Irish Americana sung with "raspy melodic soul" (Austin American Statesman)

Pat Byrne

“He’s one to keep an eye on.” — Stuart Munro, The Boston Globe

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More than a decade after winning the first season of The Voice in Ireland, singer-songwriter (and former punk rocker) Pat Byrne is now considered one of the preeminent voices on the Austin music scene. He moved to Texas in late 2017,  eager to refocus his career post major-label and reality TV show fame, and made a powerful first impression with the following year’s Rituals, a record he’d started back in Ireland but finished in Austin with producer/guitarist Rich Brotherton. Since then he’s taken the United States by storm, with breakout performances at the 30A Festival, SXSW, Kerrville Folk Festival and the Americana Festival. Byrne’s sophomore U.S. release, Into the Light, featured an edgier feel underscoring both emotional depth and greater confidence, while blending new influences with his rich Irish heritage. As Peter Blackstock of the Austin American Statesman put it best, “the raspy melodic soul of Byrne’s voice recalls the emotional spells the late Austin troubadour Jimmy LaFave used to cast, though Byrne’s songwriting bears a distinctive Irish stamp. He’s more contemporary than strict traditionalists, putting him more in the league of Glen Hansard or Luka Bloom.”

Piano-driven songs steeped in mystery and hauntingly beautiful melodies

Bukka Allen

Duo Performance w/ Mike Hardwick

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“It was pretty easy to get involved with the arts,” singer-songwriter and keyboard player Bukka Allen once told the Houston Chronicle. “It was something that was always around … I never second guessed it.” Of course, he would eventually come to understand that not everybody grew up in such a creatively fertile environment, with not one but two highly esteemed artists for role models: his father, Texas songwriting legend and world-renowned visual artist Terry Allen, and his mother, the actress, writer, and performance artist Jo Harvey Allen. Music was the discipline Bukka pursued himself, winning a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music on the strength of a Lloyd Maines-produced album he wrote and recorded while still in high school. He moved to Austin after college and quickly became one of the city’s most sought-after session musicians and sidemen, recording and touring with artists ranging from his father (naturally) to the Flatlanders, Ian Moore, the BoDeans, Joe Walsh, Jack Ingram, Ryan Bingham, James McMurtry, and the Court Yard Hounds, among dozens more. But he’s also made time to write and record his own music, too, scoring a handful of independent films with his production team, Screen Door Music, and releasing two strikingly arresting solo albums, 1998’s Sweet Valentine and 2007’s ‘Confidante’. Bukka’s songs are invariably marked by a hauntingly dreamlike quality, steeped in mystery and twilit beauty but shot through with undercurrents of tension and jolts of apocalyptic force.

Blues, Roots-Rock, and Gospel

Shelley King

Official Texas State Musician!

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Superlative, smart and savvy are only a few of the adjectives used to describe Shelley King, the first woman appointed by the Texas Legislature to represent the state as its Official Texas State Musician.  Raised back and forth between Arkansas and Texas, her music is a hearty Americana gumbo of roots-rock, blues, and gospel, seasoned with heart and soul and served with a powerhouse voice dripping with honey and sass. And if the title of her ninth album, Kick Up Your Heels, suggests a party, well, that was her goal from the get-go — and the good vibes kept going all the way through the follow-up, 2023’s Madam Mystic. Guests on the album include the Grammy-winning steel guitar and dobro virtuoso Cindy Cashdollar, Shawn Camp, John Magnie and Steve Amedée of the renowned New Orleans group, the subdudes, and King’s longtime friend (and frequent tour mate) Carolyn Wonderland.

“Shelley King is a singer-songwriter with soul sister pipes, and she works harder than anyone I know.” – Marcia Ball

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Honky-Tonk Country, "Ameripolitan" Style!

Dale Watson

Rare solo performance!

