Exclusive preview: 'Austin City Limits' tribute to Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver
The deaths of legendary Texas troubadours Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver within a week of each other in October was a hard blow to fans of outlaw-country music around the world. On Saturday, "Austin City Limits" pays tribute to them both with an hourlong episode that draws from the iconic PBS show's archives.
Both Walker and Shaver appeared on "ACL" four times. Walker was part of the show's first season in 1976, then appeared again in 1980, 1986 and 1988. Shaver's first appearance was in 1980, followed by episodes that aired in 1983, 1985 and 1997.
Saturday's tribute will air locally on PBS Austin at 7 p.m., with several repeats over the next few days. Starting Sunday at 9 a.m., it'll also be available for streaming online at pbs.org/austincitylimits.
We're exclusively previewing two clips from the tribute show on Austin360. Above, see Walker performing his iconic song "Mr. Bojangles" in 1976. Below is Billy Joe Shaver's "Black Rose," from his 1980 appearance.
“Far more than Willie or Waylon, Jerry Jeff and Billy Joe were the true outlaws of country music — and they lived the lives to prove it,” ACL executive producer Terry Lickona said in a statement, referencing country icons Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. “They both carried the outlaw tradition straight into the 21st century, and really didn’t give a damn what anybody else thought.”
Walker, originally from upstate New York, moved to Austin around 1970 and helped put Austin on the map as an outlaw-country hotbed. He died Oct. 23 at age 78.
Shaver, born in Corsicana, lived in Waco but played Austin frequently. He rose to the fore of outlaw-country after Jennings recorded nine of Shaver's songs on the 1973 album "Honky Tonk Heroes." He died Oct. 28 at age 81.
The 46th season of "Austin City Limits" concludes next week with an archival episode of the late New Orleans great Allen Toussaint, from 2010.