In the vast, sparsely populated area of West Texas known as the Big Bend, life takes place on a different scale. The nearest neighbor can be forty miles away, perhaps located not just in another town but another country, the border historically less obvious than it is today. In the small-town, bicultural atmosphere of the Big Bend, musicians from both sides of the Rio Grande come together, creating music that spans genre, culture, and international borders.
From Ojinaga, Mexico, to Alpine, Texas, and most points in between, writer Marcia Hatfield Daudistel and photographer Bill Wright have gathered, through hours of interviews, a trove of anecdotes, images, and personal recollections that explore what makes music—and musicians—in the Big Bend slightly different from anything found elsewhere. Playing big band music one night for a dance at Marfa Army Air Field and border polkas the next evening at a quinceañera; playing a traditional norteño and conjunto but throwing in the saxophone to change the dynamic; making a living with their music or keeping their day jobs and playing when they can: these are the stories that demonstrate the cultural and musical versatility required for musicians in the Big Bend.
From the porch at Terlingua’s Starlight Theatre to the jukebox at Lajitas, Across the Border and Back: Music in the Big Bend features the people, the history, the local color, the venues, and, above all, the distinctive attitude that have defined music-making in this place, at once one of the most remote and most unique in the country.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press