Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

Willie Nelson headlining Matthew McConaughey’s benefit for Texas winter storm relief, “We’re Texas”

Monday, March 15th, 2021
by: CBS Austin

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin’s own Matthew McConaughey has announced a fundraiser for Texans affected by the unprecedented winter storm that left millions without power and clean water.

McConaughey’s “just keep livin” foundation is holding a virtual benefit, “We’re Texas,” scheduled for March 21st, to “raise funds for the long-term efforts necessary to stabilize and rebuild Texas.”

The benefit, hosted by McConaughey and his wife Camila, will feature performances by Willie Nelson, Gary Clark Jr., George Strait, Kelly Clarkson, Post Malone and more.

100% of the donations raised through the just keep livin Texas Relief Fund will support the critical short-term, mid-term and long-term needs resulting from the devastation caused by Winter Storm Uri. We are proudly collaborating with a number of carefully vetted and trusted partners on the ground in Texas.

The virtual event will be streamed on Matthew’s YouTube Channel:

To make a donation, click here.

Now that’s Texan

Monday, December 4th, 2017

“Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke”

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

by: Joe Leydon

An entertaining celebration of an Austin mecca for boot-scooters and two-steppers.

Documentarians Brenda Greene Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas share their unbridled affection for a decades-old Texas dance hall in “Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke.” This storied mecca for boot-scooters and two-steppers may not be much to look at it — truth to tell, it might require major renovation to qualify as ramshackle — but it has survived and thrived since 1964 on Austin’s South Lamar Boulevard, even as condo high-rises have, quite literally, sprung up all around it.

James White

Owner-operators James and Annetta White have plenty of stories to tell, as do frequent Broken Spoke performers like Willie Nelson and Dale Watson, adding to a tasty mix of music and memories that doubtless will make the playlist of many PBS stations, and should wind up a top-selling DVD/Blu-ray souvenir in what passes for a gift shop at the Austin honky-tonk.

James White freely admits that, back in the day, he wasn’t able to afford highly skilled labor to the build the Broken Spoke. Indeed, he says, at some time or another since the ’60s, “Every drunk in South Austin has worked on this place.” Over the years, the slipshod construction has necessitated some, ahem, imaginative patch-up work — including the installation of a tin roof beneath the original ceiling to shelter patrons from leakage during rainfall.

But neither the haphazard structure nor the relatively tiny stage has kept the Broken Spoke from attracting an impressing array of country music performers, ranging from Western Swing icon Bob Wills to living legend George Strait, and drawing international throngs to its well-trod dance floor during the past five decades.


Dancing is practically mandatory at the Broken Spoke, a place where, as one veteran performer explains, entertainers both famous and obscure are expected to “play music for men and women who want to touch each other in public.” Terri White, James and Annetta’s daughter, is on hand most evenings to teach anxious newcomers how to two-step. (Another daughter, Ginny White-Peacock, sews the rhinestone-bedecked outfits that James wears on stage while greeting customers, introducing musical acts and, occasionally, singing with the bands.) Usually, another interviewee notes, there is a marked difference between dance halls and honky-tonks — the former is where you take your wife, while the latter is where you take someone else’s wife. But the Broken Spoke prides itself on being the best of both worlds.

(Not incidentally, “Honky Tonk Heaven” celebrates Austin as a whole as the live music capital of the known universe, primarily because it is a place where people are encouraged to dance — unlike, say, Nashville. “They don’t dance in Tennessee,” claims a Broken Spoke regular. “I don’t know what the problem is. Maybe too much religion.”)

Clocking in at a trim but satisfying 75 minutes, “Honky Tonk Heaven” indicates the enduring and widespread appeal of the Austin institution it celebrates — look quickly, and you see photos of folks like Michael Caine and Dan Rather among the pictures of celebrity performers and patrons — even as it discreetly raises the question of whether such a no-frills, down-home venue can survive amid the explosive modernization of Austin.

James and Annetta White, whose long personal and professional union has been the driving force behind the Broken Spoke, appear determined to keep the family business going as long as possible. Will the day ever come when the last call is announced? Anyone who sees and enjoys this entertaining documentary certainly will hope that the song never ends.


(Documentary) A Wild Blue Yonder Films production. Produced by Brenda Greene Mitchell, Michelle Randolph Faires.  Executive producers, Maria J. McDonald, Scott Mitchell. Co-producers,  Jenny Holm, Alexandra “Ecky” Malick, Andrea Ogden, Cheree Hamblin Hayes.


