The Music Scene in Texas

The music scene in Texas has always been popular and well supported. Whatever the genre artists from the state have sold many records and have hailed from a number of different areas within the state. As early as the middle of the 19th century religious music was proving popular with sacred music setting the scene for gospel music to enter. The early singers were linked to churches and other religious establishments, with Washington Phillips from Teague singing in churches and eventually recording 18 of his songs in 1927.

One of the most famous music hall performers, Scott Joplin was born near Teaxarkana in 1868. He later found fame playing in the music halls in Mississippi. As well as playing the piano he was also a composer and in his career, he wrote 44 ragtime pieces with the “maple leaf rag” becoming the genre’s most influential hit.

Scott Joplin playing the piano

Texas has been the birth place of many country musicians. One of the most famous is Kenny Rogers who was born in Houston in 1938. His 1978 album “the Gambler” remains one of the most famous country albums ever to be released.

George Strait is known as the “The King of Country” and he comes from the San Antonio area. He has produced 60 number 1 singles and is the most successful artist ever, in terms of number 1 hits recorded.

Texas blues originated as a result of blues music spreading up from the Mississippi Delta. With the onset of the Great Depression this music moved in the cities and some of its performers included Henry Thomas and “Little Hat” Jones. This music later evolved into blues rock and one of Texas’s most recognizable bands ZZ Top shot to prominence. The band were formed in 1969 in Houston and their blues rock later incorporated synthesizers to give them more a modern sound. Their 1983 album “Eliminator” sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone, and they were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

One of the first artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was Buddy Holly in 1986. Born in Lubbock in 1936 he was one of the most influential figures in the growth of rock and roll during the mid-1950s. Despite dying in a plane crash at the early age of 23, he had already recorded many hits such as “Peggy Sue”, “That’ll Be the Day”, and “Oh Boy”.

Janis Joplin singing at Woodstock

Another artist who died awfully young was the rock star Janis Joplin. Born in Port Arthur, Joplin loved to write songs of social and political significance, and she was a brilliant live performing at the 1960 music festivals that swept through Northern California. At the height of her popularity in 1969 she appeared at Woodstock, but sadly died in 1970 at the age of 27 as a result of a heroin overdose.

Even punk rock has found success in Texas with the capital Austin being seen as a punk city. During the brief period of punk rock Austin attracted the Skunks, Patti Smith, The Police, Blondie and the Clash. This was pretty impressive especially as it was pretty difficult to persuade the British bands to play anywhere in the States.

Texans love their music and there is a close relationship with the music and live events. The reliable climate that many bands and performers revel in the opportunity to play in front of festival crowds.