Texas Music

Editor's note: This is one of three segments in this week's episode of Alt.Latino. Listen to the full show.


Two years ago I got a crowdsourcing email from two guys making a movie about, of all things, the rich musical history of south Texas.

From Texas StandardTerry Allen is a mixed-media southwestern storyteller. David Byrne is a fan of his and a former collaborator. Ryan Bingham and Lucinda Williams are among the dozens of famous musicians who've covered his songs. His artwork is in the collections of the Met, MoMA, the Hirschorn, and various art museums around Texas. He’s written award-winning plays and cemented a reputation as a creative renaissance man.

By Schorle - Picture by Michael Schwarz, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3086794

Texas troubadours are part of American music lore. These Lone Star bards have been ground breakers and hit makers since the dawn of the commercial music industry. However, beyond the established music business there is a “breed apart” of the Texas singer-songwriters who put their art and craft above themselves. They are uncompromising in the creation of tunes and lyrics.

This was the year that all discussion of Guy Clark, standard-bearer of narrative-unfurling Texas songwriting, slipped from present tense into past. After his death in May came innumerable published remembrances, a sold-out tribute show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium featuring the cream of the writerly Americana crop and a meticulously researched biography, Without Getting Killed Or Caught: The Life And Music Of Guy Clark, all of it celebrating the singular sturdiness of his canon.

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