Directed by Brenda Greene Mitchell, Sam Wainwright Douglas. Camera (color), David Layton, Lee Daniel; editor, Douglas; music supervisor, Andrew Halbreich; sound, Landry Gideon, Ginny Rowland, Matt Bryan, Justin Hennard, Isaac Hammons.


James White, Annetta White, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dale Watson, Alvin Crow, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, Joe Nick Patoski, Cornell Hurd, Ginny White-Peacock, Terri White.

Watch Willie Nelson perform LIVE on QVC Presents today (5 PM ET)

Thursday, September 12th, 2013


Tune in to the “QVC Presents QVC Sessions Live” show on Thursday, September 12 at 5 PM (ET) to see a LIVE performance from Willie! QVC is also offering a special QVC album pre-order bundle of “To All The Girls…” that includes a special bonus disk.

If you miss the show, which I hope you don’t, this QVC exclusive pre-order bundle is available now on, on the QVC apps and by calling 800.345.1515, (while supplies last).

Purchase the QVC bundle with bonus disk HERE.

To All The Girls… is the latest Willie Nelson album set for release October 15th. 

Exclusive Debut


Olivia Restaurant (Austin, Texas)

Monday, April 9th, 2012
Twelve Restaurants With Musical Ties
by:  By Hank Sforzini

The most prominent item adorning the walls of Olivia is a concert poster of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings that was given to Chef James Holmes by his grandfather.

To show his admiration for Nelson, he named Olivia’s fried chicken dish, “Willie Nelson Chicken Fried Steak.” As one food writer observed about the dish’s namesake—“you got the ‘herbs,’ you got the ‘smoke,’ you got the ‘ounces.’” But for a much more literal interpretation, one needs only to look at the ingredients—six ounces of meat, red eye gravy and smashed potatoes. According to Holmes, the dish is “an homage to an unfortunate run-in with the law in El Paso in 2010.”

His love of music does not stop there, though. You can find him selling his fried chicken to festival goers at Austin City Limits, and his second restaurant, Lucy’s Fried Chicken, recently finished hosting its five-day South By Southwest showcase, which included Alejandro Escovedo, Li’l Cap’n Travis and more.

Read about all the restaurants here.   

Bring the Largest Guitar Ensemble Record back to Texas (Austin, 3/20/2011)

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The state of Texas is asking for everyone’s help to bring the Largest Guitar Ensemble Record back home to Texas. On March 20, 2011, at the State Capital in Austin, guitar pickers from all over will join together to beat the record that Poland now holds. Yeah, the country Poland. That’s not right. With all due respect to the great country of Poland — you are going down.  They are calling for 8,000 guitar players.  Wow. 

So if you can make it to Austin in March, you are invited to come and be a Part of the Largest Guitar Jam Ever and an Afternoon of Pickin’, BBQ on the last day of the SXSW music festival, at the Capitol in Austin. Money raised will help raise funds for soldiers and Veterans.

In August 2009, our Troop Support Nonprofit, Voices of a Grateful Nation along with our friends in Luckenbach brought together thousands of pickers from all over Texas and thirteen different states to establish a Guinness World Record for the largest guitar ensemble ever assembled to perform a particular song. You can take part in this event, Pickers Unite and let’s take the record back to Texas!

The Pickin’ Record Resides Now in Poland? Yes, Poland – So Grab Your Guitar and Register. We’ve recently discovered that our record has since been broken by 6,346 guitarists in Wroclaw, Poland. With the support and urging of Casey Monahan, the Director of the Governor’s Texas Music Office, we’ve accepted the challenge to bring that record back home to Texas on Sunday, March 20th on the South Steps of the State Capitol! WE ARE CALLING FOR 8000 PICKERS.

The music starts at 1:00 until 4:00! The record breaking songs will be around 3p.m. Proceeds from your registration fees benefit Welcome Home Project, Soldiers Angels and the Yamaha Music and Wellness programs for returning veterans. For more information go to

Willie Nelson will perform at Austin City Limits’ first show, for the second time

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Artist’s rendition of “W” hotel in Austin, and future home of Austin City Limits Studio.

KVUE television in Austin put to bed all the rumors today, when they confirmed that Willie Nelson will perform at the first Austin City Limits show, for their grand opening in their new location.   No date was given, but they did say that the hotel and condominiums would be completed in December 2010.  Stay tuned. 

