The 41st season of Austin City Limits kicks off October 3rd, extending the longest-running music series in TV history by another year. First up is the annual Hall of Fame induction show, which honors the newest class of ACL inductees — Asleep at the Wheel, Townes Van Zandt, Loretta Lynn, Flaco Jiménez and Guy Clark — with help from a handful of guest artists.
Among those guests is Jason Isbell, who performs Guy Clark’s “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” in honor of its writer. Clark, who was still recovering from surgery during the show’s June 18th taping, is absent from the clip, with Isbell playing the nostalgic tune alone. Watch the performance below, more than a month before its television debut.
Written during the early-Seventies and covered by everyone from Jerry Jeff Walker to the Highwaymen, “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” spins the story of an aging oil well driller and his young sidekick, the decades between them whittled down by a love of the same cowboy song. It’s a look at the way one generation hands the reins to another. With Isbell at the mic, though, it doubles as a tribute to the outlaws and country icons who, after logging their share of miles of the heartworn highway, have begun passing the torch to a new generation of songwriters.
Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Laura Marling, Patty Loveless, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings all make appearances on the season premiere of Austin City Limits, too, each artist paying tribute to — or playing alongside — the show’s newest Hall of Famers. A portion of the lineup for the rest of Season 41 will be unannounced later this week.