Laura Lee Owens McBride

This Week in Texas Music History we’ll celebrate the first female singer to work with the King of Western Swing.

Laura Lee Owens McBride died on Jan. 25, 1989, in Bryan, Texas. The daughter of well-known singer-songwriter Tex Owens and the niece of popular vocalist Texas Ruby Owens, Laura Lee began performing on radio at the age of 10. In the 1930s, she moved to California, where she appeared in more than a dozen movies with cowboy star Gene Autry. In the 1940s, she became the first female singer to be hired by legendary Western Swing pioneer Bob Wills. Laura Lee Owens McBride went on to perform with Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and others. She won numerous awards and opened the door for many other women in country music.

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