Texas is Everywhere

Personally, my favorite (unofficial) subgenre of country music would have to be Texas Country. From Pat Green to Aaron Watson to Robert Earl Keen, I love the sounds and music of country artists that are authentic to the Lone Star State. Historically, I have always thought that the only place Texas Country is listened to and/or has an influence on people is in Texas. That seems like a pretty logical assumption, however, a recent trip I went on changed my beliefs.

I went skiing in Vail, Colorado with a group of my friends several weeks ago, and it was at the base of the mountain that I saw how Texas Country is not just popular in Texas, but has transcended state boundaries. As I’ve gotten older I have progressed more towards what is known as a half-day skier, spending my mornings on the slopes and my afternoons walking around the town. On one of the last days of our trip, my friend Forrest and I decided to head into town a little earlier than the rest of our group. We chose to go kill some time at Pepi’s, probably the most famous restaurant and bar of Vail Village, waiting for the rest of our friends to come off of the mountain. As we walked into Pepi’s, Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” was being played by the bar-band, and I immediately knew it was going to be an enjoyable atmosphere. After about 10- 15 minutes of playing country music classics, the band took an unexpected turn. The lead singer got up off of his stool and asked, “There any Texas boys here today?” Immediately, Forrest and I made some noise and he flashed us a Hook’Em. The band would go onto play Texas Country for the remainder of their act, including an incredible rendition of Ryan Bingham’s “Southside of Heaven”. Other artists they covered were Pat Green, Aaron Watson, Willie Nelson and Cory Morrow- all artists I had thought (with the exception of Willie) were only listened to in Texas.

Following the band’s performance, Forrest and I went over to talk to them about their great taste in music. The lead singer told us that while he has never lived in Texas, he has always enjoyed Texas Country, and that Robert Earl Keen was his biggest musical influence. What surprised me even further is hearing how much various assortments of people, from all over the world, are into Texas Country. There were several people at a table near ours from South America, and following the band’s gig they asked us the names of Pat Green songs to find on Spotify. Essentially, it was neat to see how other people from different backgrounds and cultures enjoy the music of Texas. Also, it was fun to be able to travel to Colorado, yet still enjoy music that reminded me of home. While “Texas Country” may or may not be an official subgenre of country music, I believe that in several years, with its continual growth, it will constitute a popular stream of country music inside and outside of the state of Texas.


Filed under Live Music, Texas

6 Responses to Texas is Everywhere

  1. Randle Cecil

    I really loved this article. I would have never guessed that people in a small restaurant in Colorado would be so interested in country music from Texas. However, Texas has always had a ton of influence on other states so I guess it is not that surprising. I am from Texas, but I haven’t heard of a few artists that you mentioned, such as Robert Earl Keen. It is ironic that people from other states know this music, yet people from Texas can sometimes be clueless. I guess it isn’t about what state you’re from, it just depends on what type of music you prefer. The people from South America seem more tuned into country than I do. This just proves that country music from Texas reaches a lot more diverse cultural groups than we realize.

  2. Lynden

    I am also a huge fan of Texas Country as well! Crazy to think that this music is actually all over the US. It’s interesting to me that many bands considered to be Texas country, aren’t even from Texas at all. Turnpike Troubadours, my favorite “Texas” country band is from Oklahoma. I think people often mistake the title Texas country as a term for a geographically bound area rather than a name for the sound. The artists and listeners are not all from Texas. While it’s safe to say a large portion of fans of the sub genre are texans, I’ve personally heard of the music’s popularity from North Carolina to Arizona. I have friends in all different states who see Texas Country bands play, even in their own home town! A close friend of mine recently saw Turnpike in Philadelphia. Who would have thought there were Texas Country fans in Philly?

  3. Joshua Fleming

    I find it really cool that you were able to go some where other than Texas and find people listening to “Texas country”. but I think me and you differ on our definitions of “Texas country” i believe it lies some where between George strait and clint black because to me they have a more traditional sound. Whereas with artist like Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen i believe they are more kind of hick/redneck kind of backwoods country singer there voice its something you would say is more scratchy rather than polished and in tune. Although we differ on opinions of what type of country they are i think their music is still good.

  4. Madison Comstock

    I think this is really a great article on the growing popularity of Texas Country. It is becoming a much more legitimate sub genre and I like that music that I love is growing more popular. I bet it was very unexpected that in a Colorado ski town restaurant the band would even know, yet alone play, the songs of your favorite Texas artists. I can kind of see how Vail would have a large Texas influence, because most people I know in both college and high school go skiing there, but it is really interesting that they brought so much musical influence along with them.

  5. Abby Wills

    This is a really neat blog post! It’s so nice to see that Texas Country artists are reaching states other than Texas. I know that don’t get mainstream radio play as it is, so it is incredible that others know their music. I completely agree that Texas Country will continue to grow and build a loyal fan base with listeners in Texas and out of Texas. I think instances like this are the reasons why independent country artists are finding more success and more recognition. As people continue to hear about the talented Texas Country artists, the popularity and desire for something authentic will continue to grow. It is becoming less and less about where you live and more about what music you like and what sound you crave.

  6. Taylor Campbell

    I really enjoyed this post because I feel like it can get messy when you try to define Texas Country. Like Lynden said, it isn’t necessarily based on geography. I was born in Alabama and raised in Virginia and I grew up listening to some Texas Country, and although it is definitely more popular in Texas, I never associated it with Texas when I was growing up. Definitely cool that you heard it while in Colorado! I love that the country music fan base is growing and isn’t considered “just a southern thing” anymore.

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