"This is the story of two great people - Kimmie Rhodes and the late Joe Gracey, told through the lens of Kimmie's memory and Gracey's writing. It is a truly inspiring account of their love and strength together, withstanding challenges that would have defeated all but the most resilient souls."
Bob Harris OBE - BBC Radio 2
"I am delighted to endorse this excellent book, as Kimmie is a highly respected and much loved artist/songwriter hailing from Buddy's birthplace, Lubbock,Texas.... It gives me great pleasure that she has joined our close knit family as an ambassador of The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation."
Maria Elena Holly - The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation
"Kimmie's West Texas Heaven album should be handed out to every aspiring vocalist to offer lessons in tone, taste and phrasing. When she wasn't out there singing, she was completing Radio Dreams, a book that reveals an extraordinary love story, accompanied by a soundtrack filled with great Texas music."
Peter Cooper - Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
"I believe that Radio Dreams is really a cultural touchstone that poetically weaves together the humorous, heartfelt and heart-wrenching stories of two "Super Roper" soul mates set against the eclectic backdrop of Austin's "cosmic" music scene. No doubt that "Willie, Waylon and the boys" are proud of their "Outlaw Sweetheart" Kimmie Rhodes, for her courage in pouring her heart into these pages as only a true artist can."
Eric Geadelmann - Filmmaker and Author "They Called us Outlaws"
"Joe Gracey was the personality of the "progressive" movement, the one who recognized the kinship between Willie and Dylan... cool, funny and smarter than most, he was who I wanted to be; everyone's favorite guy. All that and he ended up with Kimmie too. Just deserts for a cultural leader."
Eddie Wilson - Armadillo World Headquarters
This dual memoir, “Radio Dreams” and the companion audio documentary invite readers into the unique and private world of platinum-selling songwriter and recording artist Kimmie Rhodes and her soul mate, beloved radio personality Joe Gracey. Her trippy songwriter’s tales and hilarious and poignant stories from his journals take us on a time machine ride to feel what it was like to grow up watching Saturday morning Country Western stars on TV and on through the era when the hippies, weary from protesting the raging Vietnam War, joined the rednecks to kick back and just play some music in Austin, Texas, the "Groover’s Paradise." Traveling beyond to ride with fellow outlaws Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Cowboy Jack Clement, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Doug Sahm, and other famous—and infamous—characters, they share stories of how they helped make Austin a scene and Outlaw a sound, before facing Gracey’s final cancer battle. Through triumph and tragedy, grief and gratitude, their story speaks of the extraordinary life and inspiring love they shared.
We only have 45 days, so we need you! With this book and audio documentary we can secure Joe Gracey’s legacy and offer comfort and hope to those whose lives have been affected by cancer. You will be preserving Texas Music History when you help us raise $20,000!
Joe Gracey was the celebrated “Pied Piper” of the early Austin music scene, an award-winning disc jockey, journalist, talent coordinator for the television show Austin City Limits, and popular local crooner of country songs, until fate dealt an ironic blow with aggressive head and neck cancer, leaving him alive but unable to speak, forever silencing the deep, rich, iconic voice of a genre that had become known internationally as progressive country.
Kimmie Rhodes grew up in Lubbock, Texas. Her father, a Depression-era orphan who became a carnie, taught Rhodes to sing when she was six. He would employ her talents to distract car salesmen and their customers while he checked on bets being made in the dealership’s illegal back-office bookmaking operations. By the 1970s, she had become a street-savvy hippie chick who found her way to Austin’s Electric Graceyland Studios, where Gracey had found a new way forward as a recording engineer, record producer, and independent label entrepreneur.
For more than 3 years since Joe Gracey’s passing we’ve sifted through documents and archives too important to dismiss. These historical documents not only represent a vital era in Austin music history, but offer incredible insight as to how it feels to survive cancer and not just live with, but rise above the handicap of permanently losing your voice.
