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This Week in Texas Music History: Kenneth Threadgill
by Stephen Becker 18 Mar 2011

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a preacher’s son who helped launch a rock star’s career.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman meets a preacher’s son who helped launch a rock star’s career.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Kenneth Threadgill died on March 20, 1987. Born the son of a minister in Peniel, Texas, on Sept. 12, 1909, Threadgill loved to sing and yodel in the style of his musical idol, Jimmie Rodgers. In 1933, Threadgill bought an old gas station on N. Lamar Blvd. in Austin, where he served beer to college students and others who gathered there to play music. One such student was a young Janis Joplin, who got some of her first public singing experience at Threadgill’s in the early 1960s. With Kenneth Threadgill’s guidance and encouragement, Janis Joplin went on to become the most successful female rock singer of the 1960s.