Authors Gene Fowler and William Lewis Williams at Record Town in Fort Worth

METRO MUSIC: Celebrating a Century of the Trinity River Groove

by Gene Fowler and William Williams

TCU Press, 2021

Metro Music explores the musical history of Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding area from the nineteenth century to the 1960s and the continuing echoes of that transformative decade. With nearly five hundred images, many previously unpublished, the book moves through genres and eras that include old-time fiddlers and string bands, singing cowboys, the blues, western swing, gospel, country-western, jazz, ragtime, big bands, Tejano and Tex-Mex, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, and rock ’n’ roll.

The authors visit such legendary venues as Crystal Springs Dance Pavilion and the Longhorn Ballroom, Panther Hall and the Bluebird, and step into historic recording studios where Robert Johnson waxed “Hellhound on My Trail,” Willie created Red Headed Stranger, and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy birthed the demented masterpiece “Paralyzed.”

“We deeply appreciate this musical heritage,” the authors declare, “but we didn’t realize just how amazing it is!”

METRO MUSIC Facebook Page

Gene Fowler is a writer and performer based in Texas. His work has been published in Oxford American, San Francisco Chronicle, True West, Journal of Texas Music History, Artspace,, etc. His books include Border Radio, Crazy Water, and Mavericks. His plays were first staged in the early 1970s. As a performing artist, he has appeared at Fort Worth’s White Elephant Saloon Theater, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas’ Satori House, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Briscoe Western Art Museum, etc. The critic Nancy Kaufman writes, “Gene Fowler’s voice has a weird authenticity, authentically literary, authentically theatrical, and authentically Texan.” 

Border Radio — Quacks, Yodelers, Pitchmen, Psychics and Other Amazing Broadcasters of the American Airwaves, collaboration with Bill Crawford (Texas Monthly Press, 1987; Limelight Editions, 1990; University of Texas Press, 2002) 

Crazy Water — The Story of Mineral Wells and Other Texas Health Resorts (Texas Christian University Press, 1991) 

Mystic Healers and Medicine Shows, editor and contributor (Ancient City Press, Santa Fe, 1997) 

Mavericks — A Gallery of Texas Characters (University of Texas Press, 2008) 

On The X

The Seer of Corsicana

Road Angel

Physic Opera on the Road


 William Lewis Williams is a songwriter, guitarist, and music historian based in Fort Worth, TX.  In ’03, together with other Texas 60s musician friends, he co-founded an internet group, BigD60s, to “research and archive the history of North Texas Music, especially the 60s.” Years later, BigD60s merged with the corresponding Fort Worth 60s music research group and became Trinity River Music, an extended family of online friends, fans and music historians, which has provided research assistance and photographic material for the TCU Press book, Metro Music, as well as the history of the Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Center, and numerous other research projects. 

He is currently working with the archivist for the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, preparing to migrate digital collections to UNT’s Portal to Texas History, while continuing to work on many North Texas music history projects.