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Although born in Alabama, Dale Watson is as Texas as the Panhandle or a smokey plate of BBQ. Seriously, how many people can say that Willie Nelson is their biggest fan? He came to country music early and naturally. His truck-driving father moonlighted as a country singer, and his older brothers had bands as well. Dale remembers receiving his first guitar at age 7 and starting to write songs shortly after — “the same stuff I’m writing about now,” he says with a laugh. A man with more than one life’s experience under his belt, he has entertained crowds all over the world, including appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and PBS’s long-running Austin City Limits. Dale has been inducted in the Austin Music Hall of Fame and even founded his own genre of music — “Ameripolitan,” complete with its own annual awards show. But just so long as it’s understood that we’re talking about the real-deal stuff, the 100-proof kind of hardcore honky-tonk that can fill a dancehall floor with two-steppers and a 12-pack of longnecks with salty tears, go ahead and call Dale Watson’s music what it was from the first time he set boot on stage, what it still is today, and what it will always be, long after we’re all gone but there’s still at least one working jukebox playing the good stuff: COUNTRY.

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Two of Austin's finest singer-songwriters on one stage!

Graham Weber & BettySoo

Song-swap packed with arresting Americana-folk and breathtaking balladry

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Austin troubadour Graham Weber was originally set to play this date introducing his latest rock ’n’ roll outfit Restos to the Bugle Boy, until a scheduling issue with a key member of the band necessitated a quick change of plans. Luckily, when you’re as long established as Weber is in a scene as rich with talent as Austin, rustling up a peer on the level of BettySoo to help save the day is always a happy option. So while we hope to rebook Restos somewhere down the line, we couldn’t be happier to have two of the finest singer-songwriters in Texas sharing the Bugle Boy stage together. Houston native BettySoo, who Acoustic Guitar Magazine says “may well have the most gorgeous voice in Texas music at the moment, if not in all contemporary folk,” is a Kerrville NewFolk winner who has appeared on E-Town, Mountain Stage, WoodSongs, and BBC with Bob Harris. She’s released a handful of acclaimed solo albums over the last 20 years, recorded with friends Grace Pettis and Rebecca Loebe as the band Nobody’s Girl, and also performed both on record and on stages across the country with such folk and Americana luminaries as Eliza Gilkyson, Chris Smither, and James McMurtry. Weber’s resume is just as impressive. Since moving to Austin from his native Ohio in the early 2000s, he’s recorded prolifically both as a solo artist and with the bands So Long Problems, Western Youth, and most recently, the aforementioned Restos, and also spent several years helping to run the world famous House of Songs.

Brutally honest and raucously funny socio-political contemporary folk!

Grant Peeples

"He's the musician walking most closely in Woody Guthrie's footsteps." — Greg Johnson, Oklahoma City's The Blue Door

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A self-described “tree-hugger that watches NASCAR,” Grant Peeples is known for his axe-sharp socio-political tunes, raucous humor and heart-gigging ballads. He is the recipient of the Focus Foundation Award for Creative Excellence, which cited the “humor, compassion and wisdom of his songs,” and their “unflinching social insight and cultural acuity.” The Tallahassee native has been a keen observer of the American condition for five decades, ever since a friend introduced him to the music of Bob Dylan. Through many years on the road, running a night club/music venue in Tallahassee, and after a 10-year stint on an isolated island off the coast of Nicaragua, Peeples turned to writing with a vengeance. He wrote poetry and songs that turned a critical eye on American culture and identity, the very definition of contemporary folk music. He has since toured coast to coast, become a regular performer at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, the 30A Songwriters Festival, and the Florida Folk Festival, released 11 studio albums, and published three books of poetry. 

