Longtime fans of Austin City Limits and proto-Americana take note: we’re thrilled to announce the release via Omnivore Recordings of Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt today, October 1. The CD contains the music from the Walter Hyatt tribute episode 2204 of ACL, recorded in 1997. The disk can be ordered from the ACL shop here, or anywhere you purchase music.
Uncle Walt’s Band (David Ball, Champ Hood, and Walter Hyatt) were one of the most popular acts in late ’70s/early ’80s Austin, Texas, where the South Carolina band relocated after a long stint in Nashville. Their on-point songwriting, playing, and singing garnered them local fans, but also Texas luminaries like Willis Alan Ramsey (in a very rare appearance), Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and (then Texas A&M student) Lyle Lovett. After a few self-released albums and cassettes (all available again via Omnivore), the band went their separate ways, with Hyatt returning to Nashville with his wife, Heidi.
In 1990, Lovett produced Hyatt’s major label debut, King Tears, and went on the road with Walter as his opening act. Three years later, Hyatt released Music Town. Then, sadly, he died in the 1996 ValueJet plane crash that took the lives of all passengers and crew. Lovett helped organize tribute concerts to benefit Hyatt’s wife and children. In 1997, Austin City Limits broadcast one of those tributes featuring friends and fans including Lovett, Ramsey, Gilmore, Junior Brown, Marcia Ball, Allison Moorer, David Halley, Shawn Colvin, and his Uncle Walt’s Band partners, Ball and Hood.
Now, nearly 25 years later, the 11 songs from that original broadcast are available on CD and Digital for the first time as Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt. Due from Omnivore on October 1, 2021, the set adds six tracks recorded for, but not shown on Austin City Limits. To make this collection even more special, four previously unissued Hyatt recordings make their debut. The packaging features photos and a new essay from North Carolina author and musician Thomas Goldsmith. It truly is Mighty Fine.
Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt
1. As The Crow Flies – Willis Alan Ramsey
2. Houston Town – David Ball
3. Georgia Rose – Jimmie Dale Gilmore
4. Are We There Yet Momma – Marica Ball
5. Lonely In Love – Willis Alan Ramsey
6. Motor City Man – David Halley
7. Tell Me Baby – Allison Moorer
8. Diggeroo – Junior Brown
9. Babes In The Woods – Lyle Lovett with Shawn Colvin
10. I’ll Come Knockin’ – Lyle Lovett
11. Aloha – Ensemble
Bonus Austin City Limits Recordings not Included in Original Broadcast
12. Rollin’ My Blues – Champ Hood
13. Teach Me About Love – Lyle Lovett
14. Going To New Orleans – Champ Hood
15. Message In A Bottle – David Ball
16. I’m Calling – Lyle Lovett
17. River Road – Champ Hood
Previously Unissued Walter Hyatt Recordings
18. Jungle Flower
19. In A Christmas Dream
20. Early Days
21. Shouldn’t Have Told Me That