Texas Highways, Volume 51 Number 10, October 2004 Page: 45
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COURTESY UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
"Growing up in
Amarillo, I watched
Gunsmoke, The Big
Valley, Bonanza, High
Chaparral," he re-
calls. "I was a Gun-
smoke fanatic when
I was a kid-I went
to the fair once to
meet Festus [actor
Ken Curtis]. He was
the first famous per-
son I ever met."
Of his affinity for
Lefty Frizzell and
Bob Wills, even dur-
ing his long-haired,
head-banger days, Fowler says, "It was always there. Eve ybody I played with always
thought I was some kind of crazy redneck. I'd pull off something, and they'd say,
'Dude, country bands usually do that, not us.'
Today, with a new generation of Texas country/cowboy singers resurgent, Fowler
sees a cyclic turning of the musical wheel. "When I read Ernest Tubb's or Lefty
Frizzell's biographies, I see they went through the same things we're going through.
You start out playing the honky-tonks, and you're poor, and then you're poorer, but
sooner or later you build it up. Persistence pays off. I think they did it the same way
that me and Pat [Green] and everybody else did. They just got out there and kept on
playing, and finally somebody took notice."
Plus, he adds, "The music is a lot of storytelling. That's one thing all the Texas coun-
try artists shared. The majority of them wrote their own stuff. I think that's why a lot
of the creative movement in the country-music field comes from here, because artists
here are allowed to do something different and spread their own wings."
Perhaps that's why Texas will always be the home range of the singing cowboy.
Kevin Fowler's modern-day musical frontier is formed on top of the template of the
literal frontier that the Lone Star State once was.
From Gene Autry's "Back In the Saddle Again" and Lefty Frizzell's "Mom and
Dad's Waltz," to George Strait's "The Cowboy Rides Away" and Asleep At the
Wheel's "Miles and Miles of Texas," to Michael Martin Murphey's "Cowboy Logic"
and Kevin Fowler's "100% Texan," singing cowboys have always resonated with lis-
teners, even if their songs come to us today via MP3s and iPods instead of drifting
across the night herd out on the Llano Estacado. *
JOHN T. DAVIS wrote the introduction to our yearlong music series in the January 2004 issue.
D SCOTT NEWTON
[CLOCKwISE, FROM TOP LEFT] Cross Canadian
Ragweed, James McMurtry, and Kevin Fowler
have all followed Fowler's formula for suc-
cess: "Persistence...storytelling...and writing
their own stuff"
October 2004 TEXAS HIGHWAYS 45
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Texas. Department of Transportation. Texas Highways, Volume 51 Number 10, October 2004, periodical, Date Unknown; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth839147/m1/49/: accessed April 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.