Back in the 90’s, while on the Sunday side of a road trip weekend, a guy named Jon Paul “Hogleg” Long had an idea. Hogleg always had lots of ideas. But, this one was different. Ever since Robert Earl Keen had reignited the Texas Music scene, there had been a steady stream of emerging artists hitting the highway with something to say. Simultaneously, many of their Oklahoma counterparts were doing the same thing with a different sonic surge influenced by Bob Childers. Texas and Red Dirt Music was on the verge of an explosion. Websites and fan communities began springing up across the early internet plains, and around 1998 Hogleg had an idea to create a community that reached beyond keyboard and mouse.
Hogleg’s “ToreUpFromtheFloorUp” website would garner thousands of hits and gain followers like few others at the time. Springing from the groundswell of support around Pat Green, Hogleg knew he was on to something good. Around this time, Green’s official website launches a forums feature to allow fans to chat about shows, make plans to meet up at a gig, buy merch, swap stories etc. Hogleg proceeds to become a permanent presence in the forums; organizing meet-ups, designing merch, hopping onstage and generally rallying people to the cause of Texas Music.
Circa 2001, he found a kindred spirit in Ryan “Tank” Hargrave and together. The two of them joined forces to expand the scope of the Tore Up into a new online adventure they titled Galleywinter.com. The name taken from Green’s song detailing his childhood wonderland that hid outlaws and chased girls. Green gave the new venture his enthusiastic blessing and a phenomenon was launched. Galleywinter and its forums became the place to see and be seen online if you were a part of the Texas/Red Dirt Music community. Thousands upon thousand of unique visitors hit the site weekly, and in the pre-social media days of the early to mid 2000’s, it was the only place to get the word out about new releases, cool shows and more. Artists signed up and participated in conversations and new features were launched daily.
In 2002, the first Greenfest was held at George’s Bar in Waco, TX. What is Greenfest you ask? Well, it was the culmination of years worth of online chatter that revolved around “Hey, we should meet up for a beer at a show!” Django Walker played as people met up and connected in real life with folks they’d only known through a screen. The online Texas Music community was rapidly expanding. In 2003, Brad Beheler was brought on board as a third member of the Galleywinter leadership committee. Beheler’s role was to write articles, monitor the chat buzz and develop new features such as his 20 Questions interviews and Brad’s Corner articles. The content generated during this iteration of Galleywinter was staggering. We were blogging with fan generated content before blogging was an accepted term.
2007 arrived and the advent of avenues such as MySpace and Facebook only served to bolster Galleywinter’s appeal. Galleywinter transitioned to become a platform in its own right. A place to share an article, post a photo or ask for help. The website continued to evolve through versions 4 and 5 in 2008 and 2010 respectively. One of the most beloved additions during this time period was The Drop music streaming discovery mini-site. Featuring music we thought people should know about, The Drop highlighted new tunes and a direct way for people to purchase it from the artist. Greenfest kept chugging along during this time period too. The event expanded to Austin, then San Antonio, back to Austin before landing in New Braunfels. Artists such as Wade Bowen, Stoney LaRue, Turnpike Troubadours, Reckless Kelly, Randy Rogers Band, Adam Hood, Sean McConnell, Jason Eady, Walt Wilkins, Ryan Bingham and more big names were taking part.
In 2013, with the Galleywinter social media feeds generating heavy traffic, the decision was made to make the Galleywinter forums go dark. They are preserved as a time capsule of a musical revolution. Soon after, Hogleg would decide to leave the day to day operations and chase new adventures, although his spirit and mottos will still be here until the day the internet ceases to exist. In 2016, we changed our annual event name from Greenfest to River Jam to better encapsulate the vibe of the event. Held each summer the event still heeds the call of that inaugural Greenfest…a place to meet up with like-minded folks, have a beer, jam some tunes, make some friends and see a few shows. Smaller Galleywinter themed shows were hosted, a podcast was launched and new folks joined the cause.
As 2017 dawned, as Beheler remained at the creative forefront of Galleywinter, and Hargrave maintained a steady hand in the background, several new contributors were brought on board. Chief among them, Cody Starr joined the team as a staff writer and technical creative force. Tim Murphy brought his CrackersnCucumbers photographic style. Bobby Duncan and Donovan Dodd co-opted their Co-Write podcast as the official Galleywinter podcast. This phase began the site rebuild. Starr, Beheler and Hargrave began developing new ways to showcase Galleywinter content. Social media may have darkened the forums for a time, but they are on the way back. New content delivery systems will provide the same quality Galleywinter content you’ve come to know and respect.
The Galleywinter ethos has always been, “for the fans, by the fans” and will remain that way in perpetuity. From The Drop to Spotify playlists. From Greenfest to River Jam. From version 1 to version 9 of this website…we’re still here. The most respected and widely read voice for this kind of music isn’t going anywhere. We’ll keep evolving right alongside the music and the crowd. We hope you’ll stay on the ride with us.