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Handbook of Texas Music

Handbook of Texas Music
This project is in partnership with the Texas Music Office (Office of the Governor) and the Center for Texas Music History (Texas State University).

What is it about Texas music? Trying to define it is like reviewing a dictionary. There is way too much detail to try to pin it down. However, this much is clear: Texans have given American music its distinctive voice, and that's no brag, just fact.

Without Lubbock native Buddy Holly there could have been no Beatles. Without Ornette Coleman of Fort Worth bebop would still be the cutting edge of jazz. Texans such as Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, Doug Sahm, and ZZ Top permanently and irrevocably changed rock music. Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Lead Belly gave blues music its essence. Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and more recently the Dixie Chicks have redefined modern country music. Van Cliburn helped tear down the Iron Curtain through his passionate interpretation of classical piano. Milton Brown and Bob Wills forged the genesis of western swing, while Tex Ritter and Gene Autry popularized Texas's long tradition of cowboy music in Hollywood and often sang songs written by yet another Texan, Cindy Walker. No less than six uniquely American forms of music—rock-and-roll, conjunto, jazz, blues, Tejano, and western swing—either were invented in or first flourished in the Lone Star State.

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Acknowledgments »

Many individuals and institutions devoted much effort to assist in the publication of the first and second print editions of The Handbook of Texas Music, as detailed in the “Acknowledgments” of The Handbook of Texas Music, Second Edition. This online edition and its ongoing work owe a debt of gratitude to all of them. Additionally, I would like to thank all of the current staff of the Texas State Historical Association, including CEO Brian Bolinger, Chief Historian Randolph B. “Mike” Campbell, and COO Steve Cure. Thanks to…

Music Advisors »

Teresa Palomo Acosta Poet and Coauthor of Las Tejanas: 300 Years of History

Gregg Andrews (Doctor G & the Mudcats) Singer–songwriter and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History Texas State University

Cathy Brigham, Ph.D. Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, Society for Ethnomusicology