Like so many other mainstay music institutions in 2020, PBS’s Austin City Limits program has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, and been forced to scale back tapings significantly for the next year. After first delaying tapings, they then starting taping new episodes with no audience, which was going well until two crew members tested positive for COVID-19. That has caused further postponements of performances, including Sturgill Simpson, who was supposed to take the stage with his bluegrass band. That will now have to wait until some time in 2021.
However, there are some new shows that will be moving forward, and a tribute that is being put together for a couple of Austin legends who have passed away in 2020. It was worthy of celebration when it was announced that Ray Wylie Hubbard would finally be receiving his due on the ACL stage this year. Though it transpired without a crowd, Ray Wylie’s long-awaited debut on the stage was streamed online if you were around to watch live. If not, you can catch the full hour-long episode on you local PBS station January 23rd.
Also, to make up for missed tapings and to tribute two fallen Texas music greats, on February 6th, a tribute to Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver will air, reprising performances from earlier appearances on the Austin City Limits stage over the years. Jerry Jeff Walker died on October 23rd at the age of 78, and Billy Joe Shaver died on October 28th at the age of 81.
Also appearing in the new season from the roots world will be The War And Treaty, Ruthie Foster, and a tribute to Allen Toussaint.
And in lieu of a Hall of Fame episode like the ACL schedule has included over the last six years, in 2020 they will do a retrospective, with moments from the previous Hall of Fame episodes, including performances by Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Rosanne Case, Brandi Carilie, Jason Isbell, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam, and more. It will air on January 2nd.
See the full broadcast schedule below.
Season 46 Broadcast Schedule:
January 2 – ACL Hall of Fame: The First 6 Years
January 9 – Foo Fighters Rock Austin City Limits
January 16 – The War And Treaty | Ruthie Foster
January 23 – Ray Wylie Hubbard
January 30 – The Best of Spoon
February 6 – Texas Icons: Jerry Jeff Walker & Billy Joe Shaver
February 13 – Allen Toussaint: New Orleans Legend