More than 30 years into its existence, the renowned television series Austin City Limits brings rock, blues, country, folk, bluegrass and jazz artists to the city tagged the "Live Music Capital of the World" to perform before a live studio audience. Taped at PBS affiliate station KLRU on the University of Texas campus, ACL continues to set the standard for televised concert programming. But for a number of years, the universal complaint among the show's fans has been the unavailability of DVDs and CDs from the series' most high-profile episodes.
Wait no longer. New West Records has plunged into ACL's endless vaults, steadily releasing both audio and video versions of the series' most memorable events. To date, releases by Buck Owens, Delbert McClinton, Guided By Voices, David Byrne and Neko Case – to name but a scant few – have seen the light of day. For younger fans of the show, the earlier recordings are perhaps the most treasured given the average 35 year-old won't recall a taping from 1980.
Beyond providing diversity of genres, ACL serves the important function of giving a commercial platform to many artists that don't perform radio-friendly music. And despite the well-documented concerns of today's music industry, ACL continues to thrive and will move into a larger studio space in 2009. With any luck, New West Records will continue to probe these vaults for years to come. www.newwestrecords.com.