USAO News Bureau

Former Texas Playboys Join For USAO Scholarship Event Dec. 18

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seven accomplished musicians with serious country music chops and dozens of albums between them have joined as The Former Texas Playboys. Together they will perform for charity here in the first-ever Black Tie & Boots Ball, staged by the USAO Foundation to raise money for scholarships at the University of Science and Arts.

Featured are country music legends Bobby Koefer Louise Rowe, Chuck Hays and Joe Settlemires, along with Monte Gaylord, Wayne Gasson and Chad Maines, each with impressive album and performing credentials.

Tickets for the Dec. 18 premiere event are $75. Tickets may be purchased online at www.usao.edu or by phone with credit card at 405-574-1213.

“We hope to stage a spectacular and fun musical event,” said musician-educator Joe Settlemires of USAO, “but it’s also a ball, where guests will be invited to take the dance floor and enjoy the music with their feet.”

Dinner begins at 6. The ball begins at 7 p.m. in the USAO Student Center Ballroom. The dinner is a country brisket buffet.

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All-star members of the Former Texas Playboys include Bobby Koefer on steel guitar, Louise Rowe on bass, Wayne Gasson on keyboard and Joe Settlemires on guitar.

Bobby Koefer is called one of America’s most unique steel guitarists. He plays a 1953 stand-up, Fender, triple neck steel guitar. Being self-taught has resulted in a very versatile singular sound and an unorthodox technique. Musician friends say he prefers old, rusty strings. Rumor was that he buried his steel for several years in his backyard in Alaska.

Koefer toured for years with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. There he worked for two years with musicians like Eldon Shamblin. He played for shows that featured Milton Berle, Perry Como, the Grand Ole Opry and more. He has worked with such legends as Marty Robbins, George Morgan, Patti Page, Lefty Frizzell, Ferlin Huskey, Rex Allen, Tex Ritter and Jim Reeves. While he moved to Alaska and spent 20 years learning about primitive cultures, in the 1980s he returned to the western swing scene with the Texas Playboys.

Bass player Louise Rowe, whose experience with country and western swing spans six decades and intersects with top artists, will be featured. She too is a member of The Former Texas Playboys. The only female musician Bob Wills ever hired also is the youngest and only female sibling of the famous Seven Rowe Brothers. At 18, she was hired as a singer, but has built her long and illustrious career playing bass and writing songs. Her most recent album was the 2008 release, I Still Cry.

Performer Chuck Hays, who now is a leader in the western swing movement, is a former member of the Texas Playboys. Born in Braggs, Okla., Hays worked in the aeronautics industry until his love for western music overtook his career.

Hays served the Air Force in Korea then settled in California, performing with Jim Reeves, Patsy Kline, Lefty Frazell, Tex Ritter and other high profile entertainers in the 1950s. He played for years with the Pee Wee Whitewing Gold Coast Playboy Band and later for the legendary Tommy Duncan Band. Eventually he was honored to join the Bob Wills Band in 1969. He was named to the Western Swing Music Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Pioneers of Western Swng Music Hall of Fame in 1999. He was named to the Western Swing Music Society of the Southwest Hall of Fame in 2000.

The youngest surviving member of the Texas Playboys is Oklahoma guitarist Joe Settlemires, who performs with The Former Texas Playboys but maintains a regular job teaching music at the University of Science and Arts, where he leads the popular USAO Showband. A noted musician in his own right, Settlemires has been inducted into four musical halls of fame, including three western swing organizations. Settlemires arranges all the music and directs the Showband with the assistance of his wife, Donna.

Settlemires began playing professionally at 14. He toured for years with Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Red Foley, Tex Ritter, and many others. He has played behind Bob Hope, Della Reese, Loretta Lynn, Harold Bradley, Howard Roberts, Pat Martino, and his band was featured with the Oklahoma City Symphony. Settlemires’ students are associated with some of the biggest names in music. He has taught at Oklahoma Christian University and has been teaching since 2001 at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. In 2006, the Oklahoma Legislature recognized Joe for 50 years of leadership and service in the Oklahoma music industry and education. He has two recent jazz albums out, “Canadian Sunset” and “Sugarfoot Rag,” which features Vince Gill and Harold Bradley.

Settlemires’ newest album, Joe Settlemires and Northfield Swing, will be released later this year. It features Chickasha vocalist Kristen Killion and singer Hank Adam Locklin. Settlemires plays every year with The Former Texas Playboys at Bob Wills Days in Turkey, Texas.

Fiddle player Monte Gaylord is no stranger to Chickasha. A star performer with Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn and others celebrities, Gaylord performed with the USAO Showband during its 2006 spring concert. Video of the concert is available at usao.edu/news in USAO TV under "Showband Spring Concert."

Gaylord's musical career started at age 18, but he started playing at 4. Gaylord has played for three U.S. president, toured with the band, Asleep at the Wheel, and was with Clint Black for seven years. More recently, Gaylord has traveled the world playing with the Franklin Graham Festivals in South America, Japan, China and Korea. In Oklahoma, he was named the Oklahoma State Fiddle Champion 15 times.

Pianist Wayne Glasson started playing piano by ear at age 7. During his school years, he played for various school and community events along with his dad and other area musicians. He was playing professionally at 18.

Glasson played the Longhorn Ballroom for Dewey Groom in the 1970s and became friends with many of the great western swing musicians. Next he played for 20 years with the Texas Rhythm Band. He has played for Steve Wariner, Louise Mandrel, Leon Rausch, Frenchie Burk, Jeanne Pruitt, Gene Watson, the late Gary Van, Gary Stewart, Johnny Paycheck, Freddie Fender, Del Reeves and Boxcar Willie.

In 1996, Glasson joined a group of former Texas Playboys called the Texas Playboy Reunion Band. Since April, 2000, Wayne has been playing with the Former Texas Playboys at the Bob Wills Days celebration in Turkey, Texas. Glass has played for audiences from the Cains Ballroom in Tulsa to the Lincoln Center in New York to the 2008 Presidential Ball in Washington DC. Glasson has been named to five different halls of fame for his musical accomplishments.

The youngest member performer at the big Chickasha event is 26-year-old drummer Chad Maines from Lubbock. He also plays guitar, bass, mandolin and sings. Currently touring with three different groups -- the Texas Country band, Brian Milson and the Short Road Band, and a blues band, 108 E Broadway – Maines travels constantly. His wildlife management degree will be used “someday” he says, but for now music is his passion.

 

Photo

All-star musicians known together as The Former Texas Playboys will perform on Dec. 18 to raise money for scholarships at the University of Science and Arts. The band features country-swing-jazz legends, clockwise from top left, Bobby Koefer, Monte Gaylord, Wayne Glasson, Joe Settlemires, Chuck Hays, Louise Rowe and Chad Maines. Tickets are $75 to benefit the USAO Foundation Scholarship Fund.