- Music of Texas
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Texas has long been a center for musical innovation. Texans have pioneered musical developments in tejano music, punk rock, mariachi, country music, electronic music, gothic and industrial music and the blues. Famous Texan musicians and groups include Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Lightnin' Hopkins, George Strait, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Hank Thompson, Ray Price, T-Bone Burnett, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Archie Bell & the Drells, Johnny Guitar Watson, Ornette Coleman, Townes Van Zandt, Selena Quintanilla, Pantera, Steve Miller, Charlie Sexton, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top, Eric Johnson and many others.
- 1 Country music
- 2 Texas blues
- 3 Rock
- 4 Punk rock
- 5 Alternative rock
- 6 Ragtime
- 7 Religious music
- 8 Tejano music
- 9 Hip-hop
- 10 Industrial
- 11 Locales
- 12 Professional organizations
- 13 Radio shows
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Texan honky-tonk country musicians like Alvin Crow and Bob Wills and Doyle Brink helped invent Western swing while Grammy Award winning artists like Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel tour the country and release recordings that keep Texas Swing alive. Other genres of country evoleve, like Marcia Ball, combineing country with Cajun influences. The first popular Texan country song was "I'm Walking the Floor Over You" by Ernest Tubb, a song which set the stage for the rise of stars like Lefty Frizzell and Johnny Horton.
Ponty Bone, Joe Ely, Lloyd Maines, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Tommy Hancock, among others, helped invent the 1960s Lubbock sound, based out of Lubbock, Texas. Outlaw country was another offshoot that had roots in Texas, with Texans like Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson leading the movement, ably supported by writers like Billy Joe Shaver. It was this scene, based out of Austin, that inspired performers like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, whose poetic narratives owed much to the folk tradition and who proved enormously influential on younger Texan artists as Nanci Griffith and Steve Earle who inspired the later alternative country scene.
Mac Davis is a singer and songwriter from Lubbock. He became one of the most successful country singers of the 1970s and 1980s.
Kenny Rogers, from Houston, has a career spanning for over 60 years. His album, The Gambler, remains one of the most famous country albums ever released, having sold a reported 35 million copies world-wide. Despite his huge success he has yet to be inducted into either The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame or Country Music Hall of Fame. However, the BBC did name him the second best performer of all-time in a 1999 Country Music television special.
Modern musicians like George Strait continue to carry on the tradition of country music in Texas. (Strait is a graduate of Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. The school was recently renamed Texas State University).
Within country music, the works of singers such as Robert Earl Keen, Fred Andrews and Honeybrowne, Cory Morrow, Johnny Solinger, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Mark David Manders, Max Stalling, Pat Green, Bleu Edomondson, Wade Bowen, Eli Young Band and others are often dubbed "Texas music". Brian Burns, a product of Central Texas, sometimes called The Last True Texas Troubadour, has achieved note especially through his historical ballads about Texas.
The blues originated in the Mississippi Delta and had spread to Texas by the beginning of the 20th century. African American workers at lumber camps, oilfields and other locations loved the music, and avidly attended local performances. When the Great Depression hit, many of these musicians moved to cities like Houston and Galveston, where they created a style known as Texas blues. Blind Lemon Jefferson (in and around Dallas) was the first major artist of the field, and he was followed by legends like Blind Willie Johnson (who was principally a gospel singer) and Big Mama Thornton and Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb. By the 1970s, Texas blues had lost its popularity, but was revived by the blues rock stylings of artists like Johnny Nitzinger, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, ZZ Top, Bugs Henderson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds, who set the stage for Stevie Ray Vaughan's blues revival in the 80's.
One of the first major Texan musical stars was Buddy Holly, a very famous rock and roll musician from the 1950s. Another up and coming singer, from Wink, Texas, was also making waves in the music scene. His name was Roy Orbison. He was followed by Buddy Knox, Bobby Fuller and Dallas rockabilly stars Gene Summers, Johnny Carroll and Ronnie Dawson.
