Willie Nelson is turning 90 this year, which, naturally, calls for a big celebration. That’s why his party will be a two-day concert — April 29 and 30 — at the Hollywood Bowl.
Six decades into his career, the singer-songwriter, author and activist is still going strong, with a new album — I Don’t Know a Thing About Love — coming in March and a five-part documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. He’s also nominated for four Grammys this year.
The lineup for the event is stacked with dozens of performers, like Snoop Dogg, Neil Young and Sheryl Crow. But it wouldn’t be a Texan’s event without Texas music.
The Texans who’ll infiltrate Hollywood for the weekend to help Willie celebrate include Charley Crockett, the Chicks, Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges, Miranda Lambert, Edie Brickell, Lyle Lovett, Norah Jones, and Nelson’s sons, Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, the latter of whom performs as Particle Kid.
Additional artists will be announced later, according to the event website, so it’s possible more Texans will join the bill.
Tickets for the concerts went on sale to the general public Jan. 28.
Beyoncé made history at the Grammy Awards Feb. 5 — and celebrated after with some famous friends.
The “Cuff It” singer, 41, shared a series of photos from Sunday on Instagram, and gave fans an intimate peek at the ways in which she spent the night that made her the Grammys’ most-awarded artist of all time.
Several photos included husband Jay-Z, 53, who also has his own place in the Grammy history books: heading into the night, the couple was tied for most-nominated artists of all time, with 88 nods each.
Beyoncé won four of the nine awards she was up for at the show, and, in one black-and-white photo, she relaxed on a bed with her new hardware surrounding her.
In another snap, she posed happily with Lizzo (whose hit “About Damn Time” won record of the year), mom Tina Knowles-Lawson and longtime friend and former Destiny’s Child group mate Kelly Rowland.
Still, the night was not without controversy, as many believed the singer was again slighted by the Recording Academy in the major categories. Her husband explained why he believed his wife’s Renaissance deserved to win album of the year.
“Look what it’s done to the culture,” JayZ argued. “Look how the energy of the world moved. They play her whole album in the club. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. The whole entire joint — like, everything? Every remix is amazing. Everyone’s inspired. It has inspired the world. When it just inspires creativity, that’s an album. That has to be album of the year.”
In related news, Beyoncé will return to Houston in September for her Renaissance World Tour.
The singer released Renaissance, her seventh studio album, in July, and this will be her first solo tour in over six years.
The tour will begin on May 10 in Stockholm and travel throughout Europe before coming to North America with shows in Toronto, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and her hometown, Houston.
The Houston leg of the tour will be on Sept. 23.
Tickets will open on Monday, Feb. 6, with a presale to BeyHive members.
Meanwhile, Maren Morris is traveling back to her roots as her she joins the entertainment lineup at the American Western Weekend kicking off March 8 at Globe Life Field in Arlington. The Grammy-nominated singer will be closing out the American Contender Tournament Finals on Thursday, March 9.
Morris’ Humble Quest debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s top country albums chart and broke the record for most first-day and first-week streams globally on Amazon Music for a country album by a female artist, with the album’s hit single “Circles Around This Town” breaking Amazon Music’s record for most streams for a country song debut by a female artist.
Despite her success, Morris has always remained a hometown girl at heart, making her a fitting complement to the in-arena sports action kicking off March 8.
Morris is also making her Austin City Limits debut Feb. 11 as part of ACL’s season 48.
“Like few others in today’s Country music scene, Maren captures the spirit of legends like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton while blazing her own path with her raw, personal and sometimes even rowdy songs,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “She’s a perfect fit for ACL, and this show is one for the ages.”
Texans are proving their loyalty to another country legend, George Strait, after a comedian from the Lone Star State poked fun at one of Strait’s songs in the Latinx stand-up comedy HBO series, ENTRE NOS.
Promoting its series, HBO posted a TikTok video of comedian Ralph Barbosa, who was born and raised in Dallas, explaining that he doesn’t really vibe with country music the way his peers do.
“It’s not my thing. but my friends are like, ‘Nah, man, you don’t like country because you haven’t listened to George Strait,’” Barbosa says. “They’re like, ‘George Strait is one of the greatest of all time. He’s from Texas. We’re from Texas. And he makes these badass songs.’”
Barbosa went on to say his friends played him Strait’s song, “Take Me To Texas.” The comedian joked about how there’s a lyric that says, “Take me to Texas 200 years ago.” He pauses with a raised eyebrow, saying “I don’t know, man, I can see how some people might like this song, but that’s not for me, though.”
