The Blue Yodeler is Coming to Town: A Week with Jimmie Rodgers in West Texas
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Jimmie Rodgers, often called the Father of Country Music, was born, raised, and buried in the state of Mississippi. But in the minds of many, he has long been associated with Texas, and well he should be. For the last four years of his life, 1929-1933, Rodgers resided in Kerrville and then in San Antonio. He recorded three times in Dallas and once in the Alamo City, and several of his songs make direct reference to the Lone Star State. During this period, he also traveled around the state on numerous occasions performing and making personal appearances in towns both large and small. As country music historian Bill Malone has pointed out, Rodgers’s link with Texas was such that noted folklorist Alan Lomax, almost thirty years after the singer’s death, still identified him as "a San Antonio railroad brakeman" and "this Texas brakeman." Rodgers’s biographer, Nolan Porterfield, has done an excellent job of documenting dozens of Rodgers comings and goings within the state, but as he acknowledges, the full extent of Jimmie’s outings in Texas remains incomplete. The following essay attempts to fill in a few of the gaps.