Written by Matt Joyce
Looking up into the thick pine canopy of deep East Texas, it’s hard to believe that the pristine forests the pioneers encountered here are long gone.
Austin musician Kevin Russell likes to recount a conversation he had with the late Doug Sahm, a sort of musical godfather to Russell, in which Sir Doug postulated about the great singers of Texas. “He was like, ‘You’ve either gotta have that West Texas dust or that East Texas rust,’” recalls Russell, frontman of the band Shinyribs. “And he said, ‘You’ve got both of those.’”
When it comes to Texas fiddle music, many people think first of Western Swing. But the fiddle features prominently in a range of Lone Star musical styles, and the inaugural Festival of Texas Fiddling aims to showcase that diversity.
Parishioners spill out of the heavy wooden doors of San Elizario presidio chapel and into the village plaza. The December night is cold and blustery, but twinkling lights, glowing luminarias, and tinseled Christmas trees warm the atmosphere. So do spicy bowls of menudo and steaming cups of champurrado, a hot cocoa-and-cinnamon drink thickened with corn masa.
You could argue that San Antonio had a head start in Texas Highways’ countdown of the Texas Top 40 travel destinations. As a historic frontier hub and the state’s oldest big city, San Antonio has captured our collective imagination for centuries. San Antonio’s heritage of fortitude, culture, and diversity embodies Texas spirit at its best—from the Alamo defenders to the Chili Queens to the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Greenville will host the inaugural Bob Wills Fiddle Festival and Contest this weekend, celebrating fiddle music and the legacy of the “King of Western Swing.”
The smell of corn chips permeated the Garcia household in the formative days of the family corn-chip business. “I would go to school and the kids would tell me, ‘Man, you smell good,” recalls Miguel Garcia, who woke up early to fry corn chips in the family kitchen to help make enough for his father, Julio, to sell at a convenience store and for his mother, Lilia, to deliver for catering jobs.
Concordia Cemetery in central El Paso doesn’t look like much at first sight. The disparate collection of headstones, crosses, and mausoleums stakes out a 52-acre expanse of dusty desert in the shadows of residential neighborhoods, a carpet wholesale warehouse, and Interstate 10.
Happy Birthday to Woody Guthrie! The folk troubadour was born on this day in 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. At the age of 17, he moved to Pampa in the Texas Panhandle, where he experienced the hardship of the Dust Bowl—an event that made a lasting impact on his worldview and songwriting.
Nevena Christi points to a label painted on a brick wall inside the El Paso workshop of Rocketbuster Handmade Custom Boots. “Wildcat,” it says. Elsewhere in the 1900 warehouse, similar labels mark sections for ocelots, badgers, and rats. “The building was a trappers’ warehouse,” Nevena explains. “The names of animals are written all over the walls, so the building has always had a history in leather, let’s put it that way.”
The Texas music scene is heading out west later this month—or at least a big chunk of it. About 55 Texas acts are making the trek to Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, Marathon, and Lajitas for the Viva Big Bend Music Festival, taking place July 22-27.