Saturday, June 22, 2013

The King of Western Swing

No less an icon than Waylon Jennings sang about him:

“It don’t matter who’s in Austin, Bob Wills is still the King.”

Wills had been in the music business for several years when he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934. He played fiddle and some vocals, with Tommy Duncan on piano and vocals, June Whalin on guitar, his brother Johnnie Lee Wills on banjo, and Kermit Whalin on pedal steel and bass. The lineup changed over the years, but the constant was Wills and his style. The band played dance music and had several hits including ‘Steel Guitar Rag’, and ‘New San Antonio Rose.’ They competed favorably with the best of the big bands, selling records and filling dance halls; keeping people dancing and smiling with their brand of music that became known as Western Swing.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Highwaymen

Their names are as recognizable as any in music history. They were songwriters, singers, guitarists, and distinctive characters – each man a strong personality. All four were stars in their own right, and they joined forces to make music in one of the most unique collaborations we have ever seen. Such a collection of talent could have been a disaster with ego clashes, but these guys were friends first, and apparently, they each checked their egos at the door whenever they performed together. As a group they called themselves ‘The Highwaymen’ – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.