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A peace officer/certified welder from the small town of Johnson City, deep in the hill country, a park ranger from the nearby town of Blanco, a lawyer, a stage actress/director, a worker with special needs children and a college professor, all from the big city of Houston. All from different places - all with different backgrounds. Yet all had something in common - their love for the traditions of "hill country" music.

The "hill country" of Texas, located in the south central part of the state between Austin and San Antonio, is famous throughout Texas not only for its scenery and historic significance, but for its traditional country music heritage.

In the early 1800's, German, Irish and other European immigrants and Americans from the southeastern and midwestern United States began moving into the area to join the native American Indian, Mexican and Spanish population. Each of these cultures had its own musical heritage which, over time, blended to create a unique style of music, containing elements of the polka, waltz, Irish fiddle music, Native American folk, Mexican and Spanish influences as well as "old time" southern country music. With the expansion of the population of the area, the sound evolved into several genres, the most popular being traditional "honky tonk" or "two-step," and "Texas swing," with strong rhythm and emphasis on the fiddle and steel and electric guitars, and always led by strong vocalists. The "outlaw" sound of the seventies, led by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker and others, brought the area and its music to national and international attention, but the Texas hill country has always been a bedrock for the traditional country sound.

These six friends shared a passion for the music and shared an idea - traditional Texas hill country music, updated and performed by accomplished Texas musicians. The idea has now become a reality - the Texas Tradition™ CD - Next Time I Fall.

  • The peace officer/certified welder, Donnie Mauldin, is a lead vocalist and songwriter.
  • The park ranger, Kelly Dowdy, plays pedal steel.
  • The lawyer, John Bland, is a guitarist and song writer.
  • The stage actress and director, Jacque Bland, is married to the lawyer and is a lead and backup singer.
  • The worker with special needs children, Becky Broussard, is a lead and backup vocalist.
  • The college professor, Les Williams, is a record producer, engineer, music and vocal arranger, bass player and singer.

These six friends, while earning a living at their "day jobs," had somehow managed to continue to perform regularly. All nurtured the hope that one day they would be in a position to devote all of their time and energy to their music.

In 1997 John and Jacque Bland traveled to Europe and were surprised and excited by the increasing popularity of traditional country music in that part of the world. Sensing that the time was right, John and Jacque contacted their long-time friends and fellow musicians, Donnie, Kelly, Becky and Les. The six met in Austin, Texas. Amazingly, each of them were independently looking for a project. Each had reached the point in life at which there was time, flexibility and resources to give their best to the right opportunity. The Texas Tradition™ concept was born.

"Next Time I Fall" is the result. Texas Tradition™ - the peace officer/certified welder, the park ranger, the lawyer, the stage actress/director, the worker with special needs children and the college professor - hope you enjoy it. It comes straight from the heart.

Donnie Mauldin
Donnie Mauldin has lived in the hill country of Texas all of his life. The son of one of the singing "Chimes" sisters (who recorded and appeared on the old "Louisiana Hayride" and other Texas/Louisiana venues), Donnie took up the bass guitar and began playing professionally at the age of 17. Donnie has performed in such venues as San Marcos Coliseum, Fort Stockton Coliseum and dance halls and festivals throughout Texas, and in the studio in San Antonio and Austin. One night on stage, the band leader asked Donnie, who was playing bass, to sing. The result made local music history--Donnie become a sought-after lead vocalist throughout the hill country. He has sung with Kelly's "Middle of the Fiddle" band and regularly with numerous other groups. Donnie starred in a music video promoted by the Lower Colorado River Authority of Texas, singing a selection he co-wrote. Donnie has appeared on stage with such greats as Chubby Wise, Daryl McCall, Johnny Gimble and Shoji Tabuchi. His studio work also includes the recording of an Elton John selection planned as part of a movie soundtrack. Donnie's wide-ranging baritone voice is authentic, honest and direct. He greatly admires and has been influenced by Hank Williams, Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Willie Nelson and Charlie Pride. Donnie continues to gain popularity as broader audiences hear his music. A man of integrity and commitment, Donnie is a licensed peace officer and has been employed as a certified welder by the same employer for more than 20 years. Music is his first love, and he is prepared to devote whatever time and effort is required to launch and sustain his music career.

