Lubbock Sound- Meet the Maines Brothers
The original Maines Brothers Band consisted of James Maines and his brothers, Raymond (Sonny), and Wayne Maines. The band hailed from the West Texas Cotton Farming community of Acuff, Texas. As most of the area including Lubbock County was “dry” at the time, the 1950’s, the band would often travel to places like Post, Texas, 40 miles to the southeast to play their music. Post was where the people of Lubbock would go to buy their beer and dance, generally just to blow off a little steam.
Often in my blog I have commented that Lubbock is a mecca for great music. The Maines brothers are no exception. It is fact, that one of these original “Maines,” Wayne, first began the work of teaching Buddy Holley chords on the guitar while riding the school bus from that little place called Acuff.
James Maines’s sons, Lloyd, Kenny, Steve, and Donny often went with their dad and uncles while they were playing their gigs. This group of youngsters began performing as the opener for the original group and were known as “The Little Maines Boys.”
As parts of Lubbock County began legalizing the sale of liquor, “The Little Maines Boys,” began playing each Sunday at the Cotton Club, a popular dancehall as a matinee. The older Maines brothers band which consisted of their dad and uncles would then take the reins and play late into the night. As the older Maines began fading in to the West Texas sunset and hung up their instruments, these Little Maines Boys stood up and became the next generation of the “Maines Brother’s Band.”
As a birthday gift for my brother the other day, I gave him a copy of an Album by this next generation of Maines Brothers. “Route 1, Acuff.” I am sure most everyone has heard the great works of Lloyd Maines on the steel guitar, or the solo stuff by Kenny, but hearing this band in its earliest and original form performing altogether certainly brings chills of great pleasure that will pulsate from your feet to your ears.
Lloyd Maines is probably the greatest Steel Guitarist ever to live. He started playing on a homemade steel given to him by his uncle in a little farmhouse in Acuff, Texas. Lloyd has played with Texas greats like Guy Clark, Terry Allen, Joe Ely, and Jerry Jeff Walker. He was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of fame as one of its first three members. (Along with Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn.) In recent years, Lloyd has produced some of the greatest albums of all times. He won a Grammy Award in 2003 for his work on the album Home, by his daughter Natalie Maines band, The Chicks.
Kenny Maines was only 7 at the formation of the “Little Maines Boys.” It is said that he had to stand on a wooden crate just to reach the microphone. After touring throughout the 80’s, Kenny and the Maines Brothers began to settle down and split up the band to pursue each one’s personal dreams. Kenny became a County Commissioner in Lubbock, a position he held for many years. More recently, Kenny has left the politics behind and once again picked up his guitar to do what he loves which is to make music.
The other night I was honored to attend a performance by Kenny Maines. He opened for the band Exile at the Cactus in Lubbock. I loved his performance. He covered much from the Lubbock music scene and represented this long-evolved Lubbock Sound well. During his set, Kenny included songs from Mac Davis, Terry Allen, and Buddy Holly. He also shared his original music. Kenny Maines newest album is, The Magic Train. I held onto every word and each note from his guitar. He is a wonderful and very professional entertainer. I had the pleasure to speak briefly to him in the Lobby of the Cactus Theatre and he is a very down to earth sort of guy. Kenny’s music is available on his website http://www.kennymaines.com/home.html and on Apple iTunes.
This Lubbock Sound is still growing and evolving even today with acts like Brandon Adams & the Sad Bastards, Mason & The Gin Line, and Flatland Cavalry. The Lubbock Sound is and has always been one of my all-time favorite styles of music. I appreciate men like the Maines Brothers who kept this tradition alive and well.