Texas Music Office's October 2016 Newsletter

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Texas Office of Music Newsletter

Greetings subscribers!

Look to this new communication portal for music news, interviews highlighting various Texas musicians and music businesses, special events, and information about TMO programs and related events.

power on poster

Texas Music Office co-hosts Power On Music conference Oct 19 in Corpus Christi

Former Beyoncé & Destiny's Child Manager Matthew Knowles scheduled to give keynote address

State Representative Todd Hunter, the Texas Music Office  and the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) along with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Del Mar College are pleased to announce the 2016 Power On Music conference at 8 a.m., Wednesday, October 19.

matthew knowles headshot

The free, day-long conference will feature panel discussions from Texas music industry leaders and is aimed at promoting the importance of the music industry in Texas. Mathew Knowles, father of pop music superstar Beyoncé and former manager of Destiny’s Child, will be the keynote speaker. Knowles left his career in the medical-systems sales division at Xerox Corporation to create a music company and manage his daughter Beyoncé’s career.  Other speakers include Grammy Award nominee El Dusty and popular Texas Country Music artist Jake Ward.

“The music industry contributes to the economy of this state and it is important to both celebrate it and recognize its value,” State Rep. Todd Hunter said. “We are happy to host this event in Corpus Christi and work with the Governor’s Texas Music Office to showcase some of the Texas music industry’s top leaders.”

Some of the topics to be discussed include: Forming Music Friendly Communities, Training for Careers in the Music Industry and Funding Ideas for Start-ups, An Exploration of Careers in the Music Industry and Tips for Getting Your Foot in the Door.

power on music flyer

“We sincerely appreciate Rep. Todd Hunter and staff, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, and the Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau’s work toward developing and highlighting the South Texas Coastal Bend music community,” said Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony. “This unique day-long event kicks off the first of, what we hope, are many similar regional music industry conferences spotlighting the state’s music businesses, allowing our industry leaders to network, as well as providing educational opportunities for students and music business  entrepreneurs.”

The event is free, but registration is required. To register, please click here.  For more information about the Power On Music conference contact Angie Flores at (361) 695-2048 or aflorestx@me.com.

INTERVIEW (part 2): Willie Nelson Family Band Harmonica Player, Mickey Raphael

Last month, the TMO caught up with Texan harmonica player, Mickey Raphael via phone from Raphael's current home in Nashville. Although Raphael is well known for being a 40-plus year member of Willie Nelson's Family band, his virtuoso harp playing can also be heard on projects as disparate as recordings from Chris Stapleton, Elton John, U2, and Motley Crew. Please enjoy part 2 of an enlightening conversation where Raphael recalls his early inspirations, an impromptu recording session with U2, and the playing philosophy mantra that has helped Raphael maintain his reputation as one of the leading harmonica session players in the world.

Mickey Raphael photo by Frank Stewart

TMO: You mentioned some of the session work and one-off shows you do, like your recent gigs playing with Chris Stapleton. Now that you’ve been playing with Willie and different folks for 40-plus years, can you listen to any of the Willie stuff – and some of the other session work - objectively and enjoy it, just as you would with one of your favorite albums? Are there any recordings that stand out? 

Raphael: “Yeah, ‘Teatro’ I love. And it’s really subtle. The harp is really subtle on that album. We were doing the song ‘Everywhere I Go,’ and there’s this portion that’s kind of a Latin beat, and it also has a (lyrical) travelogue. I threw in a lick that was like a ‘1,001 Nights’-type of lick. There was just a little melody I threw in there that was really perfect, that answered a particular line that Willie sang, and it caught Daniel’s ear ('Teatro' producer Daniel Lanois). 

"He caught it and said, ‘Oh…very clever.’ So there was that lick in there. And I like to throw in other melodies and stuff, just to see if anybody’s listening. That was one fill I did that I thought was very clever, very simple, really cool. But I love that whole record.

“And when we did the Bob Dylan song, “What Was It You Wanted.’ I loved my solo on that…from the album ‘Across the Borderline,’ That’s one of my favorite solos of all time of my playing…"

TMO: And on some of the non-Willie stuff? Or even the non-Country stuff?

Raphael: “I love the solo on ‘Smoking In The Boy’s Room.’ That one was cool."

TMO: That’s you…playing with Mötley Crüe!?!

Raphael: “Yeah.”

TMO: That’s crazy. How did some of those more unconventional collaborations come about? Was it because the artists were familiar with your work?

Raphael: “No. It was usually the producers who called. Something like that, I was spending a lot of time out in LA and Tom Werman was their producer. And I think he’d (previously) used me on a Blue Oyster Cult record. So he was producing Mötley Crüe. And I think (Crew vocalist) Vince Neil was trying to play the solo on that, and it just wasn’t cutting it. He wasn’t getting the melody right, or something. And Tom had worked with me before and (just) called me to come play on it."

TMO: And what about your collaborations with Elton John? Or even U2? Was that also producer instigated?

