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Glenna Bell: News

Downtown Houston: La Carafe Tonight + New Music Video! - April 18, 2017

Hey, Everybody!  It’s a rainy day in Houston, but tonight will be lovely at historic La Carafe from 9-11 with Greg Henkel joining me on his incredible viofiddle and a surprise guest, too, for our regular “third Tuesday of the month” show.


I’m also pleased to report that next weekend I’ll be shooting a brand new music video with French-Canadian artist, Natali Leduc, as we continue our ongoing series of video releases, which we launched in 2014 with the dark and moody “Southern Gothic Wedding Waltz” and followed up last year with the light and airy “Tonight’s the Night (We Graduate)”:


Lots of fun, creative times on the horizon and new songs on the way . . .


Y’all come!

Austin SXSW and Houston Downtown - March 15, 2017

Austin—Thursday, March 16

3-4 p.m. at Opa! Wine and Coffee House

2050 South Lamar (near the Oltorf intersection)

a nice, relaxing coffee house/wine bar with indoor and outdoor seating and a dedicated, free parking lot!

Houston—Sunday, March 19

8-10 p.m. at Dean’s Downtown

316 Main Street (between Congress and Preston)

a beautifully renovated historic storefront building with high ceilings, crystal clear sound, and convenient free street parking on Sunday evenings


Hey, Everybody!

As the Northeast hunkers down, we are enjoying a gorgeous Spring Break here in Texas!  I’ve been sitting out on the front porch, drinking delicious cappuccino from my new Nespresso—compliments of my parents at Christmas—bird watching and soaking in the sunshine after a wet, gray February and I’ve been having fun and keeping busy writing songs for my next album and preparing to head to Austin to appear again in the Eighth Annual Big Kev Roots, Rock, Revolution Radio Showcase tomorrow afternoon at Opa!

On Sunday evening, I’ll be back at Dean’s Downtown in Houston with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle and I’m really looking forward to that, too! 

Let the good times roll . . . As always . . .

Y’all come!


Lone Star: Critics' Choice 2016 + More! - February 4, 2017

Grackle & Grackle Songwriting Workshop w/ Glenna Bell Sign Up Now!  (Feb 9-March 9)


Hey, Everybody!


Good news! On my way to Beaumont, Texas to perform at the historic Jefferson Theatre on Janis Joplin’s birthday, I was quite pleasantly surprised to get an email from my publicist, Mark Pucci in Atlanta, letting me know that Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas is a top album pick for 2016 in Deep Roots, an extraordinarily comprehensive and highly credible Manhattan-based music magazine that I have admired for quite some time, the brainchild of veteran Rolling Stone music writer, David McGee:


Then, out of the blue I received an email from a talented friend in Nashville letting me know that Lone Star was also a critics’ choice on TWO “top ten” lists for 2016 in the top-tier, subscription-only UK magazine, Country Music People:  


In the January issue, each of their CD reviewers has a page showing their Top 10 of 2016.  Reviewer Kelly Gregory placed Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from The Heart of Texas at Number 8 of her 10, with the comment: "An utterly brilliant and unique album from one of Texas' finest and underrated singer-songwriters."


And reviewer Paul Riley also has the album at Number 8, with the comment: "Underrated Texas singer-songwriter, Glenna Bell, charms us with more tales from the Lone Star State."


And THEN someone sent me this great pic from my hometown newspaper, the Beaumont Enterprise, commemorating my appearance at the Jefferson Theatre:


And THEN, like magic, I sat down and wrote a brand new song that I love!


What a wonderful year this is turning out to be.  I’m really looking forward to seeing it all unfold as I enjoy Super Bowl LI from a close distance here in my hundred year old woodframe house at the shadowy-sunshiny edge of the city, reading Patti Smith’s M Train—a gift from Big Kev—in my cozy old bed as a blimp floats by my upstairs window against the sparkling backdrop of the downtown skyline.  How surreal.  And the fireworks have been spectacular!


The next shows are here in Super Bowl City with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle. I’ll be doing some material from my recent “Janis Joplin experience” and of course the originals, too:


Dean’s Downtown:  February 12 from 8-10 p.m.


La Carafe:  February 21 from 9-11 p.m.


Looking forward . . .


Y’all come!

Houston—La Carafe; Beaumont—The Jefferson Theatre; Grackle & Grackle Songwriting Workshop! - January 16, 2017

Hey, Everybody!  Happy MLK Day!

And Happy New Year!