How hard do you think it will be to score a pair of tickets to that show?  They probably won’t even sell tickets, there are so many VIPs who will want to go.    But you know they will tape it to share with the rest of the world!

Take the virtual tour of the “W”condos and hotel here.

Thanks to PBS, here’s the original show from 1975.  Willie has played there several times.


Watch the full episode. See more Austin City Limits.

Life at the Broken Spoke! Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

The Broken Spoke is Texas’ most definitive dance hall. It’s not of those fly-by-night, trendy newcomers you see springing up in out-of-business lumber yards or feeds stores on every corner. You can’t build a legend overnight. Owners James and Annetta White have been operating the Austin tradition since 1964 and its reputation for good country music and good Texas cooking has spread world-wide.

Back in the sixties, the Spoke played host to countless country super stars and legends. George Strait, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, and even Bob Wills tipped their hats from the stage at the far end of this old dance hall.

Willie Nelson started playing at the Spoke before he moved back from Nashville when he still had a crew cut and a sport coat – before he brought braids and tennis shoes to the forefront of country fashion. In fact, it’s not a bit unusual to stumble into the Spoke on a Friday or Saturday night and find the Red-Headed Stranger kicked back against an amp, picking with whatever band is the featured entertainment of the night. It’s no secret that the Broken Spoke is one of Willie’s favorite hang-outs when he’s home in Austin.

Through the years, James and Annetta have opened their doors and welcomed to the stage a pretty impressive list of aspiring musicians. George Strait and his Ace In The Hole Band cut their teeth in the music business playing by the neon lights of the beer signs in the Spoke. A wide variety of country superstars from Kris Kristofferson to Kitty Wells have jumped up on that stage and carried on the tradition of good country music that the Broken Spoke is famous for.

It is a favorite hang-out of most of Austin’s “real” country musicians. Don’t call ’em “Hat Acts,” around here…the hats you see on stage at the Broken Spoke are as traditional as the music echoing off the walls.

James White likes to tell a story about another Texas legend, Davy Crockett: “yeah, old Davy came through here on his way to fight at the Alamo and he liked what he saw. He said, ‘James, don’t change a thing ’til I get back.’ And we haven’t changed it – and we’re not gonna change it.”

Although the Broken Spoke isn’t quite as old as the Battle of the Alamo – it captures the mystical charms that makes Texas worth fighting for all over again. There isn’t anything fancy in the red rustic old dance hall. After your inside, be sure to check out James M. White’s tourist trap room with all its memorabilia of country music. And as James always says, “We ain’t fancy, but we’re damn sure country.” Ya’ll come!

For their schedule, and more news and pictures, visit their website at

Willie Nelson’s first songbook

Sunday, June 27th, 2010


If you are flying into the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport , for Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic at the BackYard, don’t forget that it is the gateway to the Live Music Capital of the World.  The airport has exhibits throughout the terminal  reflecting Texas music and musicians throughout, including this one showing pages from Willie Nelson’s hand-written song book, from when he was eleven years old.  Also pictured, his Red Headed Stranger Album. 

(Photos courtesy Wittliffs Collection and ABIA)

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real in Waco, at Brazos Nights (4/2/2010)

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

By Carl Hoover

Country singer-songwriter Wade Bowen’s no stranger to Waco. He grew up here and frequently brings his band back to play shows.

So when asked about playing the opening concert of the city’s free Brazos Nights series, one that draws thousands of music fans to downtown Waco, his first reaction focused not on his coming back to town, but how this show differs from his past visits. “A free show’s going to open up our audience to people who like the environment and the price,” he said, speaking by phone from Little Rock, Ark., where he recently performed. “It’s a different setting for us and the band, too.”

Bowen and his band headline Friday’s concert, which features blues-rocker Lukas Nelson — Willie Nelson’s son — and his The Promise of the Real band as opening act.

Bowen’s Brazos Nights appearance comes on the eve of the April 27 release of a live CD/DVD set recorded at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth. That release includes two CDs and a DVD, a larger-than-usual package than most live country albums. “We put almost the entire show on there,” Bowen explained. “The way things are going in the music industry and in the economy, we wanted to give people their money’s worth.”

“2009 was a huge year for us. We performed at the Grand Ole Opry. We had our first West Coast run. We had record crowds and we won some awards that were fan-based and fan-oriented,” he said. “We recorded the live album, and I got to write with (Texas songwriting dean) Guy Clark.”

