Texas Legends of Western Swing – The Official State Music of Texas
Texas’ most distinct contribution to Country Western Music during the years following the depression was the amalgam of musical styles that became known as Western Swing.
Bob Wills and Milton Brown, considered the co-founders of Western Swing, began blending Texas fiddling with jazz, blues, and pop songs to a Dixieland beat while playing with the Light Crust Doughboys in Fort Worth, the first Western Swing band.
Bob Wills and Milton Brown each went on to form extremely popular and influential bands, which in turn spawned other bands led by musicians who passed through Wills’ Texas Playboys or Brown’s Musical Brownies. Wills became regarded as the King of Western Swing; Brown was the first Western Swing bandleader to record nationally, and The Light Crust Doughboys have continued to entertain Texas’ audiences for over sixty-five years.
Among other important Texas Western Swing bands were those led by fiddler Cliff Bruner (who had played with Milton Brown) and Adolph Hofner, who combined Czech polkas with the hot string band sound of Western Swing).
One of the first songs Floyd Tillman wrote was recorded by Western Swing great Cliff Bruner. Tillman became one of the biggest names in the history of Western Swing Music in Texas and in the nation. Johnny Gimble is regarded as one of the most important fiddlers in the genre of Western Swing.
Texas Western Swing has been given new life by Asleep at the Wheel from the 70s until the present, and by new groups that often play at the annual Texas Western Swing Festival each June in Snyder, Texas.
In 2011, the 82nd Texas Legislature passed a Combined Resolution C.R. 35 that designated Western Swing as the Official State Music of Texas.
The Text 82-C.R. 35
WHERE AS: The State of Texas has traditionally recognized a variety of official state symbols as tangible representation of the proud spirit and heritage of our state; and
WHERE AS: In the field of music, Texas has nurtured important developments in a variety of genres, but of the many styles that have thrived here, one is particularly emblematic of our state’s unique character: western swing; and
WHERE AS: A lively sound that has enjoyed enduring popularity over the course of nearly a century, western swing reflects the ethnic diversity of Texas by encompassing many of the musical traditions that were introduced to the state by the groups that settled here; and
WHERE AS: A key to the appeal of this spirited music is its exceptional ability to get people dancing; this quality, too, is evocative of Texas, a state in which dance halls have historically been central to the social life of its communities; today, the foot-tapping tempo of western swing continues to be heard all across our state, with countless Texans repeating the time-honored steps that have been kicking up sawdust on Texas dance floors for generations; and
WHERE AS: Born and bred in Texas, western swing is a musical melting pot that represents the diverse groups that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of our state and the distinctive way of life that has flourished here, and it is indeed a fitting symbol for the rich cultural heritage that is shared by all Texans; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the 82nd Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate western swing as the official State Music of Texas.
Adopted by the Texas Senate on May 5, 2011 and by the Texas House on May 23, 2011.