A Homage to Texas Music
We all know that Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, and Janis Joplin were chart-breaking Texas musicians, but did you know that Pantera, John Denver, the Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, Sly Stone and Buddy Holly are also natives of this great state?
One of the coolest spots in North Texas can be found at the Texas Musicians Museum (TMM), located at 222 E. Irving Blvd. in Irving, Texas. A visit to this iconic museum will get you up to speed on all the great musicians that call Texas home. A real treat is tucked behind the front glass doors, covered with the names of Texas tunes.
Inside, you’ll find an indoor stage with seating, a small shop offering Texas-made jewelry, old records, posters, metal signs, autographed guitars, and other great memorabilia for sale. Beyond another set of doors, the gallery itself is filled with fascinating artifacts that may take more than one visit to truly appreciate. The museum has a beautiful outdoor music garden where performances will take place when weather permits. Local restaurants provide catering most evenings and Smokin’ Joe’s bar serves up cool libations such as margaritas, wine, Bellinis, and craft beers.
Check out the stage clothes from artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Jeannie Riley, Hank Thompson, Janis Joplin, Roy Orbison, and Beyoncé. You’ll also find some of the first and last autographs of Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin’s high school yearbook, and scads of ZZ Top memorabilia, as well as many other instruments and musical artifacts. TMM has housed the Big Bopper’s coffin and a Stevie Ray Vaughn decked chopper. The gallery exhibits change from time to time so you never know what you’ll find.
While working for the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas, TMM curator Tom Kreason noticed many artifacts of local music legends being sent to far-flung cities (and countries) to be exhibited. Tom saw the need to keep as many of these items local and in 1996 began acquiring as many pieces as possible.
Initially, Kreason opened the museum near Willie Nelson’s Carl’s Corner in Hillsboro but moved his historical stash to Waxahachie in 2010 where he once again found himself looking to relocate after only a few months. The city of Irving welcomed Kreason and his wife Maryann by providing them with their current space in the Heritage Crossing area of downtown Irving.
Kreason and his staff preserves our rich Texas culture one step further by providing live entertainment every weekend. Most performances are free, but donations to the bands playing are always encouraged. Recently featured bands include Hippie Stew, bluesman Buddy Whittington, Jim Suhler and Alan Haynes, and Leon Hull and the Texas Blues Machine, as well as the induction of Marc Benno.
So tap the Uber app on your phone and have your driver take to you the best-kept little secret in the DFW area. You’ll be delighted by what you find and you’ll want to return.
Photo credit: Nan Palmero
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