Chris Rybak is the young accordion player who has been filling Texas dance hall floors with fans who enjoy his showmanship and his fresh enthusiastic musical style. Chris's show utilizes his talents on the accordion, along with keyboards, a trumpet and vocals. He has been playing accordion for more than a decade performing for events such as festivals, picnics, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties. He plays a variety of music from Czech/German polkas and waltzes, country, and gospel, to his style of toe-tapping Cajun and Tex-Mex music.
His high energy style of accordion music attracts the attention of all ages. In 1993, Chris received the NEW DAWN AWARD from the Texas Polka Music Association. Rybak's eclectic mix of Cajun, country and Tex-Mex music with the traditional sounds of polka have caught serious attention from some serious people. In 1999 he signed a record contract with Mike Daily, best known in his role as steel guitarist for country legend George Strait. After signing, Rybak recorded his self-titled debut album, released in 1999 and also 'Accordion Time' in 2001. Currently he is in the process of producing his next album.
Chris has been the featured entertainer on a Caribbean cruise, where he became the hit of the ship’s entertainment, and was nicknamed the Accordion Cowboy. He also set a record for being the first entertainer to perform in all lounges on board the ship Enchanted Isle.
Through his energetic accordion playing, Rybak hopes to bring the accordion back as a mainstream instrument and keep the polka tradition of the Germans and Czechs alive.
Santiago Jimenez Jr.
Santiago Jimenz Jr. born in 1944, Santiago is a singer and accordionist whose father made a significant contribution to the conjunto instrumental style. Conjunto, the accordion-based social music of Mexico and South Texas, was a style rooted in tradition. While his brother Flaco Jimenez mixed its sound with modern influences like jazz and country, Santiago upheld the tradionts of his father and concentrated on the basic formula of two-button accordion with guitar and voice accompaniment. He released numerous albums, including a 1960 collaboration between his brother and him, numerous singles on local pressings, and a series of Spanish-language relaeses forthe Rounder and Watermelon labels throughout the late '80's and 1990's.
Casey is a third generation entertainer. Born and raised in South Texas to a musical family he was surrounded
by the local entertainers and musicians throughout high school graduation and college. At 14, with his older brothers, he began performing in Texas dance halls and nightclubs. Traditional country dance music was what he cut his teeth on and the Texas country music added even more flavor to the sound.
He took his brand of country music on the road in 1975 and was quickly booked at dance halls, county fairs, hotels and resorts throughout the continental U.S. Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Johnny Bush, and Darrell McCall added to his traditional roots. Western swing and Big band also influenced his style. In the 1980's, while performing on the road, his frequent gigs through Louisiana sparked a love for the Cajun sound of country and he added the upbeat Cajun French to his country music show that allowed him to stand out from the performers on the road circuit.
Casey is a country music troubadour with a cabaret feel. Comfortable with the Bob Wills western swing beat, rockin a pop country hit, crooning a Merle Haggard or Ray Price love song, and singing a Cajun French Jole Blon. Casey's style of Texas country music hits home with fans of all ages for dancing and listening fun.
Dottie Jack was introduced to country music as a child growing up in a small Iowa town. Her father, Fred Jack, was involved in music which allowed for the opportunity to meet many musicians and entertainers, many of which remain friends today. By the time Dottie was 12, She was playing bass guitar, her brother was playing drums, and dad played the steel guitar. They entertained for many community functions and events over the next several years.
After "retiring" from music to raise a family, Dottie was influenced by the Legendary Ralph Mooney to start singing again. It wasn't long before she was in the the studio putting her traditional style of classic country sound on her first record. "Texan in a Stetson", produced by Bobby Flores at Yellow Rose Studio included many well-known Texas musicians, such as Bobby Flores, Jake Hooker, Him Loessberg, and Randy Reinhard. It also includes special guest-steelers Ralph Mooney and Lynn Owsley. Texas legend, Johnny Bush, can be enjoyed on two of the cuts as well.
