Kinky Friedman, known for his satirical and often provocative style, has passed away at 79. A post on his social media announced, “Kinky Friedman stepped on a rainbow at his beloved Echo Hill surrounded by family & friends. Kinkster endured tremendous pain & unthinkable loss in recent years but he never lost his fighting spirit and quick wit. Kinky will live on as his books are read and his songs are sung.”
Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman earned a cult following for his unique take on country and Western music. He released numerous albums, starting with “Sold American” in 1973, a record that laid the foundation for his career. Known as the “governor of the heart of Texas,” he even toured with Bob Dylan during the “Rolling Thunder Revue” and made history as the “first full-blooded Jew” to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

Apart from his musical endeavors, Friedman was a prolific writer. He wrote detective novels and contributed as a columnist for Texas Monthly. He also ventured into politics, running for Governor of Texas in 2006 with the campaign slogan “My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy,” securing 12.6 percent of the votes among six candidates.
Born in Chicago and raised in Texas, Friedman studied psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His passion for music led him to form King Arthur & the Carrots and later Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. He described the latter as a “country band with a social conscience, a demented love child of Lenny Bruce and Bob Wills.”
Reflecting on his life, Friedman once wrote, “Somewhere in heaven, I’m sure there’s a quiet corner with a big easy chair, a bright floor lamp, a big stack of biographical books, and a few old dogs wagging their tails to the faint smell of cigar smoke.”