Gone Country: Texas Country Part VIII – What I Learned About Texas
A weekly column about all things country.Posted by Melissa Daniels
In this final installment of our Texas Country escapade, I’d like to share with you a few things I learned about Texas.
The draw towards country music for many is the relate-ability to folks’ every day life. In a competition between hip hop and country, country trumps nine times out of 10. No contest. What makes Texas Country unique, in my new found perspective, is that the relate-ability increases. Slap that on top of some raw, stripped down, un-glorified guitar chords, and you’ve got the makings for magic.
Now, this is no love letter to Texas country, although the way I’m hooked, it could easily be done. However, there is something to be said about music that doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to stand out. That music must be celebrated.
Some of these artists rock harder than the heavy metal clan. And while mainstream country dabbles in it’s roots, it is quite pop-centric. In contrast, I’ve seen Texas country infiltrate a multitude of different sounds on a more consistent basis. Sure, you have the occasional bluegrass tune from Rascal Flatts, but Texas seems to keep it turned up on the regular with it’s use of rock n’ roll, americana, blues and bluegrass.
After these past eight weeks, I’m able to decipher the difference between the often glamorized lyrics of Nashville that reverberate the airwaves, and the unadulterated tunes of Texas. Stack Kenny Chesney’s ”She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” up against the Josh Abbot Band’s ”I’ll Sing About Mine.” You’ve got one artist who’s’ glorifying a piece of farming equipment, with you’ve got the other arguing the reality that there really isn’t anything sexy about a tractor. Now, please do not misread as I enjoy both very much, but the difference is distinct and unavoidable. This is all subjective, but what in life isn’t open to interpretation?
Bottom line, the qualities that set Texas country apart lie in the lyrics and stripped down sounds.
On the backend, you don’t have to be from Texas to play Texas country. There are artists from all over that share the love of red dirt music. And despite my earlier claims that there are relatively no women in the scene, they are out there. You just have to dig a little.
The Trishas, an all girl band from Austin, released their second album, High, Wide and Handsome, just over a week ago, and are a Texas force to be reckoned with. From the four-part harmonies to their keen storytelling abilities, these girls bring us back to what the root of country music was when first incepted. Thus is much of the appeal of the Texas genre; it takes you back to neo-traditional sounds with an outlaw edge.
For skeptics who cringe at the country twang but have an interest in expanding their horizons, I would suggest to you some Texas tunes that may ease you into what really makes country music special. Hear this: the twang is still there. But this time, it’s backed with a fringe that is undeniably pure, unadulterated and at the same time, very much in your face. One simply cannot deny that Texas brings a little something special to the table that cannot be brushed aside.
And so concludes our Texas Country adventure.