Dottie's next two albums, "I Can't See Texas From Here", and "With Every Heartbeat" were produced by Jim Loessberg at Legend Radio Studio in Round Rock, Texas.
Dottie's music has been acclaimed critically and received much chart success both domestically and overseas, also earning airplay on XM/Sirus Radio on Willie's Place, along with several country music stations across the United States. She has appeared on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree in Nashville as well as music venues across her home state of Texas and beyond.
Dottie was a 2007 and 2008 nominee for female vocalist of the year with the Will Rogers Academy of Western Artists and continues as a Startex recording artist. "Lighter Shade of Blue", Dottie's newest project, was released in October 2012.
"Dottie Jack fans know that Dottie's albums are always hardcore traditional country albums with lost of fiddle and steel guitar. And this album is no exception. For those of you who love a country shuffle like I do, Dottie has recorded six of her favorites that are sure to make you want to get up and dance. To balance out the album there are six ballads including my personal favorite Wanda Jackson song "Because It's You". I am honored to be included in this album as Dottie's duet partner on the classic "Nobody Wins". Dottie's powerful vocals combined with the superb harmonies provided by her sister Joni and the outstanding musicianship of some of the finest pickers in Texas make "Lighter Shade of Blue" a must have for your collection. So pick it up today and you'll be enjoying it for years to come."
- Justin Trevino
A Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame Band in the true tradition of Tommy Duncan and Bob Wills, led by Billy Mata, the Ambassador of Western Swing. Three time Academy Of Western Artists Western Swing Vocalist of the Year and winner of the Academy's Entertainer of the Year award, Billy Mata delivers authentic Western Swing and True Traditional country music. Billy was inducted into the Sacramento Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2008 and the entire Texas Tradition was inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2010.
The Texas Tradition brings danceable music with a smile to the over 100-year-old tradition of family and community-oriented gatherings in Texas Dance halls, with an Ambassador outreach to the rest of the world. His musicians are the best in the business; committed professionals, hand-picked to share Billy Mata's mission to bring new Texas generations back to their roots - and make visitors feel what it means to be real Texans.
"Billy Mata and his boys were creating a storm of interest and energy every where they went. When you take a group of musicians of this caliber of talent and add a front man with a style that brings together the sophisticated swing of Nat Cole and mix it with the dusty soul of Texas, you have a concoction that brings a sense of joy and human contact that cannot be touched by today's technology-generated, so-called music." - Billy Wilson, Sacramento, CA.
"For 30 years, Billy Mata has been entertaining audiences and winning awards with his ringing baritone. Add to that fiddle and pedal steel-guitar players of jaw-dropping skill and classic tunes, and you’ve got a Texas-sized slice of Western swing heaven." - Sacramento News Review
Mata started his recording career in the 1970's charting Billboard ranked, Nashville style Top 40 Country music. In 1998, his third album release, Keepin' The Tradition: A Tribute To My Heroes, was different. He declared his intention to stick with his passion; what he calls "real country music." Insisting on his own stage band to make his recordings, he performed the music the way he preferred. He wanted real Bob Wills Western Swing and traditional country from the rich roots of Texas music, inspired by the masters of the style who thrived when Texas music rivaled Nashville on the radio. Like when Mata was growing up in San Antonio.
Mata's Western Swing career was jump started when he became a regular featured singer with Tommy Allsup and the original Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys band on Larry Scott's weekly syndicated radio show, The Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium of the Air. Mata has since been a guest of The Texas Playboys on live shows. He was Front man for the Playboys at the 2011 Bob Wills Days celebration in Turkey, Texas.
Mata's own band, The Texas Tradition, carries the torch of the original tradition of Western Swing, taking its music to historic Texas dance halls that still provide real, danceable, country music in an atmosphere that gathers the whole area community - and the whole family, from kids to grandpa.
