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Featured Hall of Fame News Taping Recap

Taping recap: Austin City Limits 8th annual Hall of Fame induction

It goes without saying that an ACL Hall of Fame taping is something special. The combination of ACL greats being saluted by their peers and fans always makes for an emotional, exciting evening. For our eighth HOF show, we were privileged to honor Austin music icon Joe Ely and superstar singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. This year’s Hall of Fame, honoring a pair of inductees, featured a deeper dive into each artist’s work, highlighted by extended tributes, allowing the guest performers to share personal stories about their connection for a very special night.

Joe Ely accepts his ACL Hall of Fame trophy from author Lawrence Wright, Oct. 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

Following introductions from Austin PBS CEO Luis Patiño and Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona, who introduced perennial bandleader Lloyd Maines and the ACL All-Stars house band, renowned Texas author Lawrence Wright arrived to induct hometown hero Joe Ely. “The driving beat of a Joe Ely anthem tells us right away where he’s coming from,” Wright noted. “He’s a honky-tonk poet, an outlaw country minstrel, a corrido balladeer, a rocker with a broken heart, all these traditions experienced, captured, and transformed into his own distinctive style. The traditions that shaped Joe have been shaped by him in turn. He absorbed the legends and became the legend, and because of his gifts to our culture, the emptiness is filled with understanding, with connection, with meaning.” Ely accepted his award graciously, encouraging the show to get back to the music, which roared to life at the piano bench of ACL Hall of Famer Marcia Ball. The Austin legend recalled with obvious pleasure how she was introduced to Ely’s music in the seventies, watching the Amarillo native move from Lubbock expatriate to Texas rock star. That led immediately into a joyous take on Ely’s rip-roaring piano tribute “Fingernails,” because what other song should be in Ball’s capable hands?

Marcia Ball performs “Fingernails” in tribute to Joe Ely’s induction into the ACL Hall of Fame, Oct. 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

While the audio crew struck Ball’s piano, Lloyd Maines came to the front of the stage to introduce the ACL All-Stars: ace players David Grissom, Chris Gage, Bill Whitbeck and Tom Van Schaik, plus special guests Jimmy Pettit and Davis McLarty, both mainstays (along with Grissom) of Ely’s band in the 80s and 90s. Country great Rodney Crowell took the stage next to sing Ely’s rockabilly anthem “Cool Rockin’ Loretta,” including an improvised testimony in the midsection paying tribute to “cool rockin’ Joe Ely.” Then it was time to hear from the man himself, who returned to the stage, guitar in hand, turning in a spirited performance of his classic tune “All Just to Get to You” to loud applause. 

Joe Ely performs his classic “All Just to Get to You” during his ACL Hall of Fame induction, Oct. 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

The only way to follow that was for Ely to be joined by his decades-long pals and peers Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore – AKA the Flatlanders. Sitting in a row on stools, the trio jumped into a rollicking “I Had My Hopes Up High,” not only the first song on Ely’s 1977 debut album, but also the song that kicks off Ely’s debut ACL episode in 1980. “This is one of the most beautiful West Texas songs you’ll ever hear,” remarked Hancock, as Gilmore led them into Ely’s extraordinary ballad “Because of the Wind.” As another pair of mics were set up, Gilmore talked about what music means to humanity, and specifically to his old friend Joe. “One thing all of us had in our homes was Woody Guthrie,” he said, as Ball and Crowell returned for a round robin, Western swing-flavored take on the great American troubadour’s “Goin’ Down That Old Dusty Road,” a staple of Ely’s sets for many years. Leave it to Ely, at his own tribute, to insist on paying tribute to his own primary influence. “Thank you, Austin City Limits!” said Gilmore, as the crowd cheered and the Flatlanders took a grateful bow. 

L-R: Rodney Crowell, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Marcia Ball sing Woody Guthrie’s “Goin’ Down This Old Dusty Road” for Ely’s ACL Hall of Fame induction, Oct. 27, 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

While the crew reset the stage for the next segment, the audience was treated to a pair of videos from the ACL archive, both featuring the late, great Loretta Lynn, in tribute to her passing earlier this month. Brandi Carlile took the stage to induct her friend Sheryl Crow. “She’s so charming and humble you almost forget that she’s Sheryl fucking Crow,” Carlile said about her mentor. “But we must never forget. When it comes to empowerment, Sheryl has always been on the right side of history.” A clearly moved Crow thanked Brandi and ACL, noting how many of her heroes performed on the show and how much it’s meant to her. Then her pal Jason Isbell took the stage, mentioning how Crow became the rock star she is while remaining a normal person – a rarity in this business. Joined by Crow’s longtime guitarist Peter Stroud, Isbell and the All-Stars then laid down a devastating version of Crow’s masterfully crafted ballad “Run Baby Run.” 

Sheryl Crow accepts her ACL Hall of Fame trophy as inductor Brandi Carlile looks on, Oct. 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

The show then welcomed a very special guest: breakout country singer Brittney Spencer. She recounted first encountering Crow at her day job in a coffee shop, which became the root of a continuing friendship. It was also the spark that led to Spencer appearing on our stage to pay tribute to her hero with a soulful take on Crow’s soulful rocker “My Favorite Mistake.” Singer/songwriter Jess Wolfe from Lucius arrived to “literally sing the praises” of her friend. With Wolfe’s Lucius partner Holly Laessig sidelined by illness, Crow herself took Laessig’s place for a lovely version of her hit “Strong Enough” with Wolfe. The duo quit the stage to make way for the return of Carlile, who thrilled in getting to sing “the most fun Sheryl Crow song,” i.e. the Crow staple “If It Makes You Happy,” a tune perfect for Carlile’s lonesome wail. She didn’t leave, however, welcoming the inductee back onstage to duet on the massive hit and fan favorite “Every Day is a Winding Road.” The pair’s obvious joy in singing together translated to both the band and the audience, leading to a delightfully fun performance that earned enthusiastic applause. 