The next decade witnessed such greats as Janis Joplin, from Port Arthur. She is ranked #46 on Rolling Stone 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Doug Sahm's Sir Douglas Quintet released several innovative performances, as did psychedelic rock underground legends 13th Floor Elevators, led by Roky Erickson. The hard rock of ZZ Top was born out of the bands American Blues and Moving Sidewalks in Houston in 1969. In 1971, Bloodrock from Ft. Worth released "D.O.A.",an international hit. Don Henley of the Eagles grew up in Linden, Texas.
More recently, Texas, especially the cities of Austin and Denton, has produced garage rock, punk rock and indie rock bands like Lift to Experience (Denton). San Antonio produced Butthole Surfers in the 1980s as well as the Doom Metal band; Las Cruces in the 90's, and El Paso was the home of At the Drive-In and its two offshoots, Sparta and The Mars Volta. The Arlington-area band Pantera went on to become heavily influential in the metal genre. Other notable bands include Drowning Pool, Coilback, Paleface, Element Eighty, Jacknife and The Destro. Houston metal bands from the '80s include Helstar, King's X, Galactic Cowboys, The Hunger and Ripper. And Dead Horse
Texas has long had a distinctive punk rock sound spread across copious cities, especially Austin and Houston. Austin in particular was considered a significant punk city; major venues there in the late 1970s-early 1980s included Raul's, where the Austin punk/new wave scene began, spearheaded by the Skunks and the Violators in the first weeks of 1978. Other significant venues included the Continental Club on South Congress Avenue and the (now defunct) Club Foot Fourth Street downtown. The Skunks, which featured Jesse Sublett on bass and vocals, attracted significant attention to the scene because of their loyal following and also because touring bands, including Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, the Clash, Blondie and others dropped in at their gigs at Raul's and the Continental Club to jam with them. Radio played a major role in spreading both the sound and creating the culture of punk. In Houston, two pioneering radio programs in particular, Marilyn Mock's S&M Show on KTRU-FM and Perry Coma's The Funhouse Show on KPFT-FM, were instrumental in helping create the punk scene in that city, through band interviews and playing import-only records, as well as the flamboyant personalities of the DJs. Local punk zines like XLR8 and music weeklies such as Public News, and independent record outlets like Real Records, Record Rack, Record Exchange, and Vinal Edge not only scoured the world for punk and "new wave" sounds, but they hosted in-store concerts where fans could meet the artists. The punk scene flourished in the early 1980s, led by the Skunks, the Big Boys, The Dicks, MDC, Really Red, The Degenerates, The Hates, The Judy's, the Volumatix, DRI, Sik Mentality, the Killerwatts and Culturcide; so did the scene in Dallas, with groups such as The Hugh Beaumont Experience and Stick Men with Ray Guns. Some notable Houston clubs were the Island, Cabaret Voltaire (a punk rock club in the warehouse district of downtown),the Apocalypse Monster Club (in the Clear Lake area near NASA), the Axiom (in one of the old Cabaret Voltaire locations), Fitzgerald's, The Abyss, and Numbers (a predominantly new wave club). In the mid '90s post-punk act At the Drive-In formed in El Paso. Among some notable Horror punk and psychobilly bands that hail out of Texas are The Reverend Horton Heat, The Flametrick Subs.
Several alternative rock bands from Texas also reached mainstream popularity during the late 1980s and early 1990s. These included bands like Toadies (whose biggest hit, "Possum Kingdom", was named for a lake west of Fort Worth), Flickerstick, Fastball (band), The Duckhills, Tripping Daisy, and by the end of the '90s The Polyphonic Spree. In the 2000s, Bowling for Soup reached popularity, as well as Burden Brothers (which was co-founded by Toadies lead singer Vaden Todd Lewis). The Christian themed alternative band Flyleaf is from Belton. Also Forever The Sickest Kids from Dallas, TX.
