Texas Music Seminar Speaking Lineup

Here are all of the speakers we have lined up for our Texas Music Seminar (in reverse order of appearance):

More info on our Texas Music Seminar can be found here:http://www.texasmusicpickers.com/texas-music-seminar-2018/

Wade Bowen

Waco native Wade Bowen began recording Solid Ground intent on making the artistic statement of his career – a high bar considering the twenty years of success he’s enjoyed – but as his personal odometer rolled over into his fourth decade, his focus is more on legacy than next Saturday night.

“I started thinking, ‘how much longer can I do this and matter as a writer?’ My thinking is, I hope I can be like Guy Clark at 72 years old, still making great records that people still give a damn about. So I took my time with every aspect of this process.”

Solid Ground is personal but not necessarily autobiographical, peppered with distinct south-of-the-border imagery of “Acuna,” and the nostalgic reflection of “So Long Sixth Street.” Rolling Stone spoke well of “Day of the Dead,” noting “the mariachi influence, with accordion, Spanish guitar and a horn section augmenting Bowen’s more familiar Red Dirt shuffle.” The combination is Bowen’s signature – Texas flavor strongly spicing his mix of country, blues, rock and Americana.

The parched scenery, weathered outlook and gravelly vocals created a less-than-pristine album that was championed by producer Keith Gattis. Writing and vocal contributions from Andrew Combs, Jack Ingram, Waylon Payne, Angaleena Presley, Jon Randall, Lucie Silvas, and Charlie Worsham, among others..



Parker McCollum

Parker McCollum comes from a no-nonsense, hard-working family. His was the sort of upbringing where “if you’re going to do something and you’re not going to do it one-hundred percent; you shouldn’t do it all.” It’s why this 25-year-old treats each song he writes with a painstaking level of dedication, reverence, and — as he readily admits — even a bit of obsession.

Parker says when a particular melody, lyric or emotion tugs at him he might stay in his room for days working on it. He can’t help himself.

That’s because, for the Austin-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, the result is worth the painstaking process. Parker — who broke out with the revealing and critically adored 2013 debut The Limestone Kid and returned with the acclaimed, Probably Wrong — says, “its like the songwriting muse takes over. I don’t choose when it hits me, but when it does, I pay attention — and it’s always worth the focus it asks of me.“





Bri Bagwell

In My Defense, is a collection of ten carefully crafted songs that give her fans an inside peek of how this girl chasing a dream for over fifteen years, has blossomed into the woman living those dreams.

As the record kicks in, haunting, echoey guitars set a tone of where the listener is going to go. “Asphalt & Concrete,” the first song on the record, paints a picture of a desert girl cutting loose and losing a bit of herself in the big city. Bri soars vocally as she sings, “Well I’m into sunsets and I love the sand, but I wasn’t myself in a disrupted land, with buildings and people and too many drinks in my hand.” Bri is constantly flirting with the lyric as she tussles, barefoot on the streets of Austin.

“If you were a Cowboy” follows and is the slated as the first single releasing to radio and streaming outlets. A hard driving, sexy, mid-tempo tune with just enough attitude, it gives listeners a resume of what it takes to capture a confident, hard-working woman’s heart. Bri explains, “This is the only song on the record I didn’t write. It wasn’t my intention to cut outside of my craft, but my producer Rachel Loy played me the song, and I instantly looked at her with ‘I-have-to-have-this’ eyes.” As this female anthem drives, “if you had real dust on your boots, the kind that’s passed down from your roots, I bet i would fall for you, if you were a cowboy,” every woman feels the need for a strong, hard-working man, but she also has no time for anything inauthentic.



Jamie Lin Wilson

“It’s a weird road we’re on right now––I guess it always has been,” Jamie Lin Wilson says. She’s sitting on her porch in D’Hanis, a tiny town on the Seco Creek in South Texas, not far from San Antonio. She laughs a little, then adds, “But nobody’s life is the same. There is no blueprint.”Thank goodness for all the lonely paths Jamie’s had to find that no one else has taken. With a voice that slides in and out of notes with easy grace, a sly sense of humor, and lyrics that highlight the details most of us miss, Jamie creates stark vignettes: intimate conversations between friends who might be lovers and lovers who can’t be friends; kids hopping from stone to stone in a graveyard; the way rolling clouds can signal a new season. She lives and works in that sweet spot where folk and country meet––Guy Clark territory.

“It’s unfair that the poets and songwriters are the ones who have the songs about their lives, when maybe that’s not what’s poetic,” Jamie says. “Maybe the moments are the ones happening in everyday farmers’ lives, or to a widow, or a son.” It’s her comfort in and commitment to two distinct worlds––that of the dream-chasing artists and the dirt-under-their-nails realists––that makes Jamie and her songs not just inviting, but cathartically important.




John Baumann


Fans and media alike are buzzing about the recent release of John Baumann’s latest project and new album PROVING GROUNDS, which he put out independently June 9. Hailed as a “Texas Troubadour on the Rise” and an “artist to watch” by Wide Open Country, the guitarist-singer-songwriter is currently touring in support of his latest effort across his home state through the summer.

“This record feels like a coming of age project for me,” explains Baumann, “It’s the first project I’ve done that stands up on its own two feet, from the opening track to the closer. I couldn’t be more proud of it.” Adding, “I think it will resonate with anyone who has experienced new love, loss, and growing up.”


Drew Kennedy

“To do this job, you have to be an extraordinarily self-centered person,” Drew Kennedy says. “That’s just what it requires. I don’t want to be self-centered, but I was made to do this. A lot of artists say art comes from conflict––they talk about relationships ending or trying to overcome serious habits. Well, my conflict is this: how do I be so self-centered while being as selfless as I can?”

Kennedy is asking himself these questions as he drives through some snaking Colorado mountain roads, on his way to pick up his wife and two young sons from the airport after about a week apart. He’s missed them terribly, but it’s been such a good run: listening rooms scattered throughout Colorado, New Mexico, and West Texas, all packed with devotees anxious to hear just him and his Gibson Hummingbird tell stories. He’s doing what he loves while who he loves most is 1,000 miles away. And it’s that tension––the struggle between being the kind of man he wants to be and being the kind of artist he has to be––that keeps him up at night.

It’s also what enables Kennedy to write songs that comfort even as they break your heart.



John Dickson (Dickson Productions)

John Dickson has been a featured speaker at the Americana Music Association Conference, and his company, Dickson Productions, presents or consults on more than 100 performances and special events each year, including Fest Out West, Rio Frio Fest and MusicFest at Steamboat which is now one of the longest running music festivals in the country (34 years) and recently deemed “The Super Bowl of Texas Music”!

In addition to providing expertise consulting in advertising and marketing for artists, events, and major record labels, Dickson Productions publishes its widely distributed biannual MusicFest Magazine, whose pages include letters of recognition from artists, politicians, even Presidents. Also the force behind Right Avenue Records, Dickson Productions now can add ‘record label’ to its roster of qualifications, as the company recorded and released the acclaimed double CD live recording, Undone: A MusicFest Artist’s Tribute to songwriter Robert Earl Keen. Texas A&M University Press and the Center for Texas Music History joined forces to publish the John and Robin Dickson book series on Texas Music, designed to promote scholarship on a variety of topics related to the state’s musical heritage.



Meredith Jones (CAA)

Meredith Jones is a Music Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Jones works in the Nashville office and represents such artists as Chase Rice, Maren Morris, Whiskey Myers, Bobby Bones, and Little Big Town, among others.

Jones began her career at CAA in 2007.  She was promoted to Agent in 2012.

She graduated magna cum laude from Belmont University, receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis on Music Business.




Kolby Cunningham (Twisted J Live)

Kolby Cunningham is the Entertainment Director for Twisted J Live in Stephenville, TX








Andres Rocha (Koe Wetzel)

Andres Rocha is the current drummer, and former booking agent for Koe Wetzel


Jeb Hurt (Red 11 Music)


A native of Texas, Jeb was born and raised in Beaumont where he got his first taste of the entertainment business watching his father deliver the nightly news on the local NBC TV affiliate. He attended the University of Houston and Lamar University where he studied Business and Business Law and after spending 7 years working as a paramedic and a firefighter in the Austin area, he took a leap of faith and entered into a full time commitment working in the music industry as a promoter rep responsible for multiple festivals across the state. Following that, he took a job as the in-house talent buyer and promoter for the Texas Music Theater in San Marcos, TX where he was responsible for more than $2 million in talent purchases over the course of 2.5 years.

After a successful run there, he was approached by Chad Kudelka of Red 11 Music and offered a position as a talent agent. Red 11’s solid history as an agency and the ultra-talented roster made the decision a no-brainer for him and he has now served in that role since June of 2013 where he represents Ray Wylie Hubbard, Koe Wetzel, Shane Smith and the Saints, Flatland Cavalry, Sam Riggs, and many more exclusively. Red 11 Music represents more than 40 artists across multiple genres and maintains offices in both Austin and Nashville.




Rita Ballou (KOKE FM)


Rita Ballou took the Texas/Red Dirt music scene by storm in 2010 with her controversial website RawhideandVelvet.com. She’s been described as the “Perez Hilton of Texas Country Music,” and love her or hate her, she is always entertaining. Her snarky-but-fresh take on country music, celebrities, reality television and all things pop culture quickly became a must-read for over 50,000 music fans a month and one of the most respected sources for Texas/Red Dirt news. But when radio came calling, Ballou turned her attention to some of the biggest stations in Texas.

In 2012, Ballou started her career as on-air talent at Shooter FM in Waco, but she soon took on the coveted afternoon drive slot at US 105 in Temple. Her last step up the ladder landed her where she is now, at Austin’s KOKE-FM. Ballou and her co-host Eric Raines fill weekday afternoons with the fan-favorite Rita & Raines Show and she also plays “side piece” to Country Music Hall of Fame member Bob Cole on the KOKE and Cole Morning Show. Ballou is the social media/digital manager for KOKE-FM and preps/delivers the station’s Texas/Red Dirt music news segments (aptly named The Ballou News).

Ballou – whose stage name comes from the Guy Clark song of the same name – is married to her college sweetheart, and together they have two weenie dogs and live just outside of Austin in Hutto, Texas.



Chris Fox (Texas Music Pickers)

Chris Fox, co-founder and editor of Texas Music Pickers.

Chris  got his first taste of the Texas music scene in 2002 after sneaking in to a Randy Rogers concert at the age of 17 in Huntsville, Texas. He later attended Sam Houston State University where he received his Bachelors in Business Administration. After spending a few years in hardware and software sales in Houston, Chris decided to go back to school and pursue his passion. While teaching Business and Marketing classes in College Station and finishing his MBA, Chris and Steve Fox, went on to start Texas Music Pickers after using it as a way to get in to a sold out concert -True Story! Chris and Steve officially launched their website in March of 2014, highlighting singles, albums, and videos of established and up-and-coming Texas and Red Dirt artists, providing valuable marketing analysis and advice, as well as, publishing the Texas Music Spotify Chart. The website has well over 1 million total view and currently averages 35K hits a month.  We’ve amassed over 40,000 social media followers and nearly 4,000 email subscribers! 

Chris also has created, organized, and/or hosted various events such as the Texas Music Pickers Songwriter Contest, Chilifest Battle of the Bands, Texas Music Pickers Acoustic Series, The Luling Watermelon Thump Battle of the Bands, Pickin’ & Peelin’ Music Festival and the Texas Music Seminar.


Tiffini Brock Stedding (Blue Lark Entertainment)

Tiffini Brock Stedding is the founder of Blue Lark Entertainment which specializes in radio promotion, marketing, branding, and much more.


Bruce Kalmick (Triple 8 Management)

At 36 years old, Triple 8 Management co-owner and partner Bruce Kalmick diligently develops and breaks acts across genres. Combining a classic hands-on approach with a deep understanding of the modern marketplace, he cemented himself amongst the music industry’s 21st century executive vanguard. He personally oversees the careers of Chase Rice, Kaleo, Josh Abbott Band, Whiskey Myers, and more.

In the past 18 months, the artists that Bruce oversees have had a combined 200 syncs. Chase Rice’s single “Eyes on You” amassed 40 million streams before shipping to country radio as a single. Whiskey Myers’ placement on the television show “Yellowstone” resulted 5 songs featured in 4 episodes of the series (as well as cameo from the band). All 3 albums went top 10 after airing. “Mud” peaked at #1 and “Stone” peaked at #9 all genre. Kaleo earned a GRAMMY nomination 2018 and reached 800,000 worldwide sales of “A/B”. Their song “Way Down We Go” is now RIAA Platinum certified.

Bruce is one of four partners at the record label Triple Tigers, along with David Macias, Norbert Nix and George Couri. Scotty McCreery (both a Triple 8 and Triple Tigers client) achieved his first ever career No. 1 with “Five More Minutes”. Triple Tigers made label history in 2018 with two No. 1s out of the gate (“Five More Minutes” and Russell Dickerson’s’ “Yours”) which is unprecedented in the history of country music.

Bruce was also named one of Billboard Magazine’s “40 Under 40” this year- a list which highlights power players in the music industry.

