Charley Crockett is nominated in each of the three biggest categories for the Americana Honors & Awards — for his album The Man From Waco, for its song “I’m Just a Clown” and for Artist of the Year.
The nominations were announced May 8. The winners will be announced Sept. 20 at the Americana Honors & Awards show, part of the Americana Music Association’s AmericanaFest in Nashville.
Joining Crockett in the Artist of the Year category are Sierra Ferrell, Margo Price, Allison Russell and Billy Strings. Crockett is still on the upswing as far as establishing his reputation outside of Texas; the Austin-based singer’s win last year for emerging artist represented the first and only time he’d picked up a nomination — until now.
Still to be announced are the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards, including the Legacy of Americana award, co-presented by the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). Last year that award went to the Fairfield Four.
Post Malone is setting the record straight about his health.
On May 4, the 27-year-old rapper shared a selfie on social media and addressed the concerns his fans have recently had about his weight.
“Hello everybody, I wanted to say that I’m not doing drugs,” he wrote in the caption. “I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my weight loss and performance on stage. I’m having a lot of fun performing, and have never felt healthier.”
The Grammy-winning artist admitted that he’s been prioritizing his health and made changes to his diet since welcoming his first child, a daughter, with his fiancée in May 2022.
“I guess ‘dad life’ kicked in and I decided to kick soda and start eating better so I can be around for a long time for this little angel,” he said. “Next up is smokes and brews, but I like to consider myself a patient man … lol!”
Malone added that he’s been in the studio working on new music and thanked his fans for their patience and support.
Wade Bowen celebrated Mother’s Day in a special way. He brought his mom, Glenda, onstage during one of his two sold-out shows at historic Gruene Hall.
“A last-second idea hit me while on stage to sing one of my mom’s favorite hymns and surprise her by asking her to sing it with me,” Bowen says. She’s always been my biggest supporter, and the reason I ever had the courage to do what I do.”
Bowen and his mom share a love of hymns. In 2016, he released Then Sings My Soul … Songs for My Mother as a surprise gift to her. Bowen enlisted the help of his uncles when choosing which hymns to record. Co-produced with Sean McConnell, the 12-track record features classics including “Amazing Grace” and “Take My Hand Precious Lord.”
Chris Strachwitz, a producer, musicologist and one-man preservation society whose Arhoolie Records released thousands of songs by regional performers like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb, died May 5 of complications from congestive heart failure. He was 91.
Admired by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and many others, Strachwitz was an unlikely champion of the American vernacular — a native German born into privilege who fell deeply for his adopted country’s music and was among the most intrepid field recorders to emerge after Texas’Alan Lomax.
He founded Arhoolie in 1960 and over the following decades traveled to Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana among other states on a mission that rarely relented: taping little-known artists in their home environments, be it a dance hall, a front porch, a beer joint, a backyard.
“My stuff isn’t produced. I just catch it as it is,” he explained in the 2014 documentary This Ain’t No Mouse Music.
Ry Cooder would call him “El Fanatico,” the kind of true believer for whom just the rumor of a musician worth hearing would inspire him to get on a bus and ride hundreds of miles — like the time he sought out bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins in Houston. Strachwitz amassed a vast catalog of blues, Tejano, folk, jazz, gospel and Zydeco, with Grammy winners Flaco Jimenez and Clifton Chenier among those who later attracted wider followings.
He and Les Blank produced two important documentaries of traditional music: Chulas Fronteras, a 1975 film about the Mexican-American music of Texas, and J’ai Été Au Bal, a 1989 film about the Cajun and Creole music of southwest Louisiana
“No one has meant more to the preservation and appreciation of Americana roots music than Chris Strachwitz,” Bonnie Raitt wrote in Arhoolie Records’ Down Home Music: The Photographs and Stories of Chris Strachwitz, a book to be published by Chronicle Books this October.
Lizzo has revealed how Irish flute virtuoso Sir James Galway sparked her childhood interest in music, after they played a surprise flute duet at the Met Gala May 1.
The pair appeared at the New York fashion event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, playing “Flight of the Bumblebee.”
Lizzo thanked Galway for the experience in an Instagram post May 3, saying that hearing “The Man With the Golden Flute” when she was learning the instrument at age 11 “changed the trajectory of my life.”
“I learned most of the songs by ear because the sheet music was too difficult to read at the time,” the four-time Grammy winner said, “but eventually I fell in love with virtuosic flute music and memorized ‘The Carnival of Venice’ when I was 14.”
Describing Galway as “truly the king of flutes,” Lizzo added, “I can’t wait to play with you again.”
