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Governor Abbott Celebrates Texas Music During SXSW

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In a party at the Governor’s Mansion, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott hosted Texas musicians, music industry representatives and vendors, SXSW attendees, elected officials, and other honored guests in an evening to celebrate Texas music.

The event, officially titled, “A Capitol Salute to Texas Music,” was attended by about two to three hundred guests, many of whom were in town for the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, an event that takes place over several weeks in Austin every year, featuring new technologies, film, music, and other popular cultural trends. The purpose of the evening was to highlight Texas musicians and the work of the Texas Music Office (TMO).

Gov. Greg Abbott greets guests. Photo by Sarah Rumpf.

Gov. Greg Abbott greets guests. Photo by Sarah Rumpf.

The weather could not have been better for an outdoor event, sunny with a light breeze. Entertainment was provided by three Texas-based musical acts. Tameca Jones, from Austin, kicked off the evening with her soulful singing from the steps of the Governor’s Mansion.

Jones was then followed by guitarist Carter Beckworth, another Austinite who Abbott introduced by mentioning that Beckworth was a fellow alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, as well as the grandson of former Texas Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby. Beckworth played several of his own songs on his acoustic guitar, mostly Southern rock with a very radio-friendly sound. According to his website, Beckworth has several upcoming tour dates over the next few months across Texas and Tennessee.

Carter Beckworth performs at a Capitol Salute to Texas Music. Photo by Sarah Rumpf.

Carter Beckworth performs at a Capitol Salute to Texas Music. Photo by Sarah Rumpf.

The last musical act was Texas country artist Roger Creager and his band. On the last song of his set, Creager was joined onstage by his father, and by TMO director, Brendan Anthony, on fiddle.

Anthony had previously played fiddle with Pat Green, one of the musicians who played during Abbott’s inauguration ball back in January. “Our goal at the Texas Music Office is to inform those in the music industry of the abundant resources available for music production and development in the State of Texas,” Anthony told Breitbart Texas. “Our state boasts a rich history of elevating musicians and producers to the highest echelons of creative achievement and the SXSW festival provides a unique opportunity to continue upon that success.”

Abbott made similar remarks earlier in the evening when he addressed the crowd before Roger Creager took the stage, highlighting the many talented musicians who had called Texas home over the years. “The diversity of our music history is vast,” said Abbott, mentioning musicians such as Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Beyonce, and “both Selenas,” slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and current pop singer Selena Gomez.

However, said Abbott, many talented Texas musicians start here, but end up leaving the state to pursue their careers. “They start here, but don’t have the music infrastructure needed,” so they go to cities like Los Angeles or Nashville to make their music. “We want them to stay in Texas,” continued Abbott, and that was part of the mission of the TMO, “so that what we make here in Texas stays in Texas.”

The Governor praised Anthony, who he had tapped to lead the TMO, as someone with a deep understanding of the music industry, who could take the TMO “to the next level.”

“First Puppy” Pancake, the Abbotts’ Golden Retriever, made an appearance near the end of the festivities. Pancake has become very popular since the Abbotts brought her to live with them at the Governor’s Mansion; a Twitter account created for the puppy, @TexasPancake, quickly attracted more than 2,000 followers.  

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.


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