Joe Nick Patoski

Author's Profile Photo

Joe Nick Patoski is a former senior editor for Texas Monthly and a one-time reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. He has authored and co-authored biographies of Selena and Stevie Ray Vaughan, collaborated with photographer Laurence Parent on books about the Texas mountains, the Texas coast, and Big Bend National Park, all published by University of Texas Press, in addition to writing Generations on the Land: A Conservation Legacy (TexasA&M Press) and Texas High School Football: More Than the Game (Texas Historical Commission). His 2008 book, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, published by Little, Brown, was recognized by the Friends of the TCU Library with the Texas Book Award for the best book about Texas written in 2007/2008. His most recent book for Little, Brown is The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America. Patoski’s byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times,the New York Times, TimeOut New York, Garden & Gun, and No Despression magazine, for whom he is a contributing editor.

Articles by Joe Nick Patoski

Feature
G-G-Ghost Stories

Oct 21, 2015 By Joe Nick Patoski

All Hallows Eve, which descends from the grand Celtic festival of the dead, was stirring up a cauldron of super­natural activity long before kids started donning costumes to harvest candy from the neighbors. But, alas, for some time, Halloween and the belief in spirits of the departed…

The “Drive” Drive

Jan 21, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

ROUTE: West of Ozona to Sanderson DISTANCE: 85 miles NUMBER OF COUNTIES: 3 WHAT TO READ: James H. Evans’s Crazy From the Heat A drive whose sole purpose is to experience the simple pleasure of being behind the wheel has a few requirements. The route must lead…

The Music Drive

Jan 21, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

ROUTE: Turkey to Lubbock 
(the long way) DISTANCE: 366 miles NUMBER OF COUNTIES: 13 WHAT TO LISTEN TO: Buddy Holly’s That’ll Be the Day and 
Waylon Jennings’s Ol’ Waylon West Texas is the Texas of wide-open spaces, but it is also the Texas of music giants, starting…

Bill, Due

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

After more than two decades in the movie business—including star turns in Apollo 13, Twister, and now his own Traveller—Fort Worth’s Bill Paxton is finally getting what’s coming to him.

Money in the Making

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

Houston’s new movers and shakers don’t hang with the Wyatts or Sakowitzes. They’re Eightball, Scarface, Lil’ Keke, and the other power players of the city’s rap music scene.

Boone Pickens Wants To Sell You His Water

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

And you’re going to need it, eventually, since Texas’ most precious natural resource is being depleted at an alarming rate. His plan is to pump vast amounts from his land in the Panhandle and pipe it to parched cities like El Paso and San Antonio—for a hefty price, of course. But other powerful interests have the same idea. Let the battle begin.

Underground Round

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

On the first Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in August for the past 61 years, thousands have converged on a park on the outskirts of Dalhart for the XIT Rodeo and Reunion, celebrating the history of the XIT Ranch, once the biggest ranch in Texas. (This year’s dates: August 7—9.) In…

Bootmaker at work
Alive and Kicking

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

Nothing advertises your Texas bona fides more these days than a pair of handmade cowboy boots. Here's everything you need to know about them - how to tell a vamp from a pull, which toe style is right with a suit - and where to buy the best.

Boot Anatomy

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

Top The top, also known as the shaft, is the artist’s canvas: Here is where the most detail work is done (although, ironically, if you’re a man, the top stays hidden under your pants legs unless you’re riding or at a cowboy ball). Standard tops are twelve inches high, though…

25 Top Custom Bootmakers

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

ABILENE James Leddy Boots 1602 N. Treadaway Boulevard 915-677-7811 The nephew of boot king M. L. Leddy is now royalty himself, and he runs a real family business: He does the cutting, his wife and daughter do the stitching, his son-in-law does bottoms, and his former daughter-in-law creates…

Speed

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

This month, more than 150,000 fans will pack an enormous new venue near Fort Worth to watch the state’s first major stock car race. Clearly, NASCAR is on the right track in Texas.

