The Dude abides – for a good cause. Jeff Bridges and Sheryl Crow will co-host Austin City Limits’ upcoming all-star benefit concert, in honor of the music series’ 40th anniversary. The two hosts will perform during the concert (scheduled for June 26th at ACL Live at The Moody Theater), along with guests Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr., Alabama Shakes, Kris Kristofferson, T Bone Burnett, Robert Earl Keen and more. Portions of the event will be featured in a primetime PBS special, “Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years,” set to air October 3rd, from 9 to 11 p.m. EST. The celebration will benefit Austin PBS station KLRU-TV, which created the acclaimed show in 1974 and still produces it today.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Raitt says the influence and legacy of the ACL program “provides a showcase for music that might otherwise get overlooked – especially roots music and its offshoots.
“It’s all about authenticity and quality, rather than commercial viability,” she continues. “I love the 30-60 minute formats as they really give the musicians a chance to stretch out and let the audience know who they are. There’s a real down-home vibe that makes ACL very unique. . . I think ACL sets a high water mark in pioneering great live music on television. It’s one of the reasons public television is so crucial. They’ve provided a springboard for artists who would never get this kind of widespread exposure.”
Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard also shared some reflections about her personal attachment to the program.
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“It feels historical to me, seeing so many legendary artists play on the show, like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings and so many others,” Howard tells Rolling Stone. “I remember when we performed on the show a few years ago. I felt both honored and humbled to be in such great company.”
Howard also says the band is hoping to play a new song during their set. “We’ve been working on a new album, and it’s been fun to play some of the new songs on the road again.”
Tickets for the concert, which start at $75, will go on sale to the public on Friday, May 16th, at 11 a.m. EST via the benefit website. Other performers include Doyle Bramhall II, Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Ely, Lloyd Maines and Grupo Fantasma.