"Swing Me Back to Texas" Being from Texas and the Queen of Swing, Kelli salutes her Texas heritage in this wonderful show of Western or TEXAS Swing as she showcases her awards and CD’s: Swing Like That, Swings & Sings, Don’t Mess With Texas and Swing ‘n Blues. To our knowledge, Kelli is the only woman to ever front the Former TEXAS PLAYBOYS, Bob Wills’s former band members. However, she did NOT work with Bob Wills or Tommy Duncan but did with Bob’s baby brother, Luke and Tommy Duncan's baby brother, Glynn. Sanctioned by Txdot, she wrote, recorded and had a #1 international hit on, "Don't Mess With Texas" which featured some of those infamous Playboys.
Kelli is the only female, to our knowledge to ever front the "Former Texas Playboys", band members for the legendary King of Western Swing, Bob Wills. Kelli’s career had been in Rock-a-Billy / R&B / Pop and had never heard of Bob Wills until her late husband; Johnny Patterson introduced her to the Texas sound. With his guidance and supervision because he had actually played lead guitar for Bob in ’62 & ‘63 and was apart of Bob’s Liberty album, "Bob Wills Sings and Plays", Kelli recorded first one, and then two more albums of Texas/Western Swing. The first CD, "Swing Like That" topped the Western Swing charts in the US with the CD hitting the #6 spot and an original, #2 receiving world wide praise and recognition with 4 hats from Swedish music critic, Lillies Ohllsson. The CD’s popularity earned Kelli an induction into the Western Swing Hall of Fame. A few years later she took the chart topping single from that CD, "Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor" and re-wrote the lyrics to become "Don’t Mess with Texas" for the Texas Department of Transportation litter campaign, which went #1 internationally. That same titled CD, topped charts and play list all over including Poland and Australia.
But the 2 CD’s that really showcase all of Kelli’s true talents; not only as a gifted Singer, but a wonderful songwriter and musician are; "Swings & Sings" Western Swing & "Swing-a-Billy" Jump Blues, R&B. The "Swings & Sings" CD which as usual has several Texas Playboys on it gained Kelli a lot of recognition with her being the only female nominee for RMA Artist of the Year and winning FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR from the Academy of Western Artist receiving the coveted "Will Rogers Award". As the songwriter, Kelli shined with several notable creations: "Swing Me Back to Texas" charts #4; a new cut on "Don’t Mess With Texas" once again climbs international charts; "There Ain’t No Doubt" a little Rock-a-Billy swing tune; a mesmerizing and haunting waltz, "One Heart to Give", a wonderful instrumental, "Hodge Podge" and her own patriotic hit, "Stand Up for the U.S.A." heard on KNUE and KZQX-FM for the Pearl Harbor 70 th anniversary, December 7 th, 2011. (Sad footnote: the song was written to honor Kelli’s father who had served on the USS Core Aircraft carrier in WWII passed away the night before. Tom Perryman called Kelli that morning before his show and after hearing of her fathers death dedicated his show to him.) Although the rest are covered tunes, Kelli did all of the arrangements as well as playing; piano / bass (as usual); banjo rhythm, clarinet, bari-sax, organ, drums and she even whistles on "Waling My baby Back Home". The CD brought her some wonderful accolades in the industry introducing the world to her musical style, Swing-a-Billy™ which is a reference to not only her unique Piano style but also her very diverse career.