Soulful Texas Country Troubadour

Zac Wilkerson

Rockin' Americana and Soulful Country

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Zac Wilkerson cut his musical teeth in church, where he started singing at 4. At a young age, he discovered his parents’ country, soul, Motown, rock, and folk records, and by 12 he was playing several instruments, including piano and guitar, and had even begun to write his own songs. But despite that early head start, his music career might never have happened if not for the scheming of a good friend who coaxed him out to an open-mic night at the Blue Light Live in Lubbock in 2011. What the friend slyly neglected to tell him until they got there was the fact that the supposedly no-pressure setting was in fact a songwriting contest — a contest which Wilkerson ended up winning, the prize being a solo acoustic set at the 2012 Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival in Stephenville. Wilkerson was still a full-time worship pastor at the time, and by his own admission, “the entirety of the Texas music scene was completely alien to me.” But by the end of that LJT Festival, he felt like he and his music had found a home. He has since etched out a strong following across the Texas music scene and beyond, with his fresh take on rock, soul, country, and Americana appearing in nationally syndicated and regional radio as well as local and prime-time network TV. He released his self-titled full-length debut in 2014, followed two years later by Dustbowl Soul. His third album, Evergreen, was released in 2020.

A potent mix of soulful Americana, roots and rocking blues

South Austin Moonlighters

"One of the best bands in Austin." — Examiner.com

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The South Austin Moonlighters (SAM) are Lonnie Treviño Jr., Chris Beall, Hunter St. Marie, and Daniel James. The band formed in 2011, when Treviño got together a group of fellow local music veterans to occasionally play together for the sheer joy of making music. Pretty soon it became evident that something special happened when they played together, and what was originally intended to only be a “moonlighting” side-gig for the four of them became their main gig. Their 2019 album, Travel Light, showcases the Moonlighters connecting with each other like never before, solidifying their vision and their voice, often unpacking heavy subject matters through grin-inducing, multi-part harmonies.

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Two Austin favorites from "Across the Pond"!

Giulia Millanta & Ben Jones

"An Italian and a Brit walk into a Texas listening room ..."

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Giulia Millanta and Ben Jones both travelled a long way to find their home away from home in Austin, but it didn’t take long for the Live Music Capital of the World to embrace them as two of the best singer-songwriter in town. Born in Florence, Italy, Millanta started playing guitar at age 8 and playing professionally in her late 20s — after earning a degree in general medicine. She already had two albums under her belt by the time she moved to Austin in 2012, and since then she’s recorded half a dozen more, including 2016’s rocking Moonbeam Pride (praised by the Austin American-Statesman’s Peter Blackstock as “a fascinating album that defies genre classification”) and 2022’s “startlingly intimate and vulnerable” Woman on the Moon. Jones, meanwhile, is a native of the U.K. best known as the British half of the dynamic duo Beat Root Revival (which also features Belfast export Andrea Magee.) But he’s also an accomplished solo artist with years of touring and recording on his own under his belt. His most recent album, the delightful Souvenir, was released in 2022. This will be Millanta’s second time playing at the Bugle Boy and Jones’ … well, we kinda lost count! But it will be their first time playing the Bugle Boy together, sharing songs, stories, and undoubtably a whole lot of fun!

Black Fret Award-winning vocal powerhouse!

Cari Hutson

A soulful mix of blues, rock, country, and pop grooves

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With a range of styles from soulful blues to pop and rock, Cari Hutson is a force of nature. After years of cutting her teeth as a powerful singer and gutsy performer fronting bands on Austin’s Sixth Street, she landed a role as the Queen of Rock and Roll herself in a touring production of the Broadway musical, One Night with Janis Joplin. She ended up making such an impression on Joplin’s old friend, Dave Getz, that the Big Brother and the Holding Company drummer gifted her the opportunity to record her own version of his previously unreleased Joplin co-write, “Can’t Be the Only One.” The song appeared on Hutson and her band Good Company’s 2016 album, Don’t Rain on My Sunny Day, produced  by Jeff Plankenhorn. Three years later, Hutson and her band were awarded a $20,000 grant at the annual Black Fret “Black Ball” in Austin. In 2022, she release her most ferociously assured statement to date, a five-song EP called Salvation & Soul Restoration.

