Circle Network announced it has licensed previously recorded performances from Austin City Limits, the longest-running music program in television history, and has combined them with never-before-seen interviews for a new series called Austin City Limits: Country. Hosted by legendary country singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, the weekly series will give fans a glimpse into what was going on in the artists’ careers at the time these shows were recorded, with episodes featuring Clint Black, the late Johnny Cash and June Carter, Reba McEntire, Kris Kristofferson, and others. Viewers will be able to still enjoy these original iconic performances, broadcast for the first time since their initial run, while Crowell will provide new commentary, history, and information for each act. Circle Network will air their remastered series starting Wednesday, June 8 at 10/9c pm. Check here for local carriage information.
“Austin City Limits Country is coming to Circle Network and I’m happy to say, I’ll be your host. Classic performances by iconic artists are in store, including one with Emmylou. Anyone who’s a fan of the music won’t want to miss it,” said host Rodney Crowell.
Over the course of 48 seasons, ACL continues to air weekly on PBS, and now the licensing of these iconic ACL country performances cements Circle Network’s ongoing commitment to bringing country music programming to its viewers. “We have long admired the impact that this landmark series has had on the music industry and on Austin as a live music destination,” said Opry Entertainment Group President, Scott Bailey. “We are pleased to have formed a closer connection with the ACL team through our recent purchase of ACL Live at The Moody Theater, and we look forward to many opportunities to showcase Austin’s storied live music culture through our Circle TV platform in the future.”
“Airing these episodes of Austin City Limits: Country is a milestone for Circle,” said Circle Network’s General Manager, Drew Reifenberger, “Country music fans across the U.S. know how iconic Austin City Limits is, and we’re so excited to bring these performances right to their living rooms this June.”
Austin City Limits: Country will air Wednesday nights starting on June 8, for a total of 12 episodes. Episode programming includes:
Wednesday, June 8, 2022 10/9c pm – Charlie Daniels Band (originally aired in 1976)
The first Nashville-based act to appear on Austin City Limits, the Charlie Daniels Band rocked the original stage in the first season with their distinctive blend of country, blues, rock and bluegrass in support of their album Nightrider. Songs include “Texas,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and “Franklin Limestone.”
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 10/9c pm – Hank Williams Jr. & Shake Russell – Dana Cooper Band (originally aired in 1980)
Hank Williams Jr. carries on his family tradition with a hits-packed appearance on Austin City Limits. With his fusion of his father Hank Sr.’s country, R&B, rock, Cajun and other influences, Williams creates a brilliant spectrum refracted through his unique musical soul, represented here with “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,” “Move It On Over” and “Family Tradition.” Houston’s Shake Russell/Dana Cooper Band band makes its ACL debut on Austin City Limits with a repertoire of outstanding originals encompassing acoustic folk to electric rock, with intertwining harmonies delivering imaginative lyrics for a legion of loyal Texas fans. Songs include “Rollin’ My Blues,” “You Wouldn’t Know Me” and “Deep in the West.”
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 10/9c pm – Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell (originally aired in 1981)
Perfectly described as “a good singer singing good songs,” Americana pioneer Emmylou Harris was riding high on the country charts when she made her debut appearance on Austin City Limits in the same season that first featured the now-iconic backdrop. Performing in support of her album Evangeline, she includes her hits “Two More Bottles of Wine,” “If I Needed You” and “Born to Run.” Rodney Crowell first appeared on ACL in Season 2 playing guitar for Guy Clark. By the time he made his debut on the show, the Texas native had become a seasoned composer of hits for other artists, including the Oak Ridge Boys, Waylon Jennings and the Dirt Band. Supporting his self-titled third LP, Crowell performs “Stars On the Water,” “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” and “I Ain’t Living Long Like This.”
Wednesday, June 29, 2022 10/9c pm – Kris Kristofferson (originally aired in 1981)
Singer, songwriter, actor and author Kris Kristofferson made his long-awaited Austin City Limits debut in Season 7 with a crack band and a career-spanning set of classic songs. Following his 1981 tour, Kristofferson hit the stage for the first of three ACL appearances with classics including “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Lovin’ Her Was Easier,” and “Highwayman.”
Wednesday, July 6, 2022 10/9c pm – Glen Campbell & Eddy Raven (originally aired in 1984)
Glen Campbell blends country, folk and even a little jazz into a style that is definitely his own on his sole appearance on Austin City Limits. A television veteran from his own Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, the singer/guitarist presents a battalion of hits, including “Wichita Lineman,” “Gentle On My Mind,” “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.” One of country music’s most admired songwriters, Eddy Raven was just beginning a run of six #1 singles on the country charts when he made his ACL debut. Supporting the album I Could Use Another You, Raven sings “I Got Mexico,” “She’s Gonna Win Your Heart” and more.