Raphael: No. The Elton John thing, I’d gotten a call from the label. I think from Gary Gersh, who was running the label at the time. Chris Thomas was producing and engineering (the Elton John record). And, again, I was spending a lot of time in California. And they just called me in as a session guy. Elton had heard me play on ‘Stardust.’ And he liked what I did on ‘Stardust’ is what they told me. And the song (we cut together) was called ‘The Fox.’ And it was just kind of a really melodic ballad. And they had me come in and I just nailed it in one take and was gone. And it was like, ‘Hey…can’t we hang out or something.’

TMO: (laughs) And the U2 collaboration? Since Bono is a harmonica player, was he familiar with your work?

Raphael: That actually came about from our friend Lian Lunson, a film director. And she was doing a video on Willie. And she was also a friend of ours, and a close friend of Bono’s and that whole crew. And so U2 were in the studio working on that record, ‘Pop.’ And they invited us over to come hangout and have dinner. 

"So Willie and myself, and Lian, and Mark Rothbaum, our manager, went over. And I just happened to grab a few harmonicas to bring with me. Wishful thinking, you know. And so we get in there, and we’re having dinner. And it’s just the four guys: The Edge, Adam Clayton, Bono, and Larry Mullen Jr.. And then the 3 or 4 of us.

“And Bono tells Willie, ‘You know, I wrote a song for you one time.’ T Bone Burnett once gave me a song that Bono had written for Willie. And I played it for him. And Willie was either not interested, or it just didn’t really resonate with him at the time. And so here’s Bono kneeling down on the ground next to Willie, talking to him about this song. 

"And Willie very diplomatically says, ‘Oh yeah, I remember.’ (Not really remembering.) ‘I was waiting until you could produce it.’ So Bono says, ‘Well, let’s go!’

"So we stopped (eating dinner). We all went downstairs to the studio and started to cut this song. And Lian, very thoughtful, just happened to have a film crew that just happened to be circling the block."

TMO: Just happened to be…(laughs)

Raphael: “She called them in, and they filmed it very grainy, very low light. And we were starting to cut the record with all of us set up in a circle. Very low tech. And there was a power surge or something and the board went down. And it was just like, ‘(Expletive)…here’s my one time to record with U2 and it’s over.’

“So we go upstairs. And luckily, like an hour later, they got all the gear working again, and we went down and just cut it live. But you can hear in the middle-eight section Bono telling the band to follow him, because he didn’t have time to teach anyone, we were just learning the song. But we’re all kind of set up next to each other in a circle. No headphones, with monitors on the floor so we can hear. But it was a very open space. And a really tight studio, really small. Everybody was really close, and it was very intimate. And it was just a great recording experience, for me especially.”

TMO: You’re based in Nashville now. And you’ve spent time in LA too. How does starting a career in Texas provide a different inspiration for an artist than Nashville or LA?

Raphael: "Starting in Texas, I had such a good base. Texas is such a great musical place, with Bob Wills, Waylon Jennings, Buddy Holly, T-Bone Walker, Stevie Ray & Jimmie Vaughan.

"I just had lunch with Wally Wilson, a guy I went to high school with. He’s in Nashville now. And back in the ‘60s, he played the Studio Club which was in Preston Center in Dallas. It was a dance club for teenagers. And Jeff Beck played there with Jimmy Page. We were just talking about that and how Texas has such a rich musical history…even stuff beyond Country music…like ZZ Top and more contemporary music. The Five Americans. Kenny and the Kasuals. John Fred and the Playboys. Not to mention Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez and all the great Conjunto music. Texas was a great place to start (as a musician). It was a great springboard if you wanted to go large.

"There’s a certain pride in being from Texas, because at any moment we can secede (said jokingly). You know, it’s like, ‘Don’t tempt me.’”

TMO: Initially you didn’t listen to a lot of Country music. And you’ve mentioned before that you were really taken in by the music of King Curtis and Paul Butterfield. What was it about those guys’ playing that drew you in?

Raphael: “Tone and phrasing. 

"...and Cornell Dupree, who was a Fort Worth guitar player. And Delbert McClinton’s harmonica playing. I mean, one of my favorite solos of all time is what he played on Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby.”

"With phrasing: play the melody, keep it simple, and don’t play more notes than are needed.

"‘Less is more,’ is mine and Willie’s mantra...that Willie’s hammered into my head."

willie and mickey live

TMO: Last question. After all the tours and recording, if you could go back and tell your 20 year old self some advice...?

Raphael: “Don’t play when the singer’s singing. And drink more water!

"Oh…and one more thing...

"Grady Martin played with us for 10 years. He was the great studio guitar player in Nashville, from the ‘50s, maybe even the ‘40s, thru the ‘70s. He played the solo on ‘El Paso.’ He played with Elvis. He played with everybody.

"When I met Eric Clapton, I said, ‘Do you want to go meet Willie?’ He said, ‘No, I want to meet Grady.’

"So Grady tells me one night, after playing with us for 10 years, he goes, 'Man, (stop playing and) smoke a cigarette. Take that damn (harmonica) out of your mouth. You play too much!'

"That was the best advice anyone had ever given me. He wasn’t very warm and fuzzy in his delivery, but it really got my attention.

TMO: Back to the ‘less is more’ mantra.

