'Austin City Limits' is bringing back in-person shows with big-name tapings next month
“Austin City Limits” will kick off its 47th season with a collaborative taping between country stars Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall on April 28, with plans for more tapings in the months ahead by Leon Bridges, Jackson Browne, Brittany Howard, Sarah Jarosz, Jon Batiste, Terry Allen, Brandy Clark and Dayglow, the iconic PBS television show announced March 9.
After a truncated 46th season that featured several tapings with no audience or a very limited crowd, plus several episodes that features highlights from the show’s extensive archives, the program plans to resume tapings with a live audience this year.
The April 28 taping will feature a limited-capacity crowd at ACL Live, with no audience on the floor and socially distanced seating in the mezzanine and balcony levels. Those who attend will be required to wear masks. In addition, "ACL will follow current safety guidelines and continue to monitor the situation," a representative for the show said.
“Along with the rest of the world, we hope to slowly but surely (and safely) get back to normal this year, and it’s obvious many artists do, too,” executive producer Terry Lickona said as part of Tuesday’s announcement on the “Austin City Limits” website.
Dates for the tapings of other artists will be announced later, with the caveat that details "may be subject to change as we navigate the new landscape." Both Jarosz and Allen had been set to tape the show in 2020 before the pandemic altered last year's plans.
Several tapings in late 2020 also were livestreamed on the show's YouTube channel. There's no word yet on which 2021 tapings might be livestreamed.
The collaboration between Lambert, Ingram and Randall — who co-wrote the 2018 Academy of Country Music song of the year "Tin Man" — follows the recent announcement that the three singer-songwriters will release an album titled "The Marfa Tapes" on RCA Nashville in May. (A new version of "Tin Man" is included on the record.)
All three artists are from Texas; Lambert and Randall now live in Nashville, while Ingram resides in Austin. Lambert will be making her fourth "Austin City Limits" appearance, after tapings for seasons 31, 37 and 43; Ingram first appeared on the show 25 years ago. Randall will be making his debut on the program.
Their new album was made in Marfa, "recorded raw and loose with just a pair of microphones and an acoustic guitar," the announcement noted. "Over the past several years, the desolate location has become a songwriting haven for the trio, yielding both massive hits and profound personal growth. When they returned for five days this past November, though, they came not to write, but to record, capturing a captivating new album inspired by the stark beauty of West Texas and the deep, lasting bonds the three have forged there."
“There’s something singular that happens in that moment of collaboration and creation, something you can never really recreate in the studio,” Ingram said. “Our hope with this album was to share a little bit of that magic with people.”