2017 is off to an exciting start.  I am enjoying the process of preparing to conduct a five-week songwriting workshop for Grackle & Grackle in the Houston Heights, beginning on February 2.  They have posted a description of this unique experience and they’re taking sign up’s now:

Please email me if you have questions and please help us spread the word:

I am also happy to announce a special “third Tuesday” show at La Carafe tomorrow—January 17 from 9:30-11 p.m.—in Downtown Houston with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle: 

La Carafe is a “candlelit place for sipping wine & ghost hunting inside the oldest commercial building in Houston,” located at 813 Congress Ave, Houston, TX 77002: 


As always, we will be doing an original set, and I will be previewing some of my favorite Janis Joplin songs to be featured in my solo appearance at another historic venue—the Jefferson Theatre in Beaumont, Texas—on JJ’s birthday this Thursday, January 19 from 6-7:20 p.m.

"The Jefferson Theatre is a historic performing arts theatre located on Fannin Street in downtown Beaumont, Texas . . . The theatre is featured on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. The theatre recently underwent a comprehensive multimillion-dollar renovation."

After my performance, there will be a showing of the movie, Little Girl Blue, a new documentary on Janis Joplin’s life and music.  Needless to say, I am flattered to have been contacted by the City of Beaumont Event Facilities Office to entertain in my hometown, situated in the Golden Triangle not far from where Janis grew up in Port Arthur, Texas near the Louisiana border.  I am really looking forward to this memorable evening and I hope that you will join us if you can:

Y’all come!

Hear the New Indie Version of "Valentine!" - December 31, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  

"Be My Valentine (On Christmas)" reached a million streams on Spotify and was covered this season by an indie band based in Seattle, Washington:

Featuring Jessica Mayuga and Lucas Cathey, with tags “alternative bedroom recordings christmas diy emo holiday lo-fi sad girl seattle,” it appears that they are making headway on the West Coast music scene and beyond.

I’ve always heard there is nothing like the feeling of having your song covered by a talented up and coming act, and now I know.  I love their minimalist take on “Valentine,” and I hope that you enjoy this little playlist from these young people in Seattle:

Wherever you are and whatever you do – Have a Happy New Year!

Y’all come!

Houston: Happy Holiday Shows, Sunday & Tuesday - December 16, 2016

Look and Listen for “Be My Valentine (On Christmas)” on Spotify Playlists this Season!

AND . . . 

Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas on Digital, CD, & Vinyl!

more info at

Hey, Everybody!  I hope that you’re having a smooth transition into the holidays.  Last night the local news announced that only four states in the USA are not having snow, and we are hoping for some this year here in Houston—wouldn’t it be extraordinary to enjoy snow in Houston on Christmas?  In the meantime, it is scheduled to be eighty degrees here tomorrow and then the temperatures will begin to drop quickly, making it a perfect “feel” for the shows at Dean’s Downtown on Main Street this Sunday, December 18 from 8-10 p.m. and historic La Carafe on Market Square Tuesday, December 20 from 9-11 p.m. with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle and Nathan Mays on double bass.  If you are in town, it would be so nice to ring in the holidays with you, so I hope that you will stop by.  Street parking downtown is free and easy on weeknights and there is nothing like being together with friends in the heart of a big city all decked out for the season and ready to ring in another beautiful new year of life. 

I am wishing everyone everywhere all the best of the holidays and many memories in the making as we approach 2017 . . .  

Y’all come! 

Houston Shows + Spotify Permanent Holiday Playlist - November 11, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  It is hard to believe how fast another month has slipped by and that it is already time again for the shows at Dean’s Downtown (Sunday, November 13 from 8-10 p.m.) and La Carafe (Tuesday, November 15 from 9-11 p.m.) in Houston

I’m really looking forward to performing with Nathan Mays on bass and Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle AND to soaking in the downtown atmosphere amidst this crisp, cool weather that we are enjoying here in Houston at this time of the year.  It is so nice to actually feel the changing seasons and to begin to sense the excitement of the forthcoming holidays in the air. 

And speaking of the holidays, I am pleased to announce that I recently received word from my distributor that “Be My Valentine (On Christmas),” which has being doing so well on Spotify over the last two consecutive seasons, has been placed on a permanent Spotify playlist, “Acoustic Christmas,” so will be available to Spotify streamers again this year and for years to come on that list and others

Finally, I would like to say thank you to all those who have recently signed up for this newsletter—it is great to have you on board—and to those who have been writing in requests for signed vinyl and CD’s for stocking stuffers.  It has actually been quite a lot of fun to package those up in creative ways that I hope you will like.

