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Joe Nick Patoski

Joe Nick Patoski

Joe Nick Patoski has been writing about Texas and Texans for four decades. A former cab driver and staff writer for Texas Monthly magazine and one-time reporter at the Austin American-Statesman, he has authored and co-authored biographies of Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan, collaborated with photographer Laurence Parent on books about the Texas Mountains, the Texas Coast, and Big Bend National Park, all published by University of Texas Press.

His 2008 book Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, published by Little, Brown, was recognized by The Friends of the TCU Library in 2009 with the Texas Book Award for the best book about Texas written in 2007-8. His most recent book for Little, Brown is The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America. The expansive eight hundred page book explains how and why a 1960 expansion franchise in the National Football League became America's Team and the most valuable franchise in sports.

Kirkus Review cited the Cowboys book as one of the ten best football books of the millennium.

Other recent titles include Generations on the Land, published by Texas A&M Press in January 2011, which profiles nine families across the western United States who have been recognized for outstanding stewardship in practicing sustainable farming, ranching, logging, and wine-grape growing; and Texas High School Football: More Than The Game, a catalog of the exhibit he curated for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in 2011, published by the Texas Historical Commission.

Patoski's byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Time Out New York, Garden and Gun, and No Depression magazine, for whom he was a contributing editor. He also recorded the oral histories of B.B. King, Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Memphis musician and producer Jim Dickinson, Tejano superstar Little Joe Hernandez, and 15 other subjects for the Voice of Civil Rights oral history project sponsored by AARP and the Library of Congress, some of which appeared in the book My Soul Looks Back in Wonder by Juan Williams, published by Sterling in 2004.

Patoski writes about water, land, nature and parks for a number of publications including Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, the Texas Observer, and National Geographic magazine, where his story about the Transboundary Megacorridor of southwest Texas and northern Coahuila and Chihuahua was published in February 2007. He also wrote a four-part series about water fights throughout the Guadalupe River basin for the San Antonio Current.

He is the host of The Texas Music Hour of Power, which airs Saturday nights from 6 to 8 pm on KRTS 93.5 in Marfa, and three other frequencies in Far West Texas, and around the world on

He lives near the village of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country where he swims and paddles in the Blanco River. 


photo: Joe Nick (centre) with Doug Sahm (right) and Augie Myers (left) © Tracy Anne Hart


32 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

The 1619 Bad Ass Band, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes, Shawn Phillips, Stephen Stills, Stevie Wonder: Hurricane II: Thunder in the Heart of Texas

Report by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 26 February 1976

Carter Benefit at Astrodome ...

Johnny Ace, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Junior Parker: Obituary: Don D. Robey, R&B Pioneer, Dead at 71

Obituary by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 31 July 1975

HOUSTON — Don D. Robey, a leading figure in rhythm & blues and gospel recordings in the Fifties and Sixties, died early Monday, June 16th, ...

Aerosmith, Heart, Waylon Jennings, Mahogany Rush, Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent: Hot times in the heart of Texxas

Report by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 24 August 1978

IF ANYTHING was learned from the 105,000 fans who piled into the Cotton Bowl over the Fourth of July weekend for the two-day Texxas World ...

Butthole Surfers: Feeding the Fish: An Oral History of the Butthole Surfers

Retrospective and Interview by John Morthland, Joe Nick Patoski, Spin, November 1996

CAST OF CHARACTERS Jim Berry Road sound engineer for the Butthole Surfers, 1985-92. Jello Biafra Lead singer of the Dead Kennedys and self-described "absentee thoughtlord" of Alternative Tentacles, ...

The Cate Brothers: Playing the New Southern Sensibility

Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 12 February 1976

DALLAS — While a Memphis band's Beatles mimicry penetrated the thin walls of the clammy locker room in the Electric Ballroom, keyboard player Ernie Cate ...

Ry Cooder, Flaco Jimenez: Flaco Jimenez: In Search Of The Polka-Rock Fusion

Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 10 February 1977

IF THE ACCORDION ever manages to rise from the underground of ethnic music as rock's undiscovered lead instrument, Flaco Jimenez will at long last be ...

Charlie Daniels' Rowdy, Southern, Swinging Music

Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 7 October 1976

The 'Uneasy Rider' is no dumb rebel... and he doesn't wear panty hose, either ...

Jim Dickinson: James Luther Dickinson: Free Beer Tomorrow (Artemis)

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Austin Chronicle, 18 October 2002

YOU MAY KNOW Jim Dickinson as the daddy of those North Mississippi All-Stars, producer of the Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me, or the guy who ...

Roky Erickson, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Butch Hancock, Stevie Ray Vaughan: America's Local Talent 1977: The Sounds Of Austin

Overview by Joe Nick Patoski, Phonograph Record, May 1977

THANKS TO the migration of musicians who actually believed Austin's blind boast that it was the new country music capital of the world, the central ...

Freddy Fender: Behind the Scenes: Huey Meaux's bathtub sound

Profile and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 13 July 1978

HOUSTON — "Y'SEE, the Big Bopper needed a flip side to 'The Witch Doctor Meets the Flying Purple People Eater', so he wrote this tune ...