Alongside guitarist Peter Stroud, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile sing “Every Day is a Winding Road” for Crow’s ACL Hall of Fame induction, Oct. 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

With a Wurlitzer piano arriving onstage, Crow, Carlile, Isbell, Spencer and Wolfe returned for the grand finale. “It’s a huge honor to share a stage with Joe Ely,” Crow said, also praising the ACL All-Stars and her friends. With Carlile, Spencer and Wolfe acting as a gospel chorus and Isbell contributing guitar solos, Crow passionately sang “I Shall Believe,” turning the brokenhearted ballad into a rousing optimistic anthem. “Thank you, Terry Lickona! Thank you, Austin City Limits! I love you so much!” The audience gave that love back to her with huge applause. And it was over – a fantastic Hall of Fame show that we can’t wait for you to see when it airs January 7, 2023 as part of our Season 48 on your local PBS station. 

Sheryl Crow leads Peter Stroud, Jason Isbell, Jess Wolfe, Brandi Carlile, Brittney Spencer and Lloyd Maines and the ACL All-Stars through her classic “I Shall Believe” during the eight annual ACL Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Oct. 27, 2022. Photo courtesy Austin City Limits.

Austin City Limits 8th Annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony, honoring Joe Ely and Sheryl Crow, Oct. 27, 2022. Photos courtesy Austin City Limits.

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Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News

Episode premiere: Sylvan Esso and Lucius

Austin City Limits returns with an entertaining hour you can dance to, featuring two different dynamic duos: electro-pop stars Sylvan Esso along with the versatile vocal powerhouses known as Lucius. Sylvan Esso present songs from their 2022 album No Rules Sandy and their Grammy-nominated Free Love; Lucius perform numbers from their recent album Second Nature alongside career highlights. The new Season 48 installment premieres October 15 at 8pm CT/9pm ET. The program, recorded live at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas, 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 48 years as the music institution nears a remarkable half-century milestone. ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available to stream online at pbs.org/austincitylimits immediately following the initial broadcast.

Durham, North Carolina-based electronica duo Sylvan Esso, composed of singer/lyricist Amelia Meath and keyboardist/producer Nick Sanborn, make their ACL debut performing songs from their new album No Rules Sandy as well as favorites from 2020’s Free Love and 2017’s What Now, both of which received Grammy nominations for Best Dance/Electronic Music album. The pair create rapturous sounds with 21st century sensibilities, as Meath sings the irresistible hooks with a playful magnetism. Opening with two songs from their acclaimed Free Love, the duo shine on their pop-groove hit “Ferris Wheel.” They perform a suite of songs from the experimental No Rules Sandy, a platform for partner Sanborn’s animated manipulation of his electronics, triggering beats and sounds in the moment, even remixing Meath’s vocals live on the buoyant “Look At Me.”

Lucius on Austin City Limits, 2022. Photo by Scott Newton.

Los Angeles-via-Brooklyn indie act Lucius’ versatility is on full display with their fourth album, 2022’s acclaimed Second Nature, as they shape-shift through synth-pop, country, melodic folk and dance-groove funk. Produced by pals Brandi Carlile and Dave Cobb, the album was made for joyful dancing through life’s unpredictable tangents — which has always been Lucius’s sunny mission in their decade-long career. Lucius leaders Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig deliver a highly stylized visual presentation that’s as much a part of their identity as their sound, sporting matching green ensembles and identical hair styles. Accompanied by a four-piece band, they open with a pair of highlights from Second Nature, first donning blinged out keytars and synchronized stage moves for the discofied “Next to Normal,” then stunning a rapt crowd with their entwined vocals on “The Man I’ll Never Find.” Wolfe and Laessig thrill with the early career gem “Dusty Trails” as they unite their soaring sopranos in perfect harmony, stepping back from the mic to sing in a capella glory. They close with highlights from 2013’s Wildewoman, the album that first brought them to wide attention. The duo stroll into the audience for a powerfully intimate moment on “Two of Us On the Run,” a tribute to their friendship and collaboration, for a shimmering set-closer.

“Both Sylvan Esso and Lucius represent what musical female empowerment is all about in the 2020’s,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Amelia, Holly and Jess write and sing about all the raw emotions of life, from darkness to light, sadness to joy, and ACL captures their electric live shows. You won’t be able to sit still for this hour!”

Sylvan Esso

WHAT IF

FERRIS WHEEL

DIE YOUNG

SUNBURN

LOOK AT ME

SOUND

COFFEE

ECHO PARTY

Lucius

NEXT TO NORMAL

THE MAN I’LL NEVER FIND

DUSTY TRAILS

TEMPEST

TWO OF US ON THE RUN

Season 48 Broadcast Line-up (first half of season)

October 1 Brandi Carlile

October 8 Japanese Breakfast/Arlo Parks

October 15 Sylvan Esso/Lucius

October 22 Allison Russell/The Weather Station

October 29 Parker McCollum/Robert Earl Keen

November 5 Lyle Lovett and His Large Band

November 12 Cimafunk and The Tribe

Watch live, stream anytime, The complete line-up for the full 14-week season, including seven new episodes to air beginning January 2023, 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

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 48th 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 Austin PBS 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 and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, Workrise, the Austin Convention Center Department, Cirrus Logic and AXS Ticketing. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at acltv.com.