CULTURE: Austin City Limits
by Whitney Long
Does music really get any better than the performances on Austin City Limits (ACL) each week? This long running PBS music show which helped Austin to become widely known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” has been a mainstay of television and is the longest running music program in television history. The program has an illustrious history and has received many awards and accolades thru the years. ACL is the only television show to receive the Presidential Medal of the Arts and is recognized by Time magazine as one of the ten most influential music programs of all time.
Most recently, on June 21, 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio announced that nearly forty years of Austin City Limits footage will be digitally archived “in perpetuity” at the Museum’s new Library and Archives and recordings from more than 800 live performances will be made available to the public. The collection will continually be added to and will highlight:
• 37 years of content comprised of audio and video recordings, photographs and documents
• Features over 800 artists and more than 60 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees
• Over 5,500 audio and video recordings of all broadcast programs comprising the Austin City Limits television show
• Additional performance footage and audio not included in broadcast
• 40 linear feet of archival documents (contracts, printed programs, tickets, other records and ephemera)
• Over 270,000 slides, transparencies, negatives, prints, and digital images relating to the performances
Created in 1974 by Bill Arhos, Paul Bosner and Bruce Scafe in response to PBS’s call for original programming from its member station, the show began as a way to spotlight the music of Austin and Texas which was a diverse mix of progressive country, blues, folk and western swing. The first show featured Willie Nelson who had yet to achieve his iconic status. Before long, the series began featuring regional, national and international artists performing a huge variety of music and genres like jazz, alt country and rock and jam band.
The guest list on Austin City Limits is quite long and quite impressive. With guests ranging from the above mentioned Willie Nelson, BB King, Kenny Chesney, Wilco, The Allman Brothers, Ray Charles, Dwight Yoakam, Bjork, Esperanza Spalding and Radiohead, the list continues to grow and the show continues to satisfy music lovers each week.
Check your local listings to find out when ACL airs and if you are in Cleveland, check out the show’s archives at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum www.rockhall.com
To see some of the Southern C’s favorite performances from Austin City Limits, click on these links:
Preservation Hall Jazz Band http://video.pbs.org/video/2151153549
Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers http://video.pbs.org/video/1620365041
Patty Griffin http://video.pbs.org/video/1601509938
Miranda Lambert http://video.pbs.org/video/2151158105
Kris Kristofferson http://video.pbs.org/video/1363005379
Florence + The Machine http://video.pbs.org/video/2186277268
Sources and photo http://acltv.com/