Tary Owens 1943 - 2003

Owens was born in Illinois and raised in Port Arthur, Texas, where he was a classmate and friend of Janis Joplin. All through his life, Owens championed forgotten or unsung Texas bluesmen. He collected field recordings of blues, hillbilly music, old-time fiddlers, work songs, toasts and prison songs from across Texas. These recordings are considered an invaluable part of Texas’ musical heritage, and are included in the permanent collection at the University of Texas’ Center for American History.

In 1986, Owens sought out 1920s-era barrelhouse piano legend Roosevelt Williams - the Grey Ghost - and revived his career. Williams, inspired by Owens' encouragement, put out a well-received solo album, “Grey Ghost,” on the Spindletop label in 1992 and found a new generation of fans.

Owens and his partner Jon Foose revived the career of East Austin blues players T.D. Bell and Erbie Bowser, and brought attention to East Texas blues musicians such as Frank Robinson and Long John Hunter.

During the last several years, he began writing and recording music of his own with a band called the Texas Redemptors and released a solo album, "Milagros."