The Best Episodes of Austin City Limits
Last Updated: Jun 10, 2019
Great music. No limits. Now the longest-running music series in American television history, ACL showcases popular music legends and innovators from every genre.
#1 - The Decemberists followed by Explosions in the Sky
Season 33 - Episode 2
Progressive pop pioneers, The Decemberists, make their ACL debut. Next, Explosions in the Sky, well known for the movie scores, appears in a powerful live stage performance.
#2 - Spoon
Season 36 - Episode 2
Hailed as “one of the most engaging American bands of the past decade” (The Phoenix) by critics and fans, Spoon returns to Austin City Limits for their third turn on the stage with a new album that “strikes a balance between its early angsty indie-rock and the soulful deconstructed pop of its 2007 release, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” (Billboard).
#3 - Jason Isbell / Neko Case
Season 39 - Episode 9
ACL presents modern roots rock with Jason Isbell and Neko Case. Isbell performs tunes from his acclaimed LP Southeastern, while Case sings songs from her latest album.
#4 - Sarah Jarosz / The Milk Carton Kids
Season 39 - Episode 12
Sarah Jarosz performs selections from her 2013 "Build Me Up From Bones" album; the Milk Carton Kids perform songs from their 2013 "The Ash & Clay" CD.
#5 - Foo Fighters
Season 40 - Episode 13
Foo Fighters perform selections from their 2014 "Sonic Highways" album.
#6 - Americana 17th Annual Honors
Season 44 - Episode 14
#7 - Pearl Jam
Season 35 - Episode 8
One of the most popular and influential rock bands of the past two decades, Pearl Jam makes their Austin City Limits debut in celebration of their self-released new CD, Backspacer.
#8 - Radiohead
Season 38 - Episode 1
The band performs songs from its Grammy-nominated LP The King of Limbs.
#9 - Iggy Pop
Season 42 - Episode 5
A thrilling hour with rock & roll legend Iggy Pop in his first-ever ACL appearance. The Detroit native blasts through classics and cuts from his latest album “Post Pop Depression,” accompanied by members of Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys.
#10 - Alejandro Escovedo / Trombone Shorty
Season 36 - Episode 4
As “one of the genuine lights in rock music” (Billboard) Alejandro Escovedo returns to the Austin City Limits stage to perform songs from his soon-to-be-released CD. His authentic Austin sound has led him to national stardom and critical acclaim. “To call Alejandro Escovedo the godfather of modern country rock would sell him short,” wrote critic Will Hermes in Rolling Stone.
#11 - Norah Jones / Kat Edmonson
Season 38 - Episode 8
Jazz and pop cross on ACL with Norah Jones and Kat Edmonson. Jones sings songs from her Dangermouse-produced album Little Broken Hearts. Edmonson showcases the song stylings of her LP Way Down Low.
#12 - The Avett Brothers / Nickel Creek
Season 40 - Episode 8
The Avett Brothers perform selections from their 2013 "Magpie and the Dandelion" album and Nickel Creek spotlight songs their 2014 "A Dotted Line" album.
#13 - The Black Keys / J. Roddy Walston & the Business
Season 40 - Episode 12
The Black Keys feature songs from their 2014 "Turn Blue" album and J. Roddy Walston and the Business spotlight selections from their 2013 "Essential Tremors" album.
#14 - Don Henley
Season 41 - Episode 3
Don Henley showcases songs from his first solo album in 15 years, “Cass County” which represents both Henley’s roots and the next stop on his creative journey.
#15 - James Taylor
Season 41 - Episode 6
James Taylor performs some of his most beloved songs as well as selections from his 2015 album, “Before This World.”
#16 - Drive-By Truckers followed by Ryan Bingham
Season 34 - Episode 12
Rolling Stone called the Drive-By Truckers "the boldest, baddest Southern band in the land" and the band has been living up to that moniker for the last decade. The band fuses solid musicianship with lyrics that tell real stories. "They let the songwriting speak for itself, and it sings loud and clear" (Rolling Stone).
#17 - Coldplay
Season 37 - Episode 13
Modern rock giants Coldplay ring in the New Year with a 90-minute Austin City Limits New Year's Eve special highlighting their mega-hits and songs from their newest LP, "Mylo Xyloto." This historic holiday celebration captures the excitement and energy of the Grammy-winning band that has sold over 50 million records worldwide.
#18 - Natalia Lafourcade / Grupo Fantasma
Season 42 - Episode 6
Enjoy the contemporary Latin sounds of Natalia Lafourcade and Grupo Fantasma. Mexican superstar Lafourcade performs songs from her Grammy-winning album Hasta la Ruiz and powerhouse Latin funk orchestra Grupo Fantasma dazzle with irresistible grooves.
#19 - Cyndi Lauper
Season 42 - Episode 9
Enjoy the ACL debut of pop legend Cyndi Lauper with a a program of classics and country covers. Songs include “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “True Colors” and “End of the World.”
#20 - Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit / Amanda Shires
Season 43 - Episode 8
Savor the best in Americana with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Amanda Shires. Isbell and his band showcase their acclaimed roots rock from “The Nashville Sound.” Singer/songwriter/violinist Shires unveils her distinctive take on country music from “My Piece of Land.”
#21 - Tedeschi Trucks Band
Season 41 - Episode 13
The Grammy Award-winning group featuring Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and an ensemble of musicians showcases their latest record “Let Me Get By.”
#22 - CeCe Winans / St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Season 42 - Episode 12
Thrill to an hour of soul and gospel with Grammy-winning legend CeCe Winans and breakout sensations St. Paul & the Broken Bones. Winans sings new songs and classics from her catalog, while St. Paul & the Broken Bones support their acclaimed album Sea of Noise.
#23 - Nine Inch Nails
Season 40 - Episode 3
Austin City Limits presents an epic hour with Nine Inch Nails. The special broadcast airs as a preview of our upcoming milestone 40th Anniversary Season. NIN’s arena-worthy ACL debut showcases ten songs.
#24 - Los Lonely Boys followed by The Gourds
Season 32 - Episode 9
Los Lonely Boys share their "Texican rock 'n' roll" style (From the ACL Taping Program on October 12, 2006) Oye Mamacita Roses Texican Style My Way Outlawsw The Gourds blend country, folk, Tex-Mex and Cajun music (From the ACL Taping Program on June 6, 2006) Lower 48 Burn the Honeysuckle El Paso Mr. Betty Jesus Christ with Signs Following Do 4 U