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
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 best–in-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 Yearspremieres 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 pbs.org/austincitylimits.
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’”.
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”
Viewers can visit acltv.com 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 acltv.com.
Lyle Lovett is no stranger to ACL audiences – this episode is his eleventh appearance (counting his stint as Nanci Griffith’s backing singer in 1984, prior to his proper debut in 1987). An iconic Texas artist with strong country-western roots, the scope of Lyle’s musical appetites – harvesting elements from gospel, jazz, pop, and folk – has lent itself to a body of work that truly reflects the spirit of ACL. This performance, which hightlights the album Natural Forces, was the final taping in the show’s original home of Studio 6A on the UT campus – the next season saw ACL in the fabulous ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Come relive (or re-relive, if you’ve seen this show before) the memories with us.
Bob Schneider has also been on ACL before, back in 2000, and has been a mainstay of the Austin music scene since his late 80s days with the band Joe Rockhead. His muse has tripped down the aisles of nearly every genre you’d care to name, from funk metal to bluegrass, and he and a small army of musicians touch on everything in this performance. “My favorite songwriters never wrote songs that sounded the same or had the same general feel,” Schneider says, explaining the show’s eclectic nature. “How could I expect to keep myself, let alone anyone else, interested if each song didn’t do its own thing or follow its own path?” Tune in to see what he means.
You can find more information on this episode here. Check with your local PBS station for showtimes and tune in this weekend. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for general ACL news. Next week we re-present the visit of another great singer/songwrter: Randy Newman.