A Guide to the Under the Hat Productions Collection, 1984-2000
Under The Hat Productions was founded by Cash Edwards in Berkeley, California in 1984. Edwards arrived at this name for her business due to the multiplicity of booking, promotion, and publicity, “all under one hat.” Her journey did not begin or end in northern California, but this is where, while working as a publicist for the venue Freight and Salvage, Under the Hat Productions got its start.
Cash Edwards is a fourth generation native Texan. She spent many summers at her Grandparents farm in San Benito, Texas, where she encountered a wide variety of American and Mexican music through live performance and radio. Throughout her childhood and adolescence, she traveled with her Air Force father to assignments in exotic places like Germany. Her experiences in Europe exposed her to classical music, ballet, and European folk music which only fostered her appreciation of American folk music. Upon her return, Edwards realized that American music was beautiful and had a unique value.
Edwards received her BA in Economics from Wells College in New York prior to landing in Texas where she pursued a graduate degree in Agricultural Economics at Texas A and M University. It was while attending A and M that her Texan roots manifested in a love for the music of Texas singer-songwriters. After her time at A and M, she migrated to Austin around the same time as some of the other Bryan/College Station “front porch” crowd which included Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett. She moved to California in 1984 where her tenure as the publicist for Freight and Salvage and her work with the historic Fort Mason Club in San Francisco helped evolve her company into a booking agency and Under the Hat Productions was born. Returning to Austin in 1987, Edwards began booking bluegrass, Cajun, folk, and Texas singer-songwriters. Her smashingly darling logo was designed by famed Austin artist Guy Juke. Roger Polson joined as a partner in 1998. She, and later, her team, guided the careers of many successful national and regional acts. It is a business fraught with economic perils, hardship, and emotional peaks and valleys. One does not enter into such a business lightly. It takes dedication, professionalism, and the kind of heart possessed by few in this world. Her love of music, her intense commitment, and the enthusiasm she showed manifested in the brilliant success of her clients. Her personal touch with her clients time and again displayed her keen understanding of artists’ needs.
Edwards closed the agency in 2000, after 16 years. Realizing the historic value of her records, she donated her papers concerning bluegrass artists to the International Bluegrass Music Association Museum in Nashville, TN., www.ibma.org . Edwards is currently a publicist for the Folk Alliance, www.folk.org.
This collection represents the sum of the papers that are to be donated.
Cash Edwards and Roger Polson created the 2 linear feet collection of papers for Under the Hat Productions during the company’s sixteen year existence starting in 1984 and ending in 2000. The majority of the papers contained are from the period of 1996 through 1999. The papers include a wide variety of promotional materials for their artist clients as well as a number of market research materials and press clippings. The archivist altered the original order of the collection by alphabetizing the clients and combining materials that pertained to each artist. The creators maintained individual client files and these were honored in the new arrangement.
The collection is in to two series, Artists Files and Market Research. The first series is arranged alphabetically by artist and contains promotional materials maintained by the staff. Each of the files contain some or all of the documents including press kits, photographs, negatives and slides, press releases, stage plots, resumes and biographies, flyers, posters, calendars, and mailing or emailing lists. There are clippings and reviews plus advertising, including newspaper and magazine reviews, listings, catalogs, ad tear sheets and photo copies. Also included are financial materials, contracts arranged chronologically, itineraries, travel arrangements, and correspondence with notes, postcards, and letters from artists. The second series contains market research materials. Also maintained by the staff, there are documents including magazines and organization newsletters.
There are a few artists that are more prominently represented. These are the most successful of the artists and include Christine Albert, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Terri Hendrix, Hugh Moffatt, Katie Moffatt, and Pat Mears. In the folder for various artists, each is represented by as few as one document and no more than five. As an example, Ray Wylie Hubbard has 2 folders of contracts for the year 1996. The breadth of venues includes everything from in-store appearances to festival dates both national and international.
The individual biographical sketches, press releases for creative output, and the press kits provide insight into careers the represented artists, venues, travel range, and the “neighborhood” of the Austin Music Scene during the dates represented. The records for the majority of the artists are significantly limited, while the most commercially successful artists have substantial records in the collection. The most revealing parts of the collection include the bios and the press releases and the contracts, documentary evidence of financial income.
There are no papers concerning Under the Hat’s organization, finances, or history.
The collection provides a simple snapshot into the professional careers of the Texas singer-songwriters of the late twentieth century in the Greater Austin area, who were clients of Under the Hat Productions.
Open for research.
Under the Hat Productions Collection, Southwestern Writers Collection/Texas State University-San Marcos.
Gift donated by Cash Edwards and Roger Allen Polson, 2001.
Processed by Jack Reid Kinslow, April 2005
Detailed Description of the Collection