One of the biggest artists in country music history is now officially a cowgirl. Country icon Miranda Lambert was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame Oct. 26. The annual event honors strong women of the West — past and present.
Lambert was one of five women honored at the ceremony at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth. The singer, 37, told the crowd of 1,300 she’d been nervous about the award all day and joked she’d feel better if she had her guitar. Even so, Lambert clearly understood the significance of the moment.
“The biggest thing to me is the common theme of women celebrating women,” she told the gathering. “That’s the most beautiful thing I could ever ask for. It’s humbling and definitely in the top five of things that have ever happened to me.”
After a prolonged delay due to COVID, Dallas has finally unveiled a monument to two of its best-known hometown talents. Hundreds of blues and rock ’n’ roll fans gathered Oct. 3 at Kiest Park for the formal unveiling of a sculpture dedicated to Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan just blocks from where the brothers grew up.
“Jimmie and Stevie Ray’s stories — now known around the world — fittingly started right here in Dallas, the birthplace of the Texas blues,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, who declared the day Vaughan Brothers Day.
The sculpture, created by Spanish artist Casto Solano, stands about 10 feet tall near the entrance of the park and features lyrics from the brothers’ song “Tick Tock,” with its theme of universal love: “The sick and the hungry, had smiles on their faces / The tired and the homeless had family all around / Streets and the cities were all beautiful places / And the walls came tumblin’ down.” Also carved into the sculpture are images of the brothers as young men.
Jimmie Vaughan, who attended the unveiling, said the sculpture, titled We Are Music & Music Is Us, is on the exact spot where their mother took a photo of their father in front of his 1947 Ford coupe and where his uncle shot fireworks on the Fourth of July. He also recalled playing music for private parties in the park.
“It’s amazing to think about all this,” Jimmie Vaughan said. “You’re all here, too — thank you. Stevie’s here, too.”
Class of 2021
There will be no honorary degrees or celebrity certification programs for Megan Thee Stallion. The Grammy winning hip-hop superstar has announced she’s graduating from college. “Taking my graduation pics today,” she wrote Oct. 25 on Instagram, showing off her bedazzled graduation cap emblazoned with the words “Real Hot Girl Sh*t,” a nod to her 2019 hit song, “Hot Girl Summer.”
The Houston-bred rapper, whose given name is Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, pursued college studies at Prairie View A&M University before her career skyrocketed. With songs such as “Savage” (with Beyoncé) and “W.A.P.” (with Cardi B), the ubiquitous beauty broke streaming records and made Billboard chart history.
She eventually switched to part-time, online courses to receive a bachelor’s degree in health administration from Texas Southern University. “I want to get my degree, because I really want my mom to be proud,” the three-time Grammy winner wrote. “She saw me going to school before she passed.”
In March 2019, Megan Thee Stallion’s mother, rapper Holly Thomas, died after battling brain cancer. The singer says she plans to use some of her earnings to open an assisted-living facility that her classmates will operate.
Can Christmas come too early? When it comes to a 1994 pop song played incessantly during the holiday season, the answer is, apparently, yes — at least according to a Dallas bar. “All I want for Christmas is You,” a seasonal staple by Mariah Carey, has been banned at the Stoneleigh P bar until Dec. 1.
A sign on its jukebox says the catchy tune “will be skipped” if played before then, and after that date can be played only “one time a night.”
The bar’s general manager says she doesn’t hate Mariah Carey, nor does she hate Christmas, but she says the song is played too frequently, jarring the staff. She added the sign was intended to be lighthearted and had been put up in the bar for the last few years.
Joining the jolly debate, Carey tweeted a photo of herself, dressed in armor, fronting a battle in flames, asking, “Is this the war on Christmas I’ve heard about?” Later, she posted a video of herself clad in a sparkly red Christmas dress, using a giant candy-cane baseball bat to smash Halloween pumpkin lanterns, exclaiming, “It’s time.”
An Amanda Christmas
Meanwhile, Amanda Shires, our 2011 artist of the year, is celebrating this holiday season with a dose of realism on the release of her first-ever Christmas album, For Christmas, out Nov. 12. Shires has already shared the first track from the album, the offbeat “Gone for Christmas,” which takes on a Grinch-inspired groove as Shires shares a list of less-than-orthodox holiday wishes, including a date with Larry David and a trip to Costa Rica or the Caymans. The song features the gospel quartet the McCrary Sisters.