Raphael: "Oh, yes! And he also told that to Charlie McCoy, who was the top harmonica session player in Nashville. Charlie once told me, about 15 years before (my conversation with Grady), he said Grady told him, ‘Don’t play while the singer’s singing!’” 

To read part 1 of this interview from our September 2016 TMO Newsletter, please click here.

Artists Line-up to Help Promote TEXAS MUSIC License Plates

With the help of many different Texas artists, celebrities, music businesses, and TMO friends and community partners like yourself, sales for the revamped specialty license plate program - benefiting grants for Texas school children and community music programs - continue to grow since the new plate's release.

$22 out of the $30 fee goes directly toward grants for traditionally underserved Texas school children to receive music lessons, music instruments, and toward community music programs sponsored by 501(c)3 non-profit organizations.

Although license plate sales are higher than they've ever been, we've got a ways to go in our goal to help provide instruments and services across the entire state. You can purchase a license plate from the Texas DMV here: goo.gl/pLpwgV.

the suffers kam franklin with plate

The Suffers' vocalist Kam Franklin was kind enough to help the Texas Music Office promote the new charitable specialty license plate across the band's very popular social network channels.

kimmie rhodes photo

Texas' singer/songwriter Kimmie Rhodes also volunteered to help the Texas Music Office spread the word about its updated specialty license plate by shooting this incredible photo.

Americana singer/songwriter living legend Ray Wylie Hubbard took a few seconds out of his busy schedule to help the Texas Music Office promote the re-launch of its specialty license plate far and wide (Look closely and you can even see that Ray Wylie's plate is autographed by Gov. Greg Abbott.)

ray wylie photo

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Texas Commission on the Arts Seeks Nominations For State Musician, Warns Against Arts Scam

Nomination Deadline on October 15

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is currently seeking nominations for the positions of 2017 and 2018 State Musician.

All Texas citizens are encouraged to make nominations, and self-nominations are encouraged. The nomination form and complete information are available online at http://www.arts.texas.gov/initiatives/texas-state-artist/. The deadline for Texas State Artists nominations is October 15, 2016.

All qualified nominees must be native Texans or five-year residents of the state. Candidates must have received recognition for high levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines. They also must have received critical reviews in state, regional or national publications.

Chosen artists will join the company of previous state musicians such as Willie Nelson, Flaco Jimenez, Sara Hickman, and Craig Hella Johnson and receive statewide recognition. Texas State Artists also have the opportunity to participate in TCA events and promotions, including participation on TCA’s Texas Touring Roster and other state initiatives in relation to their respective arts discipline.

“We are fortunate to have many outstanding artists in Texas, and we anticipate receiving numerous qualified nominations,” said Gary Gibbs, executive director of TCA. “Being named a Texas State Artist is quite an honor, one that brings new career opportunities and recognition from the arts community and the general public.”

TCA oversees the selection process for the position, in accordance with Chapter 3104 of the Texas Government Code. TCA issues the call for nominations, oversees an evaluation review process, and provides a list of finalists to the selection committee. The committee, composed of members appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, makes the final selections. The 85th Texas Legislature will make the appointments next spring when they are in session.

TCA Warns Against Arts-Related Scam

Additionally, our sister agency TCA recently alerted us that the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal grantmaking agency, is the subject of a scam and is alerting the public not to respond to fraudulent notifications. Through this scam, perpetrators claiming to be NEA employees are contacting the public via Facebook, email, or phone to inform them that they have received an NEA grant and must provide seed money to an account to release the grant funds.  Furthermore, the perpetrators state that the amount released by the targeted individual increases depending on the amount that the individual puts forward. They might frame the requested money as a processing or delivery fee.
Please do not respond to these messages. It is an attempt to defraud you.  The NEA never notifies individuals or organizations that are recommended for a grant through Facebook and never requests money before releasing grant funds.

If you are contacted by someone purporting to be with the National Endowment for the Arts who asks you to send money in order to receive a grant, please report this incident to the NEA's Office of Inspector General via email at oig@arts.gov or by calling 202-682-5402. You may also report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation at http://www.ic3.gov

Please protect yourself against this fraudulent activity.

About The Texas Commission on the Arts

The mission of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is to advance our state economically and culturally by investing in a creative Texas. TCA supports a diverse and innovative arts community in Texas, throughout the nation and internationally by providing resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives. For more information on TCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.texas.gov.

Texas Accountants & Lawyers for the Arts Accepting Applicants

Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts' (TALA) executive director Alissa McCain recently informed the Texas Music Office that the pro bono legal services non-profit currently has funding and openings for more than 200 Texas artists to register and make appointments.

For less than a penny a day (covering the annual TALA membership fee), Texas musicians can receive contractual legal counsel during a one-on-one appointment with one of TALA's volunteer accountants and/or attorneys.

TALA was formed in 1979 to help meet the legal and accounting needs of artists and art nonprofit organizations across the State of Texas. TALA volunteers throughout Texas handle more than 250 matters per year.  In 2016, TALA began serving inventors in the Patent Pro Bono Program.

For more information, please contact TALA at talarts.org.

tala poster