Watch the History of Western Swing come to life in new videos

Published on April 14, 2022

History of Western Swing graphic
If Ginny Mac was your teacher, music history might become your favorite class.

Mac, a Fort Worth native and professional musician, brought the History of Western Swing to life in a five-part series in March that is now available to watch on the Fort Worth Public Library’s YouTube Page. 


Watch the Videos

Western Swing was born in Fort Worth in the early 1930s and became the official state music of Texas in 2011.

Not merely a lecture, Mac shares historic recordings and in some sessions plays music live with fellow musicians to demonstrate aspects of Western Swing. In the first session, while playing a recorded tune by the genre’s founding father Milton Brown (& His Musical Brownies), Mac couldn’t help but sing along to the chorus and sway with the catchy melody. Her enthusiasm is contagious.

ginny-mac-portrait.jpg Music fans and history lovers can find things to love about Mac’s series. The music was developed by combining many other styles and influences. Brown is credited as its founder while former bandmate Bob Wills made the style famous. 

“It’s wild to think of it as such a hodgepodge – fiddle breakdowns, country ballads, blues, jazz, ragtime, swing, pop, polkas, schottisches,” Mac says. “It’s almost like they just said, ‘Let’s take every single musical genre – maybe other than rap, because it didn’t exist yet – and throw it in.”

Her webpage for the series features links to the PowerPoint slides she displays and playlists of the songs recorded she shares and setlists of the songs performed in the classes. 

Besides highlighting the music itself, Mac presents deep-dive information about some of the major characters in the early days of Western Swing. Little-known anecdotes and personal stories that show off the rich flavor of those who made the music what it is today. 

Mac was a young child when she first heard Western Swing music in the Stockyards. That was years after she became hooked on the accordion. Read more about Mac here

Don’t miss the end of the second History of Western Swing session, when the call for an encore has Mac performing an impromptu rendition of “Happy Trails.” Her exuberance, musical acumen and love of Western Swing combine for a special experience worth experiencing  - again or for the first time.