Sacred music has a long tradition in the state of Texas. The East Texas Musical Convention was organized in 1855, and is the oldest Sacred Harp convention in Texas, and the second oldest the United States. The Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Convention was organized in 1900.
Sacred Harp and other books in four shape notation were the forerunners of seven shape note gospel music. According to the Handbook of Texas, "The first Texas community singing using the seven shape note tradition reportedly occurred in the latter part of December 1879. Itinerant teachers representing the A. J. Showalter Company of Dalton, Georgia – including company founder A. J. Showalter – ventured west to Giddings in East Texas and conducted a rural music school that lasted for several weeks." Texas has been home to several gospel music convention publishers, including the National Music Company, Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company (founded in 1924 by V. O. Stamps, who later partnered with J. R. Baxter), and the Stamps Quartet Music Company (founded by Frank Stamps). Convention gospel music and community singings still occur in a number of Texas towns, including Mineral Wells, Brownfield, Jacksonville, Seymour, and Stephenville.
Tejano music is the fusion of several different musical influences, such as German polka, Mexican rancheras, jazz, and zydeco, among others. Lydia Mendoza, Santiago Almeida, Flaco Jiménez, Joe Hernandez, Freddie Fender and Narciso Martínez remain some of its most influential figures. Selena Quintanilla helped bring the genre more attention in the 90's with one of the first Spanish to English crossover hits ever, adding influences from Mexican cumbia to the R&B trend of the day.San Angelo band Los Lonely Boys fuse Tejano with contemporary blues and jazz.
Houston, Texas has long been the focus of an independent hip-hop music scene, influencing and influenced by the larger Southern hip hop and gangsta rap communities. Notable solo artists include Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Scarface and groups such as Geto Boys and UGK. The Houston hip hop scene is known for the chopped and screwed sound, and remains the location most associated with the style. Vanilla Ice is from Carrollton, Texas. The D.O.C. is from West Dallas. He worked with Dr. Dre as an artist and writer. Newcomers such as Dorrough and Dondria also hail form Dallas.
Austin, Texas's artistic community helped popularize artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, The Police and Elvis Costello in the Southwest. Tex-Mex/New Wave bands as Vallejo and Joe King Carrasco & the Crowns gained some national fame. Local punk and New Wave bands in the late 1970s included The Huns and the Skunks, along with The Delinquents, and Standing Waves. These bands soon clashed with an influx of hardcore punk bands like The Dicks, The Offenders, and Big Boys.
Austin, especially through its central music scene in the corridors of Red River Avenue, South Congress Avenue and 6th Street, has been dubbed The Live Music Capital of the World." The Texas Music Hall of Fame' and Texas Music Museum are also located here. The Austin area is home to South by Southwest, one of the largest annual music festivals in the United States. Austin has long been a hub of innovative psychedelic sound from the pioneering Roky Erikson and the 13th Floor Elevators to the Butthole Surfers, and hosts an annual festival celebrating the genre and Austin's contributions to it - Austin Psych Fest.
Austin is currently home to a number of bands that are enjoying popularity as part of the indie rock scene that is gaining prominence in the United States. These include Spoon, Ghostland Observatory, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Explosions in the Sky, Okkervil River, The Black Angels, The Gary, and White Denim among others.
The transition of the Austin music scene from the mid-seventies progressive country scene to the punk/new wave and alternative influence that followed is captured in Jesse Sublett's memoir, "Never the Same Again: A Rock n' Roll Gothic," which details Sublett's experiences with the Skunks and other bands during that time period. Sublett has also documented the Austin music scene in his music-themed crime novels, "Rock Critic Murders," "Tough Baby," and "Boiled in Concrete."