Americana with a classic country voice!

Libby Koch

"She sings her story with a little twang, some slide guitar, and a lot of heart." — Texas Monthly

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Houston native Libby Koch began writing songs in junior high school, but she never considered doing so professionally until she attended law school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville — where she discovered she could hold her own in a city full of heavyweight talents. She still went on to find a job at a large Houston law firm,  but ultimately recognized that music was indeed her true calling and decided it was time to, as she titled her most recent studio album, Just Move On. Of course by the time she released that record in 2016, Koch had already hit her stride, having released her debut full-length, Redemption, in 2009, and two more well-received  albums in its wake — including 2014’s Tennessee Colony, which the Houston Press picked as one of the year’s 10 best albums. 2014 also found her winning “Emerging Artist of the Year” at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, as well as being named a finalist in the Wildflower! Festival’s Performing Songwriter Contest. In 2019, she celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her first album by recording the live Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock.

Award-winning soul, blues, and gospel powerhouse!

Malford Milligan & Tin Cadillac Acoustic

Eight-time winner of "Best Vocalist" at the Austin Music Awards

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Malford Milligan is an Austin-based soul, blues and gospel singer who has been compared to Otis Redding, Al Green and James Carr. He is an eight-time award-winner as “Best Vocalist” at the annual Austin Music Awards (last awarded in 2015). In 1994, he helped form and fronted the Texas supergroup, Storyville, with guitarists David Holt and David Grissom and the rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. The band released three albums together, all while Milligan remained an in-demand session singer, recording and touring with artists including Doyle Bramhall II, Marcia Ball, Alejandro Escovedo, Sue Foley, Eric Johnson, and the Boneshakers. Milligan also recorded two gospel albums — The Gospel According to Austin and The Gospel According to Austin, Vol. 2 — and for decades was the lead vocalist for the weekly Blue Monday nights at the legendary Austin nightclub Antone’s. He’s toured extensively internationally, too, especially throughout the Netherlands in bands with Dutch musician and producer Jack Hustinx, with whom he has recorded several projects including 2021’s I Was a Witness. Meanwhile, he’s remained a vital presence back “home” on the Austin music scene, always bringing his A-game every time he steps onstage, be it as a solo artist, band member/frontman (Big Cat, the Milligan Vaughan Project, etc.), or MVP special guest.

Texas honky-tonk with a Bakersfield kick and rock 'n' roll beat!

The Derailers

Don't miss this long-running Texas band's Bugle Boy debut!

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The Derailers were founded in 1993 in Austin by Brian Hofeldt and Tony Villanueva. Over the ensuing 30-plus years, the band has released eight studio albums, two live records, and one retrospective collection, and also been a part of numerous compilations and other recording projects. The Derailers have been featured on the stages of The Grand Ole Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and the US President’s Inaugural Ball. The band performed at their friend Buck Owens’ 70th birthday party at Owens’ personal request. A Derailers song was played back to Earth from the first iPod taken into outer space by astronaut Dr. Stephen K. Robinson. They also appear as characters in two Stephen King stories. The Derailers have toured many times across the United States, Europe, and Japan, but they are always happy to return to their home stomping grounds in Texas. And though frontman, guitarist, and co-founder Hofeldt and the rest of the current lineup — Bracken Hale on bass, Basil McJagger on piano and organ, and Bill Mansell on drums — are most accustomed to playing dancehalls, rocking barrooms, and festival stages, they are more than up to the task of bringing their irresistible brand of Bakersfield-style Texas honky-tonk and Beatlesque country into the intimate listening room setting of the Bugle Boy. As for whether or not Derailers fans in the audience will be up to the challenge of dancing while sitting, well … we’ll just have to see!

Two widely acclaimed singer-songwriters on one stage!

