Stuck in my car stereo over the last couple of weeks has been a CD loaded with tunes from some of my favorite Texas-affiliated artists. I’m a big fan of the singer-songwriter, old school and raggedy rock styles of country music, and Texas excels at all three. So any time I need a break from the current “Nashville sound,” I like to check in with Texas and see what they’re up to. Invariably, it’s more colorful and interesting.
I can’ t call myself an expert on Texas country by any stretch of the imagination and my education is nowhere remotely near complete (hint: feel free to recommend), but I do sense that it’s a style of music, or perhaps a musical sensibility, that is extremely important to maintain. Texas artists exude a certain spirit of creativity and sense of individuality that is sorely lacking elsewhere in country music. And in my opinion, great music and great artists only flourish in settings where both of those are encouraged.
Here’s a sampling of the songs I’m currently listening to:
- “Dallas,” Jimmie Dale Gilmore
- “Snowin’ on Raton,” Townes Van Zandt
- “West Texas Waltz,” Joe Ely
- “Greenville,” Lucinda Williams
- “Tortured Tangled Hearts,” Dixie Chicks
- “Transcendental Blues (Live in Austin),” Steve Earle
- “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Willie Nelson
- “Treat Me Like a Saturday Night,” The Flatlanders
- “Bourbon Legend,” Jason Boland & The Stragglers
- “Jesus Was a Capricorn,” Kris Kristofferson
- “Angry All The Time,” Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis
- “What I Deserve,” Kelly Willis
- “Old Five and Dimers,” Billie Joe Shaver
- “Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame,” Sunny Sweeney
- “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” Waylon Jennings
What are some of your favorite Texas country tunes?