This area was also home to many legendary musicians: George Jones, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Janis Joplin, Barbara Lynn, Edgar and Johnny Winter, J.P. Richardson aka "The Big Bopper", country stars Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Byrd, and Clay Walker, and Jimmy and David Lee Kaiser, and rappers Pimp C and Bun B of UGK.Also the Sword
Dallas has a rich musical heritage. The number of prolific musicians who played in the Deep Ellum Central Track area was rivaled in the South only by Beale Street. T-Bone Walker, Lead Belly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, and even Robert Johnson himself first recorded in this area, just as Bob Wills and the Light Crust Doughboys were leaving the studio. Throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60's, country, western, and blues continued to flourish, producing a plethora of notable entertainers including Stevie Ray Vaughan. As rock'n'roll swept the land, Dallas has also become a hotbed for producing progressive, edgy music... a trend that has continued to this day. Dallas has a vibrant live music scene, that continues to center around the Deep Ellum area. Unfortunately the City of Dallas at one time restricted the growth of this neighborhood, an attempt to control traffic and crime, to the point where the history and heritage were longer thriving, however many groups and efforts are being made to reverse these trends. In the past several years, several notable musicians have come from Dallas, including Erykah Badu, Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, Mike Nesmith of The Monkees, Neon Indian, The Polyphonic Spree, Old 97s, St. Vincent, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, LehtMoJoe, Toadies, MeatLoaf, Baboon, The Secret Machines, Dorrough, Mount Righteous, The Paper Chase, Devourment, Absu, Course of Empire, Coilback, MC 900 Ft. Jesus, Reverend Horton Heat, Lone Star Trio, Sofa Kingdom, Princess Tex, End Over End, The Trees, Three On A Hill, Buck Pets, Chomsky, The Deathray Davies, Shallow Reign, Loco Gringos, Hash Palace, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!, Decadent Dub Team, Rigor Mortis, Karma Gettin, Lithium X-mas, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea and Alex Moore.
The music culture that exists in Denton was seeded initially by the 1947 birth of the University of North Texas College of Music Jazz studies program, the first of its kind in the country, but in the last 20 years Denton's vibrant and diverse music culture has grown beyond the collegiate world of UNT's College of Music. In 2004 and 2005, the roster of the town's performing and touring music acts remained between 90 and 100, a high number considering the town's 2000 U.S. census population figure of only 80,537 people. Denton bands include: longtime mainstay and twice Grammy award-winning Brave Combo, EXIT 380, The Wee-Beasties, Norah Jones, Lift to Experience, Centro-Matic, Brutal Juice, Drunk Skunks, SayWhat, Chyeah Boi, the Don't Be Scurd, OkieDoke, South San Gabriel, Slobberbone, The Drams, Midlake, Record Hop, History At Our Disposal, the Marked Men, Fergus & Geronimo, Eli Young Band and Bosque Brown. Denton's music culture makes the smaller town Texas' only other city, outside of Austin, that could claim such a title as "music town", a reflection of city's own creative and progressive dominant cultural base. Several music festivals are hosted in Denton, including North by 35 (NX35) and Denton Arts and Jazz Festival.
During the 1960s-1980s an independent label out of Fort Worth known as Bluebonnet recorded numerous albums of high quality material by many pioneer artists in the country music and religious field such as Bradley Kincaid, The Girls of the Golden West, Buddy Starcher,Yodelin' Kenny Roberts, and many other country music and gospel pioneers, many of whom had been popular on radio in the '20s - 40s.
Before this, however, Bob Wills got his start just north of Fort Worth in Saginaw at the Light Crust Flour Mill. This is where Bob Wills, Leon McAuliffe, and Tommy Duncan first started playing music together. Wills recruited the Light Crust Doughboys and they later changed their name to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.
In 1971, Bloodrock had 3 albums at once on Billboard Magazine's top 100 charts. After 8 albums on E.M.I./Capitol, they maintain a worldwide cult following. A co-writer of Bloodrock songs and hits, Johnny Nitzinger still plays local venues and creates recordings. The Toadies' debut album Rubberneck went platinum in 1996. Ornette Coleman hails from Fort Worth, as does T-Bone Burnett. Aside from lead singer Jerry Roush, all members of nintendocore band Sky Eats Airplane are also from Ft. Worth.