Without the financial and moral support of our friends and fans these unique and insightful communications will continue to go unspoken, waiting in notebooks that have been buried in boxes and out floating unnoticed in the digital realms of the universe!
Because the nature of the archival material includes not only many written documents (even before his 30 years of not speaking Gracey was a journalist who wrote every day,) but we were also left with miles of rare reel to reel tape recordings captured during the 1970s era when Austin was becoming the music scene it is today. For this reason it became apparent that we would also need to produce an audio documentary companion to the book in order to utilize these rare recordings that include interviews and precious musical recordings so that people can hear them. And, you can’t just talk about music you have to play it. Once we had processed all the archives we realized our job had just begun in order to get these things published and out into the world.
We are thrilled that fellow DJ, award-winning audio documentary maker and renowned radio presenter Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2 London) has stepped forward to take the Radio Dreams Audio Documentary in hand as co-producer and presenter!
In her introduction to the book, Kimmie says," As Gracey's perennial sidekick and translator, I gained deep insight into his essence and eventually got good at anticipating what he would probably be going to say next. Over time I finished many sentences for him to spare him the frustration of being left behind in conversations. This book, composed from the bottomless rubble of archives that fell to my safekeeping, also added to by the pummeling of things sent to me from friends after Gracey left us, is my responsible attempt to honor his legacy and return him to the conversation once more."
The Radio Dreams Project will help give this important Texas music history a presence at research, preservation and educational institutions like The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University and The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation! We need YOU to help us make this happen! Let’s raise these funds!
"By the time I met him in 1979 Gracey had started writing a book he was forever meaning to finish. He gave it the title “Radio Dreams.” Because he lost his voice to cancer in his late twenties, he was forced to communicate through writing. So, much of what he had to say on all kinds of subjects was left behind not only in his unfinished manuscript, which gives us the personal account of his childhood and early radio days—or “dreams” as it were—but also in the many letters, blogs, e-mails, essays and articles that he wrote throughout his years, making it possible to piece together the rest of the story.
I know his friends and fans will be happy to “hear” his sweet smart voice again and enjoy his personal account of who he was and why he so passionately tightened his embrace on an existence that shaped him into someone who owned a wisdom earned through quiet courage in the face of hardship, but which he tempered with levity and wit in a very cool way.
It is our family’s passion and desire to express our gratitude for the days of love and life we shared with Gracey by honoring his contributions to Texas music and celebrating all that he was and meant not only to our family, but also to his many friends and fans."
The magic of Kimmie’s Story offers hope to others who aspire to a life in music and comforts those whose lives have been affected by cancer.
Once Kimmie raises the funds to publish the Radio Dreams Project as a songwriter and storyteller she will be able to take their story to events at universities, cancer organizations, museum events, and stages around the world! Help her get this funded and promoted!
By sponsoring this project in whatever way you can you will become a part of preserving music history! Let’s do this!
It takes a lot of money to produce and self publish a book and an audio documentary and we have to cover the costs of;
- Cover and Book Design
- Typesetting Art Placement Printing and Binding Layouts
- Editing & Proofreading & Indexing
- Promotional Fees and Costs – Photography, Press, Travel, Social Media Platform Design
- Strategy Research and Archival Materials & Assistance
- Copyright & ISBN Fees
- Digital Uploading & Conversion Fees
- Production – Archival tape transfers and editing
- Mastering & Manufacturing Costs
- Pressing Costs
- Music Licensing
- Legal Fees
- Travel Expenses
The more help we get the better we will be able to assure that these important documents are processed correctly so that the history they hold may be shared with the world in an entertaining and educational way before they are finally placed in museums to be accessible to researchers.