Currently, Triple 8 Management is comprised of a 43-person staff across radio, tour marketing, marketing, branding, merchandising, digital strategy, and day-to-day management. Bruce is based in Austin, TX.


Gino Genaro (CDA Entertainment)

Gino Genaro is a natural born entrepreneur having grown up around the fine art business and technology startups.  Upon graduating University of San Diego, he launched his management firm after playing an integral role in the launch of both LoneStarMusic.com and Compadre Records with their respective founders.  Having helmed Aaron Watson’s career since the early honky tonk days, together they have defied conventional industry wisdom of what an artist could accomplish as an independent with historic chart toping albums, radio hits without major label backing, and a global touring business that has sold out countless shows and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in country music.  As co-founder of BIG Label Records and aligned with a newly inked distribution deal with ADA/Warner Music, he leads a team of seasoned record executives to build a label model of the future.  In addition to music, Genaro passionately counts real estate, start up investments, and business consulting in his business portfolio.  He currently resides in Franklin, TN with his wife and two children.





Wayne Foster – (Rock & Soul Management)

Wayne Foster, artist manager, graduated in 2000 from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in marketing.  While planning his OU graduation party, Wayne asked a friend in radio for local artist suggestions and was directed to Stoney LaRue.  Stoney was hired as the party’s entertainment and shortly thereafter, Wayne began booking and eventually managing his career.  In 2005, Wayne started a merchandise business, Rock & Soul Printing.  Rock & Soul Printing continues to produce merchandise and apparel for numerous artists across the industry.

Wayne Foster’s career has also included venue ownership and event production.  During 2006, Wayne opened the Boca Seca Saloon in Antlers, Oklahoma and picked up The Point on Lake Texoma a few years later.  In addition to his venues’ concert productions, he worked as the talent buyer and music director for the North Texas off-road event, Rednecks with Paychecks. 

Wayne began managing Mike Ryan in 2009 following Ryan’s graduation from the University of North Texas.  The partnership has seen 5 number ones in Texas as well as an appearance at the White House.  The two currently have a second residence in Nashville where they make frequent trips for writing and networking with other industry professionals.


Eddie Kloesel (Triple 8 Management)


I am just a small town kid from southeast Texas. Shortly after graduating high school I relocated to central Texas to attend college and ended up developing a passion for music.  I spent every Tuesday night at Cheatham Street Warehouse watching The Randy Rogers Band take over San Marcos, and soon enough the state of Texas.  This ignited a fire that soon turned my love for music from a passion to a job.

I started out in the music business tour managing and selling merchandise for Brandon Rhyder at the end of 2005.  As time passed I moved from selling merchandise and tour managing to learning how to run monitors.  From there I began to learn the ends and outs of full production and helped take over production manager roles.  In 2012 I decided to get off the road and started working for Triple 8 Management where I currently serve as a manager for Chase Rice, Sam Riggs, and Whiskey Myers.





Alex Torrez (Torrez Music Group)

Floydada Texas native Alex Torrez made his move to Nashville in 1986. 
He spent his first 10 years as a touring drummer for the likes of LeeAnn Womack, Tracy Lawrence, Edgar Winter, Leon Russell and a few others. 
In 1991 Alex created a publishing company with Waco Texas native Brett Beavers. Together they had cuts by Billy Ray Cyrus, Keith Urban, Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and a few others. They parlayed their success into a co-venture with Sony ATV where Alex was also hired as Dir of A&R for Columbia Records under the direction of legendary 90’s Country Producers Don Cook and Blake Chancey.  
After his stint at Sony he was hired as VP of Artist Relations and Global Outreach Marketing for Gibson Guitars and also re-connected with Tracy Lawrence to rebuild his company Lawrence Music Group. 
The past 10 years Alex has focused on his own company Torrez Music Group. 
TMG is an indie record label, management and publishing company that focuses on artist development. 
TMG’s distribution partners are Thirty Tigers and The Orchard. 
Current Label Roster consist of: 
Shotgun Rider 
Kylie Rae Harris 
Triston Marez 
Gabe Lee 
Current Management Roster consist of: 
Jamie Lin Wilson 
Triston Marez 
Kylie Rae Harris 
Gabe Lee 


Scott Gunter (Durango Artists)

Durango Artist Management

  • Artists: Cody Johnson, Roger Creager, Randall King
  • Management, A&R and Administrative oversight of all copyrights and master recordings for SoundExchange, Soundscan, Mediabase, Tunecore, HFA, P.R.O.’s, etc…
  • Coordinate and introduce artists to the Nashville songwriting community to expand their songwriter circles and help them “grow” their songwriting abilities to compete on a National level.
  • Partnered artists successfully with the top Nashville songwriters to produce music that have been the artists top selling CDs to date.