The band has even promoted Western Swing back to its historical roots in the music of German, Polish, Czech and Mexican immigrants to Texas, and to its roots in New Orleans Dixieland Jazz. Mata’s ambassador outreach has included a concert tour to Poland, featured participation in International Jazz Festivals including the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, San Diego Dixieland Jazz Festival, the Victoria Hot Jazz Festival in British Columbia, and the hosting of a Texas concert event together with The Mending Hearts, a visiting Western Swing band from Scotland.
The result has been awards and new radio exposure. He kept his music on the radio with two subsequent CD album releases; Traditionally Yours, Billy Mata in 2004 and Domino Effect in 2006 with Grammy winner and Asleep At The Wheel cofounder, Floyd Domino, who now makes many appearances with the band at live performances.
In 2009, the band was awarded Western Swing Album of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists for This Is Tommy Duncan, Volume One. Released as a tribute to the pioneer ‘Voice of Western Swing’, it includes guest appearances by Western Swing Producer and radio personality Larry Scott, longtime Bob Wills steel man Herb Remington, Bob Wills fiddler Johnny Gimble, and Tommy Duncan’s own brother Glynn Duncan, all patriarch/creators of the Western Swing phenomenon. This Is Tommy Duncan, Volume Two was released in 2011 with plans for a three volume collector set.
Designed to bring attention back to the Bob Wills vocalist who lived in the shadow of the king, the Tommy Duncan album project sparked interest from award winning videographer, Curtis W. Callaway at Baylor University’s Department of Journalism and Media Arts to start production on a major documentary about Tommy Duncan and his legacy. The video plans to feature Mata and his band.
Billy Mata & the Texas Tradition has become a reference to the genre.
The Texas Tradition is a remarkably dedicated band. They are a handpicked collection of professional musicians from a wide area of Texas who were gathered together by their common interest in Texas Swing and the opportunity to play with the best of the best. Three of Mata’s musicians are now at or past their 19th year with the band. One is in his 23rd year. They play like family.
Billy Mata & the Texas Tradition isn’t just another "human jukebox" on the stage. When they play, it's just natural and fun, the way it should be.
Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan knew how to do that. Billy Mata knows, too. And the audience gets it.
Big Things Come in Small Packages
"Country music couldn't come more naturally to Jade Jack. Her love for country fiddles and cryin' steel guitars began as soon as she was born. She had made her first appearances on stage even before she was born as her mom performed regularly right up until she delivered Jade. In fact, her mom made a last minute trip to Iowa just days before her due date and had to sit with her feet elevated while not on stage as to not induce contractions that had already begun. She rushed back to texas just in time to have Jade and was back performing 10 days later, where Jade was passed around and held by music lover friends from all over the country. This appearance would be at the International Steel Guitar Convention, a music convention that Jade's mom, Joni had performed at for several years. Jade's earliest photos include her with steel guitar greats such as "Papa Moon" (Ralph Mooney), Speedy West Jimmie Day, Jody Sanders, Buddy Emmons, and Junior Knight to name a few. After leaving the convention when Jade was 2, at a McDonald's somewhere south of St. Louis, Jade gave an early glimpse of what lay ahead of her when she used a spoon as a fiddle, and a straw for her bow to play along to the music being heard overhead. Papa Moon still has that straw on display in his music room! Jade's grandpa, Fred Jack, a longtime musician and singer, couldn't have been happier. He encouraged Jade's love for fiddles by always making sure there was plenty of Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, and other great country music around. Jade probably cut her first tooth chewing on her grandpa's steel guitar legs!
Jade began taking classical violin lessons at age 4, and credits her grandparents with giving her that opportunity. As her single mom worked to complete her college degree, private music lessons were a luxury that was not within their reach. But most every Saturday, she would settle into the backseat of her grandma's Suburban, tiny fiddle case in hand, and make the hour drive into Sugarland, where her lessons took place. Jade began her country lessons with longtime family friend, Dan Ratliff. Dan has an in-house studio complete with a tiny chair specially bought for Jade that will always have a place in the corner by the numerous microphones and other music gear. Other fiddle teachers to follow were Randy Powell, and Dale Morris Sr. Jade continued to hang out at band rehearsals where her mom had begun performing with Texas artist Joel Nava & The Border. Jade was surrounded by music at all times. Jade's stepfather, Aleph Yonker, also played fiddle and would get Jade to perform on stage at his shows as well. Crowds would expect a six year old to sing a childish song, but Jade would belt out "Let's chase each other round the room tonite". There were church appearances where she sang and also numerous community events.
