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Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News

Episode recap: Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On

Austin City Limits celebrates an icon with Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On, an epic hour featuring the guitar giant’s two classic appearances on the ACL stage, on the 30th Anniversary of his tragic death. Widely hailed as one of the premier blues-rock guitarists, the Grammy-winning Vaughan made magic in his ACL outings and the broadcast captures his magnetic performances. The installment premieres October 17 at 9pm ET/8pm CT as part of the live music beacon’s Season 46. With live music still on pause, ACL continues to provide viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance. The series airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at pbs.org/austincitylimits immediately following the initial broadcast.  

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s two iconic appearances on the ACL stage in 1983 and 1989 rank among the most highly-requested episodes in the program’s archives. Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On, an hour-long special, showcases the pair of performances in a rare broadcast, bookends of an incredible career cut short by the guitar hero’s tragic death in a helicopter crash at age 35 on August 27, 1990. The Texas bluesman’s towering command of the Fender Stratocaster was unparalleled, and Vaughan bridged the gap between blues and rock ‘n’ roll with an excitement that hadn’t been witnessed since Jimi Hendrix’s reign, sparking a rebirth of the blues, and inspiring a new generation of music fans. Three decades later, his lasting influence continues to resonate as countless musicians credit Vaughan’s ACL appearances as their inspiration to pick up the guitar. Vaughan and Double Trouble were inducted into the inaugural class of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in 2014 and the hometown legend is forever memorialized with a bronze statue in Austin. 

The thrilling hour opens with Vaughan’s December 1983 ACL debut, with the iconic riff of his signature “Pride and Joy,” as the virtuoso captivates with his passion-fueled guitar music and blistering Stratocaster solos. Performing alongside Double Trouble, featuring Chris Layton on drums and Tommy Shannon on bass, the guitar-slinger soars on a pair of inspired covers: the title track to his 1983 debut album Texas Flood, with a slowburn reading of the Lone Star classic, dazzling with his ability to play the guitar behind his back, and an epic interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” that is pure rock ‘n’ roll swagger.

Vaughan made his final ACL appearance on October 10, 1989, less than a year prior to his untimely death, newly sober and at the height of his powers, in a performance for the ages. Delivering back to back highlights from his acclaimed 1989 final album In Step, including “Tightrope,” “Cold Shot” and “Leave My Girl Alone,” Vaughan’s performance is extraordinary, displaying a combination of raw power, deep emotion and technical brilliance with note perfect solos. Augmented by the addition of keyboardist Reese Wynans, Double Trouble and Vaughan sizzle with an exhilarating performance of their 1989 smash “Crossfire,” punctuated by the guitar icon’s scorching runs. “This one goes out to anyone who’s still suffering in any way,” says the all-time great as he launches into the shimmering instrumental “Riviera Paradise,” pushing the guitar to new heights and continuing to explore new boundaries.

“30 years after his tragic death, these performances serve as bookends to Vaughan’s brilliant career with Double Trouble,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona, “showing a striking contrast between ‘zero self-confidence’ and ‘pure magic,’ but in both cases you can see a master at work.”

“My brother was so incredibly talented,” says Jimmie Vaughan. “Austin City Limits captured many of his best performances.”

Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On setlist:

Pride and Joy

Texas Flood

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Tightrope

Leave My Girl Alone

Cold Shot

Crossfire 

Riviera Paradise

Season 46 Broadcast Line-up (six new episodes to be announced):

October 3 The Best of John Prine 

October 10 Yola

October 17 Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On

October 24 Rufus Wainwright

October 31                ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel

November 7             John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up!

November 14 Jackie Venson | Mavis Staples w/Bonnie Raitt

November 21            The Mavericks

Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The complete line-up for the full 13-week season will be announced at a later date.  Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter and IG. . Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.

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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Featured News Taping Announcement

Austin City Limits announces Season 46

Live music beacon Austin City Limits proudly announces the fall return of the series and the initial Season 46 broadcast line-up; new installments begin airing October 3 as part of the program’s thirteen-episode season. With live music still on pause, ACL brings fans a full season filled with highly-anticipated debuts from some of today’s most talked-about live acts, as well as deep dives featuring ACL legends. The program continues its extraordinary run as the longest-running music television show in history. ACL has been broadcast on PBS since the series’ inception in 1974, and is proud to salute PBS as they celebrate a milestone 50 years on the air on October 4, 2020. 

Austin City Limits returns this fall with a gem: a poignant season premiere featuring the best of late songwriting giant John Prine’s eight appearances on the series, starting with his ACL debut in 1978. The legendary singer/songwriter appeared regularly on ACL throughout his celebrated five-decade career, and this hour-long tribute captures his evolution with twelve classics, including his final appearance in 2018 during Season 44. The requiem showcases Prine’s signature wit and wisdom, detailing the stories behind the songs and includes a never-before-aired 1987 performance of his classic “Sam Stone.” Prine’s singular talent was revered by generations of songwriters and the retrospective will feature a heartfelt introduction recorded by Americana star Jason Isbell.

