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Texas Music

Hayes Carll has been making music for nearly two decades. Early on, he focused more on telling other people's stories than his own.

Michael O'brien

A giant in the world of Texas arts died on Sunday. Bill Wittliff was a writer and photographer, and his work made Texas famous around the world.  

Hector Saldaña is curator at the Wittliff Collection at Texas State University in San Marcos. He said Wittliff left his mark on several artistic fields, and was perhaps most impactful in screenwriting.

From Texas Standard:

Charley Crockett is no cookie-cutter cowboy. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley as the son of a single mother, and he lived on the streets as a wandering musician, drifting from the Valley to New Orleans and New York before winding his way back to Texas.  

But no matter where he is, he has an unmistakable sound and style that is garnering sensational reviews from Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines, where his latest collection of songs landed in the top 10 on the blues album chart.

But calling his music “blues” can be misleading because it seems to weave some thread that ties together the Big Apple, the Big Easy and that big valley in South Texas that he once called home.

Roky Erickson was rock music's ambassador to inner space.

Roky Erickson, the psychedelic lodestar who helmed The 13th Floor Elevators and wrote one of garage rock's original anthems, "You're Gonna Miss Me," died on Friday at the age of 71.

His death was announced by his brother, Mikel Erickson, on Facebook. No cause of death was provided.

Dave Creaney

The year was 1994, and a newspaper ad led to the formation of the long-running Western swing band Hot Club of Cowtown—in New York City. You might think it an odd place to hear the songs of Bob Wills, but to hear guitarist Whit Smith tell it, “God just put me there,” he says. Smith had answered the call from fiddler Elana James, and it wasn’t too much longer that bassist Jake Erwin joined.

Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriter T Bone Burnett’s latest album, “The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space,” is a departure for the artist, who has spent most of his career behind the scenes as a producer for the industry’s biggest stars.

But fans will hardly recognize the electronic trance that rumbles throughout Burnett’s first new album in 11 years.

“It’s called ‘The Invisible Light’ because there is, inside of all is darkness, there is light,” Burnett tells Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd. “You just have to listen into it.”

From Texas Standard:

Steve Earle has been a lot of things: an actor, an award-winning musician and one of the more famous Texas natives to call New York City home. It's been a long time since the days when he was knocking around Texas as a protégé of Townes Van Zandt.

About 10 years ago, Earle and his band, the Dukes, recorded a tribute to his mentor and partner in crime, called Townes.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

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