I wish everyone everywhere all the best as we approach the end of another beautiful year of life and the beginning of yet another.

Y’all come! 

Houston Oct. 16 & 18 + New Features in NYC & England - October 14, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  I’ll be playing at Dean’s Downtown, the beautifully renovated old storefront space on Main Street with the crystal clear sound, on Sunday evening from 8-10 p.m. with a new bass player, Nathan Mays! 


And on Tuesday from 9-11, I’ll be back at historic La Carafe on Congress Avenue for the “every third Tuesday” show with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle.


I’m really looking forward to these two local shows and I hope that you will join us.


In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce that the new album, Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas, will be featured in forthcoming issues of two premier periodicals—the thirty year old Big Takeover Magazine in New York and the forty year old Country Music People in England.  And both are still in print! 


I enjoyed corresponding with Jack Rabid, the impressive founder of the Big Takeover who started the magazine as a grass roots one-page publication in the Lower East Side, covering the vibrant alternative music scene of mid-eighties New York.  And I must say that I was tickled when the Country Music People writer who spoke with such a lovely British accent mentioned that one of my comments reminded her of “what Dolly said [to her] last week.”


I would like to send you a link to these pieces, but both magazines are subscription only; however, the Big Takeover is online and Country Music Peoplehas a strong FB presence if you would like to check them out.


In the meantime, here is a link to a flattering write up that Houston Community College posted today:


Y’all come!

Houston Tonight: In Memory of Edward Albee - September 20, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  I’m dedicating tonight’s performance to Edward Albee.  He did so much for me and never expected anything in return.  He was truly a great man. 

I will be joined on stage by Greg Henkel on his incredible vio-fiddle and Parker Murphy on his outrageous bass – Downtown at La Carafe from 9-11 or so.

Y’all come.

Four Star Album Review: Lone Star - August 17, 2016

This Sunday evening—August 21—I’ll be at Dean’s Downtown on Main Street from 8-10 p.m. with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle.  Dean’s is a gorgeous historic storefront building with high ceilings and hardwood floors that has recently been beautifully renovated, including the installation of a brand new audio system that fills this luxurious space with crystal clear sound:

In the meantime, I’m passing along a thought-provoking four-star review of Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas—straight from the heart of Canada.  I really enjoyed reading this writer’s perspective:

Most modern country artists have no idea what being ‘country’ means--there’s more to it than your mama, whiskey, guitars and pick up trucks while you regurgitate clichés about picking up chicks in a honky tonk.  Glenna knows that it’s about telling true life stories, emotion, and not being afraid to show the dirt under your fingernails.  She understands this very, very well.  Though there are similarities, I would hesitate to call her amazing new record ‘country’ at all, it’s ‘western’ if anything--and it’s a good time.

“As life accelerates and the world becomes increasingly more complicated, I wanted to take a step back, slow down and spend more time alone at home writing this collection of songs,” says Bell. “(They’re) meant to be heard in private spaces and enjoyed from the perspective of a listener, much as a reader would consume a good book.”  That’s the way Lone Star struck me, even before I opened the bio and discovered that was her intent.

Glenna’s trembling vibrato gives heart breaking songs like Poor Girl (In Blue) even more depth, and each consecutive track carries with it a feeling of truth and honesty, something that can be hard to find in country.  Lone Star was created deliberately to be an intimate experience, even as she cover’s Don Henley’s classic Heart Of The Matter.  Henley might be a better singer technically, but when Glenna sings this, it sure feels like she’s revealing a chapter of her own life.

It’s doubtful you’ll hear any of these songs on contemporary country radio--too honest, too raw, extremely well played but not slick and shiny enough.  Listening to Lone Star is an experience I recommend very highly--with songs of this depth and timbre, it would be great to see her tour with Ian Tyson--another great storyteller in the western tradition. 

Essentials:  Poor Girl (In Blue), Heart of the Matter, Pig in Lipstick Blues, What It Was Was The Art Guys

By John Kereiff 

Y’all come!

Third Tuesdays at La Carafe in Houston - July 18, 2016

Hey Everybody! Tomorrow (July 19) is the third Tuesday of the month, so I’ll be back at historic La Carafe in downtown Houston from 9-11:30 p.m. with Greg Henkel on his incredible vio-fiddle.  La Carafe is a casual but classic Houston spot, and best of all, on Tuesday evenings street parking in Market Square is free and available and downtown is relatively quiet and low key.  Will have CD’s and VINYL.  Y’all come!

