January 2010: Location or Attitude?

The definition of what exactly is and isn’t Texas Music has been debated relentlessly over the past decade.  At one point in time all that mattered in the broadest sense is that you were from Texas.  However, many of us have never felt that to be completely accurate.  To include every artist in this manner doesn’t do an accurate service of describing the remarkable and special nature of this music.  Texas Music is an attitude and sound, not solely a geographic location.

Does the geography influence the sound?  Sure.  But is it the end all, be all…absolutely not.  The Texas Music pedigree and attitude covers everything from the Kevin Fowler and Aaron Watson honky-tonk stylings to the amped up rock of bands like Ragweed and Bleu Edmondson.

Somewhere along the way it became accepted for anyone from Texas that put out an album that was country or country-rock to be included in this sacred fraternity.

But should it be that way?

By my estimation it should not.

Just because it is from here does not make it great.

I’ve had people tell me they don’t like Sean McConnell, Josh Grider, Drew Kennedy or Adam Hood because “they ain’t from Texas.”  They may  not physically be from Texas, but their music damn sure is.   Texas Music is about bucking the status quo, marching to your own drummer and creating the art you want to make in the manner in which you make.

The grit, groove and authenticity displayed in the music of these so-called “carpetbaggers” is immense and dripping with Texas magic.  Whereas, a great deal of music classified as Texas Music just because the band is from here and singing about the local highway lacks even the slightest hint of emotion, conviction or reality.  Those three elements and several others are what we all initially enjoyed about this type of music.

It was about our lives and our towns.  Somewhere along the way our lives and towns became caricatures of themselves due to being written and sung about in a manner that makes Heidi Montag seem deep, accompanied by music that sounded like a preset station on an electronic keyboard.

It is easy to spot the difference in artists that truly believe in what they are doing and those that are chasing a buck.  While those that chase fads and money may draw larger crowds for a time, they don’t last.  They are flashes in the pan, akin to one-hit wonders.  I mean that darn Chumbawumba song can get stuck in your head all day and you still hear it at sports stadiums and in various media outlets…but is it really special?  Is it really something that defines a genre or sound?  They are from the UK…are they indicative of the best music that comes out of that country or has ever come out of that country?  Absolutely not and nobody would argue that fact.

Chumbawumba is not “better” than Zeppelin, Stones, Beatles etc…so, it is mind-boggling when folks vehemently argue that Band A is better than Band B solely because Band A is from Texas.

The debate over carpetbaggers has reached a fever pitch recently with the industry’s fawning over Gwyneth Paltrow’s Country Strong performance.  Her single was rushed to radio and given the type of promotion reserved for Garth in 1993.    Is the song good because the song is good…or is it just getting attention because Paltrow sings it?

It is the quintessential  chicken and egg argument of modern country music.  Kenny Chesney could sing Jeff Foxworthy jokes without the punchline and it would soar to the top of the chart.  Meanwhile, other artists may release more credible material only to find it never reach an audience.

Point being, the focus should be on the music, not the location.  Crap is crap, no matter where it originated from.  If someone like Sean McConnell makes a fantastic record and puts on a face melting live show that fits within the parameters and attitude of what we like in Texas…then he is Texas Music…and a great number of the bands parading under the Texas Music flag should take lessons from him.


-I feel I need to restate our review/article policy.  We are not in the business of giving negative reviews and articles.  We just share what we dig and hope we turn other people onto what’s going on in this music scene that we think is cool.  According to a commenter on our best of 2010 post, I need to get a part of Randy Rogers’ anatomy out of my  mouth.  Sorry chief, he and his band keep making good music and I’m going to shout it from the mountaintops.

-The insanity of this football season continues.  The Seahawks…really?

-A couple days before Christmas Eve I got the flu for the first time in my life.  It was miserable.  It felt like the worst hangover ever imagined…except I had no good times or bad decisions to show for it.

-Greenfest 2011 planning is underway.  Make your plans now to join us in New Braunfels at the Phoenix on Saturday July 30 for some full band madness and LoneStar Floathouse on July 31 for an acoustic songswap.

-Lots of compliments still rolling in on The Drop.  People seem to really dig it.  We’re not done tweaking it and are looking to add more wrinkles soon.  Additionally, we aren’t near done with Galley as a whole yet.  Many more upgrades in the making!

-I know it’s a cliche request…but is it summer yet?  I hate the cold weather and eagerly await and prefer the days of 100 degree temps over 30 degree temps.

-With our friends at Dickson Productions wrapping up another successful MusicFest, it is time to turn our attention to LJTs.  It’ll be here before you know it and return/reserve camping reservations begin soon!

-Still adjusting to being a walking zombie with the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life living at our house.  Baby girl seems to enjoy watching her parents stumble through their days with yawns and lots of caffeine.

This month’s recommended film:  Allow me to be the latest to jump on the True Grit bandwagon.  Jeff Bridges goes from The Dude, to a Bingham voiced country burnout to The Duke.  He and the Cohen’s take on this classic western is superb.

This month’s recommended album:  Hudson Moore-Fireworks.  Hudson’s a kid from Fort Worth that’s making music down in Austin.  His music has an alt-soul type quality to it that sounds like what Jason Mraz would produce if he was from Lubbock.  The coolest part about this record is that it sounds different.  It’s not like everything else coming out around these parts and that makes it stand out.  Production work was handled by Brendon Anthony and Clay Corn and features a cast of top-flight musicians laying down the tracks.

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”-Mark Twain

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

13 thoughts on “January 2010: Location or Attitude?

  • January 10, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the Hudson Moore suggestion!! Diggin the tunes!! Big fan of Brendon and Clay as well – good to hear they are into the production stuff as well!

  • January 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Hey man, I stumbled across your article, and really like it! Too cool!! Way to put it. I only hope that folks get that some live their songs ,and some just sing songs. As my great friend John Evans puts it, “You can’t sing a song unless you’ve lived it.” I don’t have the big crowds, but I am earning a fan base based on the fact that I live my music. It’s not all about riding down the frio, Corpus… songs for me are the ones like Brandon Rhyder and Walt Wilkins. Texas music is Texas Music! I love the fact that I don’t have to play by someones rules… Just put out good records and people will buy it. Take care.


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