For nearly 30 years, KHYI’s 95.3 The Range is the only independent radio station in Collin County that’s not only transmitted traditional and modern country, but has championed up–and–coming local artists as well. KHYI is not only one of the longest and most successful independently owned radio stations in the country, but has also been holding its own music festival for almost just as long.
Now in its 27th year, The Texas Music Revolution is an annual downtown McKinney mainstay, with its stages graced by artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Old Crow Medicine Show and Reckless Kelly. The force behind this? Station general manager, Joshua Jones. Despite the challenges and tribulations of running a post-pandemic festival in June of 2021, he decided to document the process and capture all the adventures that followed on film.
Josh partnered with his friend Troy Paff, a cinematographer and director who’s worked with CNN, A&E, MSNBC and The Travel Channel. Together they documented the planning, endless phone calls and meetings as well as the artists playing in and around the square in early June 2021 to create TMR’s Texas Music Revolution. What they weren’t expecting were the heartfelt storylines that developed as they were filming as well as Mother Nature deciding to throw her own dice into the mix to shake up the landscape and leave the question of if and when the festival would even happen.
Joshua Jones, a 6th generation Texan and a University of North Texas grad, is an airwave pioneer. For years, he’s been in radio and wanted to make his festival’s 25-year anniversary one to remember. “The 24th TMR had been such a tumultuous experience — thanks COVID — that I was really motivated to rebound in a strong way,” Jones tells Local Profile. “Originally, I thought a coffee table book would be appropriate, but somehow that idea morphed into a documentary.”
A unique and captivating experience was captured by Paff, and when asked what it was like to film these moments, he said it was interesting and motivating for me to tell the story of KHYI as much as it was to get a look under the hood at the local music scene in North Texas. There’s a lot of talent there, like Nathan Wells of Ottoman Turks, Joshua Ray Walker and, of course, Charley Crockett. To see it all culminate at TMR 25 was satisfying. Joining these rising country stars is Keifer Sutherland, legendary actor from such hit shows and films as 24 and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and the 80’s cult classic, The Lost Boys, Keifer Sutherland. He’s also the frontman for his band the Kiefer Sutherland Band. All of these artists are shown in and around the festival in their own unique light, whether it be performing on a makeshift stage at the old courthouse, playing intimately with just an acoustic guitar or telling personal stories on why they are part of this festival and how important it is to keep the spirit of curating festivals and keeping art alive and well.
Despite the pandemic's challenges, Paff attributes the festival’s success to the welcoming atmosphere and support from Mayor George Fuller and Maylee Thomas as well as the assistance offered by Main Street administrators Amy Rosenthal and Andrew Jones, Paff said.
The film industry is taking notice. Texas Music Revolution was accepted to numerous film festivals such as Woodstock and Catalina — being accepted by these two in particular grants you the admission of being possibly nominated for an Oscar. There are now talks of a digital release, allowing a wider audience to see a country radio maverick’s spirited vision and his never-ending quest to promote his decades-long festival. . Texas Music Revolution shows the world just how special Collin County is, both in its music and culture. We like the sound of that.
TMR’s Texas Music Revolution will debut at the Woodstock Film Festival with a special screening and performance with Keifer Sutherland on 9/26 at Levon Helm Studios in WoodStock, New York.