Taking Orders for Signed CD's and Vinyl! - June 20, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  Here’s a reminder that tomorrow (June 21) is the third Tuesday of the month, so I’ll be back at historic La Carafe in downtown Houston from 9:30-11:30 p.m. with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle.  La Carafe is a casual but classic Houston spot, street parking in Market Square is free and available on Tuesdays after six o’clock, and I’ll have Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas available on CD and vinyl!!  We’re taking orders now, so please let me know if you plan to come out tomorrow and whether you want CD, vinyl or both, and I’ll make sure to sign them before the show.


In the meantime, you might like to hear this interesting short interview that I did with former heavyweight boxer and current music writer and radio host, Benny “Big Dog” Henderson, Jr. a few weeks ago for Music Wire:


I really enjoyed sitting out on my back porch, listening to the birds sing in the trees, and talking with Benny about music.  I’d say this one “feels like home.”


Y’all come!

5 Minutes with Glenna Bell Q&A from Ireland! - May 31, 2016


Hey, Everybody!  Today, I’m passing along a blog link to a new Q&A with Natalie Allera Harris in Ireland, a marketing manager for luxury Scottish hotels and a lifestyle blogger who is “passionate about hospitality, tourism, music, food and social media, to name just a few.”  Her favorite quote happens to be by one of my favorite women: "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try." –Dolly Parton


About 5 Minutes  “Despite being incredibly complex creatures, the human attention span is getting shorter and shorter and so here at 5 minutes with we aim to give you a quick snapshot into the lives of many fascinating individuals in 10 questions – some serious and some for fun.”


Recent posts include 5 Minutes with Rebecca Christensen, Entrepreneur and Founder of Love from Indie Street, and 5 Minutes with Kelly Bakewell, Miss Scottish Pin-Up!

Video Debut + New Album Review - May 27, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  Just a quick note on this rainy Friday night in Houston to let you know that my new music video, “Tonight’s the Night (We Graduate”), which Elmore Magazine premiered last month, will enjoy a debut tomorrow morning on Legends TV, a New York based show featuring “the best in pop culture.” 

Check out this short TV promo by host, Evan Ginzburg whom I had the pleasure to meet when he booked me for a few live appearances in the Village while I was in NYC:

And check out the show tomorrow morning:

Saturday, May 28

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EST


I also want to pass along another really lovely review of my new album, Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas, by Benny “Big Dog” Henderson, Jr. who happens to be a music writer, radio host, AND a former heavy weight boxer:

Vinyl is on the way!  I’ll be keeping you posted on that and more.  In the meantime, I wish you a Happy Memorial Day Weekend whatever you do and wherever you are. 

Y’all come!

Houston Shows Tonight and Sunday + New Reviews - May 17, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  I’ve been so busy lately with the album release—which is still ongoing—it will be great to get back toLa Carafe tonight (Tuesday, May 17) from 9-11 andDean’s Downtown this Sunday evening from 8-9 with Greg Henkel on his incredible vio-fiddle.  In the meantime, I'm passing along a couple more reviews that I really like a lot.  Y’all come!


Recent Reviews 


GLENNA BELL/Tonight's The Night

Writer: Glenna Bell; Producer: Mark Abernathy; Publisher: Glenna Bell, ASCAP; GB (track)

Texas favorite Bell has a throaty, distinctive vocal style. Her records always perk up my ears. This outing is about young lovers graduating from high school. She recalls their courtship and vows to go all the way on their big night. I hung on every word. Her new collection is aptly titled Lone Star Songs and Stories Straight From the Heart of Texas.


Robert K. Oermann

Music Row

Nashville, TN



Lone Star-Songs & Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas:

It's a Texas thing, it's got to be. Recognized by the state as one of the state's musical treasures, Bell has songs that sound like they would inspire more suicides than early Leonard Cohen but she's actually smack dab in the heart of the Townes Van Zandt Texas troubadour tradition. Except for "Marie" or "Sanitarium Blues" she pretty much out Van Zandt's Van Zandt himself. Songs like this don't always inspire you to gargle with razor blades and it's sometimes nice to know you can get close to the edge as just another observer. Wild, deep stuff firmly in the literary tradition with no dust on it, here's a shining reason of why they love her so much on her natural stomping grounds. Check it out if you dare.