Also, many songwriters of note have come from Fort Worth. Townes Van Zandt, Delbert McClinton, Steve Earle (who was influenced by, but not from, Fort Worth), Freddie King, David Persons, Johnny Redd and many others have been formed, and have also influenced in their own turn, the music of the unique mixture of styles and influences that characterizes Fort Worth's eclectic music history and scene. While each worked in a variety of styles and venues, all shared the unique story type style of songwriting that has marked Fort Worth's music since the early days of Western Swing.
Houston has been home to the more experimental and extreme groups of Texas. From Mayo Thompson's psychedelic free music group the Red Crayola to the hardcore rap of the Geto Boys and the primordial sludge rock of Rusted Shut, the 713 has long waved the freak flag over the Lone Star state. The Pain Teens and Richard Ramirez (musician) are among the better known Houston Noise Bands. Notable rising bands include Spain Colored Orange, Southern Backtones, Jennifer Grassman, and The Ton Tons. Among the city's most influential punk bands were the hardcore Really Red and DRI. Culturcide, Verbal Abuse, Stark Raving Mad, Sik Mentality, Dresden 45, Legionaire's Disease, The Hates, AK-47, The Killerwatz, Free Money, The Recipients and The Degenerates also played. It is known for its chopped and screwed rap music, popularized by DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click. Houston also is the home of lo-fi music straddeling blues, folk, and modent antiphonal traditions, as epitomised by elusive cult hero Jandek and the slightly more visible Jana Hunter. Houston is also the birthplace and final resting place of Chris Whitley (1960–2005) who won a Grammy for his Livin with the Law album and revolutionized the National steel Dobro guitar and enjoyed a massive cult following, but died prematurely of lung cancer in 2005. Houston is home to Beyoncé Knowles and the other three original members of Destiny's Child. Houston is also the birth place of the alternative rock band Blue October. Houston has had sizable folk-country and blues scenes dating back to the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, which included many now famous performers such as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, Big Mama Thornton, and Johnny Copeland who were signed with the hometown Peacock Records.
Still known primarily for Tejano music and Heavy Metal, San Antonio throws the Tejano Conjunto Festival, an annual three-day event celebrating conjunto music, and also spawned the Butthole Surfers, a hardcore alternative rock band which broke into the mainstream in the mid-1990s, signing to Capitol Records and successfully charting several singles and albums. Other successful acts born and bred in San Antonio are: Boxcar Satan, Two Tons of Steel, The Union Underground, Las Cruces, Sane, and Fearless Iranians From Hell. San Antonio has deep roots in America's classical music, Jazz, with KRTU-FM representing one of the most significant jazz radio stations in the country, and the Jim Cullum Jazz Band serving as a staple act on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Fellow college radio station, KSYM-FM, features 'The Best of the Beatles' with Richard Turner, relying on one of the most comprehensive collections of Beatles recordings ever amassed to spin on his weekly show. San Antonio is also home to the Texas Music Coalition (http://www.texasmusiccoalition.org/index.php) and Local782, both musician-led, non-profit initiatives seeking to educate and empower Texas-based musicians by organizing events throughout the year, including seminars, performances, mixers, showcases, and fundraisers. A slew of new rock bands started in the 00s have joined a couple longer-running favorites, Girl In A Coma - whose song "Clumsy Sky" won Best Punk Song in The 7th Annual Independent Music Awards - and Buttercup, to develop a burgeoning 'indie' scene. These bands include: Blowing Trees, Morris Orchids, We Leave At Midnight, Cartographers, and Education, the last whom's 2011 album, Age Cage, was produced by Gordon Raphael, renowned producer of the Strokes' Is this It and Regina Spektor's Soviet Kitsch. Exponential Records has helped put San Antonio Electronica on the map, catapulting artists like Diego Chavez, a.k.a. Aether - whose album Artifacts received a 7 out of 10 from the notoriously stingy Pitchfork Media, and Ernest Gonzales, a.k.a. Mexicans With Guns, to much wider audiences. San Antonio has a thriving Hip Hop community as well, including the R&B-tinged duo Mojoe, of Classic.Ghetto.Soul fame, the rapper Question, collaborator with Talib Kweli and Bun B on the track "I'm So Tall", and the Vultures crew, whose album Desert Eagles, Vol. 1 was praised by the San Antonio Current's Best Music Advocate of 2010 as "the most complete record to ever come out of San Antonio".
