austin City Limits, 1989. L-R: Angela Strehli, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jon Blondell, W.C. Clark. Photo by Scott Newton.
Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News

New broadcast: Terry Allen & the Panhandle Mystery Band

Austin City Limits spotlights a Texas legend enjoying a late-career high-point, iconoclastic sculptor-songwriter Terry Allen, in a career-spanning hour, joined by his longtime Panhandle Mystery Band featuring all-stars including Lloyd Maines, Charlie Sexton and Shannon McNally. The new installment premieres January 29 at 8pm ET/7pm CT as part of  the series Season 47. Check local PBS listings for times. The episode will be available to music fans everywhere, streaming online the next day beginning January 30 @10am ET at Despite the challenges facing live music during the past year, ACL is proud to deliver a full season of performances for viewers, all recorded at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas in 2021, in front of limited live audiences. The Peabody Award-winning 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 following the initial broadcast.

Lubbock native, outlaw-country veteran, and groundbreaking visual artist Terry Allen makes his long-awaited return to the ACL stage in his first headline appearance since 1998. The 78-year-old cult favorite, recently profiled in The New Yorker, showcases songs from his acclaimed 2020 release Just Like Moby Dick, alongside influential classics from his storied five-decade career, including gems from his cinematic 1975 debut Juarez and the seminal 1979 Lubbock (on everything). The hour is a friends and family affair as Allen on keyboards is joined by his nine-piece Panhandle Mystery Band, featuring guitarists Charlie Sexton and Lloyd Maines, singer Shannon McNally, fiddler Richard Bowden, bassist Glen Fukunaga, drummer Davis McLarty, cellist Brian Standerfer, and his sons Bukka and Bale Allen on accordion/keyboards and percussion. 

The left-of-center artist displays his signature dark wit and honesty with highlights from his catalog, including the fan favorite rocker “There Oughta Be A Law Against Sunny Southern California” and the tragicomic tale “Gimme a Ride to Heaven Boy.” Allen’s songwriting details vivid small-town characters and haunting and hilarious narratives as showcased on the beguiling new album highlight “Death of the Last Stripper.” The collaborative performance allows each bandmember to shine, and Americana artist Shannon McNally takes the lead on a new number, the slowburn “All These Blues Go Walkin’ By,” joined by ace guitarist Charlie Sexton. In a nod to his remarkable half century of work, Allen performs “Red Bird,” the first song he ever wrote, originally performed on the TV show Shindig! in 1965. The Texas legend and his longtime band of friends close the hour with the moving Moby Dick closer “Sailin’ On Through,” a mordant fare-thee-well that ruminates on the inevitable passing of time.

“Lubbock, Texas, has produced more than its share of music legends, but Terry Allen is an anomaly,“ says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “He’s a storyteller, he’s a poet, he weaves tapestries out of songs. In that respect he’s like the ‘Leonard Cohen of West Texas’.”

Terry Allen & the Panhandle Mystery Band on ACL, 2021. Photo by Scott Newton.

Terry Allen setlist:

Lubbock Tornado 

Death of the Last Stripper

All These Blues Go Walkin’ By

City of the Vampires

What of Alicia

There Oughta Be A Law Against Sunny Southern California

Red Bird

Flatland Boogie

New Delhi Freight Train

Gimme A Ride To Heaven Boy

Sailin’ On Through

Season 47 upcoming:

February 5 Olivia Rodrigo | Phoebe Bridgers

February 12 (season finale) The Best of Nanci Griffith

Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. Viewers can visit 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.