DALLAS -- He’s a pretty unassuming guy for a self-made billionaire, but that’s probably the best way to describe 58-year-old Kelcy Warren.
He’s the CEO and chairman of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners and the father of 11-year-old Klyde Warren, the namesake of Dallas’ popular deck park.
Normally, Kelcy Warren keeps a low profile, but he’s embarking on a new musical project that just may propel him to music industry stardom. He’s co-producing a two-disk CD collection of songs as a tribute to his favorite artist, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Jackson Browne.
Warren said even though Browne has sold 18 million albums, he thinks the classic rocker is generally underrated and under-appreciated.
“I just admire him. I love his music, his writing is just amazing," Warren said from his Dallas office.
The tribute, called “Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne" debuts on April 1 and featuring 22 artists, including Texas legends Don Henley and Lyle Lovett, ”The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, and Grammy award winner Bonnie Raitt covering Browne's songs, to name a few.
Austin-based singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave co-produced the record with Warren and two others through their Music Road Records company. LaFave performs Browne’s classic ballad “For Everyman” on the CD.
LaFave said making this record is Warren’s dream that took 10 years to make reality. LaFave, too, is a big Jackson Browne fan, calling him one of America’s best songwriters in the company of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.
It was LaFave who approached Browne for his blessing.
“I approached him at a concert in Tulsa, and he said he’d be honored,” he said.
LaFave was performing at the same venue and the time was right, after initial conversations with Browne’s management were less than encouraging.
“It was important to me not to do anything that didn’t have the endorsement of Jackson Browne," Warren said, and LaFave agrees.
You would think that securing the talents of artists such as Don Henley might be tough, but most artists jumped at the chance. The producers say they could have used 50 artists after word spread. The biggest challenge was getting the artists to agree on the songs Warren and LaFave had selected.
LaFave said even he had reservations about singing “For Everyman.”
“So Kelcy really listened to an artist's body of work and said, 'This is the song,' so the ones he actually picked turned out to be the right one, including mine,” LaFave said.
Browne has not publicly commented on the CD, but Warren hopes he will be pleased.
You can listen to two clips at the following links: Don Henley singing "These Days" and Lyle Lovett singing "Rosie."