Chris Spector 

Midwest Record

Chicago, IL

Vinyl Is Here! Houston Show Tonight! NYC Review! - April 24, 2016

Hey, Everybody!

GREAT NEWS—At the end of the day Friday I happened to glance out my front window and, to my pleasant surprise, discovered a package containing the vinyl test copies of Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas.  It was quite an unforgettable experience to hear my music on vinyl for the first time Friday night!  In about a month I should have the real thing with the gorgeous cover by photographer, Amy Morris, and designer, Natali Leduc.  Some of you have been asking about vinyl, so now you know—only a few more weeks and we’ll be set to go

In the meantime, I want to remind all Houstonians that I’ll be playing this evening (April 24) from 8-9 p.m. at one of my favorite spots, Dean’s Downtown, with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle.  Dean’s is a historic, high-ceilinged, storefront venue facing Main Street where both Greg and I have enjoyed years of performing and memory making, including Houston Press music award showcases and the successful Sunday Night Houston Songwriter Series hosted by Andrew Karnavas. Dean’s has been through a variety of changes since it opened about twenty years ago and the new owners have invested in a stunning renovation, including an excellent new sound system, clearly testifying to their support of live music.  Dean’s, in fact, was the perfect place to entertain the New York music critic, Greg Victor, who published this extraordinary review of Lone Star a few weeks ago:

Y’all come!

It's Official: Lone Star Album Release - April 15, 2016

Hey, Everybody!

It’s a beautiful day here in Houston.  The birds are singing their age-old songs and the cool Gulf Coast breeze is whispering away in the trees out back.  Today marks yet another milestone in my musical journey.  The release of my new album, Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas, is official:

There is a flattering new review in Elmore Magazine that just came out today

--a lovely follow up to their April 12 exclusive premiere of my new music video, directed by Natali Leduc: 

So far, the album has received a five-star review from the UK and fantastic reviews from Germany, New York City, Chicago, and more, which I will be sending out before long. 

The new record is already getting radio play on some really amazing programs, including Jon “Chip” Colcord’s acoustic-oriented syndicated show Out of the Woods

and most recently Howard Thompson’s eclectic PURE Hype program, which aired today and will be archived for future listening:

WPKN Bridgeport, 89.5fm & streaming worldwide at

I’m also looking forward to two live shows in downtown Houston on Tuesday (April 19) at La Carafe from 9:30-11:30 p.m. and at Dean’s Downtown (April 24) from 8-9 p.m.

And there’s A LOT more on the horizon TBA soon . . .

Exciting times. 

Y’all come!

Music Video World Premiere Today! - April 12, 2016

Hey, Everybody!  I’m pleased to announce that today begins the premier of my new music video, “Tonight’s the Night (We Graduate)” from my new album, Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas

The video is directed by multidisciplinary French-Canadian artist, Natali Leduc, and features a cast of talented teen actors from the HITS theater school here in Houston, co-starring my dear friend Elmer George, straight off the streets of Houston’s Second Ward. 

We shot these scenes on location in my neighborhood at the shadowy-sunshiny edge of downtown Houston, and I love the fleeting moments of beauty, simplicity and authenticity of life that we managed to capture here in this historic inner-city enclave as it recedes gently into the past, washed away by the inevitable tides of gentrification.

The song is a teenage romance, set on the eve of high school graduation—a story of life-long friends soon to be parted as they prepare to embark on that mysterious, universal journey.

I dedicate the video to two real-life friends I’ll never forget: “Abbie [Evans] and Eddie [Gallaher] who will always be young.” 

I am ever thankful to everyone who contributed to this project and to those who helped make it happen, and to Elmore Magazine for hosting this exclusive premier:

Y’all come! 

Over Half a Million Spotify Streams in December! - March 6, 2016

GREAT NEWS!  "Be My Valentine (On Christmas)" made over half a million streams via Spotify during December 2015!  AND 194,000 Spotify streams for the 2014 holiday--that's about 700,000 streams in two consecutive seasons!  Let's celebrate!!

AND my new album, Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas, is set for release on April 15.  CD's are here.  Vinyl is on the way!  

AND the iTunes link is live!

Sign up for the newsletter in the top, left corner to get occasional updates!

Read all about it here NOW:

Downtown Houston Historic Bar & Lounge on Sunday - January 29, 2016

Dean’s Credit Clothing

January 31, 2016

8-10 p.m.

