News Ticker

Tall Texan Ray Benson calls on music lovers

Calling on fellow Texas music-lovers to “support the effort to make this little guy a lot bigger,” Asleep at the Wheel bandleader Ray Benson, center, shows off a wax maquette of the Floyd Tillman sculpture by artist Dan Pogue, left. Pogue and musician john Arthur martinez, right, are spearheading fundraising efforts for a life-sized bronze tribute to western swing/honky-tonk pioneer Tillman, a longtime Marble Falls, Texas, resident, to be unveiled during this year’s FiestaJAM music and wine festival. (Photo courtesy FiestaJAM 2015)
Aug. 30 Fundraiser at Marble Falls’ Pogue Sculpture Gallery
To Feature Performance by john Arthur martinez, Life-sized Clay-mold Version of Bronze
Western swing/honky-tonk pioneer Floyd Tillman lived in the Texas Hill Country community of Marble Falls for decades, and now organizers of the town’s annual FiestaJAM music and wine festival are raising funds to honor his memory with a life-sized sculpture by internationally renowned Marble Falls artist Dan Pogue. 
Even renowned swing disciple Ray Benson, founder of nine-time Grammy-winners Asleep at the Wheel, has thrown his support to the cause. “Floyd Tillman was one of the greatest songwriters that Texas ever produced,” says Benson. “There would be no Willie Nelson without Floyd Tillman.” 
Displaying a miniature wax maquette of the sculpture, tall Texan Benson called on music-lovers to help “make this little guy a lot bigger.” Donations to the Tillman statue fund may be made at
Oklahoma-born, Texas-raised sharecropper’s son Tillman is best known as the co-author of “It Makes No Difference Now,” one of the first examples of the “tears in beer”-style lyric that came to define country music. A child prodigy on guitar and mandolin, he later led Houston’s famed Blue Ridge Playboys. Expanding to electric guitar, banjo and vocals, he joined the Mack Clark Orchestra, where he developed the distinctive, off-the-beat jazz style that influenced Nelson and many others. Tillman reached No. 1 with 1944’s “They Took The Stars Out of Heaven,” one of his many now-classic wartime hits. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame by Nelson in 1984, the longtime Marble Falls/Burnet County resident was a major supporter of the community’s Pickin’ in the Park concert series on Lake Marble Falls. He died in 2003 at his son’s home in Bacliff, Texas, at age 88. To learn more about Tillman:
Fundraising efforts include a house concert-style acoustic performance by FiestaJAM co-founder john Arthur martinez at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Pogue Sculpture Gallery and Foundry, 7670 Highway 1431 East, Marble Falls. Wine and appetizers will be provided by Flat Creek Estate and Enoteca; hosts Dan and Marti Pogue will display a full-sized clay mold of the Tillman sculpture to illustrate the phases of crafting a life-sized bronze. Guests may also peruse Pogue’s works in the gallery’s live oak-shaded sculpture garden. Admission is $25, which goes toward the Tillman sculpture fund. For more information, call 830.693.9544. To RSVP to the Aug. 30 event, email
The FiestaJAM on Lake Marble Falls music and wine festival takes place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 16 and 17, 2015, in Marble Falls. The Cory Morrow Band headlines Saturday’s slate of performers at the Lakeside Park and Pavilion; the event also features wine and beer tastings from area vintners and brewers. For tickets and more information: