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Center for Texas Music History hosts Rod Kennedy tribute concert

By Hillary Till
University News Service
January 19, 2010

Center for Texas Music History tribute concert

Top-ranked Texas musicians will honor legendary music promoter Rod Kennedy Tuesday, Feb. 2, with a concert in honor of his 80th birthday.

The concert, 7-10 p.m. at the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin, is sponsored by the Center for Texas Music History (CTMH) at Texas State University-San Marcos and the PSH Foundation of Wimberley. Performers will include Robert Earl Keen Jr., the Flatlanders, Marcia Ball, Ray Benson, Bobby Bridger, Ruthie Foster, Eliza Gilkyson, Paul Glasse, Joel Guzman, Terri Hendrix, Lloyd Maines, Jimmy LaFave, John Inmon, Randy Rogers, Brady Black and other special guests.

“Rod Kennedy is a towering figure in Texas music,” said Gary Hartman, CTMH director. “He remains very involved in promoting Texas music, and he has been a loyal supporter of Texas State’s Center for Texas Music History since it was founded in 1999. The tribute concert, which features some of the most talented musicians in Texas, will be wonderful opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of a great Texan.”

Kennedy, who turned 80 on Jan. 22, is best known as the founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival. The festival, a successful event for 38 years, helped launch the careers of Lyle Lovett, the Dixie Chicks, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle and many others. Kennedy began his musical career as a big-band singer in the 1940s. Over the past six decades, he has organized hundreds of musical events throughout Texas and the rest of the country, featuring a diverse range of musicians, including Willie Nelson, Van Cliburn, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Asleep at the Wheel, Dizzy Gillespie, Tish Hinojosa, Nanci Griffith, Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes van Zandt, Delbert McClinton, and many others. He has also worked in radio and TV, starting Austin’s first FM radio station (KHFI-FM) and its second television station (KHFI-TV). For many years he owned a successful Austin nightclub, the Checquered Flag, and he has won championships as a race-car driver.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the CTMH, located in Texas State’s Department of History. The CTMH, which focuses on the preservation and study of Texas and Southwestern music, offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses. It also conducts research and publishing projects aimed at helping Americans better understand Texas culture and heritage through its music.

The PSH Foundation, founded by Texas State alumna Patti Strickel Harrison, has supported several Texas State programs, including programs of the CTMH. Harrison recently made a major gift toward building a Fine Arts facility at Texas State.

Tickets are available at (866) 9PROTIX or (512) 472-5470 or online at www.AustinTheatre.org.