Honored as a "historic rock and roll landmark" by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Austin City Limits is the longest-running popular music series in American television history. ACL began in 1974 by featuring original Texas music that ran the gamut from western swing and Texas blues to Tejano, progressive country, and rock and roll. By the time the show celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary in 2009, its coverage encompassed unique regional, national, and even international performers in an eclectic, ever-expanding range of genres. ACL has also broadened its live audience beyond its iconic studio on the University of Texas campus with the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, a three-day extravaganza that spotlights some 150 bands and attracts more than 200,000 fans.
Austin City Limits captures the excitement and energy of the show in photographs by ACL's longtime still photographer, Scott Newton. The images span ACL's first thirty-five years, with special emphasis on legendary artists such as Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen, and Willie Nelson, and the most compelling contemporary performers and bands from the past ten to fifteen years, including Coldplay, John Mayer, Elvis Costello, Pearl Jam, David Byrne, The Flaming Lips, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, and Norah Jones. Proving that he has few peers among photographers of live music, Newton's images deliver amazing glimpses into the intimate, revealing, and powerful moments in each artist's performance. They also depict the direct and potent connection between performer and audience that has always been a hallmark of Austin City Limits.