Dakota Pipeline Robber Barron is a Music Impresario – & Artists Are Turning Against Him


No thanks to the mainstream media who have become part of the story of the historic protest by Native American tribes against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline by unilaterally ignoring it, you’ve probably heard about about the barbaric actions of security personnel against protesters by using attack dogs and pepper spray to clear protesters during the construction process.

Well believe it or not, Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners who is behind the Dakota Access project is actually an impresario in the music space and when he’s not dictating the construction of controversial projects or directing the stamping down on dissent against the company. And now some of his musical buddies and the performers he champions are turning against him after the recent controversies.

Kelcy Warren is the co-founder of Music Road Records with well-known Austin musician Jimmy LaFave. Along with many LaFave releases, Music Road has released albums from Hal Ketchum, Slaid Cleaves, Sam Baker, Malcolm Holcomb, Levi Parham, and others. Warren is known to be a huge fan of Jackson Browne and The Eagles, and along with collecting memorabilia from these classic American acts, he’s released tribute records to them through the Music Road label.

The billionaire was born in Gladewater, TX and grew up in White Oak in east Texas. He now owns an 8-acre estate in Dallas worth an estimated $25 million, and an 8,000-acre ranch near Cherokee, TX just north and west of Austin that includes a music studio. He is worth an estimated $6.6 billion, and is reportedly the 181st richest person in the United States.

Kelcy Warren started Music Road Records with Jimmy LaFave around nine years ago, but has flown mostly under the radar in the music scene until the recent controversies involving the Dakota Access Pipeline, and another proposed pipeline in Texas. Though pipelines can be a contentious issue dividing down conventional political lines, the Dakota Access Project has drawn more broad-based rebuke for digging through ancient burial grounds, destroying water resources for the region, and the ill treatment of the Native Americans who’ve banded together to appose the project, including ordering attack dogs on protesters and using pepper spray.

Now joining in the protest are many of the musical artists who Kelcy Warren is a fan of, and who have worked with him in the past.

Jackson Browne said earlier this week in a statement,

I met Kelcy Warren on one occasion, when I played at the Cherokee Creek Music Festival, held at his ranch. Later his company, Music Road Records, produced an album of my songs. Though I was honored by the “tribute” and think highly of the versions – which were done by some of my favorite singers and songwriters, I had nothing to do with producing the recordings or deciding who would be on it.

I do not support the Dakota Access Pipeline.  I will be donating all of the money I have received from this album to date, and any money received in the future, to the tribes who are opposing the pipeline.

Artist Malcome Holcomb said in a statement on September 7th,

Mr Kelcy Warren has redefined his role as Music Road Records benefactor to join the devil’s decadent drippings of white supremacy oppression- inflicting shame and dishonor on our native-american brethren. The situation sickens & disturbs my family & myself. I say call a spade a fuckin’ spade:

Hunter S. Thompson — “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

My wife, Cyndi, and I have removed ourselves…lock, stock, and barrel- from MRR. we are working to get all download/CD/ and contact links of To Drink the Rain removed from my websites asap.

Jimmy LaFave, who has been receiving considerable criticism for his ownership stake in Music Road with Kelcy Warren addressed the issue on September 8th.

Music Road Records is not a part of Energy Transfer Partners. -we have nothing to do with the pipeline business and I have no control on what Energy Transfer Partners, Enbridge and Phillips 66 are building there. -we are simply a self-supporting small label for starving artists. -we use the money from each project to do the next project and try to keep our head above water. -we are sometimes in the red and sometimes in the black. – we are trying our best to give them a place to share their voice and visions. -for example Lance Canales’ record which brings attention to the border issues in our country. -all our artists live hand to mouth and try to survive in the music business.

I have known Kelcy Warren for over 20 years. -he is a Republican and I am a yellow dog Democrat. -we disagree on the pipeline. I asked him to help me start a music business many years ago … I will let my life’s work be a testament to the type of person I am. I am a pro-environment, pro-Native American, pro-gay rights progressive human being. I am my own person. I will not be manipulated by the right or the left. I am both pro-union and pro-Native American. -but mostly I am for peace and for people not getting hurt or bullied -or misjudged for that matter.

Along with the Dakota Access Pipeline, an additional proposed pipeline in the Big Bend region of Texas has many up in arms over Kelcy Warren and Energy Transfer Partners.


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