YEAR IN REVIEW, PART 2
A second installment of the big and
not-so-big Texas-Red Dirt news stories we covered in 2014.
See Part One here
GRAMMY WINNERS FOR 2014
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.”
went on to walk away with two Grammys, Best Country Song for
“Merry Go Round” and Best Country Album for “Same Trailer,
Country music awards as Miranda Lambert won for 2014, we
were surprised that she scored zilch at the Grammy’s.
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.”
WILLIE AT 81—ALMOST 82
Will he ever slow down? We hope
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
"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.
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
American History. The Willie
Nelson Collection includes
letters and photos from fellow musicians
Dolly Parton, Johnny
Kristofferson and Merle
Haggard. The items also pay tribute to Nelson's fans
and their gifts and notes to him over the years, UT
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.
HIGH PROFILE PLAYER STEPS BACK
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.
BACK TO NATURE
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.
SECOND HOUSE PARTY
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
WOW! FEWER THAN FIVE HOURS
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.
ONE MORE ABOUT KING GEORGE
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.
THE HOLY OF HOLIES
“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
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,
NEW TEXAS MUSIC FANS IN 2014
Jake Kellen welcomed Jake Kellen
Tommy Alverson officiated at the
arrival of Willie Wade Alverson.
Josh Grider added Evan Foster to
Cory and Sherry Morrow
premiered twins –
Ray and Luke Ainsworth Morrow.
Anne Hudson and Fred Andrews
welcomed Walsh Edward Andrews.
The first installment of The
Year in Review is here