Willie’s Birthday Gift to You: 1976 ACL Taping Hits YouTube at 4:20 Today

Live in-studio capture of Red Headed Stranger front-to-back

Leave it up to Willie Nelson to celebrate his 87th birthday by giving us a present.

Willie Nelson at the 1976 taping of Austin City Limits

For likely the very first time since his 1933 birth in Abbott, there’ll be no live music in America today, so fans of country music’s Texan sage may find themselves understandably bored. His camp throws us stay-at-homers a bone with the YouTube premiere of his 1976 appearance on Austin City Limits. That hardly qualifies as your run-of-the-mill televised concert.

Rather, those tuning in will witness Willie & Family at their most transformative, having just laid out the holy tablets of the progressive country movement: Red Headed Stranger. The performance, Nelson’s second of over a dozen appearances on the everlasting PBS program, features the concept album about an outlaw on the run for the murder of his wife and her lover front-to-back, from “Time of the Preacher” to “Bandera,” with hits “Blues Eyes Crying in the Rain” and “Remember Me” in between.

The 44-year-old footage arrives on your screen as a fundraiser for Nelson’s signature charity, Farm Aid, which will be accepting donations via the YouTube page. The episode airs at 4:20 CST right here.

Icing on the proverbial cake? Willie’s also gearing up for the July 3 release of his 70th solo studio album, First Rose of Spring. The tender Chris Stapleton-penned lead single, “Our Song,” emerged earlier this month and is worth a spot on your quarantine playlist.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson Delivers Down to Earth Keynote SXSW Online Needed
Willie Nelson Delivers Keynote SXSW Online Needed
“I smoke a lot of pot, keeps from killing people or getting killed”

Kevin Curtin, March 17, 2021

Willie’s Picnic Reboots Virtually, Glitches and All
Willie’s Picnic Reboots Virtually, Glitches and All
Star-studded, 7.5-hour livestream proves a real feat

Doug Freeman, July 6, 2020

More by Kevin Curtin
Fake Fast Food Restauranteur (and Filmmaker) Kevin Smith Welcomes Austin to Mooby's
Fake Fast Food Restauranteur (and Filmmaker) Kevin Smith Welcomes Austin to Mooby's
Silent Bob talks fan connection, veganism, and Mooby's origins

May 11, 2021

Down Here at the Paw’n Shop: Dog Tales From Sublime’s Time in Austin, 25 Years Ago
Down Here at the Paw’n Shop: Dog Tales From Sublime’s Time in Austin, 25 Years Ago
Memories of Lou Dog and Toby in the studio

May 6, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Willie Nelson, Austin City Limits, Red Headed Stranger, Chris Stapleton, First Rose of Spring, Farm Aid, PBS

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle