Western Swing & BBQ Festival starts Friday
By Miles Smith
The Western Swing & BBQ Festival finds itself in unfamiliar territory this year, making its home in Lockhart after a 25-year stay in San Marcos.
But to fans of Western Swing — which gets its trademark sound from fiddles and steel guitars — the featured act of the festival is certainly not unfamiliar, with Western Swing star Carolyn Martin appearing on various stages around town during the three-day event.
The Nashville resident’s been playing Western Swing music for many years, but her journey into the genre officially began in 1999, when she began performing regularly with the Time Jumpers. From there, she formed Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band.
And the rest was history. The Texas-born Martin is a member of the Texas Western Hall Of Fame, the Northwest Western Swing Music Society’s Hall of Fame and the Western Swing Society of the Southwest’s Hall of Fame.
“When I joined the Time Jumpers back in 1999, we were playing every Monday night at the Station Inn in Nashville,” Martin said. “There were 11 of us in the band, and often we would outnumber the people who were there to hear us play.
“It didn’t matter at all because we just loved to play the music. I have been (and still am) extremely fortunate to be able to play with some of the best musicians in the business; any notoriety that I have achieved is icing on the cake.
“I am so grateful to the fans of the music; without them, none of us would get to do this thing that we love.”
Martin says she couldn’t be happier to be taking the stage surrounded by the familiar sights of Central Texas.
“I am thrilled to be coming to Lockhart this weekend for the festival, and it is indeed an honor to be a featured artist. Western swing music is so joyful; it’s always fun to be a part of a crowd of people who are there simply to be moved by the music they love,” Martin said Monday from her Nashville home. “They want to hear their favorite songs, but they’re also receptive to new songs, as long as there’s enough fiddle and steel guitar to go around of course.”
Martin said she enjoys seeing her fellow musicians and singers (who are apparently a tight fraternity of sorts) at the festivals, but said this one has some added meaning for her.
“The number one thing I’m excited about is that my husband David Martin, my bass player and producer as well as my sweet husband, is going to be inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame this weekend,” Martin said. “All of that and the best barbecue on Earth. Why would anyone want to be anywhere else?”
And, don’t be shy. When you hear her playing, get up and dance. She adores it.
“It is just the best thing ever to see people dancing to my music … I absolutely love it,” she said. “Years ago, when I first started playing and singing in bands, I quickly learned the lesson that if people didn’t dance to the music, you were obviously doing something wrong.
“It’s a compliment of the highest order when they dance.”
Pick up a copy of this week’s Post-Register to see profiles on the other bands who will be performing at the festival!
Schedule of Events
7-10 p.m.: The Gathering, including the 31st Annual Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame Show. Event includes Hall of Fame inductions, show, dance and dinner. Features the 10-piece Hall of Fame Band and special guests Carolyn Martin, Tony Harrison, Kristyn Harris, Georgia Parker, Joe Settlemires, Clint Strong, Al Mouledous, Casey Dickens, Dave Martin, Louise Rowe, Dick Gimble, and more. At the Comanche Country Ranch and Event Venue. For ticket sales, contact Al Dressen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9:30 a.m.: The Texan Playboys with Louise Rowe
11:30 a.m.: Al Dressen’s Super Swing Revue
1:30 p.m.: Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition
3:30 p.m.: Kristyn Harris
Official Festival Dance (wooden dance floor, tent area near courthouse)
7:30-10:30 p.m.: Carolyn Martin’s Western Swing Band with special guest Kristyn Harris
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Carolyn Martin’s Western Swing Band
2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.: The Texan Playboys
11:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m.: Kristyn Harris
2:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m.: The Gimbles
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: The Gimbles
2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.: The Hall of Fame Band with Clint Strong, Joe Settlemires, Howard Kalish, Neal Clausnitzer, and Lindsay Greene.
11 a.m-1:30 p.m.: Brunch and bloody marys featuring the Hall of Fame All Star Band with Jerry Case, Hailey Sandoz, and Lindsay Greene.
11:30 a.m.- 2:30 pm: The Texan Playboys
Noon-3 p.m.: Carolyn Martin’s Western Swing Band
12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Al Dressen’s BBQ Playboys with special guest Kristyn Harris