In the song, Strait sings, “Take me to Texas 200 years ago / Where a pride rose from the ashes of San Jacinto / It still beats in every heart.” On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston and some 800 Texans defeated Santa Anna’s Mexican force of approximately 1,500 men at the Battle of San Jacinto, shouting “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” as they attacked.
The joke sent the video into viral status with over 4.8 million views and more than 511,000 likes. Many people in the comments came to Strait’s defense, saying he’s a legend who’s fond of Mexico.
“George loves Mexico,” katpad1389 wrote. “He embraces the whole culture.” Another user, st.antihereic, noted, “George Strait did a music video in Jalisco — check out ‘Codigo.’” (Coding 1530 is a brand of tequila that inspired Strait’s song.)
“They should have played you one of him singing in Spanish. Legit,” michaelbossladii wrote, while emiblu420 added, “King George is the best.”
When New York-based jazz performer José James released No Beginning No End 2 (2020), a collaborative effort that paired the forward-looking vocalist with a global all-star cast, it was apparent the genre-defying artist was back to stake his claim as the jazz singer for the hip-hop generation.
In that light, his new project, On & On: José James Sings Badu, finds James throwing down the gauntlet on the past 100 years of jazz singing while charting a path forward for the culture.
“It’s simple,” James explains. “Jazz singing has always been about interpreting the highest level of standards of your time. And for my generation, Erykah Badu has been one of the most innovative and incisive songwriters. Her work has proven to be groundbreaking in a social, musical and artistic sense.”
The album, produced by James, investigates the breadth of Badu’s iconic catalog, from her groundbreaking debut album Baduizm to her contemporary masterpieces New Amerykah Pt. 1 and 2.
But make no mistake: this is thoroughly a jazz album. Conceived in the spirit of Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, James artfully draws upon his experiences with modern masters like Robert Glasper to create a new sonic landscape. He also builds on his reputation as a modern jazz tastemaker by introducing featured horn players Ebban Dorsey and Diana Dzhabbar. “As an artist and performer, Badu has consistently created opportunities for young artists both on and off her stage,” James explains. “It only made sense to include the next generation.”
View this post on Instagram
Kacey Musgraves hushed a chattering Grammy Awards audience Feb. 5 when she played late country icon Loretta Lynn’s signature song, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” during the broadcast’s In Memoriam segment. Adding to the emotions of the moment, Musgraves played the song on her hero’s 1963 Epiphone acoustic guitar, complete with Lynn’s name emblazoned along the fretboard in mother of pearl.
Hours after the broadcast ended, Musgraves tweeted about how much it meant for her to honor Lynn in this unique way: “10-year-old me singing Loretta’s songs would never have imagined I’d be putting my hands right where she made magic for decades. (Her 1963 Epiphone was a dream to play.).” Musgraves included two screenshots from the performance, including one in which a black and white image of Lynn strumming the same instrument was projected over Musgraves’ shoulder.
“Thank you to @LorettaLynn’s daughters for trusting me with this moment of honor tonight. She paved my path,” Musgraves added. The official account for Lynn — who died in her sleep in at 90 at her Tennessee home — responded with an in-kind thanks to Kacey for creating such a special moment.
“Thank you @KaceyMusgraves, for this beautiful tribute,” it read. “The love all of you have shown us for our mom is beyond words.”
Twenty years ago, another Texas-based singer had her Grammy moment. Despite tough competition from Bruce Springsteen’s 9/11-inspired album The Rising and Eminem’s blockbuster The Eminem Show, it was Norah Jones who dominated the 2003 show. The then-23-year-old newcomer swept the night’s big four categories (album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist), thanks to her breakout single “Don’t Know Why” and her ubiquitous debut album, Come Away With Me, which earned eight awards total that night.
Looking back on it 20 years later, Jones admits, “It feels like another life.” And yet, that was only the beginning of her ongoing relationship with the Grammy Awards — this year, she nabbed her 19th nomination for I Dream of Christmas (Extended), up for best traditional pop vocal album (won by Michael Bublé).
Reflecting on her ’03 Grammy success, Jones recalls, “Winning a bunch of Grammys was the last thing I thought was gonna happen. I was so busy working, and I felt like I was riding this wave with my band. By the time the Grammy stuff started happening, I don’t even think I was in the States. I don’t even remember where I was when I got the word I was nominated. That’s how quick everything was happening.
“And then, when it came to the actual ceremony, it was just the craziest night. By the end, I was embarrassed that I kept going up there, and I felt like people were annoyed with me. But I also recall Aretha Franklin in the front row, bopping along to ‘Don’t Know Why.’ I remember that so vividly.”
“Hell yeah, they did it right picking me,” says Amanda Shires on being named one of Record Story Day’s 2023 ambassadors. Record Store Day occurs this year on April 22.