316 Main Street

Houston, TX 77002


 Hey, Everybody!  I’m back in Houston and the new year is off to a very busy start, so here’s a quick note just to say that I’ll be performing a set at Dean’s Credit Clothing on Main Street in Downtown Houston this Sunday evening with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle.  Dean’s is a newly renovated, gorgeous old building with amazing architecture, ambiance, and many musical memories, including the recent songwriter series that became a big success thanks to Andrew Karnavas and the good ol’ times when Greg Henkel and I played Houston Press Music Awards showcases at Dean’s as Greg’s band and I were finalists in a friendly competition for “Best Folk” on more than one occasion.  Then or now, it’s always good to get back to Dean’s.  So if you’re in Houston this Sunday . . .

Y’all come! 

Listen Online: NYC/NJ Live Radio Show Link - January 15, 2016

Historic La Carafe

January 19, 2016

9:30-11:30 p.m.

813 Congress Ave

Houston, TX 77002

with Greg Henkel (on his incredible viofiddle!)

Hey, Everybody!

I’m back in Houston and looking forward to another third Tuesday at historic La Carafe, downtown with Greg Henkel.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a lovely memory on the air last Saturday morning with Jerry Treacy on WFDU radio, broadcasting in NYC from NJ:

Once the dust settled, I had a chance to hear not only my part but Jerry’s entire program and he is playing some great new material, including releases from Aretha Franklin, Lucinda Williams, Joe Ely, and Billy Gibbons! 

I hope that you will listen to the whole show because I really think that you’ll enjoy it, but if you don’t have the time at the moment, the program archive will be active for a few more days.  

Just click on January 9, “Crash on the Levee.”  If you click “fifteen minutes” six times, you can go directly to the beginning of my segment.

Y’all come!

Listen Live on WFDU Saturday, January 9! - January 8, 2016

Listen Live Tomorrow Morning (Saturday January 9) from 10-11 a.m. EST

To the Crash on the Levee radio show with host, Jerry Treacy!


Hey, Everybody!  Happy New Year!


The CD release party in Houston on December 30 was a magical experience.  Many thanks to everyone who came out to make it so special and to all those everywhere who called, emailed, and sent cards and flowers to say congratulations and express well wishes for the new album—Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas—my beautiful new year’s baby. 


I’m on the East Coast now in the township of Kearny, NJ where memorable scenes from the Sopranos were filmed, just across the river from NYC, and the town is quite quaint and still decorated for the holidays, a lovely atmosphere amidst which to work on the release, which I have been doing pretty much all day every day for days. 


Last week, I enjoyed a live appearance on Big Kev’sRoots, Rock, Revolution show on WLVR in scenic Bethlehem, PA.  We played songs from the new release and talked about the process of making the album, which was my idea thanks to the classical station I’ve been listening to in Houston most every morning.  What I most like about what they do is that they bring composers and classical musicians on the air and, rather than having them perform live, the host plays a high-quality, fully representational recording of their music and then they embark on a captivating interview that usually ranges from some somewhat personal questions to questions about these artists’ approach to music much the way a writer, director, actor, or visual artist would get a chance, not to perform live but to speak intelligently about his or her work.  Thanks, Big Kev, for embracing this novel perspective—I love it!


I’m looking forward to visiting Jerry Treacy on WFDU radio in Teaneck, NJ tomorrow morning from 10 - 11 a.m. EST.  I’ve admired Jerry’s programming for several years now and have had the pleasure of being on his show at the historic Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) station and of having been introduced on stage in NYC by Jerry when I performed there a few years ago.  I am honored to be a guest again on Crash on the Levee, and I hope that you will tune in for the NJ/NYC broadcast debut of Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas.


Y’all come!


In the meantime, here is a brief excerpt from the WFDU site to give you a feel for Jerry’s show:


Jerry Treacy started working at WFDU in the early 90s as the host of Crash on the Levee, an eclectic and unique mix of weekend Music America. The program takes its title from the legendary “Basement Tapes” recordings from Bob Dylan and The Band, whose sessions were typical of the spontaneity and unbounded enthusiasm that Jerry has for the music. Although the listener can always count on hearing the latest singer-songwriters, the playlist covers the span of the folk, blues, country, Cajun and zydeco genres from its beginnings to the latest releases.