Known primarily for Tejano star Selena Quintanilla, Corpus Christi was also home to Reverend Horton Heat singer Jim Heath and American Garage Rock band Zakary Thaks. Corpus was also home to several waves of DIY punk and hardcore bands like, The Krayons, Black Milk, Loser, Right Turn Clyde, Slug Bug, Happy Meal, Festus, Sweet Daddy, Four Man March, Eddie and the Holocaust, Jedi Mind Trick, Peter Torpedo, The Booked, The Dip Shits, Fifth Column, Drastic Action, The Wrong Crowd, Devastation and Brutal Poverty.
- All Texan Music - Online Radio & Music Store featuring ALL genres of music made in Texas
- Texas Music World Productions - Radio, Marketing & Consultation
- Association of Texas Small School Bands
- Heart of Texas Country Music Association
- Texas Association of Music Schools
- Texas Music Educators Association
- Texas Music Associations and Unions
- Texas Music Coalition
- ALL TEXAN MUSIC Online Radio Show - showing off ALL Genres of music being made in Texas!
- Texas Music Radio Show with Gary
- Texas Music World Radio Show with Easton & Rory
- The Lonestar State Radio Show on WMUC College Park, MD
- Notably Texan on KETR-FM Commerce, TX
- ^ Ken Lieck, "Young, Loud, and Cheap: The Skunks, the Band That Broke Austin Out of the Seventies," Austin Chronicle, December 8, 2000
- American Hardcore: A Tribal History, by Steven Blush. Feral House. 2001. ISBN 0-922915-71-7
- The Handbook of Texas Music, Roy R. Barkley, Douglas E. Barnett, Cathy Brigham, editors. Texas State Historical Association. 2003. ISBN 0-87611-194-0
- The Texas-Mexican Conjunto: History of a Working-Class Music, by Manuel Peña. University of Texas Press. 1985. ISBN 0-292-78080-X
- All Texan Music
- Radio Free Texas
- Sacred Harp Singing in Texas
- Songs about Texas
- Texas Music Hall of Fame
- Texan in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame
- Texas Music Office
- Texas Music Project
State of Texas Topics Society Regions
Ark‑La‑Tex · Big Bend · Blackland Prairies · Brazos Valley · Central Texas · Coastal Bend · Cross Timbers · Deep East Texas · East Texas · Edwards Plateau · Golden Triangle · Hill Country · Llano Estacado · Northeast Texas · North Texas · Osage Plains · Panhandle · Permian Basin · Piney Woods · Rio Grande Valley · Southeast Texas · South Plains · South Texas · Trans-Pecos · West Texas
Abilene · Amarillo · Austin–Round Rock–San Marcos · Beaumont–Port Arthur · Brownsville–Harlingen · College Station–Bryan · Corpus Christi · Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington · El Paso · Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown · Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood · Laredo · Longview · Lubbock · McAllen–Edinburg–Mission · Midland · Odessa · San Angelo · San Antonio–New Braunfels · Sherman–Denison · Texarkana · Tyler · Victoria · Waco · Wichita Falls
See: Table of Texas counties or List
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