Wednesday, July 13, 2022 10/9c pm – George Jones & Vern Gosdin (originally aired in 1985)
Over the 30 years leading up to his second Austin City Limits episode, George Jones set the standards against which all other contemporary country singers are ultimately measured. Appearing in support of his album Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes, George sings his hits “The Race is One,” “No Show Jones” and “White Lightnin’.” Vern Gosdin’s smooth, distinctively country voice was the reason he was known by his fans and professional peers as a “singer’s singer.” For his only appearance on ACL, Gosdin surveys his catalog with “I Can Tell By the Way You Dance,” “Way Down Deep” and “If You’re Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right).”
Wednesday, July 20, 2022 10/9c pm – Ronnie Milsap (originally aired in 1986)
One of the most versatile artists in the music industry, with a unique ability to appeal to any audience, Grammy-winning singer/musician Ronnie Milsap opened the twelfth season of Austin City Limits with his unique blend of pop, country, R&B, rock and gospel. Supporting his hit album Lost in the Fifties Tonight, Milsap performs “Any Day Now,” “Stranger in My House” and “Smokey Mountain Rain.”
Wednesday, July 27, 2022 10/9c pm – Johnny Cash with June Carter, Tommy Cash & The Cash Family (originally aired in 1987)
Armed with a catalog of indelible classics, the legendary Johnny Cash had already been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame by the time he made his first and only appearance on Austin City Limits in 1987. Joined by his wife June Carter and the Carter Family, Cash sings “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and more.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022 10/9c – Reba McEntire (originally aired in 1987)
At the time country music’s most awarded and best-selling artist, Reba McEntire brought her powerful, passionate voice and unerring ability to choose just the right material to Austin City Limits in 1988 in support of her platinum album The Last One to Know. Songs include “Love Will Find Its Way,” “Lookin’ For a New Love” and “Whoever’s in New England.”
Wednesday, August 10, 2022 10/9c – Dwight Yoakam & Patty Loveless (originally aired in 1988)
Kentucky-born Dwight Yoakam waved the flag for hardcore honky-tonk and hillbilly music at the front of country’s new traditionalist movement in the eighties with a string of hit singles and albums. His second appearance on Austin City Limits features songs from his #1 album Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room, including the title track, “What I Don’t Know” and “Streets of Bakersfield,” with guests Buck Owens and Flaco Jimenez. The new traditionalist movement also sparked the career of singer Patty Loveless, who spent her high school summers singing for the Wilburn Brothers before eventually signing to MCA and beginning a career as a hitmaker. Her first of four appearances on the show, her ACL debut includes the hits “If My Heart Had Windows,” “Blue Side of Town” and “Timber, I’m Falling in Love.”
Wednesday, August 17, 2022 10/9c – Clint Black with special guests Lisa Hartman Black, Eric Johnson and Ray Benson (originally aired in 1999)
Country superstar Clint Black made his debut appearance on Austin City Limits after a string of hit singles, multi-platinum albums and Grammy nominations. Supporting his 1999 album D’lectrified, Black and his special guests, including Asleep at the Wheel leader Ray Benson, Austin guitar slinger Eric Johnson and Black’s wife Lisa Hartman Black, perform songs from across his career, including “Put Yourself in My Shoes,” “When I Said I Do” and “Nothin’ But the Taillights.”
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ABOUT CIRCLE NETWORK: Circle is a media network dedicated to celebrating the country lifestyle and putting fans inside the circle of everything country. Circle offers entertainment news, documentaries, movies, archival, new and licensed programming, Grand Ole Opry performances, and more. Besides a linear feed, the network offers ad-supported streaming distribution with Tubi, NCTC, DISH, Peacock, Roku, Inc., Samsung TV Plus, Redbox, VIZIO SmartCast®, XUMO and Frndly TV, bringing its country lifestyle programming to millions more through TVs, smartphones and tablets. Named Digiday’s 2021 Best Streaming TV Platform and Pollstar’s #1 Livestreamer across all genres for 2020, Circle is a joint venture between Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties, and Gray Television.
ABOUT OPRY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP: Rooted in the unparalleled country music history of the Grand Ole Opry, Opry Entertainment Group produces multi-platform entertainment experiences through its growing portfolio of entertainment venues, including the world-famous Grand Ole Opry, the iconic Ryman Auditorium, WSM Radio, the Blake Shelton-inspired Ole Red brand and Circle TV Network. Through concerts, tours, music inspired restaurants, retail, publishing, digital content, and more, Opry Entertainment Group connects millions of music fans to the artists they love through experiences they’ll never forget. Opry Entertainment Group is a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP).
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. 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 American 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, the Austin Convention Center Department, Cirrus Logic and Workrise. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits at acltv.com.