Willie Nelson featured in Watt Casey, Jr. book, “My Guitar is a Camera”

photo:  Watt Casey, Jr.

In 1974, while a roadie for a music touring company, Watt Casey Jr began photographing the famous and not yet famous musicians of American music genres of rock-and-roll, blues, country, and folk. Throughout his life he has photographed now iconic artists on and off stage including: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Jerry Garcia, Fleetwood Mac, Muddy Waters, BB King, Steve Miller, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and many others. This exhibit features those captured by Casey’s lens over the last five decades.


Albany cattleman/photographer Watt Casey Jr. relives the eclectic Austin music scene in the 1970s in his impressive new book, “My Guitar Is a Camera” (Texas A&M University Press, $35 hardcover).

In photographs and accompanying text, Casey displays his up close and personal acquaintance with some of the greatest musicians of that era: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Eric Clapton, the Eagles, the Oak Ridge Boys, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kinky Friedman, Merle Haggard, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fats Domino, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Carlos Santana, Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Garcia, Leon Russell, Joe Ely – the list goes on and on.

Casey was a young photojournalism student at the University of Texas when he became fascinated with the music and the musicians playing in Austin. His photography pursuits would take him across the country in the ’70s and early ’80s.

“I had a front-row seat – or better – to one of the most creative, formative, and occasionally crazy times in Texas and American popular music history,” Casey writes.

Rock star Steve Miller encouraged Casey to put this collection together and even wrote a foreword for the book, calling it “a time capsule full of previously unseen treasures.”

Casey was featured this weekend at the Texas Book Festival in Austin. He will sign copies of his book at the Old Jail Art Center in his hometown of Albany from 5-6 p.m. on Nov. 11.

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