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John Andrew Parks III now calls Fredericksburg home. The songwriter-singer-producer will participate in the Songwriters Circle during the Windows on Texas event coming up January 10 through 13. Photo by Phil Houseal

John Andrew Parks III will perform an acoustic set at Hondo's on Thur Feb 7. He also hosts a new songwriter circle at the Friendly Bar Bistro in Johnson City on Thursday evenings beginning in January. More information is available at www.johnandrewparks.com, or by calling 310-455-3672.
For information on Windows on Texas, go to www.texasrebelradio.com.
*"Planet Texas" copyright 1986 by Hilalou Publishing Company

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Planet Fredericksburg

by Phil Houseal
Jan 9, 2008

Another musician just landed on Planet Fredericksburg. You may not have heard of John Andrew Parks III, but you probably heard a song he wrote. It was a groundbreaking number called "Planet Texas" that was a Top 40 hit recorded by Kenny Rogers in 1989.

After spending a career in places like Los Angeles and New York, Parks yearned for a bit of peace where he could continue his work in the music production business. The Dallas native spent months driving around the hill country. Fredericksburg fit.

"I could be looking at graffiti in LA or I could be in Fredericksburg," he remembered thinking. "I really liked this place. I felt it is kind of like Mayberry, yet close to Austin and with a really strong music scene."

Thanks to computer technology, the producer-singer-songwriter can access his network of musicians across the country. "With digital tools I don't really need to be anywhere, so I might as well be someplace I like," he said.

When not in the studio, Parks plays the coffeehouse and house concert circuit, and has seen his performing persona evolve over his 30 years in the business.

"I'd describe my style as Roy Orbison meets Will Rogers," he said. "I do a lot of story songs. I got into telling stories on stage, and the audience got so they responded to that."

The song Planet Texas is the ultimate story song. The style was so unexpected in the 1980s, none of Parks' friends expected it to get recorded, let alone become a hit.

"When I wrote Planet Texas, people said, 'no way - that's too far out there.' But that was the first song that made me money."

So I asked ‘em as they pulled their reins towards the settin' sun
I said, "Before you go, I'd like to know, just where you boys come from?"
Well they opened up a star chart and said, Right here where this 'X' is
It's the biggest place in Outer Space, the planet known as Texas"*

Local fans can hear Parks discuss his songwriting during KFAN Texas Rebel Radio's Windows on Texas coming up January 10-13, 2008. Parks will be in the Songwriter Circle on Sunday, January 13, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Fredericksburg Athletic Club.

This 6th Annual Windows event features 30 juried performers playing at venues throughout the area. Artists expected this year include Lisa Hayes, Sunny Sweeney, The Mighty Orq, Jay Boy Adams, Elliott Fikes, Kevin Deal, Jimmy Kaiser, Max Stalling, Tracie Lynn, Hogg Maulies, Emily Lively, Duncan Walthers, Jimmy Baldwin, Maren Morris, Jay Johnson Trio, Spur 503, Level Route, Betty Soo and more.

The radio station hosts panel discussions and film screenings to make it an all-around music industry event during a traditionally "non-tourist" season in Fredericksburg. All events are free.

Parks seems to revel in his rebel approach inside a sometimes staid industry. With his technical tools and creative attitude, he is proud to go his own way.

"Record companies want consistency in the recorded product," he explained. "If you come along and are way off what was there, they don't know what to do with it. But you are an artist - what you are supposed to do is explore those new worlds. That's the real estate I own - I can do it whatever way I want."

Welcome to Planet Fredericksburg.