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ACL and Howler Brothers partner for new capsule collection

Iconic live music series Austin City Limits launched in the fall of 1974 with Willie Nelson as the featured performer for the pilot. That episode became the cornerstone for 50 years of groundbreaking, award-winning music television and a dispatch to the world declaring Austin’s place as a pioneering music city. For his performance, Nelson wore a “Gaucho” style western shirt featuring multi-color Thunderbird embroidery. Now Austin menswear brand Howler Brothers commemorates Austin City Limits’ five decades and the Willie performance that started it all with the release of a golden anniversary capsule collection. 

A pair of Austin originals, Howler Brothers and Austin PBS’ Austin City Limits have teamed up again for a limited-time collaboration featuring a trio of new designs; including a long sleeve snap shirt, cotton tee and snapback hat. The collection pays homage to the shirt worn by Austin’s most famous music maker during the October, 1974 taping of the pilot episode. Taking inspiration from Willie’s historic appearance, Howler brings the iconic “Pilot Bird” shirt back to life with a celebratory black and gold rendition. “We are thrilled to once again partner with  Howler Brothers to celebrate local music and the musicians that made this the live music capital of the world,” said Luis Patiño, Austin PBS CEO. “Not only is Austin City Limits a quintessential part of the musical heritage and cultural fabric of Austin, its reach has impacted fans and musical artists across the entire country for decades,” says Chase Heard, co-founder and CEO of Howler Brothers. “Partnering with ACL on this exclusive 50th anniversary collection is an honor and privilege for Howler Brothers. While this pays homage to the beginnings of the show, it is without question a celebration of the fans.”

Music fans will have a chance to own a piece of history and to preview and shop this collection on Tuesday, March 26 at Austin City LimitsSeason 50 taping with another Austin-bred original, Gary Clark Jr. Austin PBS and Howler Brothers are celebrating the launch today with a Happy Hour at @3tenaustin on Willie Nelson Blvd. Festivities kick off at 5:30pm to be among the first to shop the new collection, grab a drink, and at 8pm rock out to a simulcast of Gary Clark Jr.’s ACL taping. The free event is open to the public, and entry is subject to capacity. The capsule collection will also be available to shop online.

A monument to music, Austin City Limits has showcased iconic performances from legends and innovators in every genre of popular song for a remarkable five decades. October 17, 2024 will mark 50 years since Austin City Limits began with Willie Nelson taping the pilot episode; the trailblazing program then premiered on PBS in 1975. The series is the flagship of the popular ACL Music Festival and has earned countless accolades including a Peabody Award, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame designation and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. As ACL turns 50, the revered music institution 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. Produced by Austin PBS, and recorded live at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas, the show remains a proving ground for legendary artists and innovators of all genres to deliver stellar performances from the venerable ACL stage. Austin City Limits has earned its place in history and will salute its 50th anniversary and incredible legacy with a yearlong celebration featuring archival gems, collaborations, fan activations, all-star Season 50 tapings, a PBS special, live concerts and much more.