Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2009, pp. 165-166


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


Women musicians take center stage in Women in Texas Music, from the gender barriers they've broken as performers and artists to the growing recognition and musical territory they claim. Through a series of personal interviews, Kathleen Hudson depicts more than thirty women musicians' journeys in Texas, the Southwest, and in many cases beyond. The author's lively exchange with songwriters and performers invites readers deeper into the conversation, as if they've snuck backstage themselves to listen in.

One of the more engaging themes in Women in Texas Music is the various paths traveled by these artists, each road distinct and none easy. "The women have had to work doubly hard to get where they are and to sustain where they are," says Emily Robison, member of the Grammy award-winning Dixie Chicks. What makes it easier, she adds, are women artists like Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris who helped blaze a trail, women Robison describes as "musical matriarchs" and "extraordinary."

Other artists share similar experiences of finding success by breaking accepted conventions in all aspects of the music business, from performance to production. Eva Ybarra's story of being told by a bandleader to play her accordion behind the male performers during a show is a poignant moment, particularly when a drunken man in the audience yells, "How come the best musician is in the back?"