Like many of today's popular artists, Becky Broussard's earliest musical experience came as a member of school and church choirs in her home town of Corpus Christi, Texas. When she was eighteen years old she began her quest for a career in the music business with an engagement at a local Holiday Inn club. Within a few months, she got her first opportunity to work in a recording studio as a jingles singer. More recording sessions followed, along with the chance to be an opening act for Jaye P. Morgan and Morey Amsterdam. After moving to Houston, Texas, Becky appeared in nearly every major club in the city over the next few years. She performed a variety of musical styles that ranged from jazz, to Rock & Roll, to Country. Becky continued her recording career by singing commercials for national restaurant chains, retailers and many others. It was her work as a jingles singer that led to an opportunity to sing as a background vocalist on recordings by Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee and Freddy Fender. This, in turn, led to the chance for a brief on-screen appearance in the movie, "Urban Cowboy." As a member of the "house" band at a popular Houston Country and Western Club, Becky opened shows for George Jones, Ronnie Milsap, Juice Newton, Ricky Skaggs, John Conlee, Dottie West, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Tanya Tucker and the Bellamy Brothers. Becky has also been the opening act for Cheap Trick and Bon Jovi in Los Angeles for the National Finals of the prestigious Yamaha Sound Check contest. Now living in Katy, Texas, a small town near Houston, Becky works with special needs children while she continues her professional music career. Becky's influences include Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Tammy Wynette.

Kelly Dowdy was born and raised on a farm outside of Blanco, Texas in the Texas hill country. His father, a champion old-time fiddle player, instilled in Kelly a love of music at an early age and taught him to play the guitar at the age of 8. During those early days, Kelly "backed up" his dad at old time fiddle contests. Kelly fell in love with the sound of the steel guitar, especially prominent in the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Ernest Tubbs and the Texas Troubadours, Hank Snow, Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys and Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys. Not satisfied with the sound of a second-hand "Hawaiian" guitar he had received as a gift, he decided to build his own specially-designed steel guitar, which he still plays today. Kelly began playing the steel professionally during his teenage years with country and western groups throughout the Texas hill country. While working as a park ranger for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Kelly had his own band, "Middle of the Fiddle" for many years, sits in regularly with a variety of groups and has backed up an all-star list of Texas artists, live and in the studio, including George Jones, Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, the Stoney Edwards Show, Charlie Walker, Johnny Gimble and many others. Kelly has also participated in "double band" shows with Ray Price, George Strait and others. Kelly's major influences are Ralph Mooney, Lloyd Green and Bud Charlton.

Les Williams has been a professional musician and vocalist since he was 19, playing regularly throughout Texas. For approximately 7 years, Les was chief engineer at Sunrise Sound Studios in Houston, Texas. Les has been an independent recording engineer/record producer for more than 20 years and was the original developer and is an instructor and coordinator of the Audio Engineering Program at San Jacinto College in Houston. Les has also been a supervisor of music business instruction at the College. Les' recording projects have included producing, tracking engineering, mixing engineering, vocal tracking engineering, engineering and mixing on the many recording projects, including Bob James: Bob James 12, CBS Records; Kirk Whalum: And You Know That, CBS Records; Bill Watrous: Bonified, GNP Records; Bill Watrous: The Songs of Johnny Mandel, GNP Records; The Jets: The Jets Christmas, CBS Records; Little Joe y La Familia: Diez y Seis de Septiembre, Sony Discos Records (Grammy winner - Latin Division); Little Joe y La Familia: Tu Amigos, Sony Discos Records; Shelly Berg: The Joy, DMP Records; Shelly Berg: The Will, DMP Records; Bill Moyers: The History of Percussion in the Orchestra, Nexus Records, featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; BUKA: BUKA Live, Ellipsis Arts Records in conjunction with the Canadian Broadcasting Company; Nancy Zeltsman: Woodcuts, GM Records; and Voices for Life , a collection of Houston and national recording artists with proceeds benefitting AIDS related charities. Les has also done sound engineering work and other projects for the Houston Symphony; Nexus, a Toronto based percussion ensemble; Taylor Dayne; Barry Manilow; Diane Warren, a Grammy award winning composer; Everett Harp; Dick Marx Adversiting, a Chicago/Los Angeles based music production company; Saknowitz and Company, a Houston based advertising agency; Sammy Nestico, a world famous jazz arranger; Bill Young Productions, a Houston based video production company; Louie Bellson; La Mafia, Grammy nominated Tejano recording artists; Barry Mann and Steve Tyrell, Grammy award winning song writers and producers; Bob Gallarza, musical director for the Fifth Dimension and Grammy winning Tejano music producer and Jeff Jarvis a Billboard Top 10 recording artist.