Galway, 83, told BBC Radio Ulster that the experience was “so fantastic — she’s a great entertainer. When she gets on the stage, she takes full command. It was quite funny — they wanted to give us two chairs, and Lizzo complained, telling them we needed fancy chairs. So they came up with two thrones.”
Galway’s wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, described to BBC Radio 4’s Today program the singer’s excitement when they started rehearsals on Saturday evening. “She came and bowed down to my husband and said, ‘I can’t tell you what an honor this is.’ She kept saying to me: ‘I’m so nervous, I’m so nervous — he’s my idol. I learned with him.’ It was quite, quite spectacular.”
Texas Wild, a new album featuring well-known Texas musicians and up-and-coming talents covering classic Texas tunes is in the works to raise money for Texas parks. The tribute album honors the 100th anniversary of Texas State Parks and will be released this fall.
On May 2, fans got a preview of the album with the release of the first single, “(Hey Baby) Que Paso,” by Fat Tony featuring Paul Wall. The song is a hip-hop take on the classic by San Antonio’s Augie Meyers and the Sir Douglas Quintet. (Meyers would go on to record a hit version with the Tex-Mex supergroup Texas Tornados.) Contributing to the track are members of Grupo Fantasma, the Texas Gentlemen and Sir Woman.
Other tracks on Texas Wild include Shane Smith and the Saints’ featuring Hayes Carll doing Townes Van Zandt’s icoonic “Pancho and Lefty” and Luna Luna doing Selena’s “Si Una Vez.” Ryan Bingham takes a swing at the Toadies’ “Possum Kingdom,” while the Toadies try out Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
The person charged with putting the whole thing together is Austin-based singer-songwriter Walker Lukens, known for such projects as the Song Confessional podcast and musical outfits like Golden Dawn Arkestra, Darkbird and Coco Zandi.
“The artists on this album grew up on this music,” Lukens says. “When you’re making a record, the single hardest thing to do is make sure all the songs are good. The nice thing about making a tribute album is, well, you’re starting with great songs.”
Elsewhere on the album, Shakey Graves and Jess Williamson reinterpret the late Daniel Johnston’s outsider classic, “True Love Will Find You in the End,” turning the tune into a piece of slow-burn Americana, a pedal-steel-driven ballad.
The most startling track might be Adrian Quesada featuring US and the Soul Supporters doing Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name.” It’s a passionate musical argument for translating electronic R&B into the old-school kind; the track has bits of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s but sounds like it could only have happened now.
Such is the nature of Texas music. Then again, Texas State Parks is lucky to have such thoughtful musicians who love the great outdoors. Such is the nature of Texans.
Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen are once again teaming up for Hold My Beer Vol. 3, which arrives July 7. The latest entry to their Hold My Beer collection, Vol. 3 features six songs exploring love, life on the road, nostalgia and, of course, hoisting a cold one.
Rogers and Bowen first joined forces in 2015 when they released Hold My Beer, Vol. 1. Their newest project, much like the first EP and 2020’s Vol. 2, is a collection made for drinking, dancing and reminiscing, with the artists trading off as they sing about heading to the bar after a broken heart in “I Moved Into A Bar” or looking back on their youth in “Dumb Kids.” Rhett Akins joins Rogers and Bowen on the track “We Ain’t The Only Ones,” where the trio shout out fellow Texas artists like Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson and Cody Johnson in their ode to putting in miles on the road.
“Hold my Beer Vol. 3 is finally here,” Rogers says. “I absolutely love making these records with Wade and am so proud of these songs — we wrote every single one. Listen responsibly.”
“If you don’t have fun listening to these songs, I feel sorry for you,” Bowen adds. “No reason we should have this much fun ‘working.’ Grab some friends and drink a few for us!”
Following the release, the two friends will hit the road on the Hold My Beer Tour beginning in July. The trek will run through Texas, kicking off in College Station July 19 and stopping in Lubbock, Dallas and Corpus Christi as well as Billy Bob’s Texas for two shows in Fort Worth before wrapping in Helotes on Aug. 19.
A popular East Music music hall is closed until further notice due to massive flooding following storms May 10.
Banita Creek Hall, located at 401 W. Main St. in Nacogdoches, released a statement on its Facebook page May 11. The Nacogdoches area received anywhere from between 5 and 8 inches of rain, resulting in flash flooding.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, we are closed for the foreseeable future. We will keep you updated and let y’all know when we will open our doors back up to the public.”
Willie Nelson just got an only slightly late 90th birthday present: an impending induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The music legend was one of seven music figures announced May 3 as having been voted into the hall, along with Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, George Michael and the Spinners.