Writer Management
Scogun, LLC

  • Oversee and manage the songwriting career for Southwest touring artist Drew Kennedy.
    A&R and Administrative oversight for masters and publishing-Set up co-writes, songwriter development, oversight of all online services for masters and publishing with uploading and
    collections/cashflow of Soundexchange, Tunecore, Youtube, HFA, ASCAP, etc.



David Macias (Thirty Tigers)

David Macias is the President of Thirty Tigers

Thirty Tigers is a Nashville based entertainment company, founded in 2002 by Grammy Award-winning producer David Macias and Deb Markland. In just over a decade, Thirty Tigers has gone from two employees working out of David’s guest bedroom to thirty employees, most of whom now work out of our new home at 611 Merritt Avenue in the Wedgewood-Houston area of Nashville, Tennessee.  Thirty Tigers also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina and London. Our collective experience in the music industry ranges from record retail to the film industry to major labels.

Our marketing, distribution and management services have fostered success stories for a number of artists including Carlos Santana, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Trampled by Turtles, The Avett Brothers, Low, Ryan Bingham, Flogging Molly, Jason Isbell, The Josh Abbott Band, Chase Rice, Casey Donahew, The Eli Young Band, Will Hoge, Aaron Watson, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Lupe Fiasco and many others.


Tami Millspaugh (Texas Record Chick Promotions)

I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.  I grew up listening to country music when country literally wasn’t cool.  I remember seeing greats like George Strait, The Judds and Reba McEntire at the old Arlington Stadium.  My career in the music business started at KSCS in Dallas/Fort Worth where I worked as a promotion department assistant organizing events such as the legendary KSCS Country Fair.  As fate would have it, I was given the opportunity to join the Arista Nashville staff where I worked as a promotion/marketing/sales assistant.  Decca Records soon hired me as a Southwest Regional Promotion Manager in 1995 where I was instrumental in breaking such acts as Gary Allan and Lee Ann Womack. 

          After switching to the distribution side of the business, I was involved in promoting, marketing and selling different artists under the Universal Music umbrella including George Strait, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Robert Earl Keen and many others.  Love for Texas music led me to Sustain Records where I was privileged to work with many talented artists such as Wade Bowen, Cory Morrow and Zack Walther and the Cronkites.  I launched my own promotion company called Texas Record Chick Promotions in September of 2009.  The roster of clients includes Wade Bowen, Casey Donahew, Aaron Watson, Cody Johnson, Josh Abbott, Kevin Fowler, Kyle Park, Pat Green,  Mike Ryan, Cameran Nelson, Drew Fish, Flatland Cavalry, Jon Wolfe, Randall King, Ray Johnston, Dalton Domino,  Bradley Banning, Whiskey Myers, and William Clark Green.  

          Over the last nine years, more than 100 Texas Record Chick Promotion singles have topped the Texas charts and holds the record for the longest #1 on the CDX Texas Traction Chart at 13 weeks as well as the most #1’s on the same chart.


Erik Herbst (The Panhandle House)

In 1997, I opened a humble recording studio in Denton, Texas called The Panhandle House with the goal of making it the top recording studio in North Texas. Today with one of the finest collections of gear, and a client list that boasts Grammy award winning artists like Norah JonesBlake SheltonSnarky Puppy and the EaglesThe Panhandle House is a go to destination recording studio for the greater Texas/Oklahoma area.

My first big break came in 2004. I began work producing songs for what would ultimately become the Level record for a then unknown group called the Eli Young Band. Level would become a break out hit across the greater Texas-Oklahoma region and was a genre defining moment for the Texas/Red Dirt Scene. Soon after I produced their Live at the Jolly Fox record, and my production work that was featured on Jet Black And Jealous peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country Album Chart.

In the years following, as the Texas Country scene exploded, my work became in high demand. I have since produced 29 top ten singles including 9 number ones on the Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Charts. Working with Eli Young, Josh Abbott, Casey Donahew, Whiskey Myers, Sam Riggs, Zane Williams, my productions have won awards in nearly every category at the Texas Regional Radio Report Music Awards including; Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, New Male Vocalist, and Best New Duo/Group/Band.