And, for those "readers" out there, here are some excerpts from WFDU's detailed “History” page that elucidate the fascinating saga of the behind the scenes “David and Goliath” battle that was waged throughout the 1960’s between New York University (NYU) and Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) over WFDU, whose antenna ended up on the Armstrong Tower in Alpine, NJ—the site of the word’s first FM radio transmitter built by “Major” Edwin Howard Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio:


"On August 30th 1971 at 12 noon, WFDU-FM began broadcasting to the New York metro area and has maintained its eclectic, non-commercial approach to music programming not heard up the radio dial.


In the Spring of 1962 broadcasting began with the call letters WFDU-AM  – The Voice of Fairleigh Dickinson University. We were able to go on air several hours a day broadcasting to the Commons during the day and to the dorms in the evenings. Our programming consisted of playing music, reading news from local newspapers, and occasionally interviewing a faculty member, politician or student."  It was then thought that maybe FDU could have an FM station and be able to broadcast to commuting students as well as dorm students on all three New Jersey campuses.


A couple of months later a report came back that although there weren't any available FM stations in the area, there was one frequency that was allotted to the U.N. and never used for 10 years. 

In 1963-64, the FCC decided to allow any educational institution to apply to use the 89.1MHz United Nations frequency.

A preliminary application was made after discussion with U.N. representatives. However, New York University (NYU) also had been working on an agreement with the U.N. for use of the channel. The FCC ruled that the U.N. could not “surrender its license to the channel without accepted, competitive applications.”


As of mid 1967, exhibits had been exchanged and a hearing was scheduled for October 17th. The NYU proposal stated that “NYU’s case is strong,” citing a “history of campus radio stations going back to the 1930’s and 1940’s” as well as a “communications curricula going back to the 1920’s.” It also noted that NYU is already geared up for FM operations. One of the most telling indicators that NYU was ready to play legal hard ball was NYU’s intention to call every single FDU witness (26 in all) for cross examination, at FDU’s time and expense, at a hearing scheduled for December 1967.


The FDU proposal stated that NYU and the Broadcast Bureau would oppose any FDU witnesses . . . The proposal also recommended that share-channel operations be discussed, noting that the Broadcast Bureau wondered why it hasn’t already been discussed and added that the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) dislikes fights between Universities.


In an article in the “Hudson Dispatch” (dated 9/29/67) Dean Marinus Galanti likened the battle of FDU versus NYU to that of David and Goliath. On November 17, 1967, representatives from FDU and NYU met to discuss the possibility of sharing the U.N. channel. This meeting was subsequent to one held between FDU’s President Fuller and NYU’s President Hester. They concluded that any decision would come from the students in charge of the project.


On October 7, 1968, FDU President Fuller sent a letter to the Board of Trustees summarizing the FM Proceedings. He noted that the share-time arrangement with NYU must be finalized by October 15th or the “operate every other day” plan would become the decision. President Fuller admitted that some students and alumni were taking “a hard line” and insisting that the case be appealed.  He suggested that both FDU and NYU send a letter to the Commission indicating they agree not to appeal the case and will work toward a shared time agreement but noted that was unacceptable to NYU.


In the November 1968 “Monitor,” Vic Wheatman reported the first meeting concerning the shared-time decision was held October 25th. Counterparts from the two universities discussed a Monday-Wednesday-Friday and a month of Sundays schedule at each station. The plan would switch the days after one year. The basis for this arrangement was that both FDU and NYU would operate from the transmitter and tower to be erected on NYU’s University Heights campus. Ironically, FDU agreed to this plan, as opposed to using the Alpine Tower.


On November 7, 1968, the transmitter plan fell apart when NYU proposed building a tower at an estimated cost of $75,000.00 and suggested FDU pay a yearly rental fee of $30,000.00, meaning that in two and a half years, NYU would recoup its investment. FDU had gotten an estimate of $600.00 a year to use the Alpine Tower.


Another meeting was slated for Monday, November 18th. It was recommended that FDU decline the NYU transmitter offer and instead investigate two other possibilities, Alpine Tower or WJRZ’s antenna in Hackensack. However, by declining it was believed NYU would feel forced to appeal the share-time decision. 


On January 22, 1969, a reply brief was filed with the FCC on behalf of NYU laying out its reasoning for its request of exclusive use of channel 206 and refuting matters raised by FDU in earlier proceedings.


