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 remembers a baseball player who turned out to be a real gentleman.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. 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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Jim Reeves died in a plane crash on July 31, 1964. Born in Galloway, Texas, on August 20, 1923, Reeves played baseball at the University of Texas. He pitched professionally for a short time, until a leg injury ended his baseball career. During the early 1950s, Reeves began recording for some small Texas labels. By 1955, his growing popularity earned him a spot on the Grand Ole Ory and a recording contract with RCA Records in Nashville. Soon, Reeves began turning out such major hits as “Four Walls,” “Welcome to My World,” “Am I Losing You” and “He’ll Have to Go.” His smooth baritone and sophisticated image helped earn him the nickname “Gentleman” Jim Reeves. His tremendous popularity made him a country superstar and helped solidify Nashville’s position as the recording capitol of country music.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a singer who found a silver lining behind the rain clouds.