I'm Graham Lees and was born in the North
of England. Country Music first drew my interest in the
early 60s when the two presenters of a children's TV show…Wally
Whyton and guitarist Bert Weedon included a country song
in the show. At the time I didn't know this was country
music, but I liked it!!! I then started to find out more
and was drawn to the music of Johnny Cash.
In the early 70's I was introduced to
bluegrass while living in Australia. Later my interest turned
to the jazz based western swing music of Bob Wills after
hearing a local band play New San Antonio Rose. I had the
privilege of meeting Bob's daughter Rosetta in 2001.
As a kid I was always fascinated by the
cowboy and in particular the silver screen cowboys including
Hopalong Cassidy, who I would see at the Saturday matinee in
the local cinema. As Nashville changed and corrupted country
music in the 1990's I renewed my interest in cowboy music.
My first trip to the USA was in 2000 when I started
obtaining more music of modern day western artists.
I became a member of the British Country
Music Association (BCMA) in 1993 when I started working
as a country music journalist writing for North Country
Music magazine, which folded in late 2003. Since that first
beginning I have contributed articles and CD reviews on
country, bluegrass, blues and folk music for several magazines,
On my website you have the opportunity to view a small portion
of the interviews, article and CD reviews I have done over
As a music journalist I have been fortunate
to interview many artistes. Just a few of the country artists
include Ray Price, Reba, Suzy Bogguss, Ricky Skaggs, and
Brad Paisley. On the western side of the music I've interviewed
Leon Rausch, Tommy Allsup, Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave,
R.W. Hampton, Michael Martin Murphy, Don Edwards, Red Steagall
and many, many more.
My greatest delight was an interview
with Townes Van Zandt just a couple of years before he died,
who proudly told me about his part as an extra in the movie
The Songwriter, staring Kris Kristofferson & Willie
Nelson. During a lull in the filming of a theatre scene,
Kristofferson walked on to the stage, pointed Townes out and
announced "this man is Townes Van Zandt…the
songwriter's songwriter!" Townes told me that after
that moment he and his wife were both treated as though they
were also stars of the movie.
I started working with local radio a
few years ago and now have a weekly radio show on HWD
Radio in Yorkshire where I now live presenting a two-hour country music show 'The
Country Connection'. The first hour is a mix of traditional
country, plus a little bluegrass. The second hour…'The Western
Hour' is all Western Swing and Cowboy music.
Hour' 'The Country Connection' and 'Twang~Grass'
(all bluegrass show) can be heard streaming on the Home Page
of this website. Shows change each
I have produced many specialist radio
shows over the past four or five years. I produced a radio
show profiling Buddy Holly in the summer of 2003. The success
of this show has led to series of two-hour radio program
profiles of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and
Dolly Parton. My most recent project is a series of occasional
shows 'Guess Who's In Town'
that includes an interview and music of a western artist.
The first featured R.W Hampton which was broadcast in January
2007 and streamed on The Western Hour.
In 2001 I was thrilled to take my wife
to Texas for The Legends of Western Swing Festival (Wichita
Falls) where we were made extremely welcome by organiser Mrs.
Gloria Myers and the many fans attending the event. The
musicianship of the bands playing during the event was
top-class and I have returned again on various occasions
over the years. On my trips to
various western events over the years I've found the
friendliness and generosity of the many western fans to be
the finest anywhere.
In 2004 I was invited to attend the
Academy Of Western Artists (AWA) convention and prestigious
Will Rogers Awards in Fort Worth, Texas. Part of the
entertainment at the AWA convention was a radio format show
in which DJs and radio presenters gave a 30 minute show
introducing and interviewing artists who were attending over
the weekend. Invited to take part, I was pleased to have
artists Jean Prescott, Fletcher Jowers and the five-piece
group The Texas Trailhands as my guests
and first met radio DJ Joe Baker at this event. In November
2006 I was privileged to be invited to attend the Western
Music Association annual event and Awards at Albuquerque
where I renewed acquaintances with many of the artists that
I had met at the AWA, along with many more who were
attending the WMA event. I am a member of both the AWA and
WMA and attended both conventions on several occasions and
had the pleasure to be asked to present Awards at both the
AWA and WMA award shows.
In 2014 the Northwest Western Swing
Music Society (near Seattle) presented me with their
certificate of Special Recognition Award at their annual
event at Auburn, Washington State. In 2014 I also was
privileged to be nominated for the AWA Disc Jockey of The
Year Award and received a Certificate of Appreciation from
them. The Cowtown Society of Western Music presented
me with their Disc Jockey of The Year Award at Mineral
Wells, Texas on 7th May 2016. The award consisted of a
medallion and certificate from the Cowtown Society and a
Certificate of Commendation from Gregg Abbott, Governor of
Texas. Western Swing is the Official Music of Texas.
In August 2017 the Northwest Western Swing
Music Society inducted me into their Hall Of Fame.
During my numerous trips to the USA and
in particular Texas and New Mexico, I have made many good friends from the
western music scene including Betty and Doug Carter from
Albuquerque, Texan Jim Anderson (Palo Duro) and his family, Bill
Adams (western swing band) and O.J. Sykes who I met through
his internet Western Music Time show. It is my greatest pleasure to
promote and draw fans here in the UK to western music
through my radio shows by playing the many CDs that are
regularly sent to me by western artists in the
Thanks a bunch!!!
I hope that you enjoy looking through my site!!!