Taking Texas To the TV Screens

Over the past few years, there has been a great influx of television shows focusing on Texas and Red Dirt music.  In an age where younger viewers are dumping traditional tv in favor of streaming options, where does a big time television production fit in the Texas Music marketing scene?  Well, the answer lies in the same area that demands radio play for success.  Despite the burgeoning avenues available to musicians on the Internet, traditional methods of reaching the masses such as radio, tv and even print media are still vital.

So, are these television shows actually unique to one another, or are they separate versions of the same thing like radio stations stations that spin the same tunes?  In reality, each of the programs strives to carve out its own niche.  Let’s take a look at each of them and what they offer.

Texas Music Scene is hosted by Ray Benson and fostered by Todd Purifoy.  Two respected, venerable guys with deep seeded roots in the Texas scene.  The show is rooted around performances from artists with short interviews and segments interspersed in.  It’s a throwback to the type of show you’d have found on The Nashville Network in the 80’s.  It possesses the greatest production value of its competitors and promotes the artists in a very cool way.

Troubadour, TX started as a quasi-talent search that looked like it was edited by a 15 year old jacked up on Mountain Dew.  It made the classic MTV editing style look subtle. Underneath it all, it has always been a clever marketing arm for a Nashville management company.  Smartly, they ditched the “competition show” aspects and began to delve into some serious character studies by transforming into a documentary set-up and expanding their subjects to include both known and new artists.  As the cast expanded to include artists such as Wade Bowen, Roger Creager and Josh Grider alongside new names like Kylie Rae Harris and Zane Williams, the show began to hit its stride.  By turning its attention to longer form storytelling and character development, it has struck a chord as a true glimpse behind the scenes of a touring Texas musician.

Texas Roadhouse Live is uneven.  The production quality isn’t much better that Wayne’s World and the best thing it has going for it  is Kinky Friedman as host.  Another positive aspect of TRL, is that it focuses on a wide spectrum of artists under the Texas Music umbrella.  From country to rock to Tejano and even nationally known touring acts just passing through Texas, it gives a spotlight to a wide variety of folks.  This macro look at things leaves for a disjointed television show.  Entering its third season, it will be interesting to see what they do with it.

The newest entrant into this crowded field is Lone Star Roads with Justin Frazell.  There is not a nicer and more respected radio guy in Texas than Frazell.  If he’s lending his name and time to this deal, then you know it’s bound to be good.  So far, only the pilot episode has aired and the spin on Lone Star Roads seems to be a talk show format.  Think Johnny Carson with cold beer and big dip of Copenhagen.

All of this tv attention can only benefit OKOM and it has given a platform to many people who wouldn’t have one otherwise.  Many artists like Greenfest 2013 performers Williams and Grider have seen a considerable career bump from being showcased on TV.

Which of these shows is your favorite?  Why?  Let us know in the comments!

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

5 thoughts on “Taking Texas To the TV Screens

  • June 10, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I play with Beau Hinze and the Backporch Shufflers, and we shot an episode of Texas Roadhouse Live last August. “uneven” is a kind way to describe it. The studio is in a warehouse complex in NE Houston. On that day, the air conditioning decided to go out in the studio, and it was all of 100 degrees in there. It’s a sweet little room – and they served free Lone Star Beer. We had a full room of our fans, and were able to record the session. We are releasing a bootleg style Live CD of it in a couple weeks. You can give a listen here https://soundcloud.com/backporch-shufflers/double-stack-mack?in=backporch-shufflers/sets/live-in-the-heater

    They were good guys to work with, and were more than happy to help us with the recording part of it. Despite the heat, it was a fun night, and we were glad we captured it.

  • June 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I live in Arizona, so I don’t get to watch these shows on TV. But I DO watch Troubadour, TX online. I love that show, the documentary style really shows the “behind the scenes” life of musicians, and it’s introduced me to some great new (to me) artists. Plus, they profiled Radney Foster, which rocked.

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