Influential DJ and producer Joe Gracey dies
Joe Gracey, one of the giants of Austin music and media circles, has died at age 61.
In the early 1970s, before there was such a thing as “cosmic cowboys” or “outlaw country,” there was a disc jockey named Joe Gracey, and in Austin, he ruled the airwaves.
Gracey was more than just the top-rated music host at the legendary KOKE-FM, he helped invent a radio format merging rock ‘n’ roll and country: a distinctly Austin sound that came to be known as alternative country, a poke in the eye to slick Nashville music.
Gracey was one of the first to embrace the bandanna-wearing Willie Nelson. His championing of local artists inspired such productions as public TV’s Austin City Limits.
In 1978, Gracey lost his larynx to cancer, ending his career as Austin’s best known DJ, but he continued producing and recording many of Austin’s biggest names.
On Thursday, Gracey lost his long battle with cancer, but his legacy continues in the rich Austin music scene that he helped put on the map.