Unlike most of the previous stars to hold the position (like last year’s ambassador, Taylor Swift), Shires actually did time as an indie store clerk. She can also vouch for her co-diplomat, Jason Isbell, a fellow singer-songwriter and, coincidentally, her husband. Together, these Americana-style rock ’n’ rollers know of what they speak when it comes to celebrating brick-and-mortar shops and/or vinyl — two phenomena enjoying resurgences after having been considered at death’s door at the Napster-happy turn of the century.
“They’re the ‘First Couple’ of record stores, as far as I’m concerned,” says Record Store Day cofounder Carrie Colliton.
San Antonio native Santiago Jiménez Jr., a Grammy-nominated musician, will join the UTSA School of Music’s spring lineup as part of its guest concert series, En Vivo – In the Hall.
En Vivo will feature a night of conjunto music as Jiménez Jr. performs songs from his newest album, Still Kicking, and shares how each song was inspired. The selection of songs will capture an authentic San Antonio sound that harkens back to a period when conjunto music was at its peak in the early 1960s. The concert will give the audience a look into the world of conjunto music and Mexican American culture.
The Jimenez family has a legacy of music and actively contributes to Mexican American culture. Jiménez Jr.’s older brother, Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez, is one of the most famous Tejano accordionists. His father, Santiago Jiménez Sr., was inducted into the Tejano Music Awards Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2003 for his contributions to Mexican American culture and conjunto music.
“Music comes from the traditional Jimenez family,” Jimenez Jr. says. “My grandfather, Don Patricio Jimenez, was a musician in the late 1800s, and then papa started recording in Panama in 1928. Flaco started recording with my dad when he was 12 years old. “I told my dad, ‘If you ever pass away, I’m going to keep your music alive.’”
In October, Variety reported that Lyle Lovett would guest star on the Nov. 2 episode of Big Sky: Deadly Trails, titled “Come Get Me.”
The outlet noted the “Cowboy Man” songster would play Tex, “a seemingly well-mannered cowboy and tracking specialist with a hidden menacing side.”
Well, after his brief stint on Big Sky, the four-time Grammy winner reprised his role as the menacing cowboy in the epic two-part finale. Lovett returned to the crime drama during the Jan. 11 episode titled “Are You Mad?” and quickly reminded viewers how dangerous his character truly is.
If you haven’t seen the finale, we won’t spoil it for you. But you’ll want to check it out.
Rodney Foster, Alejandro Escovedo, Gary P. Nunn, Rodney Clawson and W.C. Clark will be inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association Hall of Fame Feb. 25 at Austin’s Moody Theater.
Escovedo, Nunn, Clark and Foster will also perform during the production. Kacey Musgraves will join Foster for his performance. Other performers will include Kelly Willis, Ronnie Dunn, Randy Rogers, William Beckmann and David Lee.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at acllive.com
Kaitlin Butts, an up-and-coming country singer, has made her impact on the Texas Country Charts with her ode to the Johnny and June Carter Cash hit “Jackson” that was recorded in 1967.
Butts’ version of “Jackson” is at No. 4 on the chart and virtually tied with Casey Donahew’s “Starts in a Bar,” at No. 3, for the most radio station spins of the week.
Butts’s “Jackson” doesn’t sound anything like Johnny and June Cash’s song, and Butts’ lyrics don’t indicate the songwriter fully understood what the original “Jackson” was all about.
The Cash version uses the city of Jackson, Tennessee, as a metaphor of where the man in the relationship threatens to go sow his wild oats because his marriage is stale.
But Butts’ much slower and sadder version isn’t about an escape from a stale marriage. Instead, “Jackson” represents the hotbed of a rockin’ relationship. The woman in Butts’ version longs to go to Jackson, to “ride off just like Johnny and June.”
In the original, however, June chastises Johnny for even wanting to go. “They’ll laugh at you in Jackson,” June threatens. “They’ll lead you ’round town like a scalded hound with your tail tucked between your legs.”
After months of anticipation, the grand re-opening of the Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame is set for Feb. 18. Located in San Benito, the museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the legacy of conjunto music and its creators.
Featured in the museum are the accordions of conjunto pioneers Narciso Martínez, Pedro Ayala, Ricardo Guzmán, Enrique Vela, Mario Montes and Gilberto Pérez. One exhibit is dedicated to accordionist Martínez and bajo sexto player Santiago Almeida, considered the “fathers” of regional conjunto music. Ethnomusicologists credit them with fusing European accordion rhythms with Mexican roots musica ranchera (ranch music).
The museum is set to open Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. with food, music and some history, followed by a dance with music by Rodney Rodriguez y Los Cucuys at the legendary La Villita Dance Hall.