This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a bluesman who was also a cowboy.
“Snuff” Johnson was born on August 10, 1913, in Cedar Creek, Texas. He grew up in a sharecropper’s family, learning music from his father and uncle. As a teenager, Johnson worked as a cowboy and would later record the music of black ranch hands. However, his biggest influence was fellow Texas bluesman, Mance Lipscomb. Johnson emulated Lipscomb’s rhythmic guitar style and his flair for storytelling through songs.
Snuff Johnson was in his seventies when he first recorded. His 1999 album, Black Cowboy Blues and Church Songs, reflects the broad range of his repertoire. Before he died in 2000, Johnson performed frequently at Austin’s blues club, Antone’s, where he helped pass along his authentic rural blues to a whole new generation.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn how one man almost made Dallas—not Nashville—into Music City, USA.