Texas Music Festivals

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Texas is a big state and the music festivals are just as big. I spent last weekend at the Outlaws and Legends music festival set on the Back Porch of Texas ranch just north of Abilene, Texas. I love this festival, which is in its 7th year of existence.

I work as a volunteer here and I work hard the entire weekend. Why? Because I love music and I love Texas music with a passion. The gate I am in charge of is the VIP and Artist gate. So, my smiling face is who greets the artists when they arrive.

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Here’s me and a very pregnant event coordinator greeting the great, Jamie Richards!

And then when the work is done, I get the best seat in the house to listen to the performers.

Jerrod Medulla always wears the ever classy pinstripe suite and his lead guitar player looks like a Wall Street business man.

And you are never too young to watch your daddy perform on stage. This is Jerrod’s wife and baby daughter.

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You never know what you’ll see at a music festival.  Yep, those are masks and Jamie Richards being the professional he is, kept on singing. The girl with the phone made me think maybe she was from the Woodstock era.

This little boy got up on stage with his pint-sized guitar and, of course, the artists loved it and signed his guitar for him.

Mike Tuck plays lead guitar for the legendary songwriter, Zane Williams.

People come from all over and much of the acreage is covered with campers from the most elaborate and fancy to a simple tent.

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And here is the man himself, Mr. Mark Powell, who owns the ranch and has built this event from the ground up.

A Drone flew over the festival site filming and there was a live video stream of each performance.

The last performer of the event was the awesome Lee Ann Womack and this was my view for her show.

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Here is a shot of the crowd on the last night. You can tell by the jackets that it had turned chilly.

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So, if you ever find yourself anywhere close to Abilene, Texas on the first weekend of April, mark your calendar to attend the best little festival in the Lone Star State, Outlaws and Legends! 

Just in case you wondered, here are the rules. 🙂 20170401_144936

JAN’S TOP 10 Texas Music Picks 2016

 

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Over the past year, writing for a Texas Music Magazine I’ve had the honor of interviewing many Texas artists. As a result, I got to discover great new music first-hand.

So, I’m starting a new tradition this year by listing my TOP TEN picks of new Texas Music releases for 2016. This is based solely on my personal tastes and opinions. I do hope you’ll take time to listen to the song clips and decide for yourself!

#1.  Lovers and Leavers – Hayes Carll       hayes_carll_cover

Everyone who knows me also knows I am a huge Hayes Carll Fan. But, with this new album, “Lovers and Leavers” Hayes takes his songwriting to a whole new level. Perhaps that’s what being in love does for you. Check it out here.

#2.  Latest and Greatest – Jamie Richards   latestgreatestdigitalsmall

Jamie Richards is the most solid country music artist in the business. Even though he lives in Oklahoma, his heart resides in Texas as does his music. On this album, you’ll find some of Jamie’s standards, but five new songs showcase the reason Jamie has earned the title of Master Wordsmith of Red Dirt Music. Judge for yourself.

#3.   I’m Not The Devil – Cody Jinks                     i_mnotthedevil_044cac49-b9bc-4045-acc1-0370e9138074_large

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Cody Jinks twice and each time, I fall a little more in love with the great human being he is as well as his music. On “I Ain’t The Devil,” you’ll find a mixture of what defines Cody – family, friends, God, music. Check it out

#4.   Ain’t Who I Was – Bonnie Bishop             bb-aint_who_i_was

I first got acquainted with Bonnie Bishop through a mutual friend around ten years ago. She is not only beautiful, but has a voice that cuts through. This new album shows her more soulful bluesy side. It’s her best yet and you can preview the album here

#5    Sam Colt and Jesus – Robby White            sam_colt

This album really got my attention. It is a TRUE concept album in that each song leads directly into the next, weaving a complete story. Robby kept the music simple and for a reason – he wanted the lyrics to be heard. It embodies everything that is Texas! Preview

#6     Sinner Man  –  Gus Samuelson               sinner-man-bottomland

I’ve always been a fan of Gus Samuelson’s music. However, the new Sinner Man CD holds a few surprises. Big Gus is a restlessly creative soul and brings his views and philosophy of life into his music. I love all of the tracks on this CD but if I had to choose one favorite today, it would be “In My Soul.” Here’s the link to preview.

#7     Polyester  –  John Evans                             polyester

Texas roots rocker, John Evans, released a comeback CD, the first in six years. It has been said about John’s music style that if Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello were to have a love child, John Evans just might be it. After listening to Polyster, I would say more like a combination of 50s rocker, Eddie Cochran and Jimi Hendrix. Here’s where you can listen

#8     Walkabout – Dolly Shine                              Walkabout

I received this CD to review and I have to tell you I was blown away! Every member of Dolly Shine contributes to the writing of their songs and are extremely talented players as well as writers. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite as I loved them all but I think “Rattlesnake” would take the favorite spot today. See what you think!

#9     Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You – Kevin Fowler   kf

Kevin Fowler has made quite a name for himself on the Texas Music scene over the years, but this new CD took him in a different direction. In an interview, Kevin told me that he was no longer chasing national radio airplay and simply recording songs that moved him in some way. There are lots of collaborations on this album and hands-down, my favorite song is “Texas Forever.” Listen here

#10    Love to Live by – Cooder Graw                     cg

Last but certainly not least on my list is a new EP from the rocking Texas band, Cooder Graw. With only six tracks, this new release packs a powerful punch. I love them all, but the title track, “Love to Live By” moved me and especially the video produced by Rock Williams. Listen to the CD here. Take a look at the Video here.

2016 was a great year for Texas Music. There were many other releases I loved, but I had to narrow it down to ten so picked from my heart.

Hope your favorite artist made my Top Ten!