A second installment of the big and not-so-big Texas-Red Dirt news stories we covered in 2014. See Part One here



When Kacey Musgraves was nominated for not one but FOUR Grammy awards, she said she was “stunned.” She found out about the nominations onstage in Milwaukee in the middle of a set. “It was such a cool way to find out, getting cheers from the crowd and my band,” she said. “I absolutely could not believe it.”


Musgraves went on to walk away with two Grammys, Best Country Song for “Merry Go Round” and Best Country Album for “Same Trailer, Different Park.”


As many Country music awards as Miranda Lambert won for 2014, we were surprised that she scored zilch at the Grammy’s.


Great news for Austin sisters Sarah Dodds and Shauna Dodds of Backstage Design Studio! Their shop won the 2014 Grammy for Best Recording Package for Reckless Kelly’s “Long Night Moon.”




Will he ever slow down? We hope not!


Willie was presented with his Fifth Degree Black Belt in the art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul, a modern Korean martial arts system, April 28. "Really all my life Charles Atlas and Bruce Lee were on my mind," he told Men's Health. "It's a good form of exercise, especially as you get older. I went through school playing all kinds of sports. Then when I went to Nashville I got into some martial arts and kung fu. I liked it." The ceremony took place at Master Martial Arts in Austin two days before Willie’s 81st birthday.


Willie’s teacher is Grand Master Sam Um, who

directed him in the 2007 film “Fighting With Anger.”


Want to see part of Willie’s memorabilia collection? He donated many of his platinum records, manuscripts and creative documents to the University of Texas Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The Willie Nelson Collection includes letters and photos from fellow musicians Dolly PartonJohnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. The items also pay tribute to Nelson's fans and their gifts and notes to him over the years, UT officials said.



Roger Creager and his crew pulled off a Guinness World Record for Largest Raft of Swim Rings/Tubes.  Approximately 950 people joined him on the Guadalupe River July 26 in New Braunfels. (It became a “raft” when the toobers joined hands and floated together. The following week, Roger’s “River Song” hit number one on the Texas Music Chart.




Katie Key, the original editor of the Texas Music Chart and host of “Cluttered Corner” video interviews on the Texas Music Chart site and Best In Texas Online, decided to step away from her high-profile role at the end of August to concentrate on family.



Kevin Fowler opened his private ranch to the public at the end of September for weddings, anniversaries and other special events. Rustic Ranch is located in Wimberley, Texas, under centuries-old oak trees along Loneman Creek.



Because Kevin collects historic buildings, you’ll walk back into Texas’ past at Rustic Ranch.  He has a dancehall, an 1800s log cabin and a 95-year-old farmhouse among his treasured buildings. Kevin does much of the restoration work himself.



Thanks to a second consecutive year, it’s now the “annual” Eli Young Band House Party. In 2014, there were two – one in Arlington, the other at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Joining EYB on stage were Pat Green and Cody Johnson plus the up-and-coming country duo Maddie & Tae. The House Party in Arlington also featured Gary Allan.



Reservations opened at 9:00 AM Central time Thursday, September 4, and by 1:34 PM the same day, Dickson Productions announced that the annual MusicFest for 2015 was sold out and available only on a waiting list for the 12th year in a row. The big ski and music party is just days away now – January 5 – 9.



A songwriter crafts words the way a novelist might. So it is with Joe Ely’s Reverb: An Odyssey. It started out like a ballad,” he said. “It ended up as a novel.”


The novel, published in 2014, is the first for the singer-songwriter-guitarist extraordinaire. It’s described as “a quest-novel” in the tradition of Knut Hamsunʼs Hunger and Henry Millerʼs Tropic of Capricorn.



In Reverb, Joe weaves the story of a young artist who may not yet know heʼs an artist. He sets out to explore a dangerous world with his only resource the sense of wonder as he searches. Searches for what, you may ask? He doesnʼt know. His hope is that he’ll know it when he finds it.



