Mystery Ridge Recordings


For more than 30 years, Steve Hartz has played old time music with friends and other folks who stop by at the Oldtime String Shop, his store on the square in downtown Nacogdoches.  Steve has always loved the older ways of life and began to accumulate many stories of early pioneers in Texas. The stories and the connections to the music of those early settlers inspired 10 paintings, one stand-alone CD, and two book and CD projects. Thus, began Mystery Ridge Recordings and Publishing.

Steve’s CD, Crooked Steep and Rocky, received a Crossroads music award in 1998.  In addition, he authored the title cut for the Southern Rail’s album, Glory Train, which was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s gospel album of the year in 1996. The book and CD projects, By the Muddy Angelina and Settlers of the Western Woods have also been well received.  According to Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, By the Muddy Angelina is “…a marvelous journey into the history and traditions of East Texas, capturing the spirit of the hardy settlers who gave the region its distinctive cultural spirit."

More recently, Steve was commissioned by the City of Nacogdoches to complete a painting of a former nearby steamboat port named Pattonia.  He has also been commissioned by the United Methodist Church to begin work on a painting of the great pioneer circuit preacher, Littleton Fowler.

Steve resides with his wife and daughter in a home built in 1855, which sits on land that was likely walked on by important early Texans, such as Adolphus Sterne, Sam Houston, and John S. Roberts.  He continues to relish stories, history, and music from earlier times and hopes to be able to share their significance with others.

This site was updated January 29, 2016.

Mystery Ridge Recording and Publishing is a small, family-owned business. Our primary focus is to produce our own brand of new or original music with strong roots in the past that is played in a style reflecting both bluegrass and old time traditions.  It is our goal to explore history and folklore, and in particular, to celebrate rural life in America.  Our music is strictly acoustic, as you might expect, and for the most part, is played on a variety of antique or vintage instruments.

What is Mystery Ridge Recording Company?