Texas music is a living blend of cultures, composed of diverse influences of the past and present that draws people to experience sites and cites around the state. Some will argue that there is a distinctive Texas sound no matter the genre and that it helps define us as Texans. As author Joe Nick Patoski puts it, “I’ve always felt music is the finest of all the fine arts in Texas because it tells our story so well.”
The 85th legislature, by passing H.B. 2079 authored by Rep. Todd Hunter, calls for the Texas Historical Commission to develop a Texas Music History Trail program to promote tourism related to the musical heritage of the state.
The opportunity to share the remarkable story of Texas music history with the traveling public is exciting. The THC is working with musicians, scholars, and the experts at the Texas Music Office of the Office of the Governor to bring together the combined knowledge and skills needed for this project.
You know that Willie moved back to Texas from Nashville in 1972 and broke country music wide open. You know that Selena changed Tejano music forever before being murdered, in 1995. You know that Bob Wills was the King of Western Swing but Milton Brown might have been even better. You know that Blind Lemon Jefferson was a blues guitarist and Blind Willie Johnson was a gospel blues guitarist. You most definitely know the chorus to “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and “Bootylicious."
But you don’t know Texas music. No one does. It’s too big, too broad, too deep. As a matter of fact, we feel comfortable saying there is no one place in human history that has resulted in so much great music.
- Andy Langer and Michael Hall, Texas Monthly, Oct. 2017
The Texas Music History Trail contains two major components – music heritage site designation and creation of a tool for travelers to explore music-related sites across the state.
- The preservation of historic places is the THC’s core mission, and includes the stories of the people and events that make places significant. This program will include a process to designate music heritage sites and provide tourism assistance when needed to help locals improve or create a visitor experience. Designation and directing travel to places raises awareness of their value locally and statewide while encouraging preservation. Economic impacts from increased visitation will sustain these valuable music related resources for the enjoyment and benefit of the local community and the traveler.
- Key to the vision for the Texas Music History Trail is providing authentic “insider” stories through personal itineraries developed with highly influential contemporary Texas artists. These will be the music road trips never before imagined. An online travel tool designed to showcase Texas’ vast musical roots of immigrant, pioneer, and enslaved cultures will include a mix of contemporary voices and venues. The itineraries will lead travelers to the sites and stories of those legendary artists whose talents underpin the acclaimed sounds of Texas today.
More information about the Texas Music History Trail is coming soon.