Debbie Green (Debbie Green Promotions)

DEBBIE GREEN, VP of BGM Network, Inc. and founder of Debbie Green Promotions, has been described by the media as having an “encyclopedic knowledge of radio stations, numbers and chart positions.” 

In 1983, Debbie left her school teaching career to join husband, Bill, in the music business.  Her record promotion venture began on a Texas regional scale, but within one year, had expanded onto the national scene with her very first Billboard Chart single, “Blackjack  Whiskey,” by Bobby Jenkins. From 1984-2000, Debbie earned promotion credits on many major and independent artists and has been instrumental in placing hundreds of records in the Billboard, Cashbox, Gavin, Americana, and R&R Charts.  Just a few of those credits include John Wesley Ryles, Toby Keith, Doug Kershaw and Hank Williams, Jr., Kenny Dale, The Kentucky Headhunters, Ray Price, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Stella Parton, Daryle Singletary, Ricky Van Shelton, Rusty Wier, and many others.  As an independent promoter, Debbie’s label clients have included BNA Records, Lyric Street, Asylum, Warner Brothers, Broken Bow, BMG, and others.

In 2000, an emerging new Texas Music scene began to be recognized and the Texas Music Chart was formed, giving the much-needed credibility to the movement. With the formation of the Texas Music Chart, Debbie turned her attention back to the scene where it all began and has been responsible for hundreds of Texas Chart singles on many artists such as Johnny Bush and Willie Nelson, TJ Broscoff, Cooder Graw, Tommy Alverson, Lyle Lovett, Jason Cassidy, Jamie Richards, Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keen, Jason Allen, Ty England, Stephanie Urbina Jones, and numerous others, many of which have landed at the Number 1 spot.

In addition to her promotion expertise, Debbie has been instrumental in consulting the career and direction of many artists as well as being a feature speaker and panelist at many music industry seminars. 


Dave Smith (Dave Smith Promotions)

2003 – Present

  • Texas Regional Radio Report/Chart … 2003 to present
  • TRRMA Music and Awards Show … 2010 to present       



Dot Records, Paramount Pictures Music Division/ABC Records, Metromedia Music Division, MTM Records (Mary Tyler Moore), Polygram Label Group (includes labels Polydor, Mercury, Phonogram, Casablanca, RSO, A&M, Phillips, Fontana, and Island)


Some of the Artists I have worked in my 50+ years in the business …

Roy Clark, Pat Boone, American Breed, Donna Fargo, Freddy Fender, The Kendalls, Andy Kim, The Mills Brothers, Barbara Mandrell, Liberace, Hank Thompson, Lee Marvin/Clint Eastwood, Bobby Sherman, Gypsy, Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett, the Cates Gang, Becky Hobbs, Paul Overstreet, Holly Dunn, Judy Rodman, Girls Next Door, the Shoppe,  S-K-O (Skylar, Knoblock, Overstreet), Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Burt Bacharach, The Carpenters, Captain & Tennille, Cheech and Chong, Kiss, Janet Jackson, Moody Blues, The Who, Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, James Brown, Donnie and Marie, Dr. Hook, Toby Keith, Chely Wright, Cher, BTO, Dickey Lee, Connie Francis, Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Tears for Fears, John Cougar Mellenkamp, John Bon Jovi, Mac Davis, Smokey Robinson, Kool and The Gang, Con Funk Shun, Cinderella, Def Leppard, Rush,  Sonny James, Roy Head, Jacky Ward, George Burns, Kris Kristofferson,  Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis,  The Everly Brothers,  Hank Williams Jr., Lynn Anderson, Conway Twitty,  The Bellamy Brothers, Carl Perkins, Oak Ridge Boys, LeAnn Rimes, Tracy Lawrence,  Kathy Mattea,  The Statler Brothers, Terry Bradshaw, Ray Stevens, Roger Miller, Roy Orbison, Johnny Rodriquez, Reba McEntire, Tom T Hall, Tom Jones,  Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, The Geezinslaws, Sonny Throckmorton, Willie Nelson, TG Sheppard, Nancy Sinatra, Tracy Lawrence, George Strait, Garth Brooks…and…

Deryl Dodd, Bri Bagwell, Jerrod Medulla, Kylie Frey, Jesse Raub, Jr.,  Jake Ward, Sundance Head, David Joel, Steve Helms, Kendall Beard, High Country , Frank Ray, Sonny Burgess, Jolie Holiday … among others.


Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan’s musical story began in the Lone Star state, his first exposure to music was from his grandfather, who directed the Texas National Guard Band for over 30 years. He became one of Ryan’s biggest musical influences, first learning the clarinet from him – among other instruments.

“I found out after one short lesson with my grandfather that there was way more to this music thing than I had ever realized before. My grandfather was able to make people fall in love with music in a way that no one else could. I was very grateful for that growing up.”

From there, Ryan taught himself how to play the guitar – though he admits he had to learn the art of patience. “I didn’t have lessons or anything. I just had some extra time on my hands when I finished high school football, so I picked up a guitar and hit the ground running.” Needless to say, he was hooked.
“The way I learned was mostly by listening to the radio to figure out chords. I would lock myself in a room and play for hours. I would play my G, C, D, and if it didn’t sound right, I would just move the capo up, until I figured out the right chord. I taught myself how to play the way that it worked for me. Maybe learning from other people could’ve made certain things easier, but I think learning it my way might’ve helped make it stick. I think sometimes if you learn things on your own, you learn them better.”

Brendon Anthony (Texas Music Office)


As Director of the Texas Music Office, Brendon Anthony sets the agenda for business development, helping music industry professionals navigate their entry into the Texas market, as well as moving their businesses to Texas (including corporations, start-ups, and everything in between). Appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015, Brendon provides the link between the Office of the Governor’s Economic Development & Tourism Division executive staff, private sector music industry businesses, and non-governmental music organizations and trade associations. In addition to leading the Texas Music Office, Brendon is also the point person for the Music Friendly Communities program which helps connect the various music markets throughout the state with one another, establishes best practices for economic development success, and fosters the development and connection of higher education music programs to real-world music business opportunity.

Anthony began playing live music with a variety of Texas acts while attending Texas A&M University, which he graduated from in 1999. In 1997, Anthony began playing full time with Pat Green, with whom he toured nationally and internationally for 15 years. During his decade and a half as a touring musician, Anthony toured both the United States and Europe, played on a gold record and was a member of the band when Pat Green received three Grammy Award nominations. In addition to being a successful touring musician, Anthony has also performed on dozens of studio recordings and produced multiple records, including Drew Womack’s “Sunshine To Rain.” In 2010, Anthony helped start OneLive Media, which began as a primary ticketing company for Texas music venues and festivals before expanding into the e-commerce industry and becoming one of the premier online entertainment sales and marketing companies in the country. Anthony is a classically-trained violinist who has played fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo both in live performances and studio recordings.


Jill McGuckin (McGuckin PR)

Publicist Jill McGuckin of McGuckin Entertainment PR LLC arrived on the Austin music scene long before the city gained its world-famous musical reputation. In the years before and since, she’s been a tireless worker in the Texas and national music scenes — as creator of public relations for bands, solo artists, record labels, and music-related community service programs, special events and festivals. She is now considered the go-to girl to hook up musicians, entertainment influencers, special event planners, respected visitors to the city and members of the global media.





Christina Ramirez (Texas Music Pickers)

Christina Ramirez graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Public Relations (‘13) and a Masters in Education (‘15). She has a background in special events coordination and public relations and marketing. Ramirez has been an enthusiast and supporter of the Texas/Red Dirt scene for 10+ years. She joined the Texas Music Pickers team in late 2017 and has since contributed with dozens of album reviews and spotlights for artists and venues. She also covers the latest Texas/Red Dirt news and events!




Mike Tolleson (Mike Tolleson & Associates)


Mike Tolleson is past chair of the State Bar of Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section and currently the Director of the Entertainment Law Institute, an annual conference sponsored by the State Bar of Texas. He has been involved in much of the development of the music and film industries in Texas since 1970, and works closely with many clients and organizations throughout the entertainment industry.

Mike Tolleson founded and has been the director of the Entertainment Law institute since 1990, and was a co-founder and initial chair of the Entertainment and Sports Law Section of the State Bar in 1989. A graduate of the SMU Dedman School of Law, he has worked for over forty years as an entertainment attorney, concert producer, film producer and officer in various industry organizations.

Tolleson was a co-founder of the legendary Austin concert venue, Armadillo World Headquarters (1970 – 1980). He was also a co-founder of Austin public access channel (ACTV) and co-producer of the first Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic in 1973. In 1973, as a consultant to KLRU-TV, he brought Willie Nelson and KLRU together for the pilot episode and was the talent adviser for the first season of Austin City Limits, now the longest running music program on television.