John L. Bland was born and raised in the small town of Wichita Falls in north Texas, and began playing the guitar professionally when he was 13. His early influences were Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell and Ray Price, as he played with various country-western groups at rodeo dances, county fairs, honky-tonks and dance halls regularly throughout north Texas. Earlier on, John toured Texas and the western U.S. with the group "Rick and the Keens". The group had one hit record on the rock n roll charts in the early sixties. During this period, John was greatly influenced by rock n rollers Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Elvis as well as blues artists Freddie King, B.B. King and Jimmie Reed. John played his way through college and law school in Nashville and Austin, Texas and was influenced in those years by Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, George Jones and other country "honky-tonk" stylists. After moving to Houston, John met and married his wife Jacque, and began concentrating on his songwriting. John greatly admires and has been influenced by the writing styles of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. While practicing law full-time, John continued to be active musically by starting his own band in Houston with Jacque and one of his co-writers, Max Addison. John also continued to "sit in" with his long-time friends Kelly Dowdy and Donnie Mauldin whenever his time would permit. The album's title cut, "Next Time I Fall," is dedicated to Jacque, John's "sweet inspiration."

Jacque Bland began her musical career at the age of five, singing live on a local country music radio show. She inherited her father's love for country and gospel music, including the Texas swing of Bob Wills, the "old-time" country music of Jimmy Rodgers and the harmonies of The Sons of the Pioneers. She pursued music and drama actively while growing up in Houston, participating in choirs, gospel and folk music groups and musicals. While attending college on a music scholarship, she was active in touring choirs, musicals and dramatic productions. Jacque has worked actively in the theater, both on stage and backstage, as assistant director for productions such as "I Do, I Do," "The Real Inspector Hound," "Perfectly Frank," "Billy Bishop Goes To War," "Hans Christian Anderson," "Barnum" and "Cry Woolf" and as an actress in roles such as Lois Lane (Bianca) in "Kiss Me Kate," Emily in "Our Town," Maria in the operetta "Sacco and Vanzetti," Queen Marie in "Exit the King," and multiple parts in "Plaza Suite." Jacque has been the alto soloist in several productions of Handel's "The Messiah," and has appeared in the television series "Northern Exposure" and the television movie "A Mother's Revenge." Jacque has also been honored to have been invited to observe filming on the sets of several major motion pictures, including "Stuart Saves His Family" (Al Franken, Shirley Knight). She has also been active as a lead female vocalist in various musical groups in Houston, the latest being the country band started by Jacque and her husband, John. Jacque's early influences were her father, Jack Lee, who had has own weekly radio show in Houston with his country band, the "Wrhythm Wranglers" and her junior high school choir teacher, who introduced her to jazz and vocal harmonies. She admires country female vocalists Patsy Cline and Anne Murray, and especially enjoys the "Trio" sounds of Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.

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Lyrics, productions notes, and sound samples for Texas Tradition debut CD Next Time I Fall will be listed here...please check back.

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John L. Bland
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