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East Texas has long been the launching pad for entertainers, artists and athletes, from Johnny Mathis and The Eagles Don Henley (born in Gilmer), to Jacksonville's Lee Ann Womack and Neal McCoy or Lindale's contribution to entertainment scene, Miranda Lambert.
More recently Mineola's Kacey Musgraves has been making a splash in Nashville as a songwriter and singer now comes Golden's Rafael Espinoza, a guitarist, writer and singer who can carry the listener from blues to jazz, country and pop "rockish."
He loves the idea of following in the very large footprints of Freddie Fender and Willie Nelson and his goal is to take his music "around the world, to as many sold-out arenas as possible.
He gained early notice in 2009 by being named the All State jazz guitar player in high school and he describes himself as "an average person who got lucky." Espinoza studies classical guitar and has since been picked as a "top-10" and showcased at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
To us he's among the a very talented small group of East Texas youngsters trying to make a place for themselves in the entertainment world. He has released his first "album" ... "Golden" ... which he named after his home town. If you love jazz guitar, we're betting you'll enjoy Espinoza.
You can learn more about him and his music at
The photos with this article were taken in Golden, at the first of three outdoor concerts across East Texas at which he released the CD.