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Written by Matt Joyce

Oliver Jeffers signs children's books in Abilene

Oliver Jeffers has sold millions of children’s picture books, traveled the globe as a renowned artist, and even collaborated on art projects with Irish rock stars U2. But the Belfast-bred, New York-based creator of children’s books had never experienced a parade like the Storybook Parade he took part in in Abilene this past weekend.

Campsite along the Devils River

The Devils River grows more popular every year as word spreads about its crystal-clear water and spectacular setting. With the increase of paddlers embarking on overnight river trips comes increased tensions with the landowners who own the river’s banks.

Overlooking the Devils River in Devils River State Natural Area

Bumping along an isolated dirt road in Southwest Texas, we spotted a group of tan spots on a distant hillside striated by limestone ridges. At first glance it looked like nothing but a scattering of rocks among the ocotillo and creosote bushes. In the focus of binoculars, however, the figures took shape as a herd of aoudads.

Illustration of Turk Pipkin

Is Turk Pipkin a humanitarian creator or a creative humanitarian? Both, it’s fair to say. The Austin showman and writer has made a career of mixing his artistic impulses with philanthropic causes in ways that entertain and build support for altruistic projects around the globe. 

Fiddler on stage

Anybody who’s picked up a violin can feel its delicacy. A full-size instrument weighs less than a pound, with a slender body fashioned of elegant hand-pared wood. Four metallic strings run tightly down a neck that’s skinnier than a matchbox. The sound reverberates from two narrow holes in the body, each shaped like a feather.

Looking down the Devils River.

You find two kinds of paddlers on the Devils River: those who come out here whenever possible and those who will never do it again. Or so the saying goes.

 Aaron Daniel Salinas, Conjunto Champion in the 2014 Big Squeeze accordon competition.

Attention accordion players and fans! The Big Squeeze Accordion Contest returns in February with 10 showcases across Texas aimed at seeking out and promoting young accordion players.

Charley Pride moved to Dallas for the same reasons that people have flocked to the city for generations: He was chasing a dream, and Big D provided easy airport access. That was in 1969, when Pride’s fledgling career in country music was gaining altitude.

 

Wine lovers say the best wines tell a good story, each sip imparting a depth beyond the taste of the fermented grape juice itself.

W.D. Smithers, Courtesy Museum of the Big Bend, Sul Ross State University

The Big Bend’s desert mountains are like magnets for modern nomads seeking isolation and adventure. But the region’s wide-open wilderness hasn’t always been valued as a haven for escape and personal renewal. The promise of mineral riches beneath the rocky remoteness pulled prospectors of the past. These opportunists weren’t looking to get away from it all—they wanted to fill their pockets.

EVA FinalNot much has come easily for Eva Ybarra, except playing music. Since getting her start as a young girl in San Antonio icehouses in the 1950s, the accordionist has carved out a lasting career with her progressive style and forceful singing. Today, Ybarra is recognized as one of conjunto’s most ccomplished players—despite the vagaries of the music business and the headwinds of macho chauvinism—and is known by the esteemed nickname, La Reina del Acordeón (the queen of the accordion).

20170814 Amarillo 1074When sitting in a stockyard café, surrounded by weathered cattlemen in sweat-stained Stetsons and busy waitresses balancing plates of chicken-fried steak and pots of hot coffee, it’s worth opening your ears to absorb a few local tales.

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