What is a legend?
A few weeks ago I asked some folks who they thought was a Texas/Red Dirt legend and one answer stood out to me and I wanted to dig into that a little deeper. The response was from Gary Braun of Micky & the Motorcars, “I think you need to be older than 70 to be thought of as a Legend otherwise its kinda insulting. Bob Wills & Ray Price are good examples. Anyway that’s just my opinion.”
When you look up the definition of “legend” in Merriam & Webster, it says “a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well.”
So does that mean a person who has been around a really long time doing what they do extremely well or someone who has done something really well and could also be new to the scene or young? Personally I think it is the former. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of singer/songwriters who are GREAT at what they do and are very popular but I don’t think they are quite at the LEGENDARY stage of their life/career.
My list of legends in this scene include: Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Rusty Wier, Waylon Jennings, Gary P. Nunn, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Bush, Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. There are many more.
But what about the responses I got? See if you agree:
Tommy Alverson, singer/songwriter and a legend, mentioned,”Johnny Bush.”
Eric Ichabod Snyder: “Artists, George Jones/George Strait. Writers, Willie Nelson/Radney Foster/Bruce Robison. Musicians, Stevie Ray Vaughn/Bob Wills.”
Brian Strickland, “Tommy Alverson.”
Cody Braun with Reckless Kelly responded “Johnny Gimble, Billy Beeman, Earl Pool Ball and the countless other lifelong musicians who make the Legends sound so good.”
Halley Anna Finlay (singer/songwriter), “There are some AMAZING names here – Legendary for sure! Great post – I’ve got way too many answers to do this from a phone.”
Lysette Lerma, “George, Rick Trevino, Stoney, REK. The ones who have been around a bit! Over a decade a must.”
Neely Yates said, “Oh girl! Don’t make me choose! We are so fortunate to have so many great ones that make us proud!”
Mike Ethan Messick: “Willie, Doug Sahm, Billy Joe, Ray Wylie, Guy, Townes, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Bob Wills of course…”
Jess L Fischer wanted to know, “Has anyone said Joe Ely?”
National talk show host and friend, Michael Berry stated the obvious (at least in his world), “Michael Berry.” LOL!
Lisa Holt, “When you say Texas do you mean born here? I see a few that aren’t but all these names are legendary.” (Good question, Lisa, but in my mind, they don’t have to be born in Texas to be considered a legend in the music scene here.)
Dave Thomas: “To add some other Texas legends, T Bone Walker, Steve Miller, Sly Stone.”
Jason Allen, “Clay Blaker.”
Sean Claes, “I’m not sure who is a legend… but Bob Wills is still the King.”
Josh Michael, “Guy Clark. Townes Van Zandt. Johnny Rodriguez. Rodney Crowell. Willie Nelson. Just a few…”
Singer/songwriter Richie Allbright points out, “Looks like you have it covered. Except for a few that aren’t Texans. And maybe a little young for the ‘Legend’ title.”
Singer/songwriter Davin James has a good list, too:” Jerry Jeff Walker, Rusty Wier, Lightnin Hopkins, Buck Owens, Lloyd Maines, Rodney Crowell, Ray Price, Bob Wills, and Steve Fromholz.”
Brent Allen, a singer/songwriter, “Top of my head – Walt Wilkins, Chris Wall, Willie, Johnny Bush, George Strait. Many others…”
Tommy Alverson’s wife, Amy Carol said, “My husband.” 🙂
Kyle Bailey, “Stevie Ray/Bob Wills/Willie/George. I don’t know who to put first.”
Ted Russell Kamp, “Guy Clark, Townes, Willie Nelson, it’s a long and beautiful list.”
Robin Langley, “Way old school but, Don Edwards, Rusty Wier and Michael Martin Murphy.”
Jason Duncan “Don Williams, Johnny Rodriguez, Gene Watson, Buddy Holly”
Robert Earl Keen
Thanks to all of my friends on social media for your input! You may have others you’d add to the list or completely disagree with the contributions, but I think it’s a great start and a wonderful thought provoking question. So who is on your Texas/Red Dirt music legends list?