T he story of Linda and Larry Petty is a love story started over 36 years ago, at Dallas Baptist College. They met, fell in love, and got married. Unfortunately, at the time, it wasn’t to each other. I had coffee with them last week. We talk about their first marriages and what finally brought them together, including an obsessive ex promising to have her in “life or death”, a Dukes of Hazzard-style standoff between a leather clad Linda and her stalker, armed guards at their wedding, and a secret proficiency in martial arts.

Since then, our own Liz and Dick have become arguably two of the most recognizable performers in the local music scene. Linda’s flame-red hair, custom designed Joan Ross wardrobe, her Texas-sized collection of jewelry, and stalwart piano man have become iconic in Dallas. It hasn’t always been that way, of course. We talk about the early days when a shy classically trained gospel singer first took the stage, in the 1980s, at an Oak Lawn nightclub.

Music is so many things. It’s light. It’s sound. It’s color. It’s energy. It’s emotions.

— Linda Petty

Pour a cup of coffee (or maybe, a Dr Pepper) and listen to our conversation.

Linda’s stage persona may be finely crafted and familiar. But what you don’t know will probably surprise you. She tells me the story of the time bandleader, Les Brown, invited her to move to California and front his band — an invitation she declined but artists like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole didn’t. She’s an ordained minister, holds degrees in psychology, and is a certified clinical hypnotherapist. The Pettys could teach MBA classes in the business of show business. But she will tell you, first, her voice is a gift from God to “bless and heal everyone it touches” and that is why she sings.

I believe people will do good, if you give them the opportunity to do good.

— Linda Petty

We talk more. Pour another cup and keep listening.

Written by Ron Thompson
My passion is exploring this crossover culture of food and stage — the people who create it, love it, revel in it, and use it to make where we live a better place to be. Find Chef & Song on Facebook