Willie Nelson was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame by fellow Texan Matthew McConaughey on Saturday night for the institution’s inaugural class. “There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson,” McConaughey told the audience as he presented the honor, according to the Associated Press.
Nelson was the very first musician to perform on Austin City Limits when the show premiered in 1974. ACL is now heading into its 40th season, making it the longest-running television music program in the U.S. “It means a lot. It’s Austin City Limits and Austin – the music capital of the world,” Nelson said before the show.
Accompanied by Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett, the 81-year-old country star took the stage at the University of Texas at Austin, the original home of Austin City Limits, for a set that included “On the Road Again” and “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” He closed out the evening with Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing “Texas Flood.”
Joining Nelson in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class were Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, show creator and longtime producer Bill Arhos, and University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal, who hosted the post-game “pickin’ parties” that were one of the show’s original inspirations.