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It’s All About the Heart…


“Marketing yourself as the product is a very difficult thing to do” Pauline Reese, acclaimed songwriter, performer, actress, real estate agent, rancher, book author, and most importantly, mother of two beautiful girls mused recently.   As a woman in the highly competitive, often male-dominated, country music industry, her life is a study in making music on her own terms and surviving.  To date, the Queen of Texas Music (coined by Willie Nelson)  has been nominated for a Grammy, released six full albums and recorded her 7th, recorded two duets with Willie Nelson, performed at six Willie Nelson Picnics and at three Farm Aid festivals.  Twice-named Entertainer of the Year in Texas, six times Texas Female Vocalist of the Year in different associations, and numerous #1 Album of the Year awards and #1 charted songs add to Pauline’s ever-growing collection of accolades.  She has opened for national acts like Merle Haggard, John Cougar Mellencamp, The Allman Brothers and Bob Dylan to name a few.  As glamorous and impressive as all this sounds, life has not been easy for her.  Pull back the stage curtain and listen as her songs paint a watercolor of her life, depicting a heart that has experienced struggles and victories, crushing sorrow and great joy.   Like the Phoenix, she rises and soars on determined hope-fueled wings again and again.

Pauline’s father, a mechanical engineer, left the stresses of Houston for a quieter life in Mt. Pleasant, Texas before she was born.  The move gave the family the luxury of more time together.  Surrounded by parents and grandparents who were in church choir and who played several instruments, music came naturally to Pauline.  “I watched my  mom raise eight children.” Inspiration also came from her sisters who are entrepreneurs in their own right.  Her oldest sister is an architect; her second oldest is an interior designer and the third is a landscape designer and accomplished scientist.” Pauline's three brothers taught her to be tough and resilient.  These successful family role models instilled in Pauline the belief that she could accomplish whatever she set her mind to do.  Maybe that is why, at five years old, she recorded a cassette tape practicing her Grammy Award acceptance speech!  She obviously knew even then that her passion would be music.  By the age of fifteen, she was a member of a band that was touring the state of Texas. A chance meeting with hit songwriter Freddy Powers would boost Pauline’s career as well as her guitar playing and songwriting abilities. He saw the light inside a talented singer and entertainer. “He believed in me and took me under his wing. This was critical to my songwriting success.”


Pauline appreciates that one must pay her dues as a professional musician.  She has learned to deal with the emotional tide that accompanies her work and she accepts the responsibility of reading carefully what the contract says if she wants to get paid.  Nothing deters her from what she knows is her calling.   


After a rough first marriage to a hardwood floor salesman, Pauline married again and was blessed with two daughters.  A third pregnancy ended traumatically not only because she lost the baby, but because an emergency surgery and blood loss caused a stroke and it nearly took her life.  When she regained consciousness in the hospital after blood transfusions, she was unable to understand speech nor could she read for a time.  Four months later her good friend and mentor, Michael Martin Murphy, convinced her that she needed to do what was good for her soul and get back to playing music. He took Pauline on his Cowboy Christmas Tour. She played rhythm guitar and sang harmonies as well as a few of her own songs.  


About two-and-a-half years after her miscarriage, Pauline’s husband, an amature bronc rider, broke his neck at a local rodeo.  This was a hard hit for their family and Pauline’s career seeing as most of their income came from her shows.  His injury and recuperation kept him in the hospital for almost two months with Pauline never leaving his side day and night, but amazingly, he recovered with full mobility.


Once Bill stabilized, Pauline refocused on her music.  She visited each country radio station in Texas, a daunting task, to market herself and to get her recordings on the air.  With her children in tow, she started touring anew.  Again, navigating the road was not easy.  To finish a tour in Oklahoma, she had to borrow a rodeo car from a friend after the engine in her vehicle failed.  The same fate befell her tour van on another trip closer to home.  Later, with her band on tour, the van transmission went out en route to New Mexico.  In this time period, she suffered a second miscarriage during her daughter’s birthday party. Thankfully, a close friend was there to help her recover.  For Pauline, life is all about survival, not giving in, and not giving up.


In January of 2021 her 13 year marriage ended when Pauline left due to reasons undisclosed. Yet again Pauline had to be tough and do what was right for her family. Pauline's mother moved  from Ft. Worth to the hill country to help Pauline raise her girls.  


So, how does a country music singer end up carrying a briefcase and selling real estate?  Pauline, now a single mother with primary custody of two children, had to be self-sustaining which was no easy task. She also opened her own bnb, Happy Trails Ranch Retreat as more supplemental income.


A duet with Willie Nelson called, “Trail of Tears,” is included in her seventh album, “Lucky #7”, to be released in 2024.   The album reflects her myriad of life experiences.  By sharing her story, she hopes others find encouragement and strength. “Life is a beautiful ride;  have faith and believe in yourself and keep crawling back up in the saddle.”

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