Specifically, Carlile recalled attending vacation bible school as a kid and doing little projects around parables such as the wise man who built his house on a rock. It ended up inspiring the song “You and Me on the Rock,” which appears on Carlile’s album In These Silent Days, and on its deluxe edition In the Canyon Haze as a duet with her wife Catherine Shepherd.
“I didn’t really get the metaphor as a kid, but I loved it,” Carlile tells the crowd. “So I grew up and became a big happy gay, and during the lockdown, I was in my garden one day and I hadn’t seen anybody in a long time and everything I thought that made me who I was went away. And I looked around and I saw my wife and my little girls and I thought, alright, I did it, I built my house on a rock. And it made me really proud!”
For the ACL premiere, Carlile is backed by a band that includes her longtime collaborators Phil and Tim Hanseroth as well as Shooter Jennings and the Nashville duo SistaStrings. They do “You and Me on the Rock” in the way its heard on In These Silent Days — a bright, breezy number that’s suffused with Joni Mitchell energy. Jennings can be seen in the back on keyboards, while Carlile prowls the stage and sings beautiful harmony with her backup singers. Her performance on the show also includes an appearance by the singer-guitarist Celisse, who joined Carlile onstage this past weekend at the Pilgrimage festival outside Nashville.
Carlile’s episode of Austin City Limits airs Oct. 1. The new season also includes appearances by Allison Russell, Japanese Breakfast, the Weather Station, Arlo Parks, and Sylvan Esso.