GOD BLESS TEXAS and KEN BURNS

Sep 6, 2019 by

GOD BLESS TEXAS and                            KEN BURNS

If you’re a fan of PBS, you’ll know this Sunday night is the first in a series of the new Ken Burns film/documentary called Country Music. Last night, we got to see a sneak preview of the seven episodes. Because the preview was at Austin City Limits Moody Theater in the Live Music Capital Of The World, Dayton Duncan, lead producer and writer of Country Music, made sure the cuts we saw were the Texas musicians included in the series. Ohh, I wish I could remember the one liners the likes of Willie, Waylon and the boys popped out during the interviews. The highs and lows of the entertainers were so interesting and made you realize what was going on in their personal lives and the changing music scene—on and off the stage. For instance, I didn’t know a thing about Bob Wills who was not only a musician, but crowd pleasing entertainer. Very much like today’s Mick Jagger. Nor did I realize how many country artist were born in Texas or got there as soon as they could. Did you know Kris Kristofferson’s father was a general in the army? Most of the Texas singers, who we saw in the clips, decided to remain artists and true to their craft—not franchises and marketing projects. Anyway, back to the night. It started off with a Nashville band called Sarah Gayle Meech, then the sneak peek clips, and then the real treat was listening to a panel of uber talented and connected country music aficionados. Dayton Duncan, Julie Dunfey, Ray Benson, and Bill Malone. I was fascinated. Not only because I’m a Texan, as in fifth generation and Texas Rangers in the family, but growing up and hearing tales of when great grand parents, who were West Texas ranchers, would invite all the neighboring ranching families over on Saturday nights and push the furniture to the wall, roll up the rug and dance to a fiddle till all hours in the night. My Mother would tell us of the memory of her Mother cooking dinner at the old stove when my Grandfather would come in from working all day on the ranch, grab her and take a spin around the kitchen, humming an old classic country song. In fact, one of my last memories of my Mother was dancing with her, to an old Ernest Tubb song, Waltz Across Texas. If music is a tonic, then Austin is an elixir—on steroids. What a treasure to have Austin City Limits at my back door. Promise me, on a stack of Willie Nelson albums, you will watch the upcoming Ken Burns special, Country Music. It should be required viewing for all Texans…….right up there with Giant. And, it would be great tutorial for you foreigners who want to learn more about our great state. So, here’s what you do, fry up a good chicken fried steak with real cream gravy, get a good cold beer, prop your feet up and listen to the best music God ever whispered into a songwriter’s ear.

Austin City Limits producer, Terry Lickona, with Bill Malone, Julie Dunfey, Ray Benson, and Dayton Duncan.
BTW, you foreigners click here for a true taste of Texas and listen to Asleep At The Wheel
The Austin skyline has really changed in the 40+ years of ACL

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