Texas Country

Texas Country music is a sub-genre of Country music that has become one of my favorite types of music. This type of music is more of a feeling than it is a sound. The lyrics of it usually have a carefree feeling and are often about honest, hard working people. These artists sing about having a good time, living on the edge, and taking life as it comes. The bands of this genre provide powerful live shows, which in turn, give them fiercely, loyal fans.

Texas Country primarily originates from Texas, with its roots being musicians such as, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. In the 1960s’ and 1970s’ Willie, Johnny, and some other musicians left the corporate Nashville scene and moved to Texas during the Outlaw Country Movement. Texas Country musicians are now anti-Nashville and this is even sometimes reflected in their lyrics. “Cross Canadian Ragweed” has a song called “Record Executive” that is about how the band will not sign a deal with a large, corporate record label because they believe all of their hard work and accomplishments will become the record label’s and not their own. There is a line in this song that goes, “I didn’t build it all just to watch it fall into your hands.”

Although most Texas Country artists are from Texas, some bands that fall into this genre are from other states and have re-located to Texas. For instance, “Reckless Kelly” and “Micky and the Motorcars” are bands who are from Stanley, Idaho that have both moved to Austin, Texas. Also Chris Knight is a singer and songwriter of Texas Country that is from Kentucky. Because of his reputation in Texas, a Texas governor named him an honorary Texan. Also, “Jason Boland and the Stragglers,” “No Justice,” and “Stoney LaRue” are all successful Texas Country artists from Oklahoma.

What a Texas Country band stands for and how it sounds varies from band to band. A lot of Texas Country songs describe the beauty of Texas and paint a picture of the Texas landscape. They depict features such as red Texas dirt, gravel roads, and long stretches of fences. They are also often supporters of the troops, although not necessarily of war. “Reckless Kelly” has a song that is about how our country sends young men off to war that are not allowed to have a beer but are willing to donate their lives to the land of the free. “Cross Canadian Ragweed” has a song called “Long Way Home” that is a narrative of a young man sent to Vietnam.

Many Texas Country bands are involved with charities as well. “Reckless Kelly” has a program that they are implementing at their merchandise area called “Reckless Kelly Care Packages.” They are collecting an assortment of items from their fans to send to service men and women overseas. Also, on April 19, 2009 “Reckless Kelly,” “Cross Canadian Ragweed,” “Randy Rogers Band,” and others were involved with a celebrity softball game, which was followed by a Texas Country concert. All the proceeds of this event were donated to several Austin, Texas organizations. In March of 2008, “Cross Canadian Ragweed” participated in three day, sixty-mile walk in which proceeds were donated to a reputable breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment fund.

This genre of music involves a variety of instruments. Almost every one of these bands includes an acoustic guitar and some of their songs will consist of only an acoustic guitar and lyrics. Other fundamental instruments include bass guitar, electric guitars, and percussion. Some other instruments that can be included in this type of band are the harmonica, piano, banjo, trombone, mandolin, and fiddle.

Texas Country music is a cross between Rock and Roll and Country, with some Blues and Honky Tonk thrown in. It often has lengthy guitar solos and a drum beat that makes people want to tap their feet and move their heads along with it. Most Texas Country songs’ lyrics are very catchy because they are something anyone can relate to. For instance, “Cross Canadian Ragweed” has a song called “Anywhere but Here,” in which they describe not changing who they are and leaving where they are in search of a good time. The proposal in this song is something that everyone wishes to do and it has a very catchy chorus.

Seeing a live performance of Texas Country is somewhat surreal. The beats, guitar riffs, and lyrics have a way of sending a chill over my body. When I saw “Reckless Kelly” for the first time, I was so captivated by the music and the performance that I barely realized what was going on around me. This is most likely what leads these bands to having such dedicated fans. Most people that go to these concerts know the band and the words to the songs, and may have traveled hundreds of miles to go to the concert. My cousin and I drove over eight hundred miles to Dallas, Texas on Labor Day of 2007 to go an all day Texas Country festival with twelve bands. My ticket cost twenty-five dollars and it was probably the best twenty-five dollars I have ever spent.

Texas Country music is different from regular Country music in several ways. Regular Country music tends to have a slower more depressing sound to it. It is often about a broken heart or unrealistic ideas. For example, there is a Country song about playing solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one. Now, I think I would realize after a few rounds that I was missing a card. Texas Country is a more upbeat, enthusiastic, and realistic form of country music. It has been described as “country with an attitude.” During regular Country music concerts, often the performers are not near as involved with the crowd and they do not have as dedicated following as with Texas Country.

Texas Country musicians rely on themselves to make it big and the best way to do so is through their fans and performances. This genre of music is becoming increasingly popular due to the amazing live shows, genuine music, and lyrics that are easy to relate to. Texas Country is a furiously, rocking type of country music that has become my favorite type of music.

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