Saturday, May 28, 2011

Notable West Texas Musicians

I often forget just how many musicians originate from West Texas, although admittedly few stick around very long once they make it, leaving various places of origin to claim a piece of the fame because such-and-such went to 7th grade in their town. That is, it is difficult to define where people are actually from. Thus, I am working off of a fairly broad base in terms of establishing someone's residency in a town. Some of the following only spent time in West Texas, so yes, the list is fairly arbitrary.

Further, establishing the borders of West Texas are difficult to define. I define it here as a rough line from about Vernon to Abilene to San Angelo to Del Rio. No, it isn't exact, nor even straight, for that matter, but I am working off of my own general conception of what should qualify.

Please comment regarding additions/edits, and I will change the list accordingly. I know that "notable" is a subjective thing, but probably your cousin Billy from Sweetwater doesn't count. It gets increasingly tricky in regard to what is considered notable in this day and age, so I have been a bit conservative and haven't listed very many artists from the last decade or so.

You can find additional musicians at the West Texas Music Hall of Fame.

Terry Allen - Lubbock
Jerry Allison - Lubbock
Tommy Allsup - maintained a studio in Odessa
Ryan Bingham - Midland/Odessa
At the Drive-in - El Paso
Carl Bunch (drummer) - Big Spring
Guy Clark - Monahans
Sonny Curtis - Meadow
Mac Davis - Lubbock
Jimmy Dean - Plainview
Joe Ely - Lubbock (born in Amarillo)
Explosions in the Sky - 3 members originally from Midland
Radney Foster - Del Rio
Lefty Frizzell - Big Spring
Bobby Fuller - El Paso
Larry Gatlin - Odessa (born in Seminole)
Susan Gibson - Amarillo
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Lubbock
Pat Green - Lubbock
Woody Guthrie - Pampa
Butch Hancock - Lubbock
Tommy Hancock - Lubbock
Micah P. Hinson - Abilene
Buddy Holly - Lubbock
Waylon Jennings - Littlefield
Virgil Johnson - Odessa/Lubbock
Bobby Keys - Lubbock/Slaton
Buddy Knox - Happy
Bob Livingston - Lubbock
Rob Lowe (Balmorhea) - Midland
Los Lonely Boys - San Angelo
Lloyd Maines - Lubbock
Natalie Maines - Lubbock
Delbert McClinton - Lubbock
Richie McDonald - Lubbock
Hoyle Nix - Big Spring
Jody Nix - Big Spring
Gary P. Nunn - Brownfield
Roy Orbison - Wink/Vernon
Lee Roy Parnell - Abilene
John Rich - Amarillo
Dan Seals - McCamey
J.D. Souther - Amarillo
Sparta/Sleepercar - El Paso
Ernest Tubb - San Angelo
Tanya Tucker - Seminole
Don Walser - Brownfield/Lamesa
Don Williams - born in Floydada
Bob Wills - Turkey


Anonymous said...

If you want to expand your list take a look at the Bands-Musicians Index

WESTEX said...

Carl Bunch was an Odessa boy. As for Roy Orbison, Wink might have been the roots, but it was Odessa where he first started to hit. Also there's the Sparkles of Brownfield/Lubbock who were hands down the most influential act in the region during the mid-60s. Just about every boy in every town who saw the Sparkles wanted to do the same Lucky Floyd and his group were doing. And this list could go on and on and on...

Anonymous said...

You are incorrect, WESTEX, Carl Bunch was born and raised in Big Spring. He spent time in Odessa as an adult. He's my cousin so I definitely consider myself an authority, lol. BTW, he'd also correct you, but probably with some swear words attached as well, jk.

Also, Lefty Frizzel and his family were from Forsan, which is just outside of Big Spring. However, it's not uncommon for people from the "outskirts" towns near Big Spring (i.e. Gail, Coahoma, Forsan, Elbow) to claim Big Spring as their hometown, helped also since many were born in Big Spring since there are no hospitals in those outside farm/ranch/oil field communities.

Anonymous said...

Carl Bunch was a Junior at Odessa High School when Buddy Holley came to Odessa to recruit his band for the Winter Tour in which Holly died. Carl was living across West 22nd Street from Bowie Jr. High school at Golder Ave.. Carl wasn't born in Odessa but he definitely living there and enrolled at Odessa High. He was heavily involved the a school club called the "Cretins" . All three other members also were living in Odessa at that time.. Waylon was working as a D.J. at KCRS Radio Station and Tommy Allsup played lead guitar and played in the various bands in Odessa..He also operated a recording studio in Odessa for a number of years and worked with Willie Nelson producing records in Odessa. The last Odessa connection was the addition of Ronny Smith who like Waylon was Radio Disk Jocky in Odessa (not at the same station)..The group knew each other as they played gigs in the loosely structured bands that circulated the Odessa Midland area. Ronny Smith was brought in to sing lead after Holley died. Carl Bunche gave a long interview where he detailed how it all happened and Tommy Allsup wrote an excellent book about how the whole thing transpired....I will add links to support my claim...Ronny Smith, Carl Bunch and Waylon all lived within about a 5 block area centered about West 25th St. to W. 22nd St. by Bowie Junior High. I know because I lived there also. I am not sure where Tommy Allsup lived but I think it was in the same area also. One really amazing co-incidence...At the S/E corner of West 24th St. and Beatty Ave...Roy Orbison was living with his in-laws (Claudette Frady's parents) also located in that same 5 block area of Odessa..I lived 5 houses down the street...This same location is where Roy Orbison met and began his hugely successful songwriting partnership with another local singer/songwriter Joe Melson...Melson documented his first meeting w/ Roy and has an excellent website where he documented their meeting and where the story went from there..