Featured News Taping Recap

Taping recap: Lyle Lovett & His Large Band

Guy Clark once sang, “Old friends – they shine like diamonds.” That feels appropriate as we welcomed back our pal, noted Guy Clark fan, and ACL frequent flyer Lyle Lovett to our stage for a headliner show for the first time in a dozen years. (In fact, the last time Lovett did his own taping was the final show in our original home in Studio 6A in 2010.) So the show felt like a reunion, not only for us, but for the devoted fans that packed ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The Texas hero was here to support his latest album 12th of June, of course, and pulled from it generously. But the show was as much a homecoming as a showcase. 

The lights on stage went down, before pianist Jim Cox and violinist Luke Bulla played the bandleader onstage for the lovely old-school ballad “Are We Dancing.” Lovett then quit the stage and the band swung into “Cookin’ at the Continental,” the classic jazz tune from the pen of piano great Horace Silver that throws a spotlight on every member of the twelve-piece Large Band. Lovett and his four singers (including longtime compatriot Francine Reed) returned for “Pants is Overrated,” a prime slice of the songwriter’s wry humor. After noting how glad he was to return to the ACL stage, Lovett told the story of meeting Francine Reed, who’s sung with him since the mid-eighties. Reed announced her retirement from the road this year, but not before she joined the Large Band for this performance. She and Lovett sang two duets drawn from the repertoire of jazz vocal great Nat King Cole and recorded on 12th of June: “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You,” the latter of which featured Lovett taking Reed for a brief spin on the dance floor. 

Lovett talked about his time on the show, reminiscing about how he used to come to tapings long before he ever performed himself. He segued into introducing the core members of the Large Band, many of whom he’s played with for thirty-plus years, before playing the country waltz “Her Loving Man.” After bemusedly describing his early years being mislabeled a folk singer, introducing his friends in the audience, Lovett claimed the next song as a commemoration of a successful co-headlining tour with singer/songwriter Chris Isaak – who walked out onstage midway through the wry “Mirrored Man’s Lament” to sing along, to the surprise and delight of the crowd. Of course, you can’t invite the sparkle-jacketed rocker onstage and not sing a Roy Orbison song, and that was “Dream Baby,” the song they performed together every night during the tour. Following one quick (and, sadly, temporary) jacket exchange, Isaak left and Lovett sang the melancholy ballad “The Mocking Ones.” 

Prefaced by a story about his family’s history and traditions, Lovett paid tribute to his wife and children with the beautiful title track to 12th of June. He continued the nods to family with “Pig Meat Man,” a bluesy stroll through his son’s love of bacon that featured some sizzling improvisations from University of North Texas saxophone professor Brad Leeli. The Large Band ended the first set with the barrelhouse piano-led “On a Winter’s Morning,” the same song that concludes 12th of June. Following a short period of rest, Lovett and the band returned for a hearty five-song encore, starting with Lovett and Isaak sharing an impromptu duet on the Delmore Brothers’ “Blues Stay Away From Me” with trombonist Charles Rose. The blues feel continued with “My Baby Don’t Tolerate,” with round-robin solos from guitarist James Harrah, steel player Buck Reid, guitarist Dean Parks and drummer Russ Kunkel.   

The fan favorites continued with “I’ve Been to Memphis,” the rollicking opener to Lovett’s classic Joshua Judges Ruth that spotlighted bassist Leland Sklar, fiddler Luke Bulla, pianist Jim Cox, acoustic guitarist Jeff White, singers Reid, Willie Greene, Jr., Lamont Van Hook and Jason Eskridge, the four-piece horn section of Lesli, Rose, trumpeter Steve Hermann and saxophonist Mace Hibbard and stalwart cellist John Hagen, with whom Lovett began playing in 1979. Lovett enthused about his old friend’s history before telling him, “Let’s play one we’ve played many times.” That was “If I Had a Boat” from Lovett’s second album Pontiac, a Lovett standard and a crowd favorite. There was only one way to follow that and end the evening, and that was with “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas),” Lovett’s lively and beloved homage to his home state. The audience went justifiably wild as the Large Band played their leader off with a burst of “Here I Am.” It was a great show and a proper homecoming, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs this fall on your local PBS station. 

Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News

ACL TV presents ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years

Kick off the New Year with a good ‘un: Austin City Limits presents ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years, a special broadcast featuring a victory lap of some of the finest performances from the first six years of the annual ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, from the inaugural induction celebration in 2014 to 2019’s sixth annual ceremony. The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 to honor beacons of American music who have played an instrumental role in making the iconic music series a music institution. 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 with Hall of Fame honorees including Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson performing alongside special guests. ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years premieres Saturday, January 2 at 8pm CT/9pm ET. Check local PBS listings for times. The special will be available to music fans everywhere to stream online beginning Sunday, January 3 @10am ET at

The Hall of Fame celebration captures one-of-a-kind performances and emotional moments as the hour kicks off with the very first inductee into ACL’s inaugural Hall of Fame in 2014:  Willie Nelson, who appeared on ACL’s pilot episode in 1974, and performs his classic “On the Road Again” joined by special guests Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett. Blues giant Buddy Guy, a 2019 inductee, performs an electrifying take on his gem “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” joined by a longtime friend, bluesman Jimmie Vaughan. For her induction in 2017, Rosanne Cash shares the stage with friends Elvis Costello and Neko Case, trading verses on her early chart-topping anthem “Seven Year Ache,” joined by legendary guitarist Ry Cooder. A trio of music’s most expressive vocalists, Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile and Raul Malo, join forces to celebrate the legendary Roy Orbison’s 2017 induction with a joyous rendition of the pioneering rocker’s signature “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Acclaimed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell performs a moving solo rendition of Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark’s classic, “Desperados Waiting For A Train,” saluting the 2015 inductee. Bonnie Raitt celebrates her induction in 2016 teaming up with handpicked guests Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal on a blazing rendition of her smash “Thing Called Love.” Kris Kristofferson, a fellow 2016 inductee, lights up the stage with a moving, solo acoustic performance of his early 70s classic “Lovin’ Her Was Easier.” Celebrating her induction in 2019, Shawn Colvin delivers a captivating performance of her early gem “Diamond In the Rough,” from her 1989 debut Steady On, joined by a pair of Texas singer-songwriters, Sarah Jarosz and fellow inductee Lyle Lovett. The queen of country music, Loretta Lynn, who first appeared on the series in 1983, is celebrated during her 2015 induction by country singer Patty Loveless, with a stirring rendition of the living legend’s first number one country hit “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’”. 

Photo by Gary Miller

The “first family of funk,” The Neville Brothers, the first New Orleans act to appear on ACL in 1979, are saluted by Trombone Shorty and members of the next-generation Nevilles Band for a scorching NOLA-style tribute to the influential funk ‘n’ soul collective in honor of their 2017 induction. Legendary Texas singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt is inducted in 2015 with an all-star tribute of his “White Freightliner Blues” with music greats Lyle Lovett, Ray Benson, Vince Gill, Gillian Welch, Dwight Yoakam and more trading verses on the classic. Blues-rock star Gary Clark Jr. puts down his guitar for the occasion and steps up to the mic to pay vocal tribute to 2018 inductee Ray Charles, delivering a radiant “Night Time Is the Right Time” while vocalists Ruthie Foster, Carolyn Wonderland and Shelley King do The Raelettes proud with show-stopping backing chorus. American originals Los Lobos join the fifth class of inductees in 2018 performing a classic from their celebrated four-decade career, “La Pistola Y El Corazon”. The broadcast comes to an epic close saluting blues-rock icon Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 2014 induction into the first class of inductees, as a murderers’ row of guitar greats, including Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang, perform a blistering “Texas Flood,” the Lone Star classic Vaughan made famous when he performed it on his now-classic 1983 ACL debut, in a performance for the ages.

Austin City Limits Hall of Fame: The First Six Years setlist:

Willie Nelson w/ Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett “On the Road Again”

Buddy Guy w/Jimmie Vaughan “Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues”

Rosanne Cash w/Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Ry Cooder “Seven Year Ache”

Chris Isaak w/Brandi Carlile, Raul Malo “Oh Pretty Woman”

Jason Isbell “Desperados Waiting For A Train”

Bonnie Raitt w/ Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal “Thing Called Love” 

Kris Kristofferson “Lovin’ Her Was Easier”

Shawn Colvin w/Lyle Lovett & Sarah Jarosz “Diamond in the Rough”

Patty Loveless “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’”

The Nevilles Band w/Trombone Shorty “Meet De Boys on De Battlefront”

All-Star Cast f. Lyle Lovett, Ray Benson, Vince Gill, Gillian Welch, Dwight Yoakam  “White Freightliner Blues” 

Gary Clark Jr. w/Ruthie Foster, Carolyn Wonderland, Shelley King “Night Time Is the Right Time”

Los Lobos “La Pistola Y El Corazon”

All-Star Finale f. Willie Nelson, Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, Lukas Nelson, Doyle Bramhall II, Robert Randolph “Texas Flood”

Photo by Scott Newton

Viewers can visit for news regarding future tapings, episode schedules and select live stream updates. 

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.

ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years is produced by Austin PBS, KLRU-TV and funding is provided in part by AXS, Dell Technologies, and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at