George Strait got his start there.  Stevie Ray Vaughan played the stage early in his career. Randy Rogers Band, too. What Texas band hasn’t played Cheatham Street Warehouse and received an advanced course in songwriting in conversation with its founder Kent Finlay?


Kent’s daughter Jenni is co-writing Kent Finlay: Dreamer with Brian T. Atkinson, (author of I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt.)


Texas A&M Press will publish the book as part of their John and Robin Dickson Series. It’s the best of both worlds: Jenni’s intimate interviews with her father about his life and his contributions to Texas music and Atkinson’s conversations with George Strait, Eric Johnson, Todd Snider, Randy Rogers and dozens more about Kent’s astounding influence.



George Strait got the ultimate Texas tribute – the June 2014 cover of Texas Monthly.

In “The Last Ride of King George,” June Texas Monthly told the comprehensive story of Strait’s career with a remarkable gallery of photos that show the King true to his good looks and his western style for the 33 years he’s been at it.



In an accompanying article called “Strait, No Chaser?” writer Craig Havighurst outlined what most Texans know: Why it is unlikely that there will ever be another King George. 

The bottom line: The business of Nashville has changed from musical agenda to financial agenda. The likelihood of a George Strait-type getting a break is virtually nil. 


Havighurst pointed out the vibrancy of the Texas-Red Dirt music scene by referencing artists who have had success on the Texas Music Chart.  He also quoted Shane Media country consultant Pam Shane about the artists who have the best chance of breaking through the way Strait did.    



“This is a bucket list show, and that’s the truth,” Randy Rogers said about playing the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. He said he was honored to play a place he always knew about and never dreamed he’d perform in. The packed house at the Ryman also saw Randy’s Texas buddy Wade Bowen open the show for him. 


The end of a moving night: Randy Rogers walks off the Ryman stage

alone followed by Brady Black and Radney Foster



Josh Abbott spent the last few months of 2014 churning toward the top of the Texas Music Chart and reached number two on the last Chart of the year. Earlier in the fall, Josh had fans churning (OK, Tweeting), thanks to a headline in “Maxim” magazine: “Josh Abbott, the Front Man with Ten Thousand Groupies.”


The headline from that bastion of All-American macho maleness had JAB fans asking questions, especially about this quote from the man himself: “It just so happened that the music I enjoyed writing and perhaps the vocal delivery I have was more attractive to younger college females...It makes life a lot more easy and fun when you’re on that stage and you’re not looking at 40- or 50-year-old dudes. We’re there to promote a party atmosphere. We’re there to make sure everyone has a great time, drinks, dances, meets somebody and maybe gets laid that night.”



Kevin Fowler’s five weeks at number one on the Texas Music Chart with “Love Song” gave him the longest reign at number one – five consecutive weeks – and also the most number ones in 2014 when you add his two weeks in October with “Panhandle Poorboy.” 


Cody Johnson was close behind with six weeks total at number one – four with “Me and My Kind” in August and September, and another two weeks in February with “Dance Her Home.”


Sunny Sweeney became the first female artist at number one on the Texas Music Chart since 2003. Sweeney’s “Bad Girl Phase” held the top position on October 20 and 27. The previous solo female at number one was Stephanie Urbina Jones, whose “Shakin’ Things Up” reached the top May 5, 2003 and remained there for five consecutive weeks.


The song with the most play in Texas in 2014 was “If Money Didn’t Matter” by Granger Smith, accruing 21,289 spins (plays) at radio stations that report to the Texas Music Chart. For the Texas Top 100 of 2014, click here.



Jake Kellen welcomed Jake Kellen Junior.

Tommy Alverson officiated at the arrival of Willie Wade Alverson.

Josh Grider added Evan Foster to the fold.

Cory and Sherry Morrow premiered twins – Wesley Ray and Luke Ainsworth Morrow.

Anne Hudson and Fred Andrews welcomed Walsh Edward Andrews.



The first installment of The Year in Review is here




  Photo courtesy of Sargento Foods Inc.









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