JOHN GILLIAM – President
John Gilliam is “Missoula Slim,” a songwriter-singer from San Marcos, Texas. John got his moniker from Kent Finlay, “the Godfather of Texas songwriters,” at Cheatham Street Warehouse in 2004. Missoula has been writing and performing for the last 20 years, mostly in and around Montana, Washington and Texas. He has recently surfaced at such distinguished venues as the Saxon Pub and Threadgill’s in Austin, Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, and Riley’s Tavern in Hunter.
Missoula Slim writes in a variety of styles, ranging from folk and country to jazz and alternative rock. Many of his songs contain bits of his offbeat wit and wisdom. He is currently performing in and around San Marcos and Austin, and serves as past president of the Austin Songwriters Group, and as an officer and board member for the Cheatham Street Music Foundation. Missoula performs every Wednesday at the historic Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas, starting at 5:00 PM.
John is also an attorney in San Marcos. He has a general solo practice, focusing on Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate. He also provides advice and counsel in the areas of Entertainment Law and ERISA benefits denial cases.
Jason Woolery was born in Canyon, TX and raised (mostly) in Amarillo. He attended college in Dallas and graduate school in San Marcos, where he has (mostly) lived ever since. He’s an ordained minister whose career is in the field of public education. He began as a middle school teacher and coach, and has been a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at Texas State University since 2011.
In addition to his academic pursuits, Jason has moonlighted as an actor—his resume includes stage, film, and voiceover credits—and a singer-songwriter since he was in high school. He’s never considered himself good enough at either art form to attempt to pursue them as a vocation, but he’s been lucky enough to make a lot of friends in both industries who are, and who do.
Since 2012, Jason has been Director of Young Songwriters’ Workshop. YSW, a partnership between CSMF and Central Texas Writing Project—Texas State University’s chapter of National Writing Project—is an annual summer day-camp that gives young singer-songwriters ages 10-18 the opportunity to spend 5 days workshopping original material with a variety of working Texas musicians, then to perform their material live and in concert at the end of the week. Jason has been a CSMF Board Member since 2016, and has been CSMF Secretary since 2019.
Denise is a native Texan, several of her 5th generation ancestors arrived in Texas shortly after it became a state. A product of Texas music families, she loves to listen and perform. She owns Bartlett Business Services in Luling, Texas, specializing in income tax preparation, accounting and research. Charlotte Holley and she started Gypsy Shadow Publishing Company in September of 2009 and have published hundreds of books and short stories for both domestic and international authors. Her fiction novel, Through the Flames, focuses on a high school football player struggling with injuries and growing up in the world of athletics.
Her varied background runs the gambit of IRS tax auditor, horse trainer, driver and resident trainer for Marbridge Foundation, organic wheatgrass farmer, conservationist, Alamo and Jim Bowie historian, hypnotist, healer and even ghostbuster. She loves animals, nature and people and sharing photographs and info from her beloved Texas.
GARY HICKINBOTHAM – Director
During his stint as chief engineer the Fire Station Gary recorded many artists of national stature and worked with many producers and engineers from major labels. One of the recordings he made, the Texas Tornados, won a Grammy. Two other albums, one by Doug Sahm and one by Tish Hinojosa (which Gary co-produced), each won Indies and much critical acclaim. Gary has worked with Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Hiatt, J.D. Souther, Gary P. Nunn, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others.
When Texas State University acquired the Fire Station for its Sound Recording Technology program, Gary’s friend Bobby Arnold from Willie Nelson’s Perdenales Recording Studio became the chief engineer. Gary left the Fire Station to work as a free-lance engineer in Austin with his colleagues Chet Himes, Bill Johnson and mastering engineer Jerry Tubb. During this time he worked on several project studios in Austin and also helped with recording and mixing live radio broadcasts for KGSR. He also made multi-track recordings for the Austin City Limits tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn. In addition, outside the musical arena, he was a co-designer and manufacturer of an electro-pnuematic voice-controlled physical therapy apparatus for paraplegic and stroke rehabilitation. This prototype machine is still used for spinal cord regeneration research at Southwestern Medical College in Dallas. Other commercial versions of the machine are in hospitals, therapy clinics and professional sports facilities throughout the United States and several other countries around the world. While working on this project he also worked on some of the first live streaming multimedia webcasts with Broadcast.com, at the time Mark Cuban’s ground-breaking web enterprise.
Now a world-class engineer, coming full circle, he finds himself at the Fire Station, where he began his professional recording career, once again.
BIG JOHN MILLS – Director
Big John Mills, Texas legend and guitar virtuoso, began playing guitar at age 6. By age 16, Mills was earning a living as a highly sought-after guitarist and session musician. Mills was raised in Texas, living in most every part of the state and ultimately growing up in Deer Park. Mills has three CDs to date: “Big John Mills” (1998), “Honky Tonks and Neon Lights” (2003), which was the first self-released CD by an independent artist to hit the Americana Top 10, and “THAT: Tributes Heartaches and Texas.” (2007) His fourth CD is currently in production.
Of his debut CD, MyTexasMusic wrote, “Big John Mills’ self-titled debut offering is an instrumental masterpiece showcasing his incomparable talent as a guitarist.” Miss Lana wrote, “Each line is a gem and your foot is tapping of its own volition.” An engaging and electrifying performer and showman, Mills calls his expertly played music “Texacountryswingbluesicana” and those who have heard him at venues throughout Texas cannot argue that his natural-born expertise in each musical style makes his compositions – different at any given show, depending on mood and karma – riveting and utterly amazing.
Guitar-playing skill like Big John’s does not often accompany such deft and wise songwriting and phrasing, but Big John is the whole package. His original rocking and rollicking song, “Spicy Chicken,” is the theme song for the Texas Music Awards. His great original songwriting has earned him the respect of his peers and the devotion of legions of fans around Texas, across the country, and in Europe.
A Texas-born Americana artist rooted in the tradition of his home state’s songwriting heroes, Dallas Burrow built a career on both sides of the Atlantic with his 2019 debut, Southern Wind. Recorded in Nashville, the album reached Number 25 on the UK Americana Chart and Number 4 on the US Alt-Country chart, paving the way for a string of cross-country shows alongside fellow road warriors like Charley Crockett.
For Burrow — a lifelong explorer who’d spent his 20s on the move, chasing his muse across most of America and Europe while rubbing shoulders with luminaries like Bob Dylan and Dr. John — being so far away from home felt natural. Even so, he began missing the stability of his new life back in Texas, where he’d built a family and gotten sober. His second album, 2021’s Dallas Burrow, marks both a symbolic and literal homecoming for the songwriter, who recorded the new material with modern-day legend Bruce Robison in the rural Texas countryside. It’s a record about embracing maturity and the responsibilities of family life, sung by Burrow in a voice that bears both the road-worn weariness of a lifelong highwayman and the fierce fire of a man reborn.
Dallas, in addition to being a husband, father of a five year old son, and a singer/songwriter, also owns and operates The Redbird Listening Room, with the help of his family, a music venue in New Braunfels, TX where the focus is on singer/songwriters performing their original material in an intimate setting.