The ceremony’s not till October, but Monday night before St. Vincent taped “Austin City Limits,” the long-running television show announced the inductees for its 2018 ACL Hall of Fame class: Ray Charles, Los Lobos and Marcia Ball.
Established in 2014, the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame honors “the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have played a vital part in the pioneering music series,” per the program’s official press statement. It’s an honorary designation — there’s no physical building or room — but the induction ceremony is one of the show’s biggest annual fundraisers and typically features a broad range of guest performers.
Among this year’s participants will be Black Keys leader Dan Auerbach. Renowned singers Irma Thomas and Tracy Nelson will be part of the segment honoring Ball, with whom they recorded the Grammy-nominated 1998 album “Sing It!”
Returning as host is singer-songwriter Chris Isaak, whose debut in that role last year was well-received. Several more performers will be added to the bill in the next few months. Tickets to the Oct. 25 show at ACL Live go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, May 18, via the venue’s website.
Musicians previously inducted into the ACL Hall of Fame were Wille Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Lloyd Maines (2014); Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Flaco Jimenez and Asleep at the Wheel (2015); B.B. King, Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt (2016); and Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and the Neville Brothers (2017).
Charles, who died in 2004, appeared on “Austin City Limits” twice, in 1980 and 1984. His first appearance in particular was a landmark for the program, which had presented very few artists of Charles’ legendary stature at that point.
Los Lobos has appeared on the program six times, first in 1989 and most recently in 2014. The band’s history parallels that of “Austin City Limits”: Both began in 1974. “We have effectively grown up together, and it’s remarkable what we have seen in the 40+ years,” Los Lobos noted in a statement expressing their appreciation for the selection.
Ball took part in the show’s very first season and returned four times after that, the last being with Thomas and Nelson when the “Sing It!” album was released. “‘Austin City Limits’ put Austin on the map all over the country,” Ball said. “Whenever we are touring, when I say where we are from, the immediate response is, ‘Austin City Limits.’ People in outlying towns would drive to major cities, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Atlanta, because they had seen us on the show. … ACL opened the door into millions of homes for us and other regional bands.”