These 13 honorees will be celebrated in an induction ceremony and concert to take place Nov. 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Willie is an especially topical pick, having celebrated turning 90 on April 30 with a two-night all-star birthday salute at the Hollywood Bowl. He represents the further breaking of a logjam that seemingly kept classic country artists from getting in, as busted up by Dolly Parton last year. (Presumably Nelson will not be trying to reject his nomination this year, as Parton briefly did in the previous cycle.)
“It’s long overdue,” says Sykes. “And I think Dolly Parton getting inducted last year opened up the eyes of a lot of our voters to understand that country is a part of rock ’n’ roll right next to gospel and R&B. I think that also shined a light on the incredible contributions that Willie’s made in, what, 98 records that he’s made over the years. So it was great to see him get so many votes from the 1,200 voters. Now, remember, Hank Williams, Brenda Lee, Johnny Cash, they’re all in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but there was a long dearth of country artists that contributed to rock ’n’ roll that had gone unnoticed before we’ve seen two iconic country artists get recognized in the last two years.”
Two months after winning two more Grammys, Nelson received a new kind of honor: an endowment at the state’s flagship university.
The 90-year-old country music icon, who in the 1980s helped launch the Farm Aid benefit concert, is the namesake of the new Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, the school announced.
The endowment will fund research and student fellowships benefiting rural and farm communities. The “Always on My Mind” singer has raised more than $70 million for family farm owners through Farm Aid, according to the school, which also plans to honor the Texas native at a May gala.
“Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans,” Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, said in a statement.
At the Grammys in February, Nelson won best country album for A Beautiful Time and best country solo performance for “Live Forever.” He has won a dozen Grammys over the course of his career.
In addition to the endowment, Nelson will receive the LBJ Foundation’s Liberty and Justice for All award, joining a list of recipients that include former U.S. presidents, members of Congress and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Dallas Observer has compiled an impressive list of 10 music museums in the state outside of Dallas that are worthy of a visit. “Museums all over the state are dedicated to educating visitors about Texas’ greatest artists,” writer Ava Thompson notes. “These museums come in all sizes, from humble storefronts to grandiose buildings.”
So if you’re looking for something interesting and educational to do this summer, considering the world of Texas music through any of the following:
• Texas Music Museum, Austin
Exhibitions address East Austin’s African American music history and other Texas music pioneers. Learn about Clifford De’Shun Boyd, Virgie Carrington DeWitty, Ernie Mae Miller and others who’ve lit up Austin’s Red River Street.
• Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum, San Benito
Learn about conjunto music in the home of Narciso Martínez, the father of the genre. Recently reopened by founder Ray Avila Sr.’s daughter, Patricia Avila, the museum is dedicated to conjunto music coming from South Texas and northern Mexico.
• Heart of Texas Country Music Museum, Brady
Its focus lies especially in curation of pieces by the legendary tailors in the business, displaying Western-wear designer Nathan Turk’s flashy rhinestone dress for Rose Maddox.
• Texas Country Music Hall of Fame & Tex Ritter Museum, Carthage
Reach back in time at the Tex Ritter Museum, which honors the country music pioneer, his friends and other Texas country legends like Jim Reeves.
• Texas Polka Music Museum, Schulenburg
The museum honors Czech, German and Polish polka artists in Texas and the DJs who’ve promoted the music.
• Houston Blues Museum, Houston
The museum honors blues musicians of the Gulf Coast and all of Texas through historical preservation and education.
• Austin Museum of Popular Culture, Austin
Home to a range of exhibits and pop culture ephemera, the museum boasts a collection of vintage posters and other artifacts of the city’s music history, including memorabilia following the closing of the Vulcan Gas Company music club in 1970.
• Selena Museum, Corpus Christi
Built in 1998 by the Quintanilla family, the museum at her former recording studio gives fans a look at her stage outfits, awards and personal items.
• Sherman Jazz Museum, Sherman
Here you can rummage through the vinyl albums (with liner notes) of Ella Fitzgerald or dance band artists, or check out the trumpets of Doc Severinsen, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie.
• Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock
The gallery illuminates the singer’s tragically short life in West Texas all the way to his stardom in New York City, featuring his glasses, guitar picks and shoes. The center also showcases contemporary music and artwork
Zach Neil, the 2022 Texas Country Music Association’s Male Artist of the Year, has earned five consecutive Top 40 Texas country singles — not bad for a guy who planned to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a farmer.
Farming was the family business and still is, but when Neil was 16 years old, his country band entered a Battle of the Bands”competition at his high school and tied for first place.
It wasn’t because they were the best, Neil says, but because they were different. While other kids were playing rock, his band was playing classic country.
He soon found the confidence to apply the work ethic he learned from his family and focus on a career in music. His new single, “All The Pretty Horses,” mixes cinematic drama and heartfelt lyrics, an appropriate combination for a hit country song.
Cover promo photo Chad Cochran