by: Stephen L. Betts
Since Austin City Limits made its TV debut in 1974, the genre-busting PBS music series has gone from celebrating the music of the Lone Star State to spotlighting country, folk, blues and rock acts from around the world. To cap off the Peabody Award-winning show’s 40th season, on Saturday, February 14th, PBS will air a special hour-long finale featuring highlight from the first-ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation.
Hosted by Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey on April 26th, 2014, the ACL Hall of Fame ceremony included performances from inductee Willie Nelson, along with Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph and more. Also inducted into the Hall of Fame were blues-rock pioneers Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, with show creator Bill Arhos and Texas Longhorns football head coach Darrell Royal honored, as well.
Among the songs Texas native Nelson performs during the special is “Crazy,” featuring Emmylou Harris on lead vocals as he plays his trusty guitar, Trigger. (Watch the exclusive premiere of their collaboration above.) Nelson’s longtime harmonica player Mickey Raphael and members of Lyle Lovett’s band are also featured during that performance. Nelson penned the now-classic tune in 1961 for Billy Walker to record, although Walker turned it down. In spite of initially hating it, Patsy Cline recorded it the following year, and hers remains the definitive version of the tune, although it has since been covered by hundreds of artists (and attempted by karaoke singers across the globe).
Nelson also performs his concert favorite, “Whiskey River,” during Saturday’s special, and is joined by Lovett for a performance of another of his most enduring tunes, “Funny How Time Slips Away.” (Watch below.) A song embraced for the past five decades by country and R&B acts, the melancholic song has been recorded by Billy Walker, Elvis Presley, Al Green, the Supremes and Lulu, among many others. Nelson, Lovett and Harris also perform “Pancho and Lefty” and “On the Road Again” during the show, which also features Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Doyle Bramhall II and recent Grammy winner Mike Farris.
Austin City Limits‘ season finale premieres Saturday, February 14th, at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS.