Friday, October 15, 2010

Live From Luckenbach

One of my most recent ‘finds’ is Thomas Michael Riley. I’ve featured Thomas here during the TMA Awards. Tommy’s a nice guy and it’s easy to see why he and Mike are good friends. You will often catch the two of them on stage somewhere in Texas. So it came as no surprise to me when Thomas Michael Riley and Mike Blakely teamed up for their most recent collaboration –
Live From Luckenbach.
Live From Luckenbach gives us 15 tracks of great music with some ‘visiting’ mixed in. With an awesome sound system, you’ll feel as if you’re tilting that hard-rail chair back with a cold one in your hand watching these guys entertain you. You’ll enjoy some of your favorites such as ‘Charlie Siringo’ or ‘Ride the River’ and maybe some you’ve not heard before like ‘Tequila Memory’ or ‘In the Garden’.

In my review of Mike’s new CD I told you about the FREE instant download from MyTexasMusic. Live from Luckenbach is the first CD to have this special feature. So head on over to and get your copy.

Lucky Boyd calls Thomas Michael Riley and Mike Blakely ‘legendary’. I have to agree. These two down-to-earth boys are what good Texas music is all about.

Live From Luckenbach earns…

Thanks for a great CD, guys!
Country Blessings!

Homemade Serenade - Mike Blakely

Today, I’m offering up two reviews in two separate posts. They’re both brand new out of the chute with an awesome bonus, which I’ll tell you about in just a bit. But first, to the review.

It’s no secret Mike Blakely is one of my favorite Texas musicians. I’ve been waiting semi-patiently for his new acoustic CD ‘Homemade Serenade’. As soon as Mike told me it was available, I headed over to and clicked the order button. And that awesome bonus I mentioned – Free Instant Download of the album in MP3 format with purchase! No waiting for the CD to arrive to listen to it. Leave it to MyTexasMusic to give us a little something extra for our hard-earned cash.

Oh.. the CD… Homemade Serenade is done in true Mike Blakely flavor. Beautifully done and reminiscent of his 1994 CD Ride the River – (an album that won Album of the Year and a Songwriter of the Year Award for Mike in 1998 from the Texas Hill Country Music Awards).

With cuts like Ode to Blue, That’s the Way I Feel and the title cut Homemade Serenade, it appears as if Mike has come home. I can picture Mike sitting on the front porch of his home on the Seven Stars, stocking-feet tapping to his guitar strum putting these together. But don’t let those soft songs fool you. Like Here’s to Horses (from Mike’s West of You CD), there has to be a little humor and he delivers with his dream to St. Peter in
St. Peter’s Day Off and Jesus and Juan. One other song really catches my attention –
Luckenbach Blue Moon New Year’s Eve.

If you don’t have plans for this New Year’s Eve… you might want to make reservations to hear him play this one in person at the Luckenbach Dance Hall. I hear the tickets sell out fast so plan ahead by going to

I’m giving this CD

Thank you, my friend…
Country Blessings!

A Pleasant Surprise...

Last week I ordered two new CDs (which I’ll be posting reviews for next). As a result I’ve been emailing back and forth with Jinelle Boyd. One of the emails I received from Jinelle this past week was to let me know that The Country Angel blog is the Recommended Blog of the Week at MyTexasMusic!

Here’s what Jinelle had to say in this week’s eZine of MyTexasMusic…

Recommended Blog:
We love The Country Angel Kelly Henkins' blog, and you will too! Give her a visit at:
Refreshingly honest point of view, great reviews...check her out today!

Please take time to stop by for a look around. Everything on MyTexasMusic is on consignment directly from the artist. Jinelle and Lucky take care of all the business so these talented artists can spend their time doing what they love – performing and recording.

Thanks, Jinelle
Country Blessings!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


There are times in life when some things just have to come first. In the case of the past eight months that some thing was actually a 'someone' - my granddaughter. When her mom moved to Nashville in January on a job hunt, I had the blessed duty of caring for my two-year-old granddaughter. Two year olds take a lot of time and attention. She wasn't any trouble, this grandma just chose to put her first... a decision I will never regret. We've become best friends and now that she's living in Nashville, she tells mommy every day she misses grandma. ;-) You can't ask for better love than that.

While she was here, I chose not to work. I kept an ear to what was going on with some of my friends in the Texas music industry, but writing about their adventures was not on the top of my list.

On July 4th, my daughter spirited my angel six hours away and with the exception of a short visit, the house has been really quiet without her chatter, giggles and constant activity. But it also meant I could get back to business. Slowly, I've been putting the house back in order and deciding where I want to go next.

I know that I do not want to lose The Country Angel. True country music has always been important to me and so with this post, I pick up the pieces to make The Country Angel what I intended it to be from the beginning. So every Wednesday will find me here letting you know who's doing what in Texas music. I've put out the call that I hope to bring you music reviews along with spotlight what some of our old friends are up to and introducing you to new faces to our place.

So grab a cold one and kick back. I promise you'll be glad you hung around.
Country Blessings

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jimmy Dean

Country Music lost another legend this past weekend. Though the name Jimmy Dean has become more synonymous with sausage than with his musical talent. Jimmy Dean was 81.

Born in 1928 near Plainview TX, Jimmy Ray Dean fell in love with music at an early age, learning to play the piano by the age of 10. It didn’t take him long to master other instruments as well.

His musical career followed his service in the Air Force. He formed a band in Washington DC called The Texas Wildcats. Their first national hit came in 1953, Bummin’ Around.

His long television career began in 1955 on the Town and Country Jamboree on WMAL in Washington and later the Jimmy Dean Show on CBS until 1959. Other tv shows would include his prime-time hour on ABC from 1963-1966 where he opened his shows with every country act of the day. His last series was Jimmy Dean’s Country Beat in 1984.

Mr. Dean had his first big hit, ‘Big Bad John’, the first song he ever attempted to write, and is the one he is most noted for still today. Other songs included ‘The First Thing Every Morning’ and ‘Slowly’ – a duet with Dottie West, and gospel music.

You may read his obituary here:

Happy Trails, Jimmy Dean
Country Blessings

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And the Award goes to...

Pauline Reese for Entertainer of the Year!

Wow! What a monumental night for the Texas Music Awards ( For the first time in the eight-year history, a woman has taken Entertainer of the Year, proving hard work will get you places. It’s no doubt Pauline is one of the hardest working women in Texas music AND she’s a full-time wife and mom. For all you ladies out there trying to make it in this business, you won’t find a better role model than Pauline. Make sure you stop by her website ( and give her some love!

On further notes of those we spotlighted over the past few weeks…

Thomas Michael Riley ( won Album of the Year for Tommy. This is an awesome CD. If you don’t have a copy I suggest you head over to his website. There’s a reason it won Album of the Year. It’s what good Texas music IS.

John Arthur Martinez ( took home Record of the Year for Utopia. I failed to mention in my last post, John is a previous recipient of the Entertainer of the Year (2006). He’s just GOOD!

And once again, certainly not the least of the line-up is Shake Russell. Vocal Duo/Group for 2010 now belongs to the Shake Russell Trio. Shake, along with Doug Floyd and Michael Roberts proved they have what it takes. This may have been their sophomore album but there’s nothing second class about this trio.

The Texas Music Awards motto is ‘Recognizing Texas Talent – Rewarding Texas Pride’. They have stood by their creed every year and last night was no exception.

Keep in mind, I am no way slighting any of last night’s nominees and/ or winners. They all deserved to be nominated in their respective categories and on stage. Maybe next year I’ll have new faces to introduce you to. In the mean time…

CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners! You ARE Texas Pride!

Country Blessings

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Final Nod

With the 2010 Texas Music Awards only hours away, I have to give a nod to 3 very talented people whose music I am very familiar with.

First off... A HUGE Good Luck to our friend and follower, Wade Bowen. Wade is up for Record of the Year with his album, Trouble.
Stop by Wade's website:

One of the nominees up against Wade for Record of the Year is John Arthur Martinez.
I've not had the opportunity to meet John, but he's on my list. He performs on a regular basis with my good friend Mike Blakely.

And last but not least on my list is Davin James.
Davin is true Texas western music. Although I don't own one of his CD's yet, I am treated to his talent every time I pop one of W.C. Jameson's cd's in the player.

To say the least, these guys all run in top notch circles of some of the best music you'll find in Texas... or anywhere in the world.

I send Country Blessings to ALL the nominees. They are in their respective categories for good reason. Every one of them has earned the right to take home the award.

Country Blessings

Shake Russell

As soon as I read the nominees for Entertainer of the Year, I knew the competition was one of the stiffest in recent years. You only have to see the name Shake Russell. Even folks like me who are fresh to Texas music have heard his name. In some circles it’s spoken almost with a reverence. Shake isn’t new to the scene. For thirty years this man has been pouring his heart and soul into his music, sharing his passion and keeping it true. You might not know him as a performer but chances are you’ve heard his musings interpreted by Clint Black, Jessi Coulter and Ricky Skaggs.

This isn’t his first time in this category and it probably won’t be his last. Shake won Entertainer of the Year in 2004. He is also nominated in Vocal Duo or Group of the Year as part of the Shake Russell Trio.

You have only to listen to any cut on his recent CD, ‘What This Heart Holds’, to understand why he’s been around so long. The sound might be ‘fresh’ by some standards but every note still rings true to the type of musician and songwriter Shake Russell is. With each note you hear the people who influenced his sound. Legends such as John Lennon, Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan.

Like those who have come before him, lighting his path, Shake isn’t done by any stretch of the imagination. Shake Russell’s talent won't fade away like a wisp of smoke from a campfire. That’s why he’s among the best in the Entertainer of the Year category… and why I saved him for my final spotlight.

Country Blessings

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Randy Brown

If Fort Worth ever crosses your mind, the thought should include this week’s featured artist, Randy Brown.

Growing up in Cowtown provided Randy the opportunity to experience first hand the rich musical history the area has to offer. Listening to any one of his albums puts you right in the heart of all that is true Texas music. Whether you prefer honky tonk, true Texas flavor or western swing, Randy serves them all with a big heart, warm voice and a smile.

His current album – Hero’s, Legends, Friends and Me is his first Live album, recorded at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards - is a step back in time. Randy puts his own spark to renditions of Merle Haggard’s I Had a Beautiful Time, Waylon Jennings’ This Time and Faron Young’s classic Wine Me Up, just to name a few.

Randy isn’t new to the awards scene. In 2008 he was nominated in not one but FIVE categories at the TMA’s. Of the five nominations, he won Male Vocalist of the Year.

In September, you’ll find Randy aboard an Alaskan cruise ship with our friend Thomas Michael Riley. Until then you can catch him at a wide variety of venues all across Texas.

We wish you Good Luck, Randy

Country Blessings

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pauline Reese

Don’t let this woman fool you. Pauline Reese is dubbed as one of the hardest working women on the Texas/Red Dirt scene. A quick read of her short bio at will tell you she keeps on the move more than a tumbleweed in a windstorm.

Pauline writes and performs her own music yet she is comfortable enough in who she is to make previous chart-topping songs hers. The Shel Silverstein song, Cover of the Rolling Stone is the title track from her most recent album which also includes the George Jones classic I Always Get Lucky. She has also shared billing with top-notch talent such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Gary P. Nunn, Mark Chestnut, Johnny Rodriguez,

With a crystal voice, Pauline takes you to the Banks of the Guadalupe. Feet Don’t Touch the Ground is enough to send any woman looking for a cowboy to slow dance with.

Pauline won TMA Album of the Year in 2007 for Too Texas, Live at Cherry Ridge (see review of this album at ). With a history of nominations at the TMA’s, this one for Entertainer of the Year comes as no surprise.
It would sure be nice to see a woman’s picture on the home page of as Entertainer of the Year 2010.

Sending Country Blessings your way, Pauline.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thomas Michael Riley

This week I want to introduce you to Thomas Michael Riley.

I first heard Tommy’s name in a newsletter from my good friend Mike Blakely. One thing you can be sure of. Good music loves good company. Based on pics like the one here I’m inclined to believe the company doesn’t get much better than this.

Thomas is a force to be reckoned with in the Texas music community. Aside from being in great company with giants like Michael Martin Murphy for Entertainer of the Year, he also appears in two other TMA categories. His album, Tommy, is up for Album of the Year and one of the tracks, In the Garden, has a place in the Song of the Year category. When you go to his website, there is a link on the homepage to hear the song. Give it a listen. You'll love it!

Thomas grew up in Buckingham Texas, learning the true ways of the cowboy. From the roots of his raising and the antics of his siblings (he comes from a family of seven), he has a wealth of story songs to keep his fans clapping and partying for a long time. Although his travels have taken him all over Texas and on his first European tour, it is my opinion he is most at home among his friends in the Texas Hill Country. He can frequently be found as a featured performer in Luckenbach and getting friends together at his annual Thomas Michael Riley music festival.

When not having a good time in Texas, Thomas is spreading his wings to Nashville where he is collaborating with other writers. He’s ready to take his career to the next level, though it’s hard to believe there is anything bigger than Texas when it comes to good cowboy music. I wish him the best.

Country Blessings!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Michael Martin Murphy

Michael Martin Murphy really needs no introduction. For full details you can check out my April 22, 2009 post. Michael hosted the 2009 Texas Music Awards and took home the coveted Entertainer of the Year. Check out the gala picture of him at

His latest release was recorded in 2008 and includes some of his classics. He is one of those artists you never tire of hearing. With or without an award, he is one of the all-time greatest cowboys in my book.

While you're checking out that link, you might want to give a listen to some of the music clips and maybe add a CD or two to your music library.

Good Luck Michael and...
Country Blessings

And the Nominees are...

On May 15, 2010 the Marshall Convention Center in Marshall Texas will come alive with some of the best music the great state has to offer. This year's event is hosted by the legendary B.J. Thomas.

Last year I introduced you to the talented performers nominated for Entertainer of the Year.
I'll be doing the same this year as well as checking in with some of our favorites from last year who find themselves in other categories.

So get comfortable in the saddle, my friends, and enjoy the ride!

Country Blessings

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Texas Music Award Nominees

It's that time of year again. The Texas Music Awards will take place on May 15th at the Marshall Convention Center in Marshall TX.

I introduced you to some great nominees last year. I look forward to doing the same this year and for many more to come. Maybe with some new additions as we grow and progress.

Here are the Nominees for Entertainer of the Year:

Randy Brown (Ft. Worth TX)
Michael Martin Murphy (Dallas TX)
Pauline Reese (Austin TX)
Thomas Michael Riley (Fredericksburg TX)
Shake Russel (Austin TX)

Over the next three weeks, I'll introduce you to these talented people, the other categories they might be nominated in and provide you with links where available so you can check them out for yourself.

In the mean time, check out the Texas Music Association:

Country Blessings
The Country Angel

Welcome to 2010

The year for me has gotten off to a rocky start. My computer time became very limited as I found myself solely responsible (for the majority of the time thus far) for my 2 yr old granddaughter. I adore her and am relishing the time I get to spend with her. Unfortunately it has also meant my writing has taken a back seat.

I thank all of you for your patience as I traverse this bump in the road and I will post to you as frequently as 2 yr old fingers will allow. :-)

Now... onto important stuff!

Country Blessings