Radio Dreams The Story of an Outlaw DJ and a Cosmic Cowgirl

This dual memoir invites readers into the unique and private world of platinum-selling songwriter and recording artist Kimmie Rhodes and her soul mate, beloved radio personality Joe Gracey, Jr.

Weaving her own poetic prose with wry and witty words from his journals, Rhodes returns him to the conversation to tell the fascinating story of their three decades together. Riding with fellow outlaws Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Cowboy Jack Clement, Emmylou Harris, and other famous—and infamous—characters, they helped make American music history before facing Gracey’s final cancer battle. Through triumph and tragedy, grief and gratitude, these pages express the extraordinary life and inspiring love they shared.

Born in 1950, Gracey had become a renegade early on. Rejecting expectations that he would follow his father and grandfather into the legal profession, he pursued his passion for radio, beginning his broadcasting career at a station in Fort Worth, Texas, while still in his teens. Dancing to the beat of the freak-redneck revolution, he later became the celebrated Pied Piper of the early Austin music scene as an award-winning disc jockey, journalist, talent coordinator for the television show Austin City Limits, and popular local crooner of country songs. Sadly, just as his star was rising on a recording career, fate dealt a cruel and ironic blow with aggressive head and neck cancer, leaving him alive but unable to speak, forever silencing the deep, rich, iconic voice of a genre that had become known internationally as progressive country.

Rhodes was born in 1954 and raised in Lubbock, Texas, the much-romanticized windblown town that gave the world Buddy Holly. Her father, a Depression-era orphan whom a hoochie-coochie dancer adopted and who became a carnie, taught Rhodes to sing when she was six. Like a real-life version of the father-daughter duo in the film Paper Moon, he would employ her talents to distract car salesmen and their customers while he checked on bets being made in the dealership’s illegal back-office bookmaking operations. By the 1970s, she had become a street-savvy hippie chick. Enticed by Grace Slick’s “one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small” chant, Rhodes, like Alice, fell down a rabbit hole that eventually landed her in Austin’s Electric Graceyland Studios, where Gracey had found a new way forward by positioning himself on the other side of the glass as a recording engineer, record producer, and independent label entrepreneur.

With Rhodes as his empathetic interpreter and Gracey as her “everything,” they embarked on a synchronistic adventure as lovers and muses, while successfully traversing the wilds of the music business as critically acclaimed artists and writers. Then Gracey’s cancer returned 2009, and despite heroic attempts to save his life, he passed away. Rhodes dropped down yet another rabbit hole: the long, dark tunnel of grief. Her honest and inspirational account of how she climbed out to explore a new world offers comfort and hope to others whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Joe Gracey Biography
The Amazing Afterlife of Zimmerman Fees A metaphysical story and cookbook

Kimmie suprises us again, this time with a novel-length story about one Zimmerman Fees as he makes his way through his afterlife adventures. Woven into the tale are over eighty recipes by Joe Gracey (the enchilada recipe is featured in the April/May issue of Saveur Magazine) and Kimmie as well as friends and family. 140 pages long, full of wacky side-trips, intriguing characters and soulful cooking. This is a facet of Kimmie Rhodes that we have not seen before. If you like her songs, we think you will like her tales too.

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