Lloyd Maines - Producer & Musician
Lloyd Wayne Maines, born on June 28, 1951, was the first of five kids Edith and James Maines would bring into the flat, dusty, windy little world of Lubbock, Texas. A place so flat, some claim that when you look off into the horizon on a clear day, you can see the back of your head. From tot to teen, Lloyd spent many an afternoon listening to the honky-tonk music of his Dad's band, The Maines Brothers, and the inspirational pedal steel guitar playing of Frank Carter, Wally Moyers Senior and Bob Stuffelbeme. It was Bob, in fact, who crafted Lloyd's first pedal steel and nurtured his interest in the instrument. At the age of 14, while most teenage boys were pulling the wings off flies, Lloyd and his brothers played their first gig at the VFW hall in Slayton, Texas. Following in the footsteps of their father, they called themselves … you guessed it … The Maines Brothers.
When not honing his pedal steel chops with his brothers, Lloyd, as Captain of the Roosevelt High School football team, would lace up a pair of cleats, put on a helmet and attempt to leave each game with fingers and bones intact. Upon graduation, Lloyd married his high school sweetheart and life-long partner, Tina. A few years later they had two girls, Kim and Natalie. Lloyd went to college at Texas Tech University and studied agriculture and forestry. His decision to pursue a career in music instead would eventually effect the lives of many people, including my own. In the early '70s, Lloyd met Joe Ely. Having heard Joe with The Flatlanders, Lloyd agreed to aid him in his musical quest to play just enough weekly band gigs, and earn just enough money at the Main Street Saloon, to get Joe a ticket out of Lubbock. Thus began the launch of the infamous Joe Ely Band, and with it, Lloyd's ticket out of Lubbock, too. From their legendary shows at The Cotton Club, perched on the outskirts of the Lubbock skyline, to packed, sweaty punk clubs in England, the Joe Ely Band won fans around the world - including the famed British punk band The Clash, who invited the Lubbock boys to tour with them. As Joe's following spread across the continent and across the sea, so did Lloyd's reputation as a steel guitarist to be reckoned with.
When not on the road with Joe, Lloyd picked up more and more studio work. Further mastering his trade with each completed project, he found himself enjoying working behind the scenes, off stage, as a cohesive force in helping people put their music together. An artist named Paul Milosevich introduced Lloyd to Terry Allen, another Lubbock boy whose lyrically motivated, keyboard-driven music was some of the first original material Lloyd had the opportunity to produce. At session's end, a lifelong friendship had been born, as well as Allen's critically acclaimed 1979 album, "Lubbock (On Everything)." With plenty of star-struck musicians ready to roll tape at Caldwell Studios, Lloyd quit touring steadily with Joe Ely in 1980 to focus more on his family and his production abilities. Around the same time, things started to take off with The Maines Brothers Band, but they were all married and had kids, so as a rule, they made an effort not to be on the road away from their families for any longer than 10 days at a time. Eventually, after building up a monstrous fan base with a good run of sold-out shows and considerable radio success, The Maines Brothers traded in their tour bus keys for different occupations, and Lloyd returned as fast as he could back into the recording studio.
When Caldwell Studios was sold in the mid-'90s, Lloyd's production work continued to increase in Austin (with everyone from Jerry Jeff Walker to the Lost Gonzo Band to Robert Earl Keen).
Over the past three decades, Lloyd Maines has performed with and produced albums for some of the greatest musicians around. You'd think that rubbing elbows with the rich and famous - including his famous daughter Natalie of the Dixie Chicks - would turn Lloyd into a big shot too, but it hasn't and it won't. He still wakes up early and gets to work, six days a week. Quietly, behind the scenes and out of the limelight, he works his magic.
A classic workaholic, and perhaps even obsessive-compulsive about his production projects, it cannot be said that anyone in the recording industry has a better "ear" in the studio than Lloyd Maines. He brings out the best in artists from Robert Earl Keen to the Dixie Chicks.