Iconic Texas Music
Texas music is as unique and wide-ranging as the people who inhabit the Lone Star State. Genres include country and western, rock and roll, Tejano, blues, jazz and gospel – sometimes all rolled into one. More than anything, Texas music is defined individually, by each and every musician who call the state home.
As the birthplace of musical pioneers in many diverse fields, it’s not surprising that Texas is viewed as a primary instrument of American music. Many iconic musicians originated in Texas – Buddy Holly, Bob Wills (“The King of Western Swing”), Selena, Ornette Coleman, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Blind” Lemon Jefferson, Roy Orbison, ZZ Top, and Janis Joplin to name a few – and left their indelible influences on the genres that followed. These diverse, talented Texas musicians have worked together to form new variations of music, offering an unmatched spirit and experience for their listeners.
Nothing brings Texans together like good music, and there’s no shortage of festivals and events to keep the party going year round. Since 1972, the Kerrville Folk Festival has served as an international songwriter’s festival, featuring more than 100 songwriters and their bands, as well as arts and crafts, kid's concerts, food and camping. In Hallettsville, 100 miles east of San Antonio, the Championship Fiddlers Frolic brings together the best fiddlers in the United States and around the globe for four days in April. In San Antonio, the annual International Accordion Festival celebrates numerous multicultural music traditions and has earned recognition as one of the premier events in the Southwest. Along the coast, Corpus Christi has hosted the annual Texas Jazz Festival for more than 50 years, promoting the best of American Jazz. The festival has grown over the years, and today, festival goers can listen to local and area talent on three stages beneath large shade trees and next to historic homes.
Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and is also home to several festivals that have grown from the roots up, including South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits (ACL). No matter what time of the year or what time of the day, one can find the echoing sounds of music reverberating around the city. Every spring, Austinites prepare for SXSW, which features nearly 2,000 up-and-coming bands on more than 80 stages, and has evolved to include both interactive media and film components, bringing in noted filmmakers and talented multimedia artists. Each fall, concert goers eagerly await ACL, the annual festival that brings artists of all genres – from hip hop and country, to blue grass and electronic – to the eight main stages of Zilker Park. This year the festival is expanding to two back to back weekends with the same lineup in order to accommodate more than 100,000 fans. The week in between official ACL festivals will also be full of festivities and live music in Austin!
Other noteworthy mainstays in the Texas music industry include established and legendary dance halls and venues across the state. Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Lubbock are world-renowned for live music, but equally beloved by music lovers are the Texas back roads driven to visit the dance halls in the quaint communities of Luckenbach, Gruene and Bandera.
Texas celebrates all its cultures, histories and people, past and present, through the diversity of its music. Visit www.TravelTex.com
and click on Texas Radio for 24-hour streaming Texas music. There are suggested itineraries, stories that bring this vital culture to life, and information and reviews on some of the state’s best museums, halls of fame, live venues and festivals.