If Austin is indeed the “live music capital of the world” as it proclaims itself, much of the credit has to go to Austin City Limits, a PBS stalwart that’s now been running for 24 years. That makes the program the longest-running concert series in TV history.
ACL started life as a showcase specifically for the music of Texas. It had Western Swing. It had Tejano. It had progressive country. It expanded to what’s called “roots” artists, who may or may not have hailed from the Lone Star State. And today, you’re likely to hear virtually any type of music, not just from Austin…or Texas… or even the USA.
Perhaps you think of ACL as it used to be. Well, here’s a list of recent artists on the show, a list that will perhaps open your eyes: Kenny Chesney, Mos Def, Drive By Truckers, Dave Matthews Band, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Foo Fighters, and Sarah McLachlan.
Austin City Limits was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush in 2003. It is the only television show that has been honored with this award…