The Flatlanders are one of the many musical acts scheduled to appear at ” Music From the Heart: An 80th Birthday Tribute to Rod Kennedy.”
By HAP MANSFIELD
The Center for Texas Music History (CTMH) at Texas State and the PSH (Patti Strickel Harrison) Foundation of Wimberley will sponsor a tribute concert honoring the birthday and career of music promoter Rod Kennedy at the Paramount Theater in Austin on Feb. 2 from 7-10 p.m.
Performers at the event 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 more special guests.
Rod Kennedy is probably best known as the founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival. The 38-year-old festival helped launch the careers of such notable musicians as Lyle Lovett, the Dixie Chicks, Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earle and many others.
Director of CTMH Gary Hartman said, “Rod Kennedy is a towering figure in Texas music. 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 recently turned 80, started his career as a big band singer in the 1940’s with the Bill Creighton Orchestra in Buffalo, New York. He has worked in both radio and television, starting Austin’s first FM radio station (KHFI-FM) and its second television station (KHFI-TV). He also owned, for many years, an Austin nightclub called the Checquered Flag, named as a reference to his championships as a race-car driver. Next door to the club was his Texas Speed Museum, home to his racing car collection and his successful Lancia Racing Team.
It is his work as an organizer and/or producer for more than 1,500 musical events in Texas and throughout the nation, during the past 60 years, that Kennedy really made his mark in the world of music. Kennedy’s events featured a wide array of music and musicians. Even a short list of musicians he has worked with reads like a dizzying who’s who of music and includes Willie Nelson, Van Cliburn, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Peter, Paul and Mary, Asleep at the Wheel, Dizzy Gillespie, Trish Hinojosa, Nancy Griffith, Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes Van Zandt, Gatemouth Brown, Hubert Laws, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Errol Garner, Papa John Creach, Muddy Waters, Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Judy Collins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Charlie Pride and Delbert McClinton.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the CTMH, which is located in the History Department of Texas State. The CTMH is devoted to the preservation and study of Texas and Southwestern music, offering a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses. It also conducts research and publishing projects geared towards helping Americans better understand Texas culture and heritage through its music.
Several Texas State programs including programs of the CTMH have been supported by Texas State alumna Patti Strickel Harrison, founder of the PSH foundation. Her most recent donation was a major gift toward building a Fine Arts facility at Texas State.
Tickets for “Music From the Heart: An 80th Birthday Tribute to Rod Kennedy” are available online at www.AustinTheatre.org. and range from $35-$80. Tickets are also available by calling PROTIX at (512) 472-5470.
More information about Kennedy is available at www.rodkennedy.com.