buddy holly
Buddy Holly.
lightnin hopkins
Lightnin' Hopkins.
janis joplin
Janis Joplin.
roy orbison
Roy Orbison.

Texas Music: Its Roots, Its Evolution

By Jay Brakefield

Among the glories of Texas is its music, which is as diverse and vital as the state and its people. Woven into the musical fabric are country, blues, jazz, spirituals, gospel, rock 'n' roll, Tex-Mex, Cajun and the music of Czechs, Germans and other European immigrants.

These forms have not only coexisted, they have evolved and cross-pollinated as Texas has changed, becoming steadily more urban. Texas is the birthplace of Western swing, which incorporates elements of country, blues, pop, big-band jazz and Latin rhythms, and of conjunto, which combines traditional Mexican music with polkas and other European forms. Texas has nurtured zydeco, the music of French-speaking blacks, which has increasingly incorporated elements of rhythm and blues. . . . 

Willie Nelson and the Birth of the Austin Music Scene

By Joe Nick Patoski

Over the summer of 1970, a loose collective of hippies, free spirits, and dreamers refashioned the old National Guard armory building at the corner of South First Street and Barton Springs, just across the Colorado River from downtown Austin, into a concert hall and beer garden.

The Armadillo World Headquarters was all about music, a shared tolerance for marijuana, psychedelic drugs, and cold beer, and like its namesake had a hard-shell interior with a docile disposition. During its first two years of operation, the Armadillo brought in a parade of touring talent who otherwise would have bypassed Texas, including Ry Cooder, Captain Beefheart, Taj Mahal, Dr. John the Night Tripper, Frank Zappa, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Bill Monroe, and especially Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. . . .

Texas Makes Movies

Texas has been calling itself the Third Coast of filmmaking – third after the West Coast and the East Coast – since about 1978. That boast, which is challenged by Illinois and Florida, was given credibility at the 1984 Academy Awards ceremony, where films made wholly or partially in Texas captured seven of the top eight Oscars. Movie-making is clearly coming of age as an industry in Texas.

The Lone Star State has long been a Hollywood favorite as a film subject and a film setting: California-based companies have been filming in Texas since the 1920s. . . .







From the Almanac

Texas Medals of the Arts

The Texas Medals of the Arts to artists and arts patrons with Texas ties are presented every other February. The awards are administered by the Texas Cultural Trust Council. The council was established to raise money and awareness for the Texas Cultural Trust Fund, which was created by the Legislature in 1993 to support cultural arts in Texas (www.txculturaltrust.org).

The medals, awarded every two years, were first presented in 2001. A concurrent proclamation by the state Senate and House of Representatives honors the recipients, and the governor presents the awards in Austin.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Kenny Rogers, Houston.
Multimedia: Kris Kristofferson, Brownsville.
Architecture: Frank Welch, Dallas.
Music: Yolanda Adams, Houston.
Visual arts: Leo Villareal, El Paso, artist.
Theater arts: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Houston.
Dance: Lauren Anderson, Houston.
Television: Jaclyn Smith, Houston.
Film: Janine Turner, Euless.
Literary Arts: John Phillip Santos, San Antonio.
Journalism: Scott Pelley, San Antonio.
Foundation arts patron: Tobin Endowment, San Antonio.
Corporate arts patron: John Paul and Eloise DeJoria, Austin.
Arts education: Dallas Black Dance Theatre.
Individual arts patron: Lynn Wyatt, Houston.


Lifetime Achievement Award: The Gatlin Brothers of Seminole, Abllene, and Odessa.
Standing Ovation Award: Ruth Altshuler of Dallas.
Multimedia: Emilio Nicolas Sr. of San Antonio, broadcaster.
Architecture: Charles Renfro of Houston.
Music: T Bone Burnett, Fort Worth.
Visual arts: Rick Lowe, Houston, artist.
Theater arts: Robert Schenkkan, Austin.
Dance: Kilgore Rangerettes.
Television: Dan Rather, Wharton.
Television: Chandra Wilson, Houston.
Film: Jamie Foxx, Terrell.
Literary Arts: Lawrence Wright, Austin and Dallas.
Corporate arts patron: Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plano.
Arts education: Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas.
Individual arts patron: Margaret McDermott, Dallas.


Multimedia: Eva Longoria of Corpus Christi, for work as actress, author and philanthropist.
Music: Steve Miller of Dallas.
Visual arts: James Surls, Splendora, artist.
Theater arts: Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, Austin, (Greater Tuna fame).
Dance: Houston Ballet.
Television/Film: Ricardo Chavira, San Antonio, actor.
Foundation arts patron: Kimbell Arts Foundation, Fort Worth.
Corporate arts patron: Texas Monthly.
Arts education: Big Thought / Gigi Antoni, Dallas.
Individual arts patron: Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Barbara Smith Conrad from Center Point near Pittsburg, operatic mezzo-soprano and civil rights icon.
Music: ZZ Top of Houston, legendary band that sold over 50 million albums.
Literary: Robert M. Edsel, Dallas, author and founder/president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.
Visual arts: James Drake, Lubbock, artist.
Theater arts: Alley Theatre, Houston.
Multimedia: Ray Benson, Austin, front man for Asleep at the Wheel and co-writer of the play A Ride with Bob based on the life of Bob Wills.
Film: Marcia Gay Harden, UT-Austin graduate, Oscar-winning actress.
Film: Bill Paxton, Fort Worth, four-time Golden Globe nominee.
Television: Bob Schieffer, Fort Worth, CBS news anchor.
Arts education: Tom Staley, director of the Harry Ransom Center at UT-Austin.
Individual arts patron: Ernest and Sara Butler of Austin, major donors to Austin arts groups.
Corporate arts patron: H-E-B, grocer with a long history of supporting the arts in Texas.



2009 . . . .

artist Robert Rauschenberg
The late Robert Rauschenberg was honored posthumously with a 2009 Texas Medal of the Arts. File photo.