Freddy Fender's Tex-Mex 'Teardrop'

Profile and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 5 June 1975

AUSTIN — "RIGHT ON, Cacheton," an orange-suited Freddy Fender drawled to a Western-attired onlooker at the El Paso Cattle Co., a steel building that was ...

Freddy Fender, Doug Sahm: Viva Tex Mex... Viva MD 20/20... Viva Freddy Fender!

Report and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Zoo World, 6 June 1974

"...and Freddy Fender is probably still down in Nuevo Laredo waiting to turn the world on — wonder if Sir Doug's found him yet?" ...

Blaze Foley: The Fall and Rise of Blaze Foley

Retrospective by Joe Nick Patoski, No Depression, September 2006

THE BLACK GRANITE headstone is lost among the other markers in the Live Oak Cemetery in deep South Austin. Several small objects including a small ...

Funkadelic, Parliament: The Bizarre World of George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic Drop The Funk-Bomb On America)

Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Phonograph Record, December 1976

NEW ORLEANS — Maintaining two separate personalities and record labels for his band Parliament/Funkadelic has been an act of schizophrenic genius on the part of ...

Buddy Holly: Various Artists: Stay All Night – Buddy Holly's Country Roots

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, West Texas Roots, July 2004

BUDDY HOLLY took the world by storm when he broke out of Lubbock, Texas in 1957. His singing and playing was the freshest version of ...

George Jones: Keeping Up With Jones

Profile and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, AARP The Magazine, July 2006

FLUFFY, HOT BISCUITS, fresh out of the oven and smothered with redeye gravy, with a thick slab of smoked ham on the side, are a ...

Los Lobos: The Ride

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Harp, September 2004

WHEN IT COMES to defining American music over the past quarter century, no band comes close to Los Lobos. ...

Willie Nelson: Paul English: Watching Willie's Back

Profile and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Oxford American, 13 Winter 2014

PAUL ENGLISH was talking about breaking someone's legs, cheerily using the threat as a means to get to the punch line of a story. The ...

Willie Nelson: The Emperor of Austin

Profile and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Zoo World, 18 July 1974

"I WAS LIVING in Nashville," Willie Nelson recalls. "I had just written a song called 'What Can You Do To Me Now?' and the next ...

Jimmy Reed, Emancipator of the South: An Oral History

Retrospective and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Blues Access, Summer 2000

IT BEGINS WITH the discovery of a black-and-white photograph dated 1961. The setting is Walker's Auditorium, a chitlin' circuit showcase for touring black musicians in ...

Rush: Hemispheres (Mercury)

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Creem, February 1979

Ride, Mush You Rushkies ...

Tom Russell: Hotwalker

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Harp, May 2005

"I'M A FRUSTRATED writer," Tom Russell confessed to me a couple of years ago. ...

Doug Sahm: Tornado Warnings From Texas

Report and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Zoo World, 12 September 1974

"We... can play all the music" Doug Sahm says flatly of the veteran Southwestern aggregation he is taking on the road ...

Selena: The Queen is Dead

Special Feature by Joe Nick Patoski, Texas Music, May 1995

Selena Quintanilla Perez, tejano's first superstar, was about to become an international pop sensation. Instead, she's another victim of gun violence in Texas. ...

Toots & The Maytals: Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas

Live Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Phonograph Record, January 1976

DESPITE THIS city's reputation as a comfy little haven for country and progressive-country backwoods folksiness, its music audiences — at least in relation to the ...

Allen Toussaint Listens to New Orleans

Profile and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 28 July 1977

NEW ORLEANS — Allen Toussaint is the Crescent City's premier composer/producer, and his success behind the scenes is obvious: he's written ten gold records and produced ...

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: SRV

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Texas Monthly, November 2000

SRV BREAKS OUT of the gate with Little Stevie Vaughan before he was Stevie Ray. A member of Paul Ray and the Cobras, the kid's ...

The West Side Horns: West Side Horns: San Quilmas (Dialtone)

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Austin Chronicle, 13 September 2002

WITHIN THE FIRST few bars of 'Rainbow Riot', the opening track of the West Side Horns' San Quilmas, three great revelations came to me while ...

Barry White: Limitless Love — The Maestro's Message

Report and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Zoo World, 2 January 1975

"ISAAC HAYES? I defend him now," Barry White smiles confidently in his dressing room, Chivas in hand, dragging on his Benson-Hedges menthol. "People started to ...

ZZ Top: Deguello (Warner Bros.)

Review by Joe Nick Patoski, Creem, April 1980

FIRST TIME I heard "that lil' ole band from Texas" ZZ Top in the flesh was some five years ago in a football stadium where ...

List of genre pieces

Armadillo World Headquarters: Uptown At The "Dillo"

Report and Interview by Joe Nick Patoski, Zoo World, 26 September 1974

JIM FRANKLIN stood on the stage of the Armadillo World Headquarters wearing his Armadillo helmet, holding a female mannikin's leg and doing a little history ...

Disco Showdown in Oklahoma

Report by Joe Nick Patoski, Rolling Stone, 2 November 1978

YOU CAN BUY six-packs of beer at the gas station, find a good poker game most any night and, some say, even play slot machines ...

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