Grace Pettis & Robby Hecht

“Grace has a melodic way of writing that not only stays in your head but reads what's sitting in your soul. She writes what I always wanted to say.” – Ruthie Foster

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Award-winning singer-songwriter Grace Pettis is no stranger to the Bugle Boy stage, having performed at our listening room several times over the years, both solo and as part of the folk-pop trio Nobody’s Girl (with BettySoo and Rebecca Loebe). But this time around she comes bearing both a brand new album — Down to the Letter, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2021’s Working Woman — and an equally accomplished kindred spirit, fellow Nashville resident and touring troubadour Robby Hecht. With a remarkable blend of insightful lyricism, memorable melodies, and a voice that carries both strength and tenderness, Hecht has been captivating audiences for over two decades. His own latest album, Not a Number (released in April), is a powerful reflection on the evocative and turbulent journey of the past few years, weaving together themes of divorce, emotional recovery, nostalgia, the unity of humanity, and the profound significance of individual experiences.

Progressive country, folk & more from founding member of Austin's legendary Lost Gonzo Band!

Bob Livingston

"He’s cerebral and a little bit feral, evoking the kind of characters you’d spot shuffling through the Louvre in snakeskin boots or reciting lines from Kafka to a redbone coonhound.” — Cowboys and Indians Magazine

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Singer-songwriter Bob Livingston has never been a traditional Texas country musician living the honky-tonk life — even though he’s spent more than his share of time on the roadhouse circuit with some of the most colorful and rambunctious musicians in Texas. As a member of Austin’s legendary Lost Gonzo Band, Livingston toured and recorded with such legends as Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard and many more, playing an integral role in helping to create the music that first earned Austin the designation of “Live Music Capital of the World.” Traveling since the ’80s as a Music Ambassador for the US State Department, Livingston has taken Texas music as far afield as India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Africa, Vietnam and the Middle East, demonstrating  the unique power that music has to build bridges between peoples of the world. These tours earned him the honor of being appointed “Ambassador of Goodwill,” by the State of Texas and “Austin’s International Music Ambassador,” by the City of Austin. His 2004 album, Mahatma Gandhi & Sitting Bull, was a spirited romp through juxtapositions of East and West, and subsequent releases Gypsy Alibi (2011) and Up the Flatland Stairs (2018) and musical adventures have found him continuing to chart new musical directions, proving that for true Cosmic Cowboys and restless Gonzos, progressive country has no limits.

“Bob Livingston helped define Austin’s progressive country sound in the Seventies, but the Lost Gonzo Band co-founder has done his best work this century.” — Austin Chronicle

A big THANK YOU to the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment For The Arts for assisting with funding for this program.

Rocking Americana with three dynamic singer-songwriters!

Madam Radar

Two-time two-time Sonic Guild (formerly Black Fret) Grant winners!

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Madam Radar is an Americana rock band that punches hard with their explosive harmonies, soaring guitar solos, and eclectic original tunes. Based in Austin, the group is a tangled web of family and friends: Jace Cadle (rhythm guitar/vocals) is married to Kelly Green (lead guitar/vocals), who is the sister of Kody Lee (drums/vocals), who is engaged to Violet Lea (bass/vocals). Fronted by the trio of Kelly, Violet, and Jace, Madam Radar is a revolving door of high-energy singer-songwriters, each with their own perspective and style that magically overlap like the layers of a kaleidoscope. With all four members providing harmonies, the result is a wall of colorful sound that changes shape, demanding your undivided attention. The band released their first two albums, 2016’s Songs in the Key of Pain and 2017’s Welcome Home, under their original name, the Texas KGB, but officially announced their new Madam Radar handle after being awarded their second Black Fret grant in December 2019. Their third album, Madam Radar, was released in 2020, followed two years later by SPEAKS — featuring the single “Hands,” which Kevin Connor of Sun Radio called “The best song to come out of Austin in 2022.” Their latest single, the new wave-inspired pop-rocker “Hole in My Head,” was released last August. 

Beloved Texas-Canadian Songwriting Couple

Adam & Chris Carroll

"Adam Carroll may be the best songwriter that Texas ever produced." — Jon Dee Graham

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Want to hear a good story? Listen to any Adam Carroll song. His Texas peers sure have, over and over again, and are quick to heap superlatives on a stoic artist whose compositions provide a solitary glimpse into a verdant imagination. “His lyrics are like a good book,” says Terri Hendrix. “They take you somewhere and leave you better than they found you.” Slaid Cleaves calls Carroll “the quintessential small-town songwriter,” and Jon Dee Graham says Carroll “may be the best songwriter that Texas ever produced.” That’s some heady praise for a humble guy from Tyler to live up to — even a guy who’s already been honored with his own tribute album; but if any of that’s ever gone to his head, you sure wouldn’t know it from his down-to-earth, self-effacing stage presence and the way he just keeps on writing the kind of brilliantly crafted songs that leave audiences smiling and even the best of his fellow troubadours stumped as to how he does it. You’ll find no bigger Adam fan though than the one who leaves him smiling in awe, night after night: his Canadian-born wife, Chris Carroll, a gifted singer and songwriter in her own right that he met a decade ago when playing a festival in her hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario. In 2019, the same year that Adam released his most recent solo album, I Walked in Them Shoes, the couple released their first duo album, the excellent Good Farmer. It’s the perfect snapshot of how well they complement each other, both in life and onstage. “As a vocalist, she has the capacity to add just the right mixture of dark and light shades to whatever the canvas of words and music call for in any given song,” Adam says of Chris. “As a writer, she’s sensitive to the story in a song, and she’s not afraid to follow the poetry wherever it is meant to go. I can say that I’m a better musician and writer for having shared the stage with her, and a better person for having married her. She’s a treasure.”

Americana from the Badlands of West Texas!

West Texas Exiles

Featuring the Dirty River Boys' Marco Gutierrez + Colin Gilmore and Daniel Davis

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There’s Texas, and then there’s West Texas. You can leave it behind, but you can’t let it go — and nobody knows that better than the five young artists united under the banner of Austin’s West Texas Exiles. Although the band didn’t officially form until early 2022, its members are hardly newbies. Lubbock native Colin Gilmore and Amarillo’s Daniel Davis are both veteran solo artists, while Marco Gutierrez hails from El Paso’s Dirty River Boys. Together with bassist/producer Eric Harrison and drummer Trinidad Leal (Dirty River Boys, Dixie Witch, Grady, and Honky), they pool their shared influences (from fellow West Texans like Buddy Holly and the Flatlanders to Jason Isbell) to reinvigorate the the Texas music scene with a modern interpretation of the Lone Star vernacular. Grounded in rhythmic and lyrical honesty, the Exile sound is the vastness of the West Texas sky and the energy of a world where nothing stands still for long. Their debut EP, simply titled Volume 1 and released in February, evokes the ghosts of southwestern Americana at its snake-bit best while pointing the way to brand new horizons.

Award-winning Americana/folk rock legend!

Shake Russell

"Shake’s music walks right up to you, says howdy and gives you a big hug. His tunes make you happy or sad or thoughtful, but above all - they make you feel." — Bruce Bryant, Anderson Fair

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For more than 50 years, Texas singer-songwriter Shake Russell has been entertaining audiences throughout the region and all over the United States with his unique Americana style of folk rock. Weaving sophisticated harmonies through his songs and drawing from various genres, he’s created a style of folk-rock that is uniquely his own. His songs and albums have frequented the Billboard charts, with artists as varied as Ricky Skaggs, Waylon Jennings, Clint Black, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Miranda Lambert all having recorded his songs. Shake is a two-time recipient of the BMI Millionaire Award and a four-time recipient of the BMI Writers Award, and has also been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Music Association and been inducted into the Austin Songwriters Association’s “Music Legends Hall of Fame.”