The Biggest Surprises From the Texas 30 Ballots

Categories: The Texas 30

Photo by Marco Torres
Lots of Willie, not a lot of Hayes, Z-Ro, or Beyonce.
Perusing the final ballots for the Texas 30 with a few highlighters this past week was a blessed odyssey into the past three decades of all things Texas music. For as many no-brainers as there were, there were plenty of head-scratchin' exclusions.


The 30 Best Texas Albums (cover story)

Slideshow: The Texas 30 album covers

The albums a lot of folks may claim to be landmarks of the past 30 years didn't make the top 30. As I type this sentence, people are no doubt firing off screeds about Bedhead, "the right Roky album," Don Henley, and the Zeitgeist/The Reivers legend. I'm glad people are so passionate.

(Hell, none of my favorite George Strait, Hayes Carll and Black Angels albums made the final cut. And I could have slipped someone a few bucks to make that happen, I bet.)

Add to that the relatively small window that the 30 years between 1982 and 2012 offers and the stakes change. Out go all the seminal Willie Nelson, ZZ Top, Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell and Townes Van Zandt releases.

As Chris Gray put it in the introduction to his piece, "the sound of Texas music has moved on, to indie-rock, gangsta rap, bruising heavy metal, Tex-Mex punk rock, epic instrumental soundscapes, disturbing psychedelia and the stray classic-pop vocalist or two, singing in both English and Spanish."


The Texas 30: The Third Runners-Up, Albums 60-51

The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41

Here are some of the biggest surprises I had from poring over this 15-page packet inches from my laptop.

The Dixie Chicks Made a Bigger Showing Than Expected
Though Home was the only one to make the final 30 (No. 6), all the rest of their catalog got plenty of votes, including Taking the Long Way at No. 50. If the trio were to reconvene in 2013, it would no doubt be a touring and recording coup, though the ladies are on hiatus save for the odd benefit concert.

Rap Only Made a Dent
By now you know that the Geto Boys (No. 10) and UGK (No. 8) were top 30 heavyweights. I would have expected more Texas rap myself, but DJ Screw, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, and Z-Ro only made minor dents with voters.

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