Texas music was born at the crossroads of America. And it has reached out from there to touch the world. Texas has been a remarkably fertile seedbed for music coming from every point of the compass, and few places on any continent have produced musical styles and musicians whose artistic and cultural impact have been so profound on a national and international scale. The Handbook of Texas Music carefully documents the complex convergence of numerous musical and cultural traditions.
Musical Magic hit Austin, Texas in the early 1970’s. At now-legendary venues such as Threadgill’s, Vulcan Gas Company, and the Armadillo World Headquarters, a host of country, rock-and-roll, blues, and folk musicians came together and created a scene vividly detailed in The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock.
On August 7, 1970, Eddie Wilson and a band of hippies threw open the doors of the Armadillo World Headquarters and the live music capital of the world was born in Austin, Texas. Over its ten-year lifespan, the Armadillo hosted thousands of high-profile musicians – Willie Nelson, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, to name a few. The Armadillo helped define the Austin lifestyle, culture, and identity, setting the stage for successors such as the SXSW music festival and Austin City Limits, which have made Austin and international destination for music fans.
Before Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner, there was Ruth Brown, the legendary rhythm and blues singer best known for her hits “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean”, “Teardrops in My Eyes” and “5-10-15 Hours”. Her powerhouse voice and sassy squeal brought such worldwide success to the fledgling Atlantic label in the 1950’s that it came to be known as the “House That Ruth Built”.
For more than forty years, Guy Clark wrote and recorded unforgettable songs. His lyrics and melodies paint indelible portraits of the people, places and experiences that shaped him. Clark’s poetic mastery has given voice to a vision of life, love and trouble that resonates with fans of Americana music.
Music of Louisiana was at the heart of rock-and-roll in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Many swamp-pop favorites were hits of the day – Dale and Grace’s “I’m Leaving It Up to You”, Phil Phillip’s “Sea of Love”, Joe Barry’s “I’m a Fool to Care” and Cookie and the Cupcakes “Mathilda”. Here is the exciting story of swamp pop, a form of Louisiana music invented by teenage Cajuns and black Creoles.
Like Jimmy Rodgers, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson and Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt was the embodiment of that mythic American figure, the troubled troubadour.
Rolling Stone magazine has called Johnny Winter one of the greatest guitar players of all time. This is the story that made him a legend. Raisin’ Cain features dozens of never-before-seen photos from Johnny Winter’s private collection.
The epic, rollicking, up-and-down life of Muddy Waters – who went from Mississippi farmhand to musical legend, invented electric blues, and created the template for the rock-and-roll band and its wild lifestyle – is chronicled with rare vividness in Robert Gordon’s widely praised biography.
I Am The Blues captures Willie Dixon’s inimitable voice and character as he tells his life story. His work as songwriter, bassist, producer and arranger with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry shaped the definitive Chicago blues sound of Chess Records.