When Jade's aunt Dottie Jack recorded a CD, Jade made a guest appearance playing alongside Texas Country Great, Bobby Flores. Bobby then became Jade's fiddle instructor. She then began making appearances at local Opry Shows with her Aunt Dottie. This led to a show at a breast cancer awareness event at Pearl's Dancehall at the Stockyard's at Ft Worth where Jade caught the attention of Country Music Legend, Ms. Leona Williams. The two instantly bonded and agreed to stay in touch. Jade began work on her first CD in August 2009 in Nashville, TN and had it finished just in time for a trip to Branson, MO. Jade was invited by Leona Williams to be a guest on a series of shows that were held in October 2009 in Branson, MO at Silver Dollar City. Imagine Jade's excitement when Leona called weeks before to ask her if she, instead of a guest appearance, would be Leona's fiddle player all week. Jade was ecstatic and unknown to Leona, already had most of her songs memorized. This would be Jade's first show to introduce her debut CD, properly entitled "Growin' Up Country". She has since done countless shows with Leona, including numerous festivals, three appearances on Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree, "Midwest Country" on RFDTV, "TruCountry" on RFDTV, Johnny Bush's 75th Birthday Bash at Willie's Place, & Heart of Texas Records' Music Festival. Leona recently wrote a song for Jade, a tribute to Jade's relationship between her and her grandpa, and a moving memorial of the relationship Leona and her father shared, properly titled "Daddy You'd Be Proud of Me Tonight". It is truly an honor for Jade to get to spend so much time around this amazing lady of country music and she looks forward to future travels and the many gigs that are still to come with Leona.
The future is bright for this blue-eyed country girl. While most teenagers are unsure what their future holds, Jade knows this for sure: No matter what the future may hold, she'll still be holdin' her fiddle. It's true what they say: "big things come in small packages". And that's true, my friends...this pint-size fiddler packs a big country sound!!"
Richard Hailey and the Neon Stars
Richard Hailey and the Neon Stars is unquestionably one of the very best dance bands in Texas. The combination of greatly talented musicians and Richard's baritone voice create a sound that is quite special, and unique.
Since his first public performance in 1992, Richard has won several awards, recorded two albums, played at dance halls and fairs all across Texas, made many TV and radio appearances, and opened for the likes of Merle Haggard, Tracy Byrd, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, and Flaco Jimenez,
This tight group has earned much recognition within the last few years. Hailey's first album, It's Never Too Late, earned him the Texas Music Association's "Single of the Year" award for "Texas Honky Tonkin".
The Neon Stars were voted Best Country Band for four years in a row by the "Current Music Awards". Richard was voted Best Male Vocalist of the Year, and his album, Everything From Texas, was voted Best Album.
Richard's second album has received international airplay, including boasting a single co-written by Hailey and former band member, Lanette Pennell, that reached all the way to #2 on the country charts in Holland, "Call 911 Margarita".
They have taken their repertoire which covers everything from Top 40, to Cajun, to Tex-Mex, to Texas Swing, into venues all around South Texas, including Leon Springs Dancehall in Leon Springs, Texas, the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio historic London Hall in London, Texas, and notorious Luckenbach, Texas.
Each show by Richard and his Neon Stars celebrates what has made artists such as George Strait and Garth Brooks who they are today, while simultaneously creating a new crowd-pleasing sound that's all their own.
Karen grew up in Shiner, TX, surrounded by music as a form of family entertainment.
She has sang with local bands past & present and has been with the opry shows since 2000. Her favorite female singers are Kitty wells and Loretta Lynn.
Karen also manages a ranch and has a photography business on the side.