Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News

New broadcast: The Best of Nanci Griffith

Austin City Limits proudly wraps up Season 47 with a gem: a salute to late folk and country singer-songwriter legend Nanci Griffith. A beacon in the Texas music scene, the Austin original had a deep association with Austin City Limits, performing on the program eight times between 1984 and 2001. Sadly we lost Griffith in 2021, but ACL celebrates her life and legacy with twelve classic performances. “The Best of Nanci Griffith” offers a fascinating look at the renowned country-folk artist through her many appearances and premieres February 12 @ 8pm ET/7pm CT. Check local PBS listings for times. The episode will be available to music fans everywhere, streaming online the next day beginning February 13 @ 10am ET at The Peabody Award-winning program 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 a remarkable 47 years. Despite the challenges facing live music during the past year, ACL is proud to have delivered a full season of performances for viewers, all recorded at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas in 2021, in front of limited live audiences. In the following weeks, ACL will continue to broadcast fan-favorite encore episodes until the new season premieres this fall. Viewers can visit for news regarding future Season 48 tapings, encore broadcast schedules and select live stream updates.

One of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of her generation, Nanci Griffith released more than 20 albums, sold millions of records and won a Grammy. Her previously uncategorizable blend of folk music and country provided an early blueprint for Americana. She is recognized as a pioneer in the genre whose influence has been felt on nearly every Texas singer-songwriter who came afterward, and broke ground for countless artists including Lyle Lovett, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Robert Earl Keen. Her songs have been covered by a wide range of artists and she has earned worldwide recognition for her music.

Born in Central Texas and raised in Austin, Nanci Griffith became an early favorite on the Texas singer-songwriter circuit, and this poignant hour chronicles her times on the program from her ACL debut in Season 10 to her final appearance during Season 27 in 2001. For that first appearance on Austin City Limits she wore a bright yellow, flowered dress she made herself especially for the occasion, and showcased songs from her 1984 career breakthrough Once in a Very Blue Moon, including the title track, later covered by Dolly Parton. Joined by a mini-orchestra of Nashville and Austin luminaries (including a young singer-songwriter named Lyle Lovett on backing vocals), the sweet-voiced singer and storyteller wowed the hometown crowd. 

Nanci Griffith on Austin City Limits, Season 10. Photo by Scott Newton.

Upon her 1988 ACL return she tells the audience “It’s nice to be home again,” and performs selections from her 1986 folk-country classic The Last of the True Believers. A set highlight is her early rendition of the Julie Gold penned “From A Distance,” an anthem first recorded by Griffith that became her first international #1 hit, and was later famously covered by Bette Midler. She captivates the crowd with “Love at the Five and Dime,” a small-town tale featuring Austin’s original Woolworth’s at its centerpiece, filled with Griffith’s keen eye for detail and emotion. 

A frequent collaborator whose peers lined up to play with her, the hour also highlights her work alongside other artists. An outspoken social justice advocate, Griffith appears on a Songwriters Special in 1991, and performs her powerful social commentary, the anti-racism ode “It’s A Hard Life Wherever You Go,” joined by songwriters Mary Chapin Carpenter and Indigo Girls on harmonies. She appears in 1994 performing songs from Flyer, an album which featured guest appearances from members of R.E.M. and U2. For a 1997 appearance, she performs a pop-country set with her longtime heroes, Buddy Holly’s Crickets, as her backing band, and pays tribute to the songwriters of West Texas she credits as her earliest influences. She returns in 1997 for one of the most revered episodes in the ACL archives, a Celebration of Townes Van Zandt, appearing with fellow greats including Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle, and sings the legendary Texas songwriter’s classic “Tecumseh Valley,” a version from her repertoire widely-known to have been favored by Townes himself, featured on her Grammy-winning 1993 all-covers album Other Voices, Other Rooms. Griffith’s influence transcended genre and generations: in 1999 she appears as a guest of Hootie & the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker for a gorgeous duet of her “Gulf Coast Highway,” singing the lyrics: “And when we die we say, we’ll; Catch some blackbirds wing; Then we will fly away to Heaven come; Some sweet blue bonnet spring.”

“Nanci was literally an Austin original, but besides being her hometown, she epitomized Austin’s influence on her generation of singer-songwriters,” said ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Her songs were mini literary masterpieces, filled with vivid stories and imagery – all set to great melodies!”

The Best of Nanci Griffith setlist:

The Ballad of Robin Winter-Smith

Once In A Very Blue Moon

The Last of the True Believers

From A Distance

Love at the Five and Dime

It’s A Hard Life Wherever You Go

Listen to the Radio

These Days In An Open Book

This Heart

Tecumseh Valley

Gulf Coast Highway

Traveling Through This Part of You

Watch live, stream anytime, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. Viewers can visit for news regarding live streams, future Season 48 tapings and encore episode broadcast and streaming 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.

ACL’s Season 47 premiered in October 2021 with standout performances featuring many 2022 Grammy nominees, including New Orleans musician/bandleader Jon Batiste, multi-platinum Olivia Rodrigo, country superstar Miranda Lambert, bluegrass star Billy Strings, legendary Jackson Browne, R&B singer-songwriter Leon Bridges, indie-rock original Phoebe Bridgers, country standout Brandy Clark, alt.rock icon St. Vincent and Americana singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz alongside acclaimed performances from eclectic groove trio Khruangbin, celebrated singer Brittany Howard, UK singer-songwriter Jade Bird, “Gulf & Western” country sensation Charley Crockett, breakthrough singer-songwriter Joy Oladokun, superstars Duran Duran, cult songwriting favorite Terry Allen and more. ACL returned in January 2022 with a special installment, Austin City Limits 7th Annual Hall of Fame Honors, celebrating a new class of inductees: Wilco, Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo, featuring all-star music salutes and collaborations from Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Japanese Breakfast, Rosanne Cash, Sheila E., John Doe, Lenny Kaye, Bill Callahan, Terry Allen and more. 

Featured News

Omnivore Recordings releases Walter Hyatt tribute from the ACL vault

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.

Track list 

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

Episode Recap Featured New Broadcast News

ACL TV presents ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years

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 bestin-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 Years premieres 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

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’”. 

Photo by Gary Miller

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”

Photo by Scott Newton

Viewers can visit 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 

Encore Broadcast News

Encore: Lyle Lovett and Bob Schneider

This weekend it’s a Texas singer/songwriter bonanza, as we encore the 2010 season-ending episode featuring Lyle Lovett and Bob Schneider.

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.

photo by Scott Newton

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.