“‘Gone for Christmas’ is a truth,” Shires says. “You’re going to ask for things for Christmas, so what do you really want? I liked the idea of the outlandish mixed with how you actually feel. I was thinking of the ultimate Christmas list, then, at the end, I was thinking about how most of the items on it were impossible.”
For Christmas features nine originals and two covers, including Frank Loesser’s “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” and a darker reimagining of “Silent Night.” The songs touch on the kind of holiday experiences and emotions that often go ignored in Christmas songs, like family drama, forced cheer and burnt-out frustration.
Shires has also set-up the SantaManda Christmas Hotline — 1-833-FOR-XMAS — where fans have the opportunity to call and hear a pre-recorded greeting from the singer encouraging them to leave a message about how they’re feeling about the holidays.
The King of Country, George Strait, has lowered the price of his San Antonio estate to $6.9 million, chopping more than $3 million off its original asking price. Sitting on more than 12 acres, the nearly 8,000-square-foot adobe home was designed and custom-built for the country music superstar by the late sculptor and architect Bill Tull. It first hit the market in May 2018 at $10 million.
Strait, whose hits include “Give It Away,” and his wife Norma worked with Tull on the home, which features hand-plastered walls, 14 custom fireplaces, exposed ceiling beams, stained-glass windows, yellow pine hardwood floors and a copper-topped bar. “This home truly is one of a kind and can never be recreated,” says Strait’s daughter-in-law Tamara Strait of Sotheby’s International Realty.
Speaking of Strait, on the boot heels of his acclaimed headlining performance at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival in October, the King will not, in fact, ride away. He’s returning to the stage with another Texas legend, Willie Nelson, in a shared-stage performance that’s happened just once before in the icons’ storied careers. Strait and Nelson will perform April 29, 2022, as part of the grand opening celebration of Moody Center, a new $338 million venue opening on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
The show, dubbed “Strait from Moody Center,” bills Strait as the headliner along with special guests Willie Nelson & Family. The Randy Rogers Band is listed as special guests.
“I’m so glad I’ll get to ‘sing one with Willie,’ and I can’t think of a better place to do it than Austin,” says Strait, who holds the unique distinction of having more No. 1 songs than any other artist in history. “Willie is an incredible musician and an even better person, so I know this will be a great night together.”
The event, which will give many Texans their first opportunity to check out the new 15,000-seat music venue, also holds special significance in another way, as Texas treasure Nelson turns 89 the night of the show. And who doesn’t want to spend Willie’s birthday with the Red Headed Stranger himself?
An Oasis in Far West Texas
When you imagine a Texas town built around music, Austin naturally comes to mind. But out in far West Texas, along the Rio Grande, Terlingua might make you reconsider. Built as a mercury mining camp in the late 1890s, then abandoned when that market collapsed after World War II, Terlingua went nearly uninhabited for the next three decades — and was even listed as a Ghost Town in the National Register of Historic Places.
You might know it best these days for the area’s chili cookoff, but author W. Chase Peeler writes in his new book, On the Porch: Life and Music in Terlingua, Texas (University of Texas Press), that music has breathed new life into Terlingua. In fact, it’s become something of an oasis for musicians big and small.
Peeler says the Porch referenced in the book’s title is actually a 100-year-old ruin dating back to the city’s mining era and “has since become a spot for informal music-making — jamming.” Growing up in Midland, Peeler was unaware the town had people who lived there year-round, much less the town’s musical nature. He says that although amateur musicians are the heart of the city, more musicians are moving to Terlingua because they’ve found it easier to make a living than in bigger-named music cities like Austin — but that’s making it harder on local Terlingua musicians.
“Living in Terlingua, where music was more prevalent than anywhere I’d ever been, gave me a vision of what might be possible if Americans were encouraged to rethink the role of music in their daily lives,” Peeler writes. “Terlingua is an uncommonly musical town, but its residents are no more genetically predisposed toward music than are the residents of any other town. Terlingua is musical because Terlinguans have chosen music. That choice is what I wanted to understand most of all.”