The Roots of Texas Music

The Roots of Texas Music

The Roots of Texas Music

The Roots of Texas Music


"The music of Texas and the American Southwest is as diverse and distinctive as the many different groups who have lived in the region over the past several centuries, " writes Gary Hartman in his introduction to this look at various genres of Texas music. The Roots of Texas Music celebrates the diverse sources of the music of the Lone Star State by gathering chapters by specialists on each of them -- specialists whose views may not have dominated the perception of Texas music to date.

Editor Lawrence S. Clayton conceived this project as one that would not simply repeat the common wisdom about Texas music traditions, but rather would offer new perspectives. He therefore called on contributors whose work had been well-grounded but not necessarily widely published. The result is a lively, captivating, and original look at the musical traditions of Texas Germans and Czechs, black Creoles and Chicanos, and blues and gospel singers, among others.

Hartman's introduction places these repertoires within the larger picture of one of the most fertile musical seedbeds the nation knows. The diverse genres included in the anthology also provide an introduction to the classes, cultures, races, and ethnic groups of Texas and highlight the ways in which the state's musical wealth has influenced the listening habits of the nation.


Lawrence Clayton had a love of all things Texan, but he had a special feel for the music of the Lone Star State. Lawrence’s musical tastes ranged from plaintive cowboy ballads to the frat-boy party sounds of singer/songwriter Pat Green, to whom his younger daughter Lea had introduced him in recent years. and it is from his life-long interest in Texas music that this project sprang.

In 1998, Lawrence decided to assemble a collection of essays that would bring a fresh look to the subject of Texas music. the focus would be on the beginnings of the music to 1950. To accomplish this goal, he enlisted associates, former students, and colleagues whose interests in Texas music matched his own. Lawrence was excited about the project, and his enthusiasm was contagious. After four years and a series of unforeseen delays, the project is complete. Unfortunately, Lawrence did not live to see it through to fruition. in October, 1999, he was diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Fourteen months later, he died, on December 31, 2000.

A few months before his death, Lawrence asked me to sign on as coeditor. At the time, we discussed the need for an introductory or overview chapter, and Gary Hartman accepted the assignment. I later contacted Dave Oliphant to write a chapter on jazz. With the exception of the Hartman and Oliphant essays, the rest of the chapters were written in 1999, with some slight revisions and updates along the way.

Thanks, then, to the authors of each chapter who stayed the course and to Peggi Gooch, Lawrence’s administrative assistant, for her assistance with the preparation of the manuscript. We finally got it done, Lawrence.

—Joe W. Specht McMurry University . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.