From early rocker Buddy Holly to rising star Leon Bridges, legions of artists point to Texas in their origin stories.
So many famous artists hail from Texas, it seems like every corner of the state produced at least one well-known musician.
Country music legend Willie Nelson was born and raised in the Central Texas town of Abbott. His path as a songwriter and singer brought him to Oregon and Tennessee, but the Lone Star State drew him back to the Hill Country near Austin. To this day, he still holds an annual Fourth of July Picnic concert in the area and hosts concerts at his ranch near Spicewood.
While young people today might not know who Lubbock-native Buddy Holly was, grandparents remember the skinny white guy with big glasses who belted out bluesy rock ‘n’ roll in the mid- to late 1950s. The Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock tells his whole rocking story.
Though not the biggest city in Texas, Lubbock has been home to lots of singer-songwriters, musicians and famous country stars. Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock formed the Flatlanders and booked it down to Austin as young aspiring musicians, but all still proudly tout their High Plains roots. Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, daughter of famous country singer and Wimberley resident Lloyd Maines, was born in Lubbock, as were Delbert McClinton and Mac Davis.
ZZ Top revved up their blues rock career in 1969 in Houston, where frontman Billy Gibbons grew up in the city’s tony Tanglewood neighborhood. A Beaumont Knights of Columbus Hall was the site of the band’s first gig in 1970. One of ZZ Top’s biggest hits is “La Grange,” a ditty about an actual brothel in that small town (about halfway between Houston and Austin) that operated until 1973 on Rocky Creek Road.
Queen Bey is a proud Houston native who graduated from the High School for Performing and Visual Arts and attended St. John’s United Methodist Church in Downtown Houston. As a child, Beyoncé competed in area song and dance competitions and performed in Girls Tyme, the predecessor band to Destiny’s Child. Check out the local roller rink (and be on the lookout for Beyonce’s sister Solange) in the video for “Blow,” filmed at the Houston Funplex Amusement Park.
Acclaimed soul artist Leon Bridges got his start playing open-mic nights at spots like the Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth, all while holding down a job bussing tables at Del Frisco's Grille in the city’s Stockyard District. Although Bridges was born in Atlanta, he spent his formative years in the Fort Worth suburb of Crowley and attended Tarrant County Community College, where he started playing guitar and writing songs.