Bowen, who lives with his wife and two sons in New Braunfels, is working to polish his songwriting chops, focusing on different styles and approaches. “I’m trying really hard to make my songwriting better,” he said.

Lukas Nelson, 21, finds himself more on the folk-blues-rock branch than country on the musical tree, but feels equally at ease and satisfied with a life in music.

“We’re making it — by all of our standards, we’re successful,” he from Venice Beach, Calif., where he lives.

That means his four-man band, which he and bass guitarist Merlyn Kelly formed about a year ago, has toured East and West Coasts to enthusiastic audiences, even though the band just wrapped up its first EP, “Brando’s Paradise Sessions.”

“We have the EP, we’ve been on YouTube videos and have merchandizing,” he said. “We’re not on iTunes yet, but we’re working on it.”

Nelson, who caught the guitar bug as a 11-year-old after being exposed to the music of Jimi Hendrix on a trip to San Francisco, already has played with the likes of B.B. King, the Dave Matthews Band and Bob Dylan.

Oh, and his dad, too.

We’re together quite a bit, actually,” he said. “It was cool growing up with him. You understood what the music life was about . . . and my dad was a good example of how to stay humble and nice.”

The younger Nelson, whose mother, Annie, is Willie’s fourth and present wife, began music studies at Loyola Marymount University in southern California, only to quit his studies to play full-time in the area. He makes his Waco debut on Friday and is looking forward to playing — but then, he said, that’s true every time he’s onstage.

“This is going to be fun. We’ll jump around and make a show out of it,” he said.

Brazos Nights fans may see a slight difference in Friday’s layout. Ongoing construction at the Waco Convention Center will force a change in orientation in the Brazos Nights main stage. Instead of paralleling University-Parks Drive, the stage will swing slightly toward the Waco Suspension Bridge.

To read the entire article:

SugarHill Recording Studio, Houston

Monday, February 8th, 2010
By Douglas Newman

Nestled on a quiet street just off Old Spanish Trail in southeast Houston is the home of SugarHill Recording Studios, an unassuming metal-clad building with a long, vibrant and sometimes sordid history.

A hidden gem in this city’s (and nation’s) musical history, SugarHill was founded in 1941 as Quinn Recording and remains the oldest continually operating recording studio in Texas. In its 69 years of continuous operation, the studio has recorded virtually every style of American popular music, with special emphasis on the sounds of Texas and the upper Gulf Coast region. It also has hosted some of the world’s most renowned producers and artists, some of whom will likely surprise you.

Indeed, I grew up in Houston as an avid (read: obsessive) music fan, and it wasn’t until three years ago I learned that the 1958 early rock staple “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper was recorded at SugarHill, just a couple of miles from my childhood home.

It was also the site of the original recording of Willie Nelson’s “Night Life” (rejected by his label because it sounded too “jazzy”), a slew of George Jones hits in the mid-1950s, a run of Freddy Fender classics in the mid-1970s, the most gloriously twisted psychedelia by the legendary 13th Floor Elevators and The Red Krayola and the incomparable blues of Houston’s native son, Lightnin’ Hopkins.

What other musical nuggets are hidden among the stacks of reel-to-reel cannisters in the vaults of SugarHill? I headed over to the studio to find out more. (more…)

Willie Nelson in the Studio, in Austin

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Willie Nelson and his band were in the recording studio in Austin today.  Janis from Texas was there, too, and sent these pictures.  Thanks, friend!

Yesterday, Willie and  Mickey Raphael recorded on “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” —  a tribute to Guy Clark.  Willie Nelson and Family are also in the Austin studio recording this week.

Norman Macera and David Von Roehm, back in the saddle again

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Norman and David were back in Texas, filming Willie Nelson and Friends.  Here, they set up for a film shoot in Austin today at the recording studio.   Janis shared these pictures.

Willie Nelson – Owner

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Janis from Texas sent this picture today.   Wonder if she had lunch there today?

Express yourself!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Willie Nelson, recipient of the 2001 Texas Medal of Arts

Go ahead, Texas.  Express yourself.

When the powers in Nashville said they weren’t interested in Willie Nelson’s sound, he came home to Texas, where he made music and more than a little history.  Now you can support the next generation of Texas artists with a “State of the Arts” license plate.  Each plate costs only $25 above the normal registration fee and can be personalized for a little more.  Best of all, the proceeds bring arts programs, education and performances to communities across the state and provide funding to artists in every field, from every background, for all art forms.  Getting your plate is easy.  Jut call the number below, or log onto our website to download an application.