The season continues with highly-anticipated debut appearances: UK country soul sensation Yola showcases her 2020 Grammy-nominated album Walk Through Fire in a dazzling hour. Acclaimed singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright makes his ACL debut performing career highlights alongside selections from Unfollow the Rules, his first new pop album since 2012; Wainwright is backed by members of North Texas bands Midlake and the Texas Gentleman in a stunning hour. Breakout blues, rock, R&B, soul singer/guitar-slinger, Austin’s own Jackie Venson, makes her highly-anticipated ACL debut. Rock and country trailblazers The Mavericks make their third appearance on the ACL stage showcasing their chart-topping, all Spanish-language album, En Español

ACL reprises a particularly timely and relevant installment: John Legend and The Roots: Wake Up! Inspired by the 2008 Presidential election, the 2011 hour features the giants of R&B and hip hop teaming up to perform a collection of socially-conscious cover songs from the 60s and 70s. ACL also encores one of the most-requested episodes in its canon: gospel legend Mavis Staples’ stellar 2012 appearance with her friend Bonnie Raitt, featuring a hit parade of classics.

Season 46 salutes a pair of ACL legends on the milestone anniversary of their iconic ACL appearances: Stevie Ray Vaughan: 30 Years On, an hour-long special, features highlights from the legendary bluesman’s signature performances on ACL in 1983 and 1989, bookends of an incredible career from Austin’s pride & joy, and two of the most-requested episodes in the history of ACL. Stevie Ray made his final performance on Austin City Limits on October 10, 1989, and thirty years after his tragic death on August 27, 1990, ACL showcases both performances in their entirety in a rare broadcast featuring back-to-back classics including “Texas Flood”, “Voodoo Child” and “Crossfire” from the Austin legend and his band Double Trouble. 

Also on deck is a special ACL Presents installment: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel. This hour-long retrospective offers a fascinating look at the band’s evolution from the 1970s to the present via highlights from their many appearances on ACL. For 50 years, founder Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel have been the chief practitioners, conspirators and caretakers of Western swing, carrying the genre’s traditions well into the 21st century, reaching both their contemporaries and inspiring a new generation of artists. 

“As we launch a brand new season in very uncertain times, ACL continues to break new ground,” said longtime ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “To begin, we celebrate the great John Prine, who was one of the early victims of the COVID pandemic. We’ll also look back at Austin’s pride and joy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, three decades since his passing. But, as always, we’ll welcome some first-timers and spotlight the best of what’s happening in Austin today.”

Austin City Limits has created a new opening sequence https://youtu.be/4ZPKRvbukoM to mark these historic times, acknowledging the challenges local Austin and Texan acts have faced during the global pandemic. The opening features Austin’s Black Pumas “Colors” and showcases many of Austin’s own homegrown talents captured at their homes and front porches, including Ruthie Foster, Ray Wylie Hubbard, White Denim, Jackie Venson, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Black Pumas and more.

Season 46 Broadcast Line-up (six new episodes to be announced):

October 3 The Best of John Prine (featuring Jason Isbell intro)

October 10 Yola

October 19 Stevie Ray Vaughan 30 Years On

October 24 Rufus Wainwright

October 31              ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel

November 7 John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up! (encore)

November 14 Bonnie Raitt (encore) | Jackie Venson

November 21         The Mavericks

Tune-in, log on, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The complete line-up for the full 13-week season will be announced at a later date. Viewers can visit acltv.com for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter and IG. Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.

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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ACL @ the Alamo News

ACL @ the Alamo: Stevie Ray Vaughan

ACL @ the Alamo returns on August 27 with a special evening featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan. First up is Stevie Ray Vaughan: A Retrospective, our season 20 episode that combines the Texas guitar slinger’s 1984 and 1990 appearances with his band Double Trouble. All your favorites are here: “Love Struck Baby,” “Texas Flood,” “Pride and Joy,” “Cold Shot,” “Crossfire” and an absolutely incandescent version of “Riviera Paradise.” While these performances have been released on DVD before, they’ve never been seen before on a big screen, and we’re excited to make that happen.

Following the Retrospective will be A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, a PBS pledge special filmed in the ACL studio that presents Stevie’s music as performed by his friends and fans, including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Dr. John and, of course, Stevie’s brother Jimmie, who also leads the band. Far from a somber occasion, this show is a true celebration of Stevie’s musical legacy, with joyful performances. As with the Retrospective, this has been available on DVD but never shown in a theater.

As always, this screening benefits the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, a most worthy organization. You can find the skinny on tickets here. If you’re in Austin, please join us!