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

Which Side of the Fence Are You On?

Feb 1, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

All over Texas, ranchers are putting up eight-foot fences to keep their deer from roaming so they can charge more for hunting leases. Purists say shooting such deer doesn't amount to "fair chase." Biologists say penning them in causes disease. I say it's the best thing that could happen to the land.


Jan 1, 2002 By Joe Nick Patoski

BLUES REVIVAL The Starlight Barber Shop on Camp Street in Crockett was one of the first stamping grounds for bluesman Sam “Lightnin'” Hopkins, the unofficial poet laureate of Texas who eventually worked his way up from the street corner to Carnegie Hall before his death, in 1982. The all-purpose cafe,…

Guad Is Great

Dec 1, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

Forget about the Rocky Mountains. For first-class kayaking, fishing, and bird-watching, head to the Lower Guadalupe after Labor Day, when the drunken armada of tubers retreats to shore and nature returns in full strength.

Texas Ranges

Nov 1, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

In an excerpt from their forthcoming book, Texas Mountains, senior editor Joe Nick Patoski and freelance photographer Laurence Parent celebrate the wild beauty of the state's sierras.

True Story

Sep 30, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

When one of his reporters turned up missing in Mexico, the editor of the San Antonio Express-News took on one of the most important assignments of his life.

Laura Canales

Aug 31, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

The first queen of tejano music, Laura Canales broke the gender barrier in the seventies and eighties and paved the way for Selena Quintanilla, the superstar who put tejano on the map. But by the early nineties, when Selena’s career had begun to take off, Canales had vanished from…

The Original Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders

Aug 31, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

“Brad Pitt is going to see me! All of Hollywood is going to see me!” That’s what 47-year-old Carrie O’Brien thought when she first spied the July 2-July 9 double issue of Sports Illustrated, the one featuring her and four of the other original Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders on the cover.

David Clyde

Aug 31, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

He’s the kid pitcher who went directly from Houston’s Westchester High School to the show. Twenty days after pitching in the state finals—and two weeks after the beleaguered Texas Rangers selected him as the number one pick in the amateur draft and paid him a $65,000 bonus—eighteen-year-old David Clyde…

Joe Dealey

Aug 31, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

From the start, Joe Dealey, Jr., had been groomed to take a leadership role at the Dallas Morning News. The great-grandson of the founding publisher, George B. Dealey, he joined the family business full-time in 1970, working in employee relations, and after a stint in the Army, entered the management-training…

The New Guy

Jul 31, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

What's the story on Bob Mong, the new editor of the The Dallas Morning News? He has a newshound's instinct, an insider's touch, and his work cut out for him.

Extra! Extra!

Jul 31, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

Bob Mong knows he's facing many challenges, and he certainly didn't ask me what I'd do if I were in charge of the Dallas Morning News. I thought I'd offer some nickel advice anyway.

Liberalism Lives!

Jun 30, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

In a state that's becoming more conservative, two young editors at the Texas Observer are reenergizing a magazine that won't leave the left behind.

Bobby Bridger

Mar 1, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

Thirty years ago the cosmic cowboy-progressive country sound swept through Austin, the first full-blown scene in what has evolved into Austin music. But of all its trailblazers—Jerry Jeff Walker, Willis Alan Ramsey, Willie Nelson—Bobby Bridger is the one who has stayed most on message. The Houston resident has remained true…

Will Sexton

Feb 1, 2001 By Joe Nick Patoski

Ever since I first saw them perform together at the ages of six and eight, Will Sexton has operated in the shadow of his older, more famous brother, Charlie. That’s a shame, considering that Will’s music has historically stayed closer to their roots; when Charlie was a sixteen-year-old Hollywood teen…

La Mafia

Dec 1, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

At its inception in the early eighties, the heart and soul of La Mafia, the most enduring group in tejano, was los hermanos Gonzales: Oscar y Leonard. The former was the singer, the latter the guitarista. But by the time they hit their stride in the mid-nineties with “Un Million…

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Nov 1, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

SRV breaks out of the gate with Little Stevie Vaughan before he was Stevie Ray. A member of Paul Ray and the Cobras, the kid’s doing “Thunderbird”—the upbeat, swinging standard by the Nightcaps, Texas’ first great white-boy blues band—a song that every Dallas kid with an electric guitar and an…

Airport 2000

Nov 1, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

These days, a plane trip can entail more time in the terminal than in the air. But why get stressed when you can have a massage, taste Texas wines, go for a jog, check your e-mail—even eat gumbo while watching (other people's) planes take off? A survivor's guide to DFW, Houston Intercontinental, and five other big-city airports.

Splendor in the Grass

Sep 30, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

Thirty years ago J. David Bamberger bought "the worst piece of land in Blanco County," then cleared the cedar and planted native trees and grasses. Today his ranch is a haven for birders, environmentalists, and students— and he is a revered guru of land stewardship.

Barbara Lynn

Sep 30, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

The 1962 soul-pop hit “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” and appearances on American Bandstand put Beaumont’s Barbara Lynn on the map as the world’s greatest (though perhaps only) left-handed female blues guitarist. That reputation has carried her ever since, despite just three new albums recorded over the past fifteen years—a…

Bigger Bend

Sep 30, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

Rising high above the floor of the Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico's Museo Maderas del Carmen nature reserve is like a whole other country. Plus: information on how to visit the park.

Rodolfo “Fito” Olivares

Aug 31, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

With more than thirty albums under his belt, it would seem that Rodolfo “Fito” Olivares, Texas’ king of the tropical sound, is taking a giant leap with his first concept album, Zoológico Tropical. Not necessarily so. The Houstonian frames his signature alto sax over his trademark cumbia beats in songs…

Doug Sahm

Jul 31, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

In the early seventies Doug Sahm put out a 45 with a song called “Be Real” on the A-side. It was released under the pseudonym of Wayne Douglas (Sahm’s Sir Douglas Quintet was riding the psychedelic wave in San Francisco at the time), the thinking being that disc jockeys would…

Places in Between

May 31, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

Visualize Sheryl Crow in overalls, or maybe Ani Difranco with a down-home Texas perspective: that’s Terri Hendrix, the singer-songwriter-entrepreneur-czarina, in a nutshell. Born and raised in San Antonio and now living in San Marcos, Hendrix is a walking advertisement for sunny confidence and boundless enthusiasm, qualities that she’s been polishing…

San Antonio Rock: The Harlem Recording

Apr 30, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

Way back before Doug Sahm became Sir Douglas in the sixties, he was a teen sensation in San Antonio, fronting bands like the Dell Kings, the Mar-Kays, and the Pharaohs and honing his rhythm and blues and rock and roll chops for a string of local labels like Harlem, Satin,…

Y’all in the Family

Apr 30, 2000 By Joe Nick Patoski

How did Lloyd Maines get to be a revered guitarist and record producer? How did his daughter Natalie find fame as a Dixie Chick? Chalk it up to musicianship—and kinship.