Willie Nelson, Joe Ely, Marcia Ball, Tish Hinojosa, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lyle Lovett...the list of popular songwriters from Texas just goes on and on. In this collection of thirty-four interviews with these and other songwriters, Kathleen Hudson pursues the stories behind the songs, letting the singers' own words describe where their songs come from and how the diverse, eclectic cultures, landscapes, and musical traditions of Texas inspire the creative process.
Conducted in dance halls, dressing rooms, parking lots, clubs-wherever the musicians could take time to tell their stories-the interviews are refreshingly spontaneous and vivid. Hudson draws out the songwriters on such topics as the sources of their songs, the influence of other musicians on their work, the progress of their careers, and the nature of Texas music. Many common threads emerge from these stories, while the uniqueness of each songwriter becomes equally apparent. To round out the collection, Hudson interviews Larry McMurtry and Darrell Royal for their perspectives as longtime friends and fans of Texas musicians. She also includes a brief biography and discography of each songwriter.
- Foreword: Sam Phillips
- Introduction: B. B. King
- Telling Stories, Writing Songs
- Larry McMurtry: Talking Texas
- Darrell Royal: The Art of Listening
- Willie Nelson: Paving the Way
- Floyd Tillman: The Writer
- Sonny Throckmorton: Living to Write
- James McMurtry: Young and Restless
- Steve Earle: A Harder Edge
- Guy Clark: The Storyteller
- Townes Van Zandt: Ultimate Tales
- Blaze Foley: The Character Within
- Jubal Clark: For Love Not Money
- Richard Dobson: Hemingway Lives in Texas
- Billy Joe Shaver: Today's Jimmie Rodgers
- Delbert McClinton: Time to Rock
- Joe Ely: Texas Energy on the Road
- Marcia Ball: Crawlin' Crawfish Circuit
- Kinky Friedman: Off the Wall
- Tish Hinojosa: On Dreaming
- Katy Moffatt: Vulnerable
- Kimmie Rhodes: Grace and Spirit
- Carolyn Hester: A Texas Heart
- Gary P. Nunn: Back to Texas
- Freddy Powers: A Walking Conversation
- Tanya Tucker: Family and Friends
- Jimmie Dale Court: Heritage Matters
- Stevie Ray Vaughan: Generous with Life
- Johnny Winter: Blues on the Edge
- Johnny Copeland: Texas Twister
- Ray Wylie Hubbard: Fears and Dragons
- Johnny Rodriguez: Passion on the Road
- Holly Dunn: The Business
- Sonny Curtis: That'll Be the Day
- Lyle Lovett: My Way
- Robert Earl Keen: The Road Goes On . . .
- Biographies and Selected Discographies
The song was called "Life Without You." It was written when a friend of ours died. What I was trying to talk about was what drugs do to people. It kills people in their heart, and sometimes it's bad enough to kill them physically. You know when I say heart, I mean soul.
The first time I talked to Stevie Ray he had just come out of a rehabilitation program. Our phone interview focused on his new attitude rather than his music. When I got off the phone, I said, "Well, I missed that opportunity." Then I suddenly realized that allowing him to talk about whatever was on his mind was the opportunity. We met several more times, backstage and briefly, once at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio where he followed Chris Holzhaus. Chris was thrilled to be playing on the same stage with Stevie Ray. Stevie Ray was thrilled to be giving Chris the chance at a larger audience.
The last time we talked was November 26, 1989, before his Austin show with Jeff Beck. I was always impressed at the sincerity and generosity of Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was a superstar in his career and in his talent; he was a humble man interested in his family, his friends and the world.
These interviews form part of a larger collection archived at the Texas Heritage Music Foundation in Kerrville, which Kathleen Hudson founded and directs. She is also a Professor of English at Schreiner University, where she writes and teaches about the creative process, mythology, rhetoric, drama, and the power of storytelling.