“She Beat the Cheat Out Of Me,” a duet written and sung by country music artists Johnny Lee and Kelly Kenning - and recorded under the Waxahachie-based Hat Creek Records label - reached No. 1 on the Indie World Country Record Report for the week ending Aug. 17.
The hit song is a single from the “Johnny Lee - Live From the Texas Theater” album recorded during a concert at the Texas Theater on the courthouse square. The album, which is in post-production, consists of numerous old standard hits and one new song, the headliner “She Beat the Cheat Out Of Me.”
Hat Creek Records is part of the Hat Creek Promotions conglomerate owned by Jerry Camp of Waxahachie.
“It climbed from 36 to 2 and finally to No. 1 over about 14 weeks,” Camp said. “I believe the video contributed to its popularity. The video helped to put it over the top.”
The video features Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Rodriguez and Texas country artist Pauline Reese, along with Kelly Kenning and Johnny Lee, who is also a Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. A rough cut of the video can be viewed at www.myspace.com/hatcreekrecords. Fans can also hear the single at that same site.
Once completed, Camp said the video will be submitted to Country Music Television, Great American Country and RFD-TV.
The Texas Theater, which hosts live concerts with performers like Radney Foster, Ray Wiley Hubbard and Johnny Lee, seems to be a springboard to other great things. It was, for example, the initial business that led to the beginnings of Camp’s various other enterprises.
“We were already having concerts at the Texas Theater and artists would comment that they’d like to record there live,” Camp said.
And so it was with Johnny Lee.
“We approached him to do a live concert at Texas Theater and then it came up that he wanted to do a live album,” Camp said. “Everyone likes to play there. It’s old and has great acoustics.”
Built in 1895 for vaudeville - before amplifiers and microphones - the Texas Theater has wonderful acoustics.
“And (the artists) like Waxahachie, the small-town feel of Waxahachie, the small-room feeling of the Texas Theater,” Camp said. “The performers like the fact that the audience can actually listen to the music without the distractions one would have in a bar.
In 2003, Texas Music Theater Radio, an Internet station that broadcasts Texas music 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, was born. Gary Barton has served as the station’s program director since it began.
“We play all Texas music. One hundred percent. The artist must be a Texan by birth or live here now,” Camp said. “We play everything from Waylon Jennings to the Kyle Hunt Band.”
TMTR hears from listeners from around the world, with listeners e-mailing their song requests into the station.
Besides his love for the music, Camp said he chose Texas-music-only programming because of the absence of a station dedicated to that genre.
“There’s really not any other current station dedicated 24/7 to playing only Texas music,” Camp said.
In addition to the Texas Theater and www.TMTR.net, other ventures of Hat Creek Promotions include Hat Creek Booking, an all-inclusive artist booking service managed by Gary Barton and Hat Creek Records.
“We don’t necessarily concentrate on Texas country, but we make a lot of contacts through the radio station and therefore many on our label are Texas country artists,” said Camp, saying most of the artists on the label represent Texas country music.
“Two-time Grammy nominee Fast Ball is a rock band,” said Camp of the band, which made a live recording at the Texas Theater under the Hat Creek Records label.
Other artists on the Hat Creek Records label include Rusty Wier, Waxahachie native Chad Hammock and Ennis resident Mandy Hutchins.
“We represent well-known artists. We represent local artists. We represent new artists like up and coming Cutter Lee,” said Camp, noting Cutter Lee is of no relation to Johnny Lee.
Hat Creek Records has two recording studios in the Texas Theater and a new one under construction at the company’s offices on Madison Avenue in Waxahachie.
People wishing to purchase “Johnny Lee - Live From the Texas Theater” may do so at the Hat Creek Records Web site later this fall.
“Look for it in October,” Camp said.
On the Internet:
E-mail Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org