When I was seventeen, I didn’t have a band; I pretty much performed either by myself or with a bass player. I often played at a coffeehouse I started called the Windjammer. It was down on McKinney Avenue in Dallas, which was a really rough neighborhood at the time. One night while I was onstage, a shotgun blast broke down the front door and peppered the entire audience and the kitchen. Fortunately, nobody got hurt seriously. Some guy was disgruntled; he was obnoxiously drunk and had requested songs that nobody knew because we were all doing our own material. He got mad and came back and shot the place up. I don’t mean to make us sound too much like towering heroes because it was pretty much by happenstance, but in those days we were literally risking our lives for our music.

Singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey was born in Dallas and attended North Texas State University in Denton. Best known for his 1975 single “Wildfire,” he is the founder of WestFest, a festival celebrating all things Western. Murphey is currently touring to promote his latest album, Cowboy Songs Four.