Thursday brings the second annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to ACL Live. Check out our full story in today’s American-Statesman, with comments from Gillian Welch, one of the guest performers, and “Austin City Limits” executive producer Terry Lickona. Here’s a quick look at this year’s five inductees and their history with the show:
Asleep at the Wheel
Ray Benson’s venerable Western swing outfit was the most obvious inclusion in this year’s class, having been part of the show’s very first episode in 1976 (following the 1974 Willie Nelson pilot). They’ve made 10 more appearances since then, including guest spots with Manhattan Transfer in 1998 and Willie Nelson in 2009. Benson also appeared as a guest on Clint Black’s 2000 episode.
The band kicked off the show’s current 41st season of tapings in February with a Bob Wills-themed show featuring guests Amos Lee, the Avett Brothers and the Quebe Sisters that will air later this year. Lickona also credits Benson and the band for being integral in helping to recruit Bob Wills’ Original Texas Playboys to share the bill for the 1976 debut show.
Vince Gill will give Asleep at the Wheel’s induction speech and also will perform with the band. “When they’re not playing music together, they’re playing golf,” Lickona says of good friends Benson and Gill.
The country music legend won’t be in attendance on Thursday, but ACL producer Jeff Peterson presented Lynn with her Hall of Fame trophy (which resembles the show’s classic Austin skyline backdrop) during her recent performance at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. She’s appeared on the show twice, in 1983 and 1998.
Patty Loveless – “a coal miner’s daughter herself,” Lickona notes – will give the induction speech for Lynn and will perform three of her songs, including a duet with Vince Gill.
The conjunto accordion master has made a half-dozen “Austin City Limits” appearances, including one in the show’s first year and a couple with the Tex-Mex supergroup Texas Tornados. He also took part in a pair of Mexican roots-themed specials in 1995 and ’99.
The evening’s host, Dwight Yoakam, will give the induction speech for Jimenez. He’ll also join Jimenez in performance, along with Los Texmaniacs and David Hidalgo.
A native of West Texas who became one of Americana music’s most profound and beloved songwriters, Clark made his first ACL appearance in the show’s second season and went on to take part in five more episodes, including a 1998 tribute to his close friend Townes Van Zandt.
Lyle Lovett will give the induction speech for Clark, who will be in attendance but is not expected to perform for health reasons. His songs will be performed by Lovett, who chose Clark’s “Step Inside This House” as the title track for his 1998 salute to Texas songwriters, and by current Americana Music Association Artist of the Year Jason Isbell, who Lickona described as “a huge Guy Clark fan.”
Townes Van Zandt
The legendary Texas songwriter made only one solo appearance on the show, in its first season, but he also joined in on a 1983 West Texas songwriters special. Perhaps most notably, his songs were the focus of a 1998 tribute a year after his death, with the likes of Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith, Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris performing many of his classics.
Gillian Welch will give the induction speech for Van Zandt and will play two of his songs with David Rawlings. Also performing Van Zandt tunes will be British singer-songwriter Laura Marling, who Lickona said is coming all the way from England specifically for the event, and Townes’ son J.T. Van Zandt, who took part in the 1998 tribute episode as well.