Jason Mellard: Coming home to Texas music


At some point in his life, Jason Mellard crossed the line from fanboy to scholar.

His lifelong love of music started early. He grew up listening to the Texas artists of his parents’ generation: Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Rodriguez and Roy Orbison. But like most of us, his adolescence was spent listening to rock. Eventually, Jason came home again to the integrity and truth of Texas music. His love of Texas music led to exploring its impact and importance at a local and national level.

His studies led to a deeper understanding of the “myth” of Austin’s music scene and the role Texas music has played in influencing musicians across the country and even internationally. “Austin’s music scene has always been a scene that appreciates both artistry and innovation but without completely breaking from a sense of tradition. I really feel that it rewards creative singer/songwriters in a way that others don’t,” said Jason. “At the same time you don’t want to build Austin up as this place that is absolutely like no other on Earth. That does a disservice to Austin by creating a myth of Austin as being apart from or divorced from other scenes. But it’s important to recognize the contributions that it has made and what we can have here when things are going well.”

Jason’s students get a strong history of Texas music in classes he teaches for CIE’s Odyssey program and University Extension (UEX). There’s still time to register for Jason’s UEX summer course “Cosmic Cowboys, Armadillos, and Outlaws: Austin Music History.”


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