Tracy Laird Discusses Austin City Limits’ Impact

Professor Tracey E.W. Laird speaks to students in MTSU's Center of Popular Music on Wednesday Feb., 11, 2015 about the inspiration for her newest book, 'Austin City Limits.' (R.J. Estrella/MTSU Sidelines)

By Caroline Morris // Contributing Writer

Tracy E. Laird, author of the book Austin City Limits: A History, spoke Wednesday evening at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

Austin City Limits is a televised concert series that has aired on PBS stations around the country for the past 40 years. Laird wrote the book to convey the purpose and origin on which the show began.

The Austin, Texas-based program began in 1975 with the goal of jump-starting the careers of artists who had not yet broken into the business, such as Willie Nelson, by airing each live concert performance as an episode. The intent was to promote a wholesome and connected feeling among viewers through the vibes flowing between the artist and studio audience.

Laird relayed the relevance of Austin City Limits and the role it plays in developing upcoming artists and promoting a feeling only obtained through live entertainment.

“The edge Austin City Limits has over other music/entertainment-based shows is its appeal to a direct audience rather than being scripted and manipulating what the viewer is seeing,” Laird said.

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To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email

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