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20 Mar 15 Sounds of Texas Music Series Kicks Off

CONROE, Texas — From the moment it opened in 1935, Conroe’s Crighton Theatre attracted top performers and productions to its elegant stage, and the tradition continues with the Sounds of Texas Music Series. Now in its 18th year, the series opens its 2015 season with a performance by Americana artists Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis and co-headliner John Fullbright at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the historic theater, at 234 N. Main St., Conroe. Robison Willis

Austin residents Robison and Willis, the country-influenced royal couple of Americana music, have been touring in support of their successful 2014 album, Our Year. Oklahoma native Fullbright earned a Grammy nomination for his first album, 2012’s From the Ground Up; its 2014 follow-up, Songs, is an even stronger testament to this rising star’s songwriting and performing talents.

The Sounds of Texas Music Series, produced by the nonprofit organization Friends of Conroe, has gained renown among performers and concertgoers alike for the quality experiences it provides to both. Started in 1997 by a group of music-lovers frustrated while attempting to hear a favorite singer-songwriter in a noisy club, what began as a single show has turned into an entertainment mainstay accessible to music-lovers throughout the state.

With 533 permanent seats, the Crighton provides listening-room intimacy in an acoustically perfect, architecturally significant “atmospheric” theatrical environment inspired by Houston’s famed Majestic Theater. Built in 1934 by oilman and Conroe Mayor Harry M. Crighton, the theater closed in the ’60s; after years of decay, it was meticulously restored to its original grandeur and reopened in 1979. It now hosts a resident theater company and performing arts events of all kinds. The Sounds of Texas series, one of its signature offerings, earned a “Best Music Series” award from the Houston Press, which praised it for providing “magical moments in an intimate setting.”

The first magical moment came at that inaugural concert, featuring the legendary Guy Clark. Cited as a major influence by Sounds of Texas performers from Houston kid Rodney Crowell and Woodlands native Hayes Carll to the Flatlanders, Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams, Texas-born singer-songwriter Clark has performed seven times — more than any other series artist. (Joe Ely will tie that number May 9, when he’ll join in a song swap with Ruthie Foster and Paul Thorn. And Ray Wylie Hubbard will make his fourth series appearance on June 6, with first-timers Uncle Lucius.)

In honor of Clark and his impact on fellow singer-songwriters, Conroe artist Craig Campobella has created a limited-edition bronze sculpture as part of his Sounds of Texas commemorative series. The approximately one-eighth-scale. Clark sculpture, one of 12, will be given away in a drawing Sounds of Texas Music Series. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. The drawing will be held on March 21.

For more information about the Sounds of Texas Music Series, visit soundsoftexasmusicseries.com or call 936.539.6009.

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