Pit Stops

Jan 20, 2013 By Patricia Sharpe, Eileen Schwartz, Joe Nick Patoski, Katy Vine, John Morthland, Paul Burka, John Spong, Michael Hall, Jane Dure and Christopher Keyes

Where are the best places to eat barbecue in Texas? Six years ago we published a highly subjective—and hotly debated— list of our fifty favorite joints, and now we’ve gone back for seconds. Ten intrepid souls drove more than 21,000 miles in search of 2003’s worthiest ‘cue. Here’s what they came back with: the top 5 and the next 45, plus honorable mentions, great chains, and meat by mail.

The Widow’s Pique

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

In Lubbock they call her the "Spanish Yoko Ono," and María Elena Holly, Buddy Holly’s widow, has always had a troubled relationship with his conservative hometown. Some folks rave on that it’s her greed that has killed the city’s Buddy Holly Music Festival. But it’s more complicated than that.

Radio

Jan 20, 2013 By Joe Nick Patoski

Play-by-play coverage of high school baseball in Alpine, polka and Pan-American music in El Campo: More than a dozen reasons not to touch that dial.

Turnover!

Sep 30, 2012 By Joe Nick Patoski

Two decades ago, a barbarian from Arkansas named Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys and rebooted the franchise from the ground up. Inside the wild first days of the most hostile takeover the NFL has ever known.

The Rookie

Jul 31, 2011 By Joe Nick Patoski

Two and a half years ago, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum asked me to organize an exhibit about high school football. Did I mention I'm not a curator?

Top Fifty

Apr 30, 2003 By Patricia Sharpe, Eileen Schwartz, Joe Nick Patoski, Katy Vine, John Morthland, Paul Burka, John Spong, Michael Hall, Jane Dure and Christopher Keyes

Unless otherwise noted, all places take credit cards. ABILENE: Harold’s Pit Bar-B-Q We didn’t catch pitmaster Harold Christian singing gospel songs to his customers, but we’re told that isn’t an unusual occurrence. This cozy little room, packed with nine picnic tables, seven booths, and a congregation of athletic trophies, is…

The Best of the Best

Apr 30, 2003 By Joe Nick Patoski, Paul Burka and Michael Hall

Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q Mason The name “Cooper’s” has long been synonymous with Llano, but now the Mason operation of the same name has overtaken its distant cousin. Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q was opened in Mason in 1953 by the late George Cooper, whose son Tommy (also deceased) cloned it a…

Water Hazard

Nov 1, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

The mayor of San Antonio says a 2,600-acre golf resort on top of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone won't ruin the city's sole source of drinking water. Who wants to tee off on that one?

Water Foul

Sep 30, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

When the City of Marshall wanted to pump millions of gallons of water out of Caddo Lake and sell them to the highest bidder, the state said, "Sure." Residents of Karnack, Uncertain, and other tiny northeast Texas towns said, "Hell, no." Guess who prevailed (for now)?

Driving Music

Apr 30, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

Sailor, the Steve Miller Band (Capitol) Return to the Wide Open Spaces, Live at the Caravan of Dreams featuring, among others, David “Fathead” Newman, Ellis Marsalis, and Cornell Dupree (Amazing) Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams (Mercury)…

Alternate Routes

Apr 30, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

South Padre Island to Rio Grande Valley International Airport, Harlingen, on Texas Highway 100 and FM 510 and 106 (33 miles) This narrow two-lane shortcut from the beach to the airport is one way to avoid the congestion and speed traps on U.S. 77. It slices through parts of…

Pretty Drives

Apr 30, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

Presidio to Lajitas on FM 170 (50 miles) At first El Camino del Rio dips and winds along the Rio Grande through a maze of low, dry arroyos framed by bare lunar landscapes. Before long, the West Texas sky looms so large that it practically swallows the road. The…