UPDATE: Tommy Allsup passed on January 11, 2017, at the age of 85. He once told me that every day he lived after the (Feb. 2, 1959) plane crashDLC with Tommy Allsup MAIN was a precious gift that he was eternally grateful for, and he hoped he earned every one of them. I think he did. Rest in peace, Tommy. And give my best to Buddy and Waylon!

Tommy Allsup has become a legendary figure in American popular music since he lost a coin toss one freezing-cold February night, and teen crooner Ritchie Valens – who won the toss that entitled him to Tommy’s seat on a fateful airplane flight – died in the tragic crash that also killed singer J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper) and Tommy’s boss and longtime friend, Buddy Holly.┬áTommy also worked with Bob Wills, the “King of Western Swing,” and he now co-leads Wills’ old band, the Texas Playboys, with another esteemed Playboys alumnus, the smooth-voiced Leon Rausch.

DLC has known Tommy Allsup for more than fifteen years, with some of that time as a neighbor, and always enjoys getting together with the aging rock and roll icon. DLC, recently met up with Tommy and Leon (another musical icon DLC first met more than three decades ago) at the 28th Annual Legends of Western Swing Music Festival, in Wichita Falls, TX.

Even though so many years have come and gone since February 3, 1959 – “The Day The Music Died” – Tommy still speaks in sad, almost haunted tones when he talks about his time with Buddy Holly, and DLC is privileged to have heard many of those stories directly from the man himself. And Leon’s personal recollections of the years he toured and recorded with Bob Wills, beginning in the 1950s, are much more interesting than better-known stories that show up in various books about Wills and his enduring legacy. Huge influences on his own life as a musician, DLC is proud to know both gentlemen as friends.

In their 80s, both historically prominent musical figures still deliver powerful performances, and never fail to please an audience.