About Joe Gracey
Joe Gracey, from Fort Worth, Texas, was a natural-born communicator from an early age who became a country music disc jockey for KXOL-AM and FM while still in high school. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning a degree in American studies while moonlighting on Austin Top-40 station KNOW-AM and writing the Austin American-Statesman’s first rock music column. In 1974, he joined Austin’s KOKE-FM, the world’s first progressive-country radio station, and helped the station earn its Billboard magazine Trendsetter of the Year award. Gracey also served as talent coordinator for the first season of Austin City Limits, the longest-running music series on American television. Gracey left radio to establish Electric Graceyland studio, where he produced some of the first recordings by blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan. In 1979, Gracey lost his voice to cancer, but continued engineering and producing, as well as performing as a bassist and rhythm guitarist. In 1996, he engineered Willie Nelson’s groundbreaking album, Spirit. In 2003, he recorded Picture in a Frame, Nelson’s duets album with Kimmie Rhodes, and the Grammy-nominated Nelson–Ray Price duet album, Run That by Me One More Time. A gourmet cook and wine connoisseur, Gracey contributed articles and recipes to Saveur magazine. Gracey’s head and neck cancer returned in 2009. After a long battle with the disease, he died on November 17, 2011.
About Kimmie Rhodes
Texas-born singer Kimmie Rhodes is a multi-platinum-selling songwriter whose work has been recorded by Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood, Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, Joe Ely, Waylon Jennings, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, and Babe the Pig, among others. She also has released sixteen solo albums, written and produced three musicals, and published a novella/cookbook, The Amazing Afterlife of Zimmerman Fees. Rhodes served as an associate producer for the documentary They Called Us Outlaws, dedicated to the memories of Joe Gracey and Waylon Jennings and presented by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
Some of The Rewards
An Excerpt From The Book
Chapter 1 - Radio Dreams - Joe Gracey : ..."It is daytime and I am out on the street, two blocks away from the radio station. There is a gray metal public address horn on the corner of the building where I work, inexplicably broadcasting my radio show out into the parking lot. I realize that the record that I had put on is now about to run out and I am out here for some reason, much too far away to get back in time, even if I run. I listen helplessly as the sound of the needle in the end grooves begins to repeat endlessly. It is the DJ’s worst nightmare. I wake up. . . . When you work on the radio, especially in 1960s-era Top 40 radio, you learn that dead air is the cardinal sin for the operator of the control board. Everything has to move fast, fast, fast, be overlapped and slammed home and yelled loud and insistent. No gaps or pauses allowed. Dead air is anathema, not tolerated. Being a DJ in a format like this is exhilarating, a mad dash from the beginning of your show to the end, slugging coffee (or worse) and lighting cigs and talking fast and moving your hands over the controls in a constant ballet, a coordinated, practiced caressing that never stops. Records are cued up by rocking them back and forth by hand, then rolled back to a precise point before the start of the music so that when I touch the turntable start switch, the song starts exactly when I know it will. Ads are on endless tape loops inside plastic cartridges shoved into automated tape players in correct order, cued and awaiting my finger on the start button, their last line typed on the label so I know when to jump in. Everything is within easy reach of my hands, the microphone suspended a certain exact distance from my mouth always the same spot in relation to my face, my ashtray and coffee cup always exactly where my hand falls to them, my ad copy and promos positioned exactly eye level on a pedestal over the board, where all of the volume and start/stop controls are. It is my world for four hours every day, my reason for being, my connection to people that is much more intimate than I can ever be face-to-face. When I turn on the microphone switch, I can feel the electrons coursing through the giant power tubes in the transmitter on top of the hill, pausing just that tiny moment to listen to the sound of air before I begin to speak, my deep resonant voice causing the massive tubes to pulse purple and red in the night, the antenna tower blinking red and the wind singing in the wires. Oh, baby, I love being on the radio. . . . "
Risks and challenges
A release date has been set for Spring 2018 and a "Conversation with Kimmie Rhodes and Bob Harris" tour is being booked on the faith that this project will come to fruition. Kimmie has been working as an Associate Producer of a six film Documentary series, "They Called Us Outlaws," with filmmaker Eric Geadelmann, presented in association with The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, that is scheduled for release in 2018. If we don't raise the funds in time we might miss great opportunities to tell our story through this book and audio documentary at the related events and venues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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