Western swing was born about 4 miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth at the Crystal Springs Dance Pavilion, although you wouldn’t know it when driving past the now-empty lot near the West Fork of the Trinity River. In the early 1930s, the cavernous pavilion drew hundreds for the “hillbilly jazz” of Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies. While the venue burned down in 1966, Western swing is still going strong—a style that’s among the most recognizable roots of Texas music.
When Dickinson and company returned in 1962, they found a cardboard marker in a tin frame and, as he noted in his 2017 posthumously published memoir, I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone, a small vase containing two upside-down brooms also adorned the gravesite. “There’s one kind favor I’ll ask of you,” Lemon requested in one of his best-known songs, “see that my grave is kept clean.”
Fort Worth native Mike Buck’s musical career has taken him all over the world.
As the drummer for The Fabulous Thunderbirds and The Leroi Brothers, Buck has seen his share of stages. But when his newest band, Eve, Leady, Buck and Speedy, plays in Fort Worth on Saturday, June 29, it won’t be just another return to his hometown.
For some time now, prognosticators have been predicting the total demise of records—you know, the old-fashioned discs that play musical sound—as well as the brick-and-mortar establishments that sell them. And yes, it’s true that CD sales are down, and more than a few record stores have shut their doors. But there’s good news for those of us who can’t imagine life without flipping through bins, admiring the physical objects for their creative covers, and listening to the tunes imprinted in their grooves.
Across Texas, vinyl is doing more than spinning. Sales are surging.
Blues musician Robert Daniel Ealey, son of Sam and Emma Lee Ealey, was born in Texarkana, Texas, on December 6, 1925. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, Ealey moved to Dallas in 1951 with the hopes of becoming a gospel musician. But under the influence of such blues legends as Lil' Son Jackson and Lightnin' Hopkins he was lured into a life of blues.
Music fans are likely familiar with T Bone Burnett for his behind-the-scenes work. He’s first and foremost a gifted record producer. The list of albums he’s orchestrated for other musicians, often contributing his own talents as a multi-instrumentalist, is extraordinary, among them the Counting Crows’s August and Everything After, the Wallflowers’ Bringing Down the Horse, and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand. Besides those standouts, he’s produced albums for B.B. King, Steve Earle, Elton John, Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp, Gillian Welch, Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison—even Spinal Tap.
While Bruton was raised in Fort Worth, Texas, his experiences in his fledgling years weren’t ensconced in one musical genre, which paid off with his association with various other singers and players, as not only a guitarist, but also as a producer. When VG hooked up with Bruton, his fourth solo album had just been released and was garnering very positive reviews.
Depending on who may or may not be on the road, the Resentments consist of Jon Dee Graham, Bruce Hughes, “Scrappy” Jud Newcomb, John Chipman and, over on stage left, Stephen Bruton. No need to worry about who plays what; the group takes turns on bass, guitar, vocals, drums, songwriting and one-liners. It’s a fun night–not quite a guitar toss, not quite a full-fledged band. It’s just Bruton playing with friends. And that, more than anything, pretty much describes how Bruton has lived his life.
Doyle Bramhall II has never really been your average Joe musician. He cut his teeth on blues, added rock, funk, R&B and Jazz intonations into his playing as he evolved from the kid at not only his legendary father’s feet but family friends Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan as well. He took a love for Lightnin’ Hopkins, left school and began his journey, ending up playing beside Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Charlie Sexton, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr and Susan Tedeschi. He found the inside of a studio invigorating, challenging, satisfying. He has spent so much time working with others that his own records became further apart.