On August 29, 1969, the FCC’s Review Board released its decision affirming the Examiner’s decision to order FDU and NYU to share the channel. The Board found no basis to prefer one applicant over the other and rejected NYU’s bid for exclusive use of the channel, while acknowledging that its share-time resolution was a novel outcome. This case was the first of its kind and became the basis for subsequent cases involving competing noncommercial educational applicants. The Board directed the parties to submit a written share-time agreement to the Board or face additional proceedings that would become the basis of a Board imposed arrangement. On May 25, 1970, the parties executed the Share-Time Agreement that is the basis of their operations today. The call letters “WFDU” were requested by Fairleigh Dickinson University on October 13, 1970 and were formally assigned by the FCC on November 25th.


There is an addendum to the story, one that explains how and why WFDU-FM ended up with the broadcasting hours they have. It was provided by Frank Murphy, a student at FDU, who also was involved in the creation of WFDU-FM.


He wrote, “Vic Wheatman, David West, Bob Stotts (the FDU Student Activities Director) and I worked on convincing the university that the FM license was a good idea. After getting the initial release of the frequency from the United Nations, the FCC declared that both applications (FDU and NYU) had merit and decided to “cut the baby in half” to be fair to both. When negotiations between student committees from both FDU and NYU were unable to reach agreement on broadcasting hours, the administration took over.”


Mr. Murphy recalls that NYU was adamant about having the weekday evening hours because they wanted programming that would reach “the largest possible audience of NYU students and alumni.” FDU felt that daytime hours would provide the “opportunity to do some academic programming (possibly airing courses) and the basis for courses structured around a possible communications curriculum. Add to this the willingness of NYU to give up the weekends, which opened up the possibility to broadcast FDU sports, it pretty much sealed the weekday daytime, full weekend time share deal for FDU. 


Mr. Murphy also recalled discussion between FDU and NYU sharing a transmitter and said various options were explored, including the possibility of installing a transmitter antenna on the west tower of the George Washington Bridge. However, engineering challenges and a high rental fee quoted by the Port Authority, ended the idea. NYU opted to locate its transmitter at their satellite campus, called University Heights, in the Bronx.


Ironically, the campus was sold a few years later to Bronx Community College, but the transmitter still operates from there. FDU’s antenna ended up on the Armstrong Tower in Alpine, New Jersey, where it remains today. That tower is the site of the world’s first FM radio transmitter, built by “Major” Edwin Howard Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio. And so, Bergen County’s first full power FM station took to the air in an historic manner."


Wow!  What a story.  Now THAT's history!

CD Release Party in Houston! - December 26, 2015

Hey, Everbody!

My new CD’s should be arriving in town on Monday or Tuesday, so I have decided to host a get together at my house in Houston to celebrate the forthcoming release and the beginning of a new year this Wednesday evening (December 30) between 6-11 p.m.  I will have signed copies of Lone Star: Songs and Stories Straight from the Heart of Texas and light refreshments.  Please reply for more details, i.e. my address, parking, etc. Happy New Year! 

Y'all come!

2 Holiday Shows This Week + New Album Update! - December 14, 2015

Hey, Everybody!  I’m writing to remind all the Houston people that I’ll be at La Carafe on Congress tomorrow evening--December 15 from 9:30-11:30—AND I'll be at Dean's Credit Clothing on Main Street Sunday evening, December 20 from 8-10 with Greg Henkel on his incredible viofiddle and a surprise guest on upright bass!  

Both of these places are favorites of mine, classic spots full of Houston history, personal memories, and ambience.  Downtown is all dressed up for the holidays and parking is easy on Tuesdays and Sundays.  The weather is supposed to be gorgeous as it is today, cool and crisp, maybe in the mid to high sixties!

Thanks to everyone who has recently signed up for the newsgroup and to those who have written me about my new holiday release, “Christmas Is Coming.”  I’m glad that you're enjoying the song.  The new album has gone to manufacturing.  It looks and sounds SO GOOD!  CD's and digital downloads/streams will be available soon at iTunes, Spotify, etc.  AND there will be vinyl!  

I'll be on the East Coast New Year's Day with more adventures in music on the horizon--exciting times ahead!  Until then, I'm wishing everyone everywhere all the best of this holiday season.  And don't forget –

Christmas Is Coming - Listen Here!

Y'all come!

Pre-Release Holiday Single! - November 6, 2015

November is here and so is the new pre-release holiday single, Christmas Is Coming! Check it out online in all the usual places for digital download and streaming.

Christmas Is Coming - Listen Here!  

The art work is beautiful!  It is by the talented French-Canadian artist, Natali Leduc. 

The album will be released in Spring 2016.  To receive occasional updates on all of this and more, sign up for the bi-monthly music newsletter in the top, left corner.

Y'all come!

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