OK, settle down, the photo caption above is just a joke, people. It’s inspired by the antagonism directed toward JT Hodges by local musicians. In some folks’ opinion, Fort Worth native and Nashville songwriter Hodges is unworthy of a key to the city since (1) he no longer lives here, (2) he’s changed his name and musical style several times, (3) superior musicians can allegedly be found under every bar stool, (4) yadda yadda yadda plus tax.

Not since Dallas honored convicted dog-torturer Michael Vick has a ceremonial key caused such a fuss around these parts.

I’m not sure how Hodges, who is nominated for an Academy of Country Music award that carries some real clout, could be criticized for receiving a key that carries no clout and is a ceremonial blip on the radar.

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If you’re thinking Hodges can take that key and go get free steak dinners all over town, think again.

“It doesn’t get you free drinks or free parking,” city spokesman Bill Begley said.

Readers who commented on yesterday’s blog post were concerned about the waste of time and resources on the Hodges key presentation. The time investment amounted to Mayor Betsy Price taking 10 minutes out of her day to hand Hodges one of the cheap keys that the city buys in bulk for such occasions (the keys cost $6.35 each). The presentation was done privately in her office and didn’t involve other elected officials or city staff.

The city, as one reader suggested, could offer a key to a more deserving musician such as  T Bone Burnett. But since Burnett’s already won Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, and just about  every other significant national award in the the entertainment business, think he’d be interested in flying to Fort Worth to fetch a cheap key that won’t even get you a free lap dance in this town?


  1. Was there any concern in the mayor’s office that Hodges’ shirt button might pop and put someone’s eye out?

  2. Jeff I love your articles, honesty and ability to get attention. Here’s a hard working musician who actually didn’t forget about his hometown like most of them do. What the heck, vote for him….not only can he make Ft.Worth proud its likely he won’t forget anyone from his hometown soon!

  3. I just got a call from JT Hodges. He was somewhat confounded by the criticism leveled at him from fellow musicians but said he was getting some good belly laughs from reading the blog posts. He seemed like a cool and friendly dude.

  4. I love JT! He is such a great guy, got to meet him today and a great musician. I am voting for him for sure and I know he will make Ft. Worth proud. Thanks JT for coming home! Love a forever fan!

  5. I guess we can’t blame JT for making terrible country music any more than the countless others in Nashville these days.

    Look, there’s a whole lot of money being thrown out to anyone who is willing to play the Nashville game. And for Hodges, all it took was changing his name to a little more country one, from Justin or Hodges or Taylor to JT and a move from LA to Nashville…throw in some sideburns and facial hair and you’re ready to be the next CMT star.

    Whatever you have to do to make it, he is doing it.

    The whole thing makes me sick, but it’s the sad world of music we live in these days. Very rarely do the truly talented and hard working musicians, like many we have in Fort Worth, make it, while the JTs of the world do.

    Jeff, I’m sure he is getting some belly laughs all the way to the bank…and for him that’s all that matters.

    Music will always be a business for people like this, there’s nothing artistic about what he does.

    I digress…