Joe Nick Patoski -

Bio | Joe Nick Patoski


Wyatt McSpadden, photographer

JOE NICK PATOSKI is in his fourth decade writing about Texas and Texans. He has authored and co-authored biographies on Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan, both published by Little, Brown and Company and the coffeetable books Texas Mountains, Texas Coast, and Big Bend National Park all published by the University of Texas Press. He spent 18 years as a staff writer for Texas Monthly and more recently has written for the Texas Observer, National Geographic, No Depression, People magazine, Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine, Field & Stream, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Big Bend Sentinel, Southwest Spirit, American Way, the Austin Chronicle, Harp, and TimeOut New York, and other publications. He also contributed an essay to the photo book Conjunto by John Dyer, also published by University of Texas Press.

In 2003-4, he recorded the oral histories of B.B. King, Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Memphis musician and producer Jim Dickinson, Tejano superstar Little Joe Hernandez, and 15 other subjects for the Voice of Civil Rights oral history project, some of which appeared in the book My Soul Looks Back in Wonder by Juan Williams, published by Sterling, and rode on the The Voices of Civil Rights bus tour, a 70 day journey across the nation where personal oral histories on civil rights were collected for the Library of Congress.

His biography of Willie Nelson will be published this spring by Little, Brown & Company. An avid swimmer and kayaker, he lives near the village of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country.


  • Willie Nelson: An Epic Life The book is in many ways the culmination of my writings about music, Texas, and Texans. [Little, Brown & Company, April 2008] Order the book from Amazon here.
  • Big Bend National Park University of Texas Press, 2006
  • Texas Coast University of Texas Press, 2005
  • Texas Mountains, University of Texas Press, 2001
  • Selena: Como La Flor, Little, Brown & Company, 1996 ("If you're going to buy one Selena biography, this one is it," Cristina Saralegui, the Cristina Show, Univision; excerpted for VH1's "Behind The Music")
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire, Little, Brown & Company, 1993 (with Bill Crawford); optioned by Miramax Films, 1993-present
  • Southern Rock chapter, Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, Random House, revised 1992
  • contributed chapter on Tex-Mex music for The Book of Tex-Mex by Robb Walsh, 2004
  • currently collaborating with Eddie Wilson, founder of the Armadillo World Headquarters, on his memoirs.
  • contributed a chapter on the cumbia for the Oxford U.S. Latino/Latina Encyclopedia, Oxford Press, 2004

Selected album liner notes:

  • From Hell to Gone and Back: Texas Blues (Vanguard) 2003
  • Lightnin' Hopkins, The Tradition Masters (Rykodisc, 2002)
  • Freda & The Firedogs (Plug Music) 2002
  • Robert Ealey, Turn Out the Lights (Black Top) 1996
  • Joe Ely, Letter to Laredo (Rounder) 1995
  • The Best of the Texas Tornados (Warners) 1994
  • The Voice: Freddy Fender's Greatest Hits, the Crazy Cajun Recordings (Edsel/UK), 1999
  • Texas Monthly Presents: Honed On the Range: Texas Music, Volumes 1-5, 1989 to present (Texas Monthly magazine special products)
  • Flaco Jimenez, El Sonido de San Antonio (Arhoolie) 1980

Magazine experience:

  • Staff writer, Texas Monthly magazine, 1985-2003

Freelance experience:

  • 2002-2006 articles in No Depression, Harp, Austin Chronicle, Dallas Morning News (including profile on Mathew Knowles, father and manager of Beyonce Knowles and Destiny's Child). Also contributed to Rolling Stone, Spin, and Country Music magazines, among other publications.


  • Radio commentary, Joe Nick is a weekly guest on Kevin & Kevin KGSR in the Morning, Austin, 1991-present
  • Radio personality and co-producer of two 12 hour Texas music specials, KUT-FM, Austin, 1975-1979
  • Radio personality, KFAD-FM, Arlington, 1971


  • Austin American-Statesman, 1977-1978
  • Dallas Morning News, 2003


  • Joe King Carrasco & the Crowns, recording artists for Stiff, MCA, Big Beat, and New Rose records, 1979-1985
  • True Believers, recording artists for Rounder/EMI records, 1985-1986


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