Texas Country unique genre, more than just country

Opinion by Kelly Neill

Kelly Neill - Photo by Mike Haynes


Texas Country is an overlooked genre. A lot of people won’t listen to it because they “don’t like country.”

And while Texas Country has plenty of songs about dogs and trucks, most of it goes deeper than that.

It has what mainstream country seems to have lost: sincerity, genuineness and relatability.

Texas Country is based around the sense that the singers are people like you, just average Joes who happen to be gifted songwriters or talented musicians and who are grinding out a living on stage instead of on a farm or behind a desk.

The majority of Texas musicians play most of their shows in Texas with little recognition in other parts of the United States or the world in general. But that doesn’t mean there’s any less talent involved in Texas Country than any other genre. Some of the musicians have spent their lives playing and honing their skills in different bands in the bars, dives and honky-tonks of Texas and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma natives Cross Canadian Ragweed put out 10 albums before splitting up in 2010, and two members went on to form the foundations of a new band, Cody Canada and the Departed.

And that’s right, not everyone in the Texas Country scene is from the Lone Star State. You don’t have to have been born in Texas to be a part of the music.

You don’t even have to live here – just play here. Great artists from around the country make up what is collectively called Texas Country.

Many of the bands and solo musicians who are labeled Texas Country are from Oklahoma, Louisiana and other parts of the South.

Some, like the four Braun brothers behind Texas Country staple bands Reckless Kelly and Mickey and the Motorcars, are from the northwestern part of the country.

Slaid Cleaves is from Maine. A British group, the Nay Sayers, recently put out a Texas Country CD.

That means listeners of Texas Country can expect to hear a wide range of musical roots.

Influences of Cajun ballads, Irish jigs and dirges, bluegrass tunes, rock hits, blues rhythms, folk stories and country legends all can be heard clearly in Texas Country music.

And the latest crop of Texas Country musicians grew up listening to that music, meaning they’re adding their own twists.

If you’re looking to broaden your musical horizons, give Texas Country a try. And as one Texas Country song says about Amarillo: “You can hear good music damn near every night.”


Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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