Following a term as President of the state-wide Texas Music Association from 1983 – 1985, he was appointed in 1985 by Governor Mark White to the newly formed Texas Music Commission. He established the Texas Stand at the International Music Market (MIDEM) in Cannes, France, 1985, and has served as a Governor of the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy.

His clients have included such well-known artists as Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Joe y La Familia, Del Castillo, Band of Heathens, and many other Texas recording artists, record companies, computer game companies, authors, and film producers.


Gwen Seale (Mike Tolleson & Associates)

Gwendolyn Seale grew up in Houston Texas, across the street from Robert Earl Keen’s childhood home. Throughout this period, she had two main passions, basketball and music.

She attended Austin College in Sherman, Texas for her undergraduate degree where she played basketball for two years, studied Political Science, French and History graduating magna cum laude. After four years in Sherman, she attended SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas, during which time, she rekindled her love for music and developed a passion for social media and its relation to the law.

During her second year at SMU, she began interning at two music venues in the Dallas Deep Ellum district, Trees and The Bomb Factory, where she did everything from assisting with social media accounts to selling merchandise for bands. She also managed a local Austin band during her final year at SMU. Amidst working for venues and a band, she was an editor on the Science and Technology Law Review, where she began writing about the implications of social media in different areas of the law.  This passion propelled her to take a social media law course with Professor John Browning after which they co-authored an article, “More Than Words: The Evidentiary Value of Emoji,” which received the G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award from the DRI in 2016 and later was structured into an online Texas CLE lecture.

Currently, along with working at Mike Tolleson and Associates, specializing in entertainment law, she helps some Texas-based bands with booking shows and improving their social media accounts.


Mark Sanders (3TwentyOneMedia)

Mark Sanders’ award-winning, progressive career in the radio, digital and event spaces has taken him through large media companies such as Clear Channel/iHeart Radio and CBS Radio. With stops in Austin, Dallas and Houston he knows the local media landscape.  In addition, his national background encompasses macro level thinking and large-scale client service.

After more than a decade of experience in the business, a glaring need was realized.  Brands need broader options when it comes to experiential marketing opportunities.  Fitting a client into an existing event isn’t always enough.  By partnering with brands and dialing into their marketing objectives, 3TwentyOne Media Co. is able to create truly unique opportunities.   

3TwentyOne integrates on-site activations, one-of-a-kind events and native branding opportunities to disseminate our client’s marketing message.

Sanders specializes in:

  • Customized Events
  • Artist Ambassadors 
  • Customized Activation
  • Social Media Marketing (artist/dedicated event)
  • Heritage Event Sponsorship (varying geographical regions, genre and attendance)
  • Customized Tour Sponsorship (dedicated branded tours routed through brand specified DMA’s and packaged to achieve impression/attendance goals)
  • Media Placement
  • Video Production and Editing
  • Customized Content Production (intimate performances, small-venue production, vignettes)
  • Exclusive Access to Artists and Experiential Solutions 
  • Integrated Digital Opportunities (artist/event/ticketing/venue sites, targeted ad serving)


Taylor Ashlynn (Texas Music Pickers)

Taylor is currently a student at TAMU, majoring in Business with minors in Journalism and Art. She previously wrote for various printing publications, as well as college oriented blogs. She’s also a  veteran (been deployed) and still serving. Her passions include painting and calligraphy: both of which she sells.
Taylor is an editorial contributor, social media contributor and line editor for Texas Music Pickers.  While she writes plenty of music-oriented articles, she is best known for her Western Fashion Series. 
She’s an avid cacti collector, as she “feels like they embody what it means to flourish in rocky conditions and are beautiful in a non traditional way.” Along with her cactus kids, she’s a mother to a big dog named Tex.

Jackson Conrad (CC Creations)

Born on a cattle ranch just outside College Station, Jackson Conrad went on to graduate from Texas A&M in 2013 with a degree in Ag Leadership & Development. Over the last two years, Jackson has become a crucial member of the C.C. Creations sales team and earned accolades in superior customer service and the ability to effectively showcase his customer’s branding across all five divisions of screen printing, embroidery, promotional products, signs & banners, and trophies & awards. Some of his clientele markets include the music and entertainment industry, cattle and ranch companies, and health sciences. His passion for treating every customer like a friend and every brand like his own has given him the opportunity to truly embody the C.C. Creations’ motto of Building